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Thailand or Bali...paralysis by analysis

Thailand or Bali...paralysis by analysis

Old Jan 20th, 2006, 09:54 AM
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i ahve already suggested the peace resort to you which i think would be perfect and cheaper than you suggest...

the anantara might be another place and so is the pansea....

poppies is liked by many but i do not like the town it is in...

rennaissance (marriott) has just taken over what looks like a lovely property there...check it out for intro rates..

there are a couple of places to take the kids for the day on samui...often they will pick you up at your hotel or you can rent a car quite cheaply there..
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Old Jan 20th, 2006, 09:55 AM
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try my hotel website for hotels:

www.huahin.20m.com

drop down to samui hotels
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Old Jan 20th, 2006, 03:55 PM
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A very luxe place on Koh Samui that many like (I haven't been there) is the Sala Samui. Take a look at one of teh hotel booking websites and see what catched you eye. Then come back and ask for comments.
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Old Jan 20th, 2006, 03:55 PM
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A very luxe place on Koh Samui that many like (I haven't been there) is the Sala Samui. Take a look at one of teh hotel booking websites and see what catches you eye. Then come back and ask for comments.
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Old Jan 21st, 2006, 04:26 AM
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Since it sounds like you are looking for more of a cultural experience as well, I'm not sure that Samui will be what you are looking for. Don't get me wrong, we love the beach and stayed at the Pimalai at the of a three week trip to Thailand and loved it. We thought the beach, the spa and everything about it was beautiful, but I don't think any of the beach areas in Thailand provide much of an Asian cultural experience. I have not been to Bali, but from what other posters on this forum have said I think it offers a better combination of beach and cultural experience. I don't know what the weather will be like there in April. Also, as Bob said, I think you will find the main area on Samui (Chaweng) quite tacky and sleazy, and the beaches in other areas on Samui will probably be disappointing to you.
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Old Jan 21st, 2006, 07:00 AM
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I've been lurking on this thread for a while and now its time to chime in. Having been to both Bali and Koh Samui, I would choose Bali hands down. My recommendation is that you stay in 2 different places - one on the beach and one inland in the rice fields near Ubud. You should hire a driver - we and others used Putu ([email protected]) - he has a good sized suv and can take you and your family to all sorts of places and provide you with adventure and interesting cultural experiences.

If you absolutely must ride elephants, there is an elephant camp in Bali - the elephants are not native to Bali but were brought there. I am sure Putu knows where it is. Although Bali is not known for its beaches, some are not bad. The same goes for Koh Samui where I think you will be bored.

There is as much diversity of lodging and restaurants on Bali as there is anywhere. Many places have spas. The Balinese love children. The only downside to Bali is the terrorism issue which is worth thinking about - personally I think you will feel safe on Bali. You can easily do a villa or hotel on Bali within your budget.

The reason I did not respond initially is that we don't have kids and I felt that other posters could better answer your questions. Best of luck whatever you decide.
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Old Jan 21st, 2006, 07:39 AM
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There certainly 'are' Thai beaches where you are close or in what many would term natural Thailand, villages and farmlands, amazing scenery, jungles and forests, rivers and waterfalls, temples and local festivals, and beaches, it's all there but these places are not the busy tourist islands, we go to many such areas all the time and in past reports I have told of elephants wandering past me whilst having breakfast, yes, you can find the natural beauty of Thailand 'and' have a beach and nice accommodation, but these although frequented by a fair number of overseas visitors ( enough to tempt the building of some excellent beach resorts and other accommodations ) they thankfully remain off the hyed list of places.
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Old Jan 21st, 2006, 07:42 AM
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for culture there is no question but that bali has far more....samui has practically no "cuture" as such...it is a fun sea side type place with thai overtones and some family activites other than swimming....

so i guess it all depends on what you are looking for....one PA family form fodors went to bali two years ago and wrote a glowing report of their experiences...their kids loved the place.....they had a car and driver several days which got them around the island quite a bit..
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Old Jan 21st, 2006, 03:31 PM
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Just to echo the others who posted recently...I also think Bali may be a more rewarding travel experience for everyone. We've been to Thailand 4 times as a family, and Bali once last year as a family, and one other time 11 years ago as a couple. Although we've been to Thailand more times, it's not because we prefer Thailand over Bali...it's the opposite in fact.

In our experience, Thailand screams "tourist trap" much more than Bali. Of course, Bali has it's touristy areas and all that go along with them, but as an overall destination, I prefer Bali hands down.

In Bali, we had the opportunity to do things that really opened doors into the culture and vibe of the island. We did batik, wood carving, gamelon lessons, dancing, cooking..not watched, but did it, got right in there, hands on and did stuff. We played the gamelon with a women's gamelon group in their studio in a temple complex, and were taught by one of the sons who is attending music school in Denpassar. We did batik right in our hotel, all the supplies brought to us, under the patient guidance of a batik artist. Dancing was taught to my daughter and her friends by one of the girls we saw performing the previous night. We had a tour of the small village of Keliki, and were welcomed into our "guide's" home - he is staff at the place we stay - and enjoyed meeting his family and sampling the different fruits that grow in his yard. We met 2 painters in person, and my daughter was able to join the painting class (with the Balinese children) while we were doing a cooking class. And much, much more. In that one trip to Bali last year, we had more opportunities to really get to know people than we have even had in 4 trips to Thailand.

