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Matisse Nov 26th, 2007 10:15 PM

I Need Major Help with Bali/Thailand-Please Help (Long post)
Hi Everyone,

I just decided I want to go to Asia (1st time) for 3-4 weeks in March 08 going from NYC-Bali Denpensar, then BKK - NYC. I'm Female, late 20's, traveling alone. I know everyone likes specifics, so here goes...

Spend 4 days in Bali on the beach to relax. Seminyak? Was thinking about Lombok, but heard it's hard to get to?
- 3-4 days in Ubud.
- I'm open to suggestions for the next 7 days.

I'd like to spend some time on an island (or 2?) in Thailand, then around 7 days in Bangkok. I'm a city person, so I don't think I'll have any problem amusing myself there. Please correct me if you think I'm wrong though!

Since I'm more of a beach dabbler, I'd like to be in or within easy walking distance of a town with restos/bars/local people, have access to day trips, sights, spas, etc. I don't want the strips of concrete and souvenir shops that i've read are on Patong, nor do I want to be confined to a resort the whole time.

I was thinking of Karon/Kata, but it seems that there's no central area there, just a stretch of beach (which i know is ideal for some). I like the way Phi Phi looks, but I hear the best beach (Hat Laem Thong) is north of the town, and the area is very quiet - true? What about the gulf side like Bo Phut on Ko Samui? That seems nice, but again, i hear the beaches are not as nice as Krabi province.

Also, I'll have to get from Bali to whichever island i choose, so that's a concern as well. Since I'll be flying back to NYC from Bangkok, I'd rather work my way north than fly Bali-Bkk, then go back down to an island. Unless it will just be easier and cheaper that way.I suppose I could fly NYC-BKK, but was really hoping to chill during the first part of my trip.

As far as budget/accomodation style goes I like to mix things up between cheapies and more expensive places. I'm thinking it's better to go higher end in Bali because it'll be low season still in March. The Sofitel Seminyak (right on the beach) has rooms for $105. Normally I don't like chain hotels, but that seems like a good price as I've read it's well situated. The soon to open Anantara (next door) has a promo rate of $270, but unless the rooms are Spectacular... (Didn't like the looks of the Oberoi, seems too conservative).

I'd love to find that beach bungalow in Thailand for $15/night, but doubt that will be possible in high season. Don't really want to go higher than $50/night in Thailand, unless there's that "not-to-be-missed" spot.

I prefer places with quirky charm & character, but CLEAN is very important. I also love to have a sea views, balconies with chairs/hammocks/day beds are ideal, AC is not a necessity.

I haven't even started researching BKK yet, so I'm sure I'll have more questions.

Sorry for the long post, but I thought I should be as specific as I can be at this point. I'm still flexible on everything though. Thanks so much in advance!!

marmot Nov 27th, 2007 12:07 AM

Matisse, I can only respond to your Bali questions.

I think Seminyak is a good choice for you. The Sofitel is a good value -- convenient and well situated. The construction of the Anatara right next door is a major drawback. I'm not sure when it will be completed, but if I were you I'd look into that carefully.

The best option on Seminyak beach is the Legian. It's pricier than the Sofitel, but really nice.;section=home

Another less expensive place that I would recommend is the Bali Padma.

If you are in Bali over Easter break (around March 16-29) prices will be very high.

Lombok is not particularly hard to get to although it does involve a flight or a ferry ride. The beaches are quite nice and prices comparatively low.

There are tons of choices at all price levels throughout Bali, though you could pretty much cover the rest of the island by using Ubud as your base.

I would also recommend that you consider spending a few days in Central Java at Borobudur and Yogyakarta. You can fly to Yogya from Denpasar then continue on to Jakarta or Singapore.

You can fly from Denpasar non-stop to Singapore and connect onward to South Thailand from there.

glorialf Nov 27th, 2007 05:52 AM

I would skip Lombok and either extend your stay in Bali or go to Central Java or if you want something very different try S. Sulawesi.

