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Needing some trip advice - 3 weeks Singapore and ????

Needing some trip advice - 3 weeks Singapore and ????

Old Jun 5th, 2009, 08:01 AM
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Needing some trip advice - 3 weeks Singapore and ????

We (DH, myself and DD almost 7) are planning a trip to Singapore. Originally I thought we'd just do Singapore and Club Med Bintan. Then I started reading about folks doing Singapore and Borneo. Then I saw mention of Singapore and Bali. Now I'm confused.

I think we want to spend roughly a week (say 6 days in Singapore) so we have about 2 weeks to play with. We travel in the upper moderate and lower luxury level (so would not look for locations with bunk beds and cold communal showers or $800/nt places). I love wildlife and amateur photography. Seeing the orangatans has been something I've wanted to do. We all love the beach!!! We really enjoy snorkeling and some of the spots around Indonesia/Malaysia look great but it seems hard to find info on the web about specific lodges/resorts and programs. Ithink Indonesia or Malaysia would probably fir the bill better than Bali but open to Bali suggestions (would have to include Ubud if went there). I don't want to spend a king's ransom (say over $800pp)in just travel costs from SIngapore to our other destinatons.

So what do you all suggest???? I'm eager to hear about your thoughts and experiences.
Thanks.
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Old Jun 5th, 2009, 08:07 AM
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Malaysian Borneo (Sabah and Sarawak) would be a possibility. If you opt for it, go to thee Borneo Rainforest Lodge... and unforgettable experience. If you haven't read my Borneo trip report, just click on my name and you find a list of my trip reports.

Bali is a lovely place, and of course, you'd have to spend some time in Ubud. It's not a place for wildlife, but is a place to experience a unique culture. The beaches on Bali are ok, but not spectacular. From you post, I'm not sure where else in Indonesia (besides Bali) you are considering. (Yes, Bintan is in Indonesia, but you can do better... much better)
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Old Jun 5th, 2009, 07:20 PM
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I second Kathie's suggestion (on your other thread). If you ask the moderators to combine your three related threads you'll get more focused responses.

I like Singapore, but think that 6 days is too long. 3 should be about right.

I would spend the rest of the time somewhere else -- and definitely not Bintan. I would choose Indonesia over western (peninsular) Malaysia. Borneo is unique. I went to Sarawak with my son when he was about your daughter's age and it was spectacular for nature and culture.

Kids really like Bali as well and it's small enough so that you can experience different natural settings -- from tropical forest to beach. The arts and cultural aspects are second to none: a photographer's paradise. Bali is about three hours by plane from Singapore. Ticket prices are all over the place as are accomodations. Bali is a good value right now.

Another idea for Indonesia would be North Sulawesi. You can fly non-stop from Singapore to Manado on Silkair. Worldclass SCUBA and snorkling and several good national parks. No orangutans, but plenty of proboscis monkey, hornbills and other photogenic types. Take a look at Kungkungan Bay Resort.
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Old Jun 5th, 2009, 08:00 PM
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air asia has excellent fares to and from bali and i would suggest that you would like it there...

bali hyatt is a nice place for a 7 year old with lots to do and the town of sanur where it is located is good....the rooms are a bit old but the price is right...the beach at sanur is excellent too

tandjung sari is another opportunity...

in ubud the alam shanti is excellent and some of the rooms have an extra bed in them (yanna and gangga rooms for sure)...
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Old Jun 7th, 2009, 08:26 PM
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Could you tell us what time of year your trip is. That would change some of my reccos.

If you like beaches, then please avoid Club Med Bintan. Bintan Island is a small island which is just a few miles off of Singapore and is located smack in the middle of the Singapore Strait, which is THE busiest shipping lane in the world. The water clarity and beaches are, frankly, rather average. There are many more beautiful beaches in Malaysia and elsewhere in Asia. Bintan is used as a weekend golf getaway place for Singaporeans, it’s not really a beach destination. To go all the way to SE Asia and then only see the beach at Bintan is really a waste, IMO.

