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Is Bali worth it to go or stick w/BKK, Singapore and Malaysia?

Is Bali worth it to go or stick w/BKK, Singapore and Malaysia?

Mar 30th, 2005, 06:45 AM
  #1  
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Is Bali worth it to go or stick w/BKK, Singapore and Malaysia?

We went to Bangkok and Myanmar last year. This year in December we (well my husband is going because I want to go) are planning to go to BKK, Singpore & Malaysia (we have 3 weeks). I'm also interested in Bali but not sure if will be all worth it ( I don't see that much posting about Bali on the Fodor's site). We have NOT been to Singapore, Malaysia or Bali. We like good food, some sightseeing and I love spa services. Please give us advise. Thank you for your time.
clear is offline  
Mar 30th, 2005, 06:56 AM
  #2  
 
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Your decision can be made very easily because Bali is totally different from Singapore. If you have 3 weeks within that trip, unless you are really 'city' people to spend some good rest and relaxation, 4 otr 5 days in Ubud on Bali enjoying Spa treatments and stress free living would in my opinion certainly be worth it! I will leave it to Bali experts to suggest places to stay as I have only stayed at some beach places, but Ubud abounds with natural style places which will help you unwind.
JamesA is offline  
Mar 30th, 2005, 06:58 AM
  #3  
 
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I love Bali and prefer it over the three places you have named, but the problem with Bali in December is you will get a good bit of rain, as the winter monsoon is there. Its not the downpours you would get in east Malaysia, but probably more rain than you would want on a vacation. Singapore can also be quite rainy then, but perhaps is not so important as its not like your trying to lay out on a beach or bike or hike through rice terraces.

You will find a lot of rain on the east coast of Malaysia, which is really a shame, as that side is so much more beautiful, IMO, than the west side. I am not a fan of KL or Langkawi at all, others on this site like those places better so take their opinions. I do like Penang and Malacca. The weather certainly would be good on the west coast of Malaysia in December so that will be in your favour.

If you did not see Phuket last year, I would swap that for Malaysia or combine with some bits of Malaysia. Weather is perfect in Phuket and with that much time, you can get to outlying islands or even do a boat charter for a few days.
Cicerone is offline  
Mar 30th, 2005, 07:02 AM
  #4  
 
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Try the new property, UMA, in Ubud area.While in Bangkok at the Metropolitan Hotel in Aug 2004, I met the marketing director and was presented a porfolio on the property, UMA. It looks VERY relaxing. The Metropolitan Hotel in Bangkok was very relaxing,too...the same hotel company as UMA. This hotel company is totally geared toward relaxation, health,yoga,and spa therapy and that type of stuff. Maybe stay at more than one hotel and area in Bali to have a different experience.I liked Ubud. Happy Travels!
Guenmai is offline  
Mar 30th, 2005, 07:18 AM
  #5  
 
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Bali is wonderful and definitely worth going to -- far more interesting than either Malaysia or Singapore in my opinion. But you need to think about the weather issue. If you can deal with that I would go to Bangkok and maybe add northern Thailand for a few days since the weather will be perfect and you can have good food, sightseeing and great spas. Then go to either Malaysia or Singapore but not both and then to Bali where if the weather is bad you can stay in the spa longer!
glorialf is offline  
Mar 30th, 2005, 09:03 AM
  #6  
 
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Bali is definitely worth considering. Culturally, it's entirely different from any of the other areas you've mentioned, as most Balinese are Hindu. I've traveled to Bali several times in December, and while there were dramatic rains, they were brief and did not interefere with my enjoyment of Bali.
Kathie is offline  
Mar 30th, 2005, 11:41 AM
  #7  
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Thank you everyone. Now, we have 9 days in Bali. I'm thoughtwe should chose 2 different resort in Bali.. I would like a larger resort with beautiful grounds, spa and scenery/possibly beach location and 2nd resort that is smaller than the first resort. I know people raved about FS Sayan (however, I can't tell how big the ground is?) Please give suggestions.
clear is offline  
Mar 30th, 2005, 11:56 AM
  #8  
 
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If you're going to stay in two places you should do one on the beach and the other in Ubud. I can't advise you on hotels as I was there several years ago and lots of places exist that didn't when I was there.

