Thailand or Bali R&R for Aussie Couple

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May 10th, 2005, 10:25 PM
  #1
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Thailand or Bali R&R for Aussie Couple

G'day, and thanks in advance for your input. We are looking for oceanside accommodation in either Hua Hin and/or Koh Samui or in Bali (Legian/Seminyak or Jimbaran Bay). We loved Thailand when visiting Kata Beach Resort last year (1st SEA visit) b/c we were privy to 4/5* amenities with a gracious atmosphere--we enjoyed being in the midst of our cultural experience, but a bit removed from the really active sites. We'd like a restful but adventuresome holiday--enjoy swimming, sailing, spa, elephant trekking, good eats, cooking. Hubby is a beach bum, but this does not mean we wish to sunbake our days away We would like to stay perhaps in a less-travelled area or an unusual, boutique style place. The Pansea Jimbaran Bay sounds ideal, but perhaps on the higher end of our budget. Anyone out there know which travelsites are reliable for Thailand or Bali discounted travel? Has anyone stayed at the Tanjung Sanctuary near Lankawi in Malaysia or at the Mountain Sanctuary in Bali? Any activities we abolutely should NOT miss in any of these regions? Thanks and sorry for longwinded request--just the result of studying too many brochures! all the best to you fellow adventurers!
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May 10th, 2005, 10:48 PM
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What is your rough budget, as you know you can getting anything from cheap to, well, whatever. Also time of year dictates best places, so tell us rough budget and also time of year and whether rain bothers, I am 'guessing' you are thinking July-Sep when it's winter back home!!
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May 10th, 2005, 10:50 PM
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When you were in Kata did you stay at 'the' Kata Beach Resort or another hotel/resort? If you can tell us which resort/hotel you stayed at and what you thought was good or bad about it will help greatly to give you good ideas, if you stayed at Kata beach resort itself I guess you like 'absolute' beachfront.
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May 10th, 2005, 11:28 PM
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Hi JamesA,
Thanks for your reply. We do like absolute beach frontage, but are also interested in staying in rainforest or mountains for a short time (I like trees and mountains, husband the beach and sun). We are hoping to keep costs to @$3500-4000AU for a holiday of 14-17 days including air--have found some places at lastminute that fit the profile, but want "real" input. We enjoyed the Kata Beach Resort in that it was in a little village (we don't wish to be isolated from the Thai or Balinese--but neither would we turn down a chance to stay at a really unique and remote place for a short portion of our holiday and we could walk out of the resort to visit folks or get cheaper and sometimes better (less Westernised) food! it was a lovely hotel--the staff very gracious, fantastic pool, and clean swimmable uncrowded beach. Kata Beach is close enough if one likes to visit the more action-packed Patong--but that's really not our style. In short, we like our creature comforts, but when visiting other countries, we like to experience the culture as well as relax on a lovely beach. We liked that there was surf (June 2004) at Kata Beach, and rain does not bother us (unless it is relentless). Does that make things more clear? Again, thanks.
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May 11th, 2005, 01:46 AM
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If you have that time you can mix and match some jungle/mountain with beach time, had you considored including , if you decide on Thailand, the River Kwai? Not just for the obvious like seeing all the historic placesbut it is a scenic area with river and river rafts, hot springs etc, it's just a couple of hours by road from Bangkok.
Another option is the far north of Thailand, Belle Villa and Fern resort and around the Mae Hong Son/Pai areas are very scenic.
Koh Samui is very touristy and similar in many way to Phuket except that it has far far more 'absolute' beachfront places.

I live in Thailand any my budget for a family is around AUD 40-60 a night and trust me, it ain't luxury but I'm not slumming it either!!

I'm glad you liked the Kata Beach resort as I often suggest it ( as you would have seen, not that many reasonable price places 'have' absolute' beachfront in Phuket ).

The problem about trying to decide Bali 'or' Thailand is a shame as Bali has so much to offer but at the same time Thailand we are talking a whole country as opposed to an Island so it is very different.

You get B 30 to AUD 1 at the moment, to put that in perspective AUD 100 a night including breakfast/tax/service puts you in a nice price range for choice. That for example would get you very decent accommodation.

Whilst other people can trhow in some ideas check what Singapore Airlines are offering at the moment with their Silk Air add-ons, ask them ( I don't know which city you are flying from but let's say it's SYD ), ask them about a fare SYD-SIN-Chiang Mai and then returning Bangkok-SIN-SYD, they actually do these fares that allow you to fly into one place in Thailand and return from another, check with them and ask the agents too, you could then head straight to Northern Thailand and do the scenic mountains side and then Hubby can do his beach thing and then fly back out from Bangkok. Also check malaysia too as they can also fly you via KL direct to Chiang Mai and back from Bangkok.
You can then use the domestic budget carriers ( budget AUD 35-50 per domestic sector one way inc taxes etc ).
You mentioned Hua hin, although beaches not a touch on Samui if you decided River kwai was worth a couple of days it is only 3 hrs by road from River Kwai to Hua Hin, you can get nice place there boutique beach style for AUD 80 though you can down budget to boutique guesthouse around AUD 40.

Koh Samui Summer has dry weather but very busy, lots of Euro tourists, Phuket/Krabi reainy season but some absolute bargains around Kata/Karon. Hua hin would be good weather all summer and not excesive heat.

Take a look at www.beachsiam.com and take a look at Mae Hong Son in Northern Thailand, also take a look at the Jirong resort just outside Chiang Mai, also River Kwai, Hua Hin. Strangly they 'also' have Bali Hotels and resorts pretty cheap too.

Check back tomorrow because when our friends from the other side of the world wake up you will get lots more ideas and opinions. This time of day it's quiet!
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May 11th, 2005, 01:52 AM
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I was guessing that for Thailand Singapore Airlines and Malaysian would be your best bets if you are almost anywhere (BNE/SYD/MEL/ADL/PER) but if you are in PER then you also have Valuair flights into Singapore which are dirt cheap. Bali flights off course different as that would be Garuda probably.
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May 11th, 2005, 05:32 PM
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Thanks, JamesA, for your help--you are the best Will show your suggestions to hubby. You are right--lots of people sleeping whilst we write--I think I'll repost our query to get some more input -will be in touch.
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May 11th, 2005, 06:27 PM
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Some other regulars here such as Bob have been to both Hua Hin and Koