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Bali? Sri Lanka? Other ideas for beach/culture/city?

Bali? Sri Lanka? Other ideas for beach/culture/city?

Aug 29th, 2007, 09:22 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 53
Bali? Sri Lanka? Other ideas for beach/culture/city?

My husband and I are planning a trip for January or April 2008. We are open to going anywhere in the world where we can fit in a nice beach + culture + fabulous hotels + connect through an interesting city.

Are there any places out there that would fit our plan?

Our top ideas:
Sri Lanka - Amanwella, Amangalla, Tea Trails, connect through Dubai (we think this sounds incredible but are concerned about losing too much time with poor air connections and getting around once on the island)

Bali - Legian + Como Shambala Estate (husband once did Bali on the cheap would would rather try somewhere new, but we like the flight options from NYC and the hotel prices)

Vietnam - Evason Hideaway Ana Mandara + Hanoi + other spots TBD (husband had already done part of this itinerary too)

Within the last couple of years we have done Phuket/Cambodia/Bangkok, Kenya/Zanzibar/Nairobi, China and Japan, and we're headed to South Africa/Botswana next summer, so ideally somewhere we haven't been yet. Thanks for your ideas!!
katesy is offline  
Aug 29th, 2007, 10:03 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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We are going to Sri Lanka next February, flying from JFK on Thai Air to Bangkok and then onto Colombo via Singapore Air We couldn't get Thai with ff miles but the connections would have been pretty good. Emirates will get you there via Dubai as well - as I recall from my research, the connections going that way weren't as good. Your other option is Singapore out of Newark - don't know about those connections. From what I've heard, getting around Sri Lanka is slow but its also slow on Bali.

We are also doing Tea Trails in Sri Lanka. Look at Kandalama which is well situated for touring the ancient cities. Also you might consider renting a villa on the beach, such as Lansiya which is in the same general area as Amanwella. I am surprised that a safari is not part of your plans - there are a couple of Sri Lankan companies that do private luxury safaris. Check out www.boutiquesrilanka.com for more information.

As for Bali, we visited for 12 days in 2002 and loved it. Bali probably has more great places to stay than any destination in Asia. The beaches on Bali aren't great. Splitting between the coast and Ubud is a good idea but do plan on hiring a driver to tour the island.
Craig is offline  
Aug 29th, 2007, 10:05 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 32,619
I'm headed to Sri Lanka in November, so will be able to give you more info after that.

VN is a possibility, but be aware that service and infrastructure is not as polished as Thailand, for instance.

Bali, of course, is an option.

Consider Malaysia. There are wonderful beaches, old port cities, and KL. You could spend all or part of your time on Borneo.
Kathie is offline  
Aug 29th, 2007, 10:32 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 28,925
emerites will start 3 flights per day from nyc next year....check it out...
rhkkmk is offline  
Aug 29th, 2007, 05:22 PM
Join Date: Jun 2003
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katesy, The SQ non-stop Newark to Singapore then on to Bali is a fairly painless commute. You have to spend the night in Singapore on the return. I wouldn't call Singapore the most interesting city in Asia, but it has good food, lots of nice hotels and is easy to navigate.

There are no end of luxurious hotels on Bali, but I especially like the combination of the Legian and Como Shambala. You'll be well taken care of and have access to the best of Bali with the option of serene retreat when the weird and wonderfulness overwhelms.

Another site that merits special mention is the Amankila on the eastcoast. Stunning architecture in a profoundly beautiful setting.

If you have the time and/or interest you might consider stopping in Central Java and staying at the Amanjiwo at Borobudur. For culture + fabulous hotel you couldn't do much better. You can fly directly from Solo (Surakarta) to Singapore on Silkair. The flights don't run every day, though so check the schedule.

January can be rainy in Bali. I don't consider this a deterrent especially since it's also a very quiet time. April is good, but gets busy around the Easter school holidays.

marmot is offline  
Aug 30th, 2007, 07:19 AM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 677
Depends on what you want. No idea about fabulous hotels which I guess rules me out as a trustworthy source of info in your book. But I have been to all the places you mention past and future except Vietnam.

I'd choose Sri Lanka over Bali any day. The beaches are better and there's been far less seepage of American culture - but maybe you would like that. I don't.

I would concur with the idea of Malaysia - peninsular and Borneo - but check weather patterns.

Have you ever thought of South/Central America?

Or there's Mauritius or the Seychelles. Or a South Pacific Island. Depends on where you are coming from as to whether you could "connect through an interesting city". And what is your definition of "interesting"?

Two of the most interesting cities I can think of are Cairo and Istanbul.

But then if you are in Europe you could come to Australia via any number of interesting cities.

I guess you are so sure of all posters being American that you take it for granted that we will know where you are based.

Good luck anyway whatever you decide.
chimani is offline  
Aug 30th, 2007, 08:21 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 53
Thank you for all the perspectives shared!! I will definitely check out Malaysia and consider Amanjiwo - that place looks stunning! Also thanks for the suggestion of safari in Sri Lanka - I hadn't even thought of that. We are coming from NYC. We are spending dollars, so this rules out Seychelles and Mauritius which look crazy expensive. Central/South America is nice and close to home - we've also been checking out Costa Rica and Brazil, neither of which we've been to. Galapagos is also on the list, but not for this trip. Istanbul is my favorite city in the world and would love to check out Cairo someday. Australia is probably too far this time around but hopefully we'll get there too.
katesy is offline  
Aug 30th, 2007, 10:07 AM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 699
Sri Lanka is hard to beat especially in January. Beaches are super in Jan. The hotels you mention not bad, but tell me what you are looking for and I will be glad to give you some free advice. There are some superb boutique hotels around and prices these days are a steal. I would advise you to book through one of the several reputed and large travel agents in Colombo. Getting around with a private car and driver guide is so easy and very reasonable.

April can get uite hot and muggy/humid. Also that is the time we locals fill all the hotels during school holidays so deals are not so freely available.

BTW I am not a travel agent and not selling anything... Do have a look at my website especially if you like wildlife.
(Sri Lanka)
Mohammed is online now  
Aug 31st, 2007, 09:28 AM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 699
Ooopsy! "quite" not uite!

Wish Fodors allowed edits....
Mohammed is online now  
Aug 31st, 2007, 09:51 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 1,834
Some great destination choices.
We went to Hanoi and the Evason Hideaway last year. Their beach pool villa was quite simply the most relaxing, chill spot I've ever been. We'd go back in a heart beat. Do be aware that the Evason/Soneva resorts are "eco chic"...not slick/fancy.

We're considering Sri Lanka as well for next year, but haven't been yet. Do you know that Aman just reduced their prices for Amanwella and Amangalle by HALF thru next year? So if you like a good deal, that may tip the balance in Sri Lanka's favor. Another new lux hotel called the Fortress (near galle) also has waaay reduced prices and a 2 nights for the price of 1 deal going on.
cruisinred is offline  

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