Mini-report: Bali/KL/S'pore

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Mar 16th, 2005, 04:11 AM
  #1
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Mini-report: Bali/KL/S'pore

Just got back from an excellent trip and pleased to provide a mini-review:

Malaysia Air - Wow! Flew in F thanks to a bunch of DL miles. Service and food were fantastic across the board. Just a shade under SQ's F (from a trip 18 months ago) but in the world's Top 5 probably. Even DL cross country had exceptional service in "f" class. Recommended.

Bali - 6 nights. Stayed in a private villa (balivillas.com) about a half mile north of the Four Seasons in Sayun. It actually overlooked FS and was awesome. In fact, if not for this villa and it's staff of 5, including car and driver (all for low US$200s a night!) the time in Bali would have been a waste as we were extremely disappointed with the commercial-ness of the island. Other than to stay at this villa we would not return nor recommend.

KL - 2 nights. Mandarin Oriental for about $105 a night. Were extremely impressed with this city which is generally otherwise unknown in the US. 2 nights were enough, though, as there's little touring to be done. Transfer from airport to hotel was train to Sentral Station and then private Mercedes to the hotel for $17 a person!

KTM Train - As I'm a railfan, we took the 6.5 hour train to Singapore in F for US$18 each. Smooth, pleasant and on time! On board snacks were limited however.

Singapore - 6 nights at the Fullerton. My 5th time in SIN and wife's first. Did all the usual SIN things: shopping, eating, Bird park, zoo, shopping, eating, Night Safari, shopping, eating, Little India, shopping, eating, tour to Kukup in Malaysia, shopping, and, finally, eating. We ended up eating 4 dinners at Boat Quay because it was superb food, close to the hotel, and wonderful ambiance.
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Mar 16th, 2005, 05:08 AM
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Thanks for the report. Odd that you found Bali "commercial" especially staying in the Ubud area. Did you venture out much?
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Mar 16th, 2005, 07:52 AM
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Thanks for the report! I have a couple of questions: How did you like the train ride from KL to Singapore? Comments on Scenery, etc?

Tell us about the Fullerton. How were the rooms? Somone recently posted that they had been voted some of the best hotel rooms in the world, so do tell us about them. I've seen the public areas of the Fullerton, but not the rooms.
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Mar 16th, 2005, 08:41 AM
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i too find it odd that your main comment about bali is its commercialism....i found just the opposite, except for some of the ubud area and of course kuta....you must not have gotten out into the countryside....your villa sounds lovely...
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Mar 16th, 2005, 11:18 PM
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If I can add my comments, I too find it extremely odd that you found Bali too commercial but loved Singapore and KL, both of which are much much more highly developed, commercial, and non-traditional than anywhere in Bali. Where did you go?

Could it be that you visited too many commercial establishments, many drivers will push you to go shopping or to places where they get something in return, or you visited the most highly touristed temples. To get a feel for Bali you should get out and walk around in the villages, see the cultural performances, attend some ceremonies, and so on. Bali is one of the few places in the world where their culture is so much incorporated into their daily lives and their offerings, ceremonies, and spirutual life is guided by their religion, Balinese Hinduism.

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Mar 17th, 2005, 05:03 AM
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First, the train ride was quite fine. Scenery was average, but I'm a railfan and any ride on rails is a thrill. It took most of a day to do, but the price was right (US$18 compared to about US$100 to fly one way).

The Fullerton was superb. I believe they do have 360 photos of their rooms on their website. Our room was a marina view on the 7th floor and was indeed at the top of the line insofar as ameneties, style and design were concerned. And the king bed was extremely comfy. The only negative is that the room was on the smallish size; the photos on the site make it look a lot bigger than it was.

As to the commercialism, yes, we got out quite a bit (every day, in fact, we toured around somewhere) and did go to the volcano and wandered around the back roads of the northeast part of the island including scratching our way overland to Pasir Putih. Also got to Uluwatu.

But our dismay was that almost everything from a few miles south of the airport to way north of Ubud suffers from creeping urbanism, at least along the roads. Store after store after store with little relief. Probably because we had anticipated the more idyllic island as found in the north and west, not having that in the Kuta-to-Ubud corridor was the disappointment.

[Should note that we were a bit handicapped as my wife severely injured a leg in a fall a month prior so our planned walking (and rafting/horseback riding) activities were scratched and thus we were limited to short walks within shot of a road.]

We were fortunate that we were in Ubud and could get out of the commercial areas easily. Also, with a private driver we were in charge and were able to visit villages and people of our choosing and the few shops that were of interest as we passed, not his set agenda.

Chalk the disappoiontment up to reality vs. expectations.

As to the argument that we found it "odd that you found Bali too commercial but loved Singapore," remember that travel is done with different purposes. When one visits a city, commercialism and hustle/bustle are expected. We love cities as well as rural destinations but when going to one, the other is not expected. In fact, last year, visiting Singapore after 3 weeks in PNG was simply perfect!

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