I do know, though, that our experience in Bali is not the typical one. Many people just go and eat and shop, which would be really boring to me. I really researched our trip, and made some excellent contacts beforehand and basically got lucky. The hotel we stayed at near Ubud, Alam Sari, may just not be luxurious enough for you, but you could still contact them to arrange some experiences for your family. Their website is www.alamsari.com and the pictures you see of the courses and kids activities are of our family and some other people who were there at the same time as us and joined our activities with us, though you won't see me, as I was the one with the camere

Having been to Koh Samui 3 times, I can say it is a nice place to relax. There isn't really much to do there other than relax, though, and while when we went that was our goal, if your wife is afraid Bali might be boring, then I'm afraid she might not find enough to do in Samui.

Elephants...the Taro elephant park near Ubud in Bali is the good one. They use Sumatran elephants and are pretty good about their treatment of the elephants. There are two other elephant parks in Bali that you might be better to avoid as they aren't so nice to the animals. In Koh Samui, there are several places to ride elephants as well, none of which are particularly better than the others.

If you are really interested in an elephant experience, you might look at www.changthai.com for a 3 day mahout training program. We just did this program in December, and it was the highlight of our 17 days in Thailand this year. However, it has also pretty much ruined me for elephant rides anywhere else, as I now know how to judge the health and happiness of an elephant.

Concrete suggestions...
Koh Samui - Sala Samui might suit you, or Tongsai Bay. A good place to get a good start at exploring what is available there is www.sawadee.com then choose samui then accommodations and you'll get a long list. You can see picture and reviews and get a general feel of what there is on offer there.

Bali - My favorite is Alam Sari, but I'm worried it might not be luxe enough for you, though their villa on the property is absolutely stunning and unique, gorgeously decorated and certainly large enough to accommodate your family. Marmot suggested the Alila, which is nice, too. I really like Kayumanis, but wonder if they might not be so suitable for children. The Uma is well liked by others here, but felt sterile and unfriendly to us when we visited friends staying there. In the southern beach area, The Legian in Seminyak (not the villas which are across the street from the beach, but the main hotel) is stunning. The Oberoi might be worth considering as well.

Also, in Bali, you might consider a villa. There are so many I can't even begin to list them, but a google of bali villas will yield endless results. With what you said about your tastes, I would steer clear of Kuta, Tuban and Legian.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2006, 01:20 AM
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WOW!!!!

Thanks for all of the wonderful posts and suggestions. The insight and information on Bali is certainly making my wife and I think twice about our decision to visit Thailand.

I guess after several days I'm back to square one albeit much more informed.

Thanks for all your help.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2006, 05:39 AM
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My last two cents -- on Thailand, I think most of us are saying that if you go to Thailand you should consider other areas, not just a beach resort.
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Old Feb 28th, 2006, 12:44 AM
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I've being to Phuket and Koh Samui but Bali certainly have my vote.

The place is almost mystical. It's the people and their culture that fascinates me most. Balinese has no vocabulary for "heaven" because they believe they are already in one. Beat that.

Every village or zone is managed by the "banjar" committee made up of men representing their families. These "banjar" do community services to keep their vicinity safe and clean.
It is sometimes call the "banjar suka duka" meaning sharing of joys and sorrows.

Watching women all dressed up in their finery and making a beeline to the local "banjar" temples every morning is enough to leave a lasting impression. They leave small boxes of minced fragrant screwpine and frangipani flowers on every nook and corners of the streets to pay respect to their gods. The place smells lovely in the morning. I always make it a point to wake up early and walk around residential neighbourhood to soak in the morning hustle of people hurrying to the temples.

Even Balinese names are special. If a guy's name starts with Kadek, then you'd know he's the youngest son in the family. If a girl's name starts with "Gusti", then she from "weisya" (merchant) linage. Bali is the last stronghold of Dhamar Hinduism amid Indonesian large Moslem population. Balinese are said to be the leftovers of Majaphahit's Hindu kingdom that ruled most of South East Asia in 10th century. And they still practise the caste system like in India. They have great respect for Mother Nature. Don't be surprised to see local cars and bikes honk when they pass a banyan tree. It's for showing respect.

You should also try their arabica coffee. Ask for "toraja' single origin.

Lastly, I believe Bali has so much more that great beaches. Temples like Ulun Danu and Tanah Lot is definately out of this world. Kintamani highlands are awesome. While roaming around the countryside I could still see school children walking freely back home - a good sign that speaks volume on general security.

It's a shame terrorist chose to target the island again recently. It's a good idea to stay away from Kuta i agree. I was in Kuta Square two weeks before the recent bomb blast; having lunch opposite the bomb blast site. But then again, travellers won't be travellers if we worry too much about where the next bomb will be. I have came across many perils in travelling that made me believe - when you go, you go. Until then, let's have fun.
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