As for thailand - if you are only a beach dabbler why are you going to a beach there? The thai beaches are totally interenational. The least interesting places in thailand in my opinion. I would head north instead where you can get a feel for the culture and also have a resort experience if you want one.

rhkkmk Nov 27th, 2007 08:37 AM

go to lombok....look at quinci villas...they will get you your flight easily...they have done it for me already for next spring...

look at sanur in bali....puri santrian is quite nice...small town and nice places to stay....bali hyatt is there and many other smaller places like puri...i am also staying at tandjung sari in sanur....

thai air has a once daily direct flight to bali from/to bangkok..

use air asia from bkk to kuala lumpur and then K/L to bali...cheaper...luggage limits...

bkk is fabulous....stay on the river...splurge on the peninsula or cheaper at the marriott resort and spa....davis hotel or majestic grande are nice options in town....or the bangkok holiday inn (not the silom one) or a center point serviced apartment....

hotel site:

MichaelBKK Nov 27th, 2007 05:06 PM

Actually, for a cheap Bali - Bangkok connection, I would prefer Jet Star Asia. You connect in Singapore, which is a much nicer airport to kill time in.

For beaches in Thailand, I would suggest avoiding the islands, as noted above. You might think about Krabi - Tiger Airways has a direct flight there from Singapore.

Matisse Dec 1st, 2007 01:22 AM

Thank you all for responding. I'm still undecided about many things, but am in serious research mode.

Marmot, i looked at Legian, but the rooms are at $300+ which is just too much for me since i'll be solo. Trying to find an alternative to Sofitel for around $100 or less.

Glorialf, if Thailand's beaches aren't so great, why does everyone want to visit them?? :) Interestingly enough (sort of), i was at a Japanese resto the other night, and had a Thai waiter. I asked him for his thoughts, and he said he "really" missed Bangkok; Chiang Mai is "nice"; and recommended i go to Ko Phi Phi where he's going next March. I have to say that i love the look of the karsts that jut out of the water, so i am thinking Krabi province.

Another thing, one hotel that i contacted informed me that i'll be in Ubud during Nyepi which is Bali's lunar New Year. Apparently there are "demon rousing" ceremonies (banging of pots, shooting of guns) the night before, then on the day of, all is (supposed to be) silent, no use of electricity, no cars, beaches blocked off, etc. Has anyone experienced this holiday in Bali before?

marmot Dec 1st, 2007 02:09 AM

Matisse, for $100 at the beach in Bali I'd suggest the Padma. Otherwise, I'd take a chance with the Sofitel. The construction should be winding down by the time you're there. I'd ask.

Nyepi is a wonderful holiday in Bali, especially in Ubud where everyone's out walking (because they don't drive on that day) around the village. It's a very spiritual time and there will be many festivals and ceremonies.

jonbarb709 Dec 8th, 2007 08:54 AM

Loved Sanur, also stayed at the Puri Santrian, it was great. The town has some nice bars/restaurants. The Mezzanine, The Cat and the Fiddle, the Sanur Beach Bar (swings for seats right on the beach) SPA's, at all the hotels. Great place. Going back this year in February 2008, which will be our 3 trip.

Marit77 Dec 20th, 2007 07:04 PM


smartcookie Dec 21st, 2007 02:45 PM

It sounds like Ko Phi Phi would be the best beach option for you. The island is walking only, and has a lot of charm, but also bars and lots of people in their 20s you can easily meet, as well as lots of things to do. We really enjoyed the food, snorkling, rock climbing, and going out there. Our friends also went scuba diving there for the first time. If you stay on the quieter side, then you would need to take a longtail boat to the main part of the island. But I don't think it's necessary. We stayed at PP Casita on Ton Sai, but in a corner by one of the beaches, and loved it. It has a pool and a bar, and the bungalows are great and in your price range.

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