Hong Kong and Bali?

Feb 15th, 2007, 01:10 PM
  #1  
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Hong Kong and Bali?

Planning a 2 week trip to both Hong Kong and Bali in April. Anyone have any must sees? Right now, just planning to buy a guidebook and wing it when we get there.
askias is offline  
Feb 15th, 2007, 07:27 PM
  #2  
 
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I am of the opinion that there are no “must sees” anywhere, as one person’s “must see” is another persons “that’s a yawn to me”. Its YOUR time and money, you should do what you want.

That being said, I live in Hong Kong and would have some suggestions for some alternatives to the typical tourist haunts here. Please search this board for my very long list of reccos called “Cicerone’s Reccos for What the Locals Do for Fun in Hong Kong (Hint: We DON’T Go to those Awful Night Markets....)” this should give you some ideas for what to do, including a list of walks and some sources for more walks. For a description of nother of my favourite very easy walks on Hong Kong Island, see my posting called “Cicerone’s Favourite Hong Kong Walks II: Paradise Found! From Happy Valley to Stanley in High Heels! (Almost) The Tsz Lo Lan Shan Path”. Also check the Hong Kong Tourism Board website at discoverhongkong.com for other ideas.

I would recco that you make hotel reservations for both Hong Kong and Bali, as it is hard to “wing it” for hotels in Hong Kong most times of year. In Bali you may be able to arrive without a booking, but I have never understood why it is fun to wander around bag and baggage unwashed with jet lag looking for a hotel....

For Bali, all I can say is do not just go to a beach hotel, head inland for at least a few days or you will wonder what all the fuss is about.

Before you commit to buying a guidebook, I would first go to your local library and look at their selection. Old editions don’t’ matter, as the basic information and tourist site info does not change. When you hare some ideas of what you want to see and do, then buy the newest editions for restaurant and hotel recs and the latest travel tips for that country. Also, I think a lot depends on what you want a guide book for. Some guidebooks are great on history and culture, like DK/Eyewitness, Insight and Lonely Planet. DK has great layout maps of sites. (Lonely Planet is also good on public transport.) Some are great on suggested itineraries like Fodors and Frommers. Some are great on restaurants and shopping like the Luxe guides for Hong Kong and Bali. You can then decide what format and info you like best and buy the latest edition of that.

The Web often has lots of good background info on history and culture as well. You can find websites for museums, etc. Also, read the destination guides on this site, click on "Destinations" on this site, choose "Asia", then scroll down and choose the various places you are interested in. This will give you a brief overview of the each place and what is has to offer with sample itineraries. Also take a look at Frommers.com.

I think that the Luxe Guide for Hong Kong is absolutely spot on for their reccos on restaurants and most of their shopping and sightseeing reccos as well, so I would get that. They do not contain any sightseeing, history or maps, so don't look at these as real guides, they are for restaurants and shopping primarily, although they do give some off-the-beaten-path suggestoins and some very touristy things to avoid. Because it is so short (about 4 pages), they can update it 4 times a year so it is very current. It only costs like US$8. (Go to http://www.luxecityguides.com/) It is tiny and folds almost into your pocket. If you can't get it where you live, you can buy it here when you arrive. They also have one for Bali which I think is very good. They actually sell a boxed set with several cities in one which is a good value. You can find them at Dymocks or Bookazine, two local bookstores here (go to http://www.dymocks.com.au
www.bookazine.com.hk for locations), your hotel shop may have it as well.

When you do get a guidebook(s), I would photocopy the sections on places you are going and not bother to lug around entire books. You can write notes in the margins, and highlight things you liked and keep notes of the trip. You will then still have the book for the next trip or to lend to someone (along with your notes of course!).

For historical weather info, take a look at weatherbase.com. April will be quite hot and humid in Hong Kong, tending toward rain. It will be hot but fairly dry in Bali.

Cicerone is offline  
Feb 16th, 2007, 08:22 AM
  #3  
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Thank you for your long and thoughtful post. Plans have changed slightly, we will now be doing a week in Tokyo and a week in Bali. You say to avoid the beach hotels, but I like the Four Seasons and plan to stay there. I assume that we can hire a car and driver to see the rest of the island, that is what we did in Hawaii.
askias is offline  
Feb 16th, 2007, 07:27 PM
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There are TWO Four Seasons, one is inland, outside Ubud. Very lovely setting overlooking a lush valley lined with rice terraces. You might want to consider that. Bali is in no way equal to Hawaii as far as beaches (or even roads).....
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Feb 17th, 2007, 08:37 AM
  #5  
 
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askias
If you do a search on my name you'll see our 1/2 done trip report for Bali (I'm going to finish it this weekend and get our pictures up online). We were just there and spent 5 days at the FS at the beach (Jimbaran Bay) and 5 days near Ubud (the hotel is just outside the town in Sayan).
You will love both hotels if you like 4S -- they are completely different. The trip from one to the other is just over an hour and the hotel will move you free.
Everyone raves about going inland because the culture is so amazing in Bali, and though you can see some of it just staying near the beach and taking day trips, you really see so much more inland when you're based there. The hotel has a shuttle into Ubud town but cabs are only about $5 once they stop at night.

We hired Dean http://home.comcast.net/~bestbalidriver/Contact.htm to drive us and he was a huge part of why we loved our trip. About $44 a day and that included parking and gas; he has no set length of day -- one day (the day we sent our luggage to Sayan from the beach) he picked us up at 9am and we drove over the top of one of the mountains, down to the north coast, along the north coast, ending up in Ubud at 9pm at night. You can talk to him about what you like and adjust what you want to do as you do it -- and he'll help you figure out as he gets to know you what else you might enjoy seeing. But just driving around you're going to fall into festivals, temple blessings, cock fights -- in fact alot of what's best about Bali I don't think you can plan as much as be open to have fall on you once you're there. If you just stay at the beach you'd miss a huge part of that.

Re; the hotels -- all the Jimbaran "rooms" are small villas with outside living rooms, plunge pool, courtyard. Just ask for one where you can see some water -- as they climb up a hill and some have better views. In Sayan/Ubud, you're going to have to choose rather to spring for the villas or stay in the main building. The price differential is considerable -- but the river villas are truly some of the best accomodations I've ever been in. That said, the duplexes in the main building are nothing to sneeze at.(Disclaimer -- my hsb works for FS but that does NOT mean I'd recommend them all. In fact I'm pretty brutal in the questionnaires they have us fill out when we stay in one.)

If you tell me more what you like I can give you some more ideas -- I absolutely adored Bali, and I've travelled a ton. You are going to have an amazing time.
jenskar is offline  

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