How long are you staying other places?
glorialf is offline  
Mar 30th, 2005, 12:04 PM
  #9  
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glorialf,
We have 14 days for BKK and maybe Phuket, Singapore or Malaysia. I'm thinking of flying into Bali and after that BKK and Phuket or??? Thank you.
clear is offline  
Mar 30th, 2005, 01:21 PM
  #10  
 
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If you're going to Bali I'd skip Phuket.
glorialf is offline  
Mar 30th, 2005, 02:52 PM
  #11  
 
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I'm with Gloria. Instead of Phuket, why not go to Northern Thailand. I highly recommend the Anantara at the Golden Triangle. Do a search on it here and you'll find lots of rave reviews!

Bali, Bangkok and the Golden Triangle would be a dynamite combination.
Kathie is offline  
Mar 30th, 2005, 02:55 PM
  #12  
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Just a clarification. We have 22 days for our trip. Currently we are thinking Bkk, Bali and not sure whether to go to Phuket, Malaysia or Singapore? Any suggestions?
clear is offline  
Mar 30th, 2005, 04:14 PM
  #13  
 
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aHH.. Bali, paradise on earth. One of the ten best places u MUST see before u die..Spend a week there n you still would've have lotsa things to do.It is full of culture n art, beautiful landscapes such as volcanoes, rice terraces or rugged cliffs and black sand beaches.The hotels range from the basic to the opulent. Bali has the best spas in the world.I cant even begin to tell u which ones to choose.If you go to Bali u can skip Malaysia n Phuket. Singapore u can see in Orlando.
wein is offline  
Mar 30th, 2005, 07:00 PM
  #14  
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TTT
clear is offline  
Mar 30th, 2005, 07:41 PM
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singapore is a natural stop on the way to bali....a couple of days there is usually sufficient...i would fly in to sin and out of bkk and visit bali in between....
rhkkmk is offline  
Mar 31st, 2005, 07:01 AM
  #16  
 
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I meant to add yesterday that Hong Kong would be an ideal place to include on your itinerary. The weather is perfect in December and everything is decorated to the nines for Christmas. It is a good stop over on the way to or from Bangkok or Bali. I would pick Hong Kong over Kuala Lumpur by a mile. You could also spend a few days in Macau to get in some beach time (albeit not spectaclar beaches) and a quieter atmosphere.

You can have turkey and all the trimmings at any number of hotels, which is nicer and feels a bit more "Christmasy" in the low 70 F temps you will find in Hong KOng as opposed to the 90F temps you will find in Bangkok, Singapore, etc)

Depending on flight times, etc you might consider Hong Kong, Bali, Bangkok and Phuket (I like to end a vacation at a beach.) I would try to spend Christmas in Hong Kong. New Year's on Phuket is fun as there are fireworks on most beaches, but I imagine Bangkok would be a good place as well.
Cicerone is offline  
Mar 31st, 2005, 09:07 AM
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Clear-- I'm reposting a message I posted on a different thread that might give you some ideas for northern thailand. This is the itineray of a trip I took with a driver a few years ago.

Day 1-4: Mae Sot: Mae Sot is a true frontier area, replete with smuggling, refugee camps, and occasional border skirmishes between Myanmar’s government troops and the Karen or Kayah insurgents. a. Among the sights in Mae Sot are the main market behind the Siam Hotel and the border market on the Moei River. About 7 miles northwest of Mae Sot on a 1000-foot hill is Wat Phra That Doi Din Kiu - a forest temple, reminiscent of Myanmar’s Kyaiktiyo Pagoda. We also visitied Sukothai from here

Since Mae Sot is in a major refugee area, we spent a lot of time visiting some of the refugee camps as well as Dr. Cynthia’s Mae Tao Clinic. About 60 kilometers southwest of Mae Sot is the border town of Waley. On the way is the Mawker Refugee Camp as well as several hilltribe villages. On the way to Mae Sarit, you can find Mae La, a Karen refugee center. Nearby is also the Mae Salit refugee camp. Visiting the refugee camps was fascinating and very moving. We also realized why some of the thais resent these camps as they are actually nicer than many of the nearby villages . Dr. Cynthia’s clinic is inspirational.

