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help with s.e.a. trip destination for xmas, family of 4

help with s.e.a. trip destination for xmas, family of 4

Old Mar 24th, 2017, 06:59 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 275
help with s.e.a. trip destination for xmas, family of 4

Thanks in advance to the asia board that has helped me so often in the past. Trying to choose a 2 week destination for xmas /17 for family of 4 (kids in their 20's). We have looked at borneo but are concerned about the safely issues: (from gov't canada travel advisory)
"Coastal areas of southeastern Sabah - Avoid non-essential travel

Global Affairs Canada advises against non-essential travel to to the coastal areas of southeastern Sabah, from the northern district of Beluran to the southern town of Tawau and all nearby islands, due to the risk of kidnapping and violence. These areas include, but are not limited to, the beaches of Sandakan, resorts along both the Kinabatangan River (district of Sukau) and the Sabahan River (district of Kunak), the islands of Kapalai, Lankayan, Ligitan, Mabul, Mataking, Pom Pom, Selingan, Singamata, Sipadan, and other resort islands off the shores of Semporna."

would borneo rainforest lodge be ok? would gaya island be ok? we thought we could divide our time between KK and Kuching, but would avoid the kinabatangan river lodges, though they look so amazing. Is it still worth going all that way if much of the good stuff is not considered safe?

Borneo Rainforest Lodge- their web page does not seem to work- does anyone have current contact info? is there a alternative that is easier to get to?

The other choice is Bali, but do you think there is enough for a 2 week (including flights from canada)trip? we would avoid the party places it looks like we might have to go to lombok if we want lovely and more secluded beaches a la thailand... is it feasible?

and lastly being that it is the rainy season in both borneo and thailand end of december, should we look for an alternative? (we have enjoyed previous xmas trips to thailand and vietnam and laos)

any help with planning and decision making would be so appreciated, sorry for the long post...
4bams is offline  
Old Mar 24th, 2017, 08:43 PM
Join Date: Jun 2003
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Did you mean to write "is there enough to do in Bali for a 2 week trip?" Generally speaking I'd say yes, though it depends on your family's interests. You wouldn't get the wilderness/adventure opportunities of Borneo, but you'd get plenty of culture and nature.

December is the start of the rainy season in Bali. 2016 was quite wet. 2015 was completely dry, so it's hard to predict. It's also the height of the tourist season in Bali. Rates are inflated and everything's crowded.

You could split your time between one of the beach communities and Ubud and possibly add-on a more remote area like Munduk or Sidemen. There's a wide range of accommodation and private villas are notably family-friendly.

Lombok has nice sandy beaches and the Gili Islands are especially laid back, but you won't find the white sand, turquoise waters as in Thailand. The fast boats between Bali and Lombok take up most of a day so it's best to put Lombok at the beginning or end of your trip and arrange to fly in or out of Lombok airport.

I really like Bali's west coast beaches and think your 20 something kids would too. Kuta is a bit raucous, but things calm down as you get farther north into Seminyak/Petitenget and Canggu. These are big wave, sunset beaches with lots of sophisticated restaurants, shops, spas and clubs. As you get farther north into Brawa and Batu Bolong the atmosphere gets hipper and younger.

Amed in northeast Bali offers a quieter beach experience with good snorkeling.

In Ubud you'll find plenty of nature based activities: rafting, hiking, mountain climbing, biking, birding. This is the cultural center of Bali with temple ceremonies going on most every day, performing arts like dance and gamelan, arts and crafts like painting, textiles, carving, jewelry making. You can take classes in Balinese cooking, batik making, yoga, healing, mask carving -- just about anything you're interested in. Or just take relaxed walks along the river valleys and through the rice paddies.

I would also suggest that you look at spending a few days in Java,Yogyakarta and Borobudur in Central Java and the Mt. Bromo area in East Java.
marmot is offline  
Old Mar 24th, 2017, 09:01 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Bali has plenty to keep you and your family busy and interested. Listen to Marmot - she is our local Bali expert.

These days, you have to book the BRL through a local agency in Kota Kinabalu.

While it will be rainy in both Bali and Borneo, the Andaman Sea side of Thailand should have glorious weather. Also, south of the Thai beaches are Langkawi (an international beach resort), and on the mainland is Georgetown, Penang, a wonderful world heritage site with what is often termed thee best hawker food in the world.

I read the travel warning for Sabah. I wouldn't go to any of the islands off of Sabah, as they have struggled with Philippine kidnappings for well over a decade. I don't know what to tell you about the problems in Sabah. Several years ago, tourists were taken from Lahad Datu, the small town you fly into to get to the BRL. I don't know the current state of the disputes, but I would want to know that before I booked anything.

You have lots of good options!
Kathie is offline  
Old Mar 24th, 2017, 09:04 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Oops - I forgot to say that the Canadian travel advisory does not include the Danum Valley where the BRL is located.
Kathie is offline  
Old Mar 25th, 2017, 03:05 AM
Join Date: May 2004
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If the weather is an important factor for you then, on the basis of that alone, I would avoid both Borneo and Bali. Predicting the weather is an increasingly difficult area, but December is the rainy season for both those regions. You may get lucky but the odds are against it.

We will be in Borneo in June /July en route to Taiwan and are considering a week diving at Sipadan but, like Canada, the U.K. Has a travel advisory in place. The chances of anything happening are minuscule, but if they do, any travel insurance is void.

We were in Sandakan a couple of years back and whilst there a restaurant owner and his family were kidnapped by Philippino pirates. When we arrived in KK the town was in lockdown as a man had gone berserk, shooting several people. In both cases we only found out via the news the next day.

I would have suggested Vietnam or Laos as we have spent christmas in both a couple of times and loved it, but you have already been.

Have you considered Cambodia? A huge amount to see and do ( and not just Angkor Wat. Phnom Penh is one of my favourite cities in SE Asia. Kampot is great for a few days and close to some fantastic beaches and islands. If you head towards Siem Reap, Battambang has a lot to offer ( well the town is not all that great but the surround area is wonderful) some photos and detail on our blog @ https://accidentalnomads.com/category/cambodia/

You could also consider heading overland into southern Laos via Kristie to Si Phan Don . Alternatively, from Phnom Penh you could get a boat into Chau Doc in the Mekong Delta, on earth of our favourite places in Vietnam a couple of post inthe Vietnam section of our blog.
crellston is offline  
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