If your trip is from now through about the last week in October, I would suggest you consider the east coast of Malaysia. You can fly, hire a car, take a taxi or a public bus to many areas, depending on budget. Malaysia is one of the few places in Asia where renting a car and driving on your own is a viable option. (Consider doing this over the bridge in Johor Bahru Malaysia rather than in Sing pare as this should be cheaper). Places to consider would be the Redang Island/Perhentian Island area in the north and/or the coast area around Kuala Terengganu, the gorgeous Rawa Island, the interesting Pulau Besar and Pulau Tinggi. Some hotels are listed below which might help start a search. I would avoid Tioman Island as I don’t find the beaches to be that good and its quite developed. I would also avoid Kuantan as again the beaches are not as good IMO as you will find elsewhere. However, even just within about an hour’s drive of Singapore are the beaches of Desaru which are better, IMO, than Bintan. The northern part of Malaysia has Taman Negara national park which is very interesting; however to the best of my knowledge, you cannot find organ utan there. There are rainy months along the east coast, generally from mid-Coober through end of April, when you would want to avoid these areas (Bintan would be the same really if you want to do water sports and snorkel. December and esp. Jan and Feb are quite rainy).

If you really want to see orang utan, then you will most likely need to go to Borneo, which would be a separate trip and you have to fly. They have a rainy season in the fall months (same as the east coast beaches in Malaysia). I have not made a trip there in some years, but others have done so and have posted reports. I am not sure about the airfare costs from Singapore, you probably should be able to do it within the range you mention.

As an alternative, Bali is a wonderful place and would certainly be interesting. I would not call is a wildlife place, but it offers so much culturally and in terms of photographic possibilities that you may not miss the wildlife. You could rent a villa in Bali for a good price, rather than paying for a hotel, which may offset the airfare costs. See things http://www.vrbo.com/ . I have rented several times in Seminyak and thought it was very nice. See http://www.laksmanavillas.com/villajemma/index.html. Although I don’t know it, I have always thought that this place looks interesting, http://www.villajepun.com/. You could also rent a house with a pool inland in the hill area of Ubud and enjoy some really beautiful rice paddy views, but no beach access of course. Bali has a rainy season, generally late November through March, but as there is so much to do and see there beyond beaches, IMO, this is not as much of an issue, although you obviously don’t really want to snorkel in the rainy season if you have a choice. I also will say that while pretty, the beaches of Bali are not the point, it is the inland areas and the culture you are going for. If you just want spectacular beaches, Bali is not the place to go. (Actually the Maldives would be the place to go for that, but the east coast of Malaysia is not bad and is closer.)

Don’t forget about the Singapore zoo which has orang utans as well. The Jurong Bird Park is rather interesting, IMO. If you like photography, then go to Little India and the Arab Street area as well as the Chinatown area and you will get in some great people-watching and photographs. Temples, mosques and street markets are to be found in all three. Singapore also has some quite decent beaches for day trips at East Coast Park and Pasir Ris, and Pulau Ubun is a fun day trip as well for biking and walks. I would not go to Singapore for its beaches (including Bintan), but you can certainly have a nice afternoon or day trip to one of them and can go sailing, waterskiing, wakeboarding, jet ski, etc as well if you want.

I love Singapore and lived there happily for 5 years, but would say that perhaps 6 days is a bit more than you need. 4-5 may be enough. If you did not want to undertake any outdoor activities like the beaches on the East Coast or Pulau Ubin, you could probably even get away with 3 days; however there is lots of things to do and see, including some great museums, interesting old town areas and excellent food which all would lend itself to 4-5 days as well. This would give you a longer time in other more remote/rural or beach areas.