Day 5: We drove 140 north to Mae Sariang. In addition to stopping at refugee camps along the way, we went to the Mae Kasa Falls and the huge limestone caverns at Tham Mae Usu. The road passes through Mae Ramat, Mae Sarit, Ban Tha Song Yang, and Mae Ngao, crossing from Tak Province to Mae Hong Son Province. Most of the villages along the way are Karen, although there are also Hmong and Shan.

Mae Sariang itself may well have been part of an overland link through Burma to the Gulf of Martaban. It has two Burmese style temples – Wat Jong Sung and Wat Si Bunruang. Accomodation here was very basic.

Day 6: We drove to Mae Hong Son today. Enroute we stopped at a couple of hilltribe villages but the highlight was Ban La Up, about 15 miles off he highway. It is a Lawa village known for its cloth and silver. We spent several hours there and had a great time. They only see a few tourists a year so we felt like we were actually seeing how people live. Right before Mae Hon Song we stopped at Thailand’s highest waterfall, the 820-foot Mae Surin Falls which is near the town of Khun Yuam,. Khun Yuam also has a charming Shan temple – Wat to Phae – containing a well-known Shan tapestry.

Day 7-10: Mae Hong Son Lots of people have talked about this lovely area. We thoroughly enjoyed the town, the lake, the temples, the market and the laid-back feel of the place. We also went visited several hill tribe villages in this area.

Day 11: Went to Pai via Soppong which has a wide variety of ethnic villages – Shan, Karen, Lisu, and Lahu. We also went to the place where the fishes and caves are.

Day 12:: Drove to Mae Salong. On the way, we visited some more villages. Mae Salong was established originally by the Kuomingtang’s 93rd regiment. Opium cultivation is rife in this area, and the drug warlord Khun Sa had a base in the region until the early '80s. In the early days, it is said that the U.S. paid the Kuomintang people to grow opium, hoping to destabilize the Communist Chinese regime. Later, the opium was sent to Vietnam and used by our soldiers. Many of the older local people we met talked about how they often worked for the CIA. The Doi Mae Salong mountains of the area are noted for their indigenous Akha hilltribes. In the Akha villages, the women work in the fields, while the men stay home, smoke opium, and care for the children.

Day 13-15 We spent these days visiting the local tribes in the Mae Salong area and around Ban Terd. Doi Mae Salong itself is a Chinese Haw village, located along the Thai/Burma border. This beautiful mountain area is home to many ethnic minorities - Lisu, Akha, Musser, and Yao. There is also a wonderful local market. Not to be missed are the local alcohol shops, selling a potent rice whiskey laced with snakes, herbs, and lizards. In addition to opium, the area is famous for its gems, the money often going to finance the Burmese government. The Queen Mother has made great efforts to help the hilltribe people get their goods to market and the government has been encouraging the hilltribes to grow tea, coffee, corn and different fruits. The tea factory in town, selling the Mae Salong teas is one example of the government work.

Day 16 - 18: Chiang Rai – had a respite with some luxury and spa experiences. Went into town a bit and did spend a day at the Queen Mother’s fabulous gardens but this was really just some time to have a bit of self-indulgent luxury.

Day 19: Today we went south to Phayao. Archeologists believe that the history of Phayao goes back to the Bronze Age, not impossible, since the Ban Chiang ruins in the northeast date back to that time also. In 1096, Phayao became the capital of the kingdom of Chiang Saen, and later of Mengrai’s Lanna kingdom. The Burmese invasions forced evacuation of the city, but Lampang residents reoccupied it in the mid-nineteenth century.

The high point of Phayao is its freshwater lake, measuring about 9 miles in circumference and supporting more than 5,000 acres of fish farms. We walked along the lake, took a boat out on it and ate some delicious seafood. We also went to the Phayao Fishery Office which is interesting. Believe it or not, this is the place where the first artificial insemination of the giant catfish took place. In the exhibition room, various Mekong fishes are displayed and the general area has been designated a fresh water animal park. The most important temple in Phayao is Wat Sikhom Kham, containing a 400-year-old Buddha image – Phra Chao Ton Luang. This is a “real” Thai town. No tourists. But the same wonderful people. Walking around we felt like we were really seeing how people live.

Day 20-23:We drove to Nan which was established in 1368 by migrants from the Mekong River region, Nan was part of the old empire of Sukkothai and later of Lanna. From 1558 to 1786, Nan was under Burmese sovereignty before being ruled by hereditary princes. From 1931 onwards, Nan was controlled by Bangkok. Nan is known for being the site of the 1933 film King Kong!

One of the days we were there was Children’s Day so we spent a lot of the time watching the festivities and the games and connecting with children and their families. But we did to the Nan National Museum, which is in the Ho Kham Palace. The palace itself was built in 1903 by Prince Phalida. The museum has ethnographic displays, explanations of the history of Thai art, and a highly valued black elephant tusk. Across the street is Wat Chang Kham Vora Viharn, built in 1547, and containing a pure gold walking Buddha, discovered in 1955 when the plaster covering the image was broken. Architecturally, Wat Phumin, dating from 1603, is one of the finest examples of Northern Thai construction. The cruciform pattern of the central viharn and the four Sukkothai style Buddhas at each of the cardinal points is highly unique. The carved doors of the temple are among the finest in Thailand. On the wall are murals painted by Thai Lue artists that represent the Thai society of 100 years ago. Wat Suan Tan, with its Khymer style spire enshrines a 12-foot bronze image of the Buddha, cast in 1449 by the king of Chiang Mai after his conquest of Nan. Wat Prathat Chae Heng, just outside of town, is a 14th century shrine with a spectacular golden chedi and viharn in the Laotian style. The oldest structure in the region is said to be Wat Prayawat with Sinhalese-style Buddhas and an altar reminiscent of Laos. We are both interested in murals so we went to visit Wat Nongbua outside town in Tha Wang Pha District. Done by the Thai Lue artists, these frescoes, depicting legends from the Candgada Jataka, are in excellent condition and considered to be the finest in the region

: We also took a day trip to visit the Mrabi Hill Tribes. Called Phi Thong Luang by the Thais and nicknamed the “Spirits of the Yellow Leaves” because of the color of the leaves used in building their huts, the Mrabi are nomadic hunters. There are fewer than 200 of them still living.

Day 24: Leaving Nan, we drove to via small roads that cut through the hills to Lampang. ,Lampang’s history goes back to the 7th century and Queen Chamdevi of the Haripunchai Kingdom. With the rise of King Mengrai, the city became part of the Lanna Kingdom before coming under Burmese sway in 1556. When Thailand was finally unified in the 18th century, Lampang was brought back into the fold. The town was a center for teak trading and still today has many lovely old temples and mansions. One of the finest is Baan Sao Nok or the “House of Many Pillars.” Lampang’s main temple, Wat Pra Keo Don Tao, briefly housed the Emerald Buddha and has a distinctly Burmese influence. Although there are many other spectacular temples in Lampang with both Burmese and Lanna influences, about 13 miles outside of town is we felt was one of the most gorgeous temple in all of northern Thailand --the 11th century Wat Prathat Lampang Luang. Once part of the walled city of Princess Chamdevi of Lamphun, the temple has extraordinary artwork and architecture.

Day 25: Today we went to the elephant training camp and then headed to Chiang Mai for 3 days before returning to Bangkok,



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