East Coast Malaysia hotel suggestions:
http://www.rawasfr.com/
http://www.tanjongjararesort.com
http://www.berjayaresorts.com.my/redang-beach.
Hillside Chalet Resorts Pulau Besar (no website try Lonely Planet or see http://www.johortourism.com/index.ph...s/pulau-besar/ for info on the island generally, )
For info generally on the Perhentian area see http://www.perhentian.com.my/
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Old Jun 8th, 2009, 06:48 AM
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We are planning to travel in mid March if that helps for suggestions. I've gathered from several that we should just forget Bintan. What initially appealed about the Club Med is lots of watersports and a kids club for my daughter who will be just over 6.5.

I know lots of folks think 6 days in Singapore is too much but we will spend at least 1.5 days doing things on Sentosa - just plain fun stuff and really don't want to have to move at a whirlwind pace. Plus our first full day in Singapore will be very light on sightseeing since I know we'll be tired.

I think in looking at some more websites that Sabah seems to offer most of what we are looking for. I will check out the beaches of the East Coast too. Just looking for a poshy resort with great snorkeling and a nice beach for some R&R.

Thanks for all the info and links to Bali. I will save them in my travel folder but for this trip I'm not sure that Bali is what we want. We will plan on going there when our DD is older. Thanks.
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Old Jun 8th, 2009, 07:24 AM
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Cicerone - thanks for the east coast links...those places look really nice and what I was looking for.
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Old Jun 8th, 2009, 07:28 AM
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AK, I could certainly find six days worth of stuff to do in Singapore (and that's without any time at Sentosa).

I do think Sabah would be a great place for you. You can fly from Singapore to Kota Kinabalu. There is a Shangri-La resort just outside KK that gets great reviews (and one farther away from KK that get good reviews). If you are up for it, the Borneo Rainforest Lodge would be an unforgettable experience for all of you!
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Old Jun 8th, 2009, 04:33 PM
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It's been sometime since I've been there but I liked Sarawak -- for beaches and culture -- better than Sabah. We stayed at the Holiday Inn at Damai Beach. Again, it's been a while so I'd look for updated information but as I remember the beach was a lot nicer than the one at the Shangri-la in KK.

The Niah caves in Miri are worth a sidetrip. It's one of those places that I always wanted to get back to. Well maintained and accessible. My son was 6 at the time and loved the experience. Lots of wildlife along the way.
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Old Jun 9th, 2009, 10:30 AM
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Hi AKgirl,
Singapore is the most divine place on earth. I have been there many times - my favourite being Christmas for the coolest month and the most sensational! Nobody, I really mean nobody, does Xmas like they do in Singapore - It's huge!

I was so pleased to see you set aside at least 6 days for Singapore. You really need much more but don't cut it down - you will be so sorry.
We always spend at least 4 days at the Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza in Scotts Road (for the best hotel deal) then move to the Shangrila-Rasa Sentosa for about 4 days. There is so much to do on Sentosa and if you want a trip into town the hotel provides free transport.

The Zoo, The Night Safari Zoo, The orchid Gardens, The Ski slope, Mount Tabor, The Jurong Bird Park, Leong San Temple, Little India, All the fantastic attractions on Sentosa will keep you busy from morning till night - and what a night!

We have taken the side trip to Batam, Indonesia. Can't say it was worth it though. Also done Bukit Timah Nature reserve which was hot and sticky and a waste of time. We liked Kranji War Memorial though.
Took a day trip to Pulau Ubin - Quite a mission to get there and really nothing but duck & prawn farms. Very backward if you like that sort of thing.

It's an amazing place, Singapore - I've never met anyone who didn't like it!
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Old Jun 9th, 2009, 04:56 PM
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I agree that 6 days in Singapore is a great plan - we spent that much time there and didn't see everything we would have liked.
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Old Jun 13th, 2009, 07:06 AM
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Thanks for all the suggestions. And tod the way you do things is what I was thinking to do...split our time between city and Sentosa. We may end up with a bit more than 6 nights in Singapore. Maybe 7 or 8 depending on flights and where else we decide to go. I will check out the Holiday Inn - what's the best wya to get a great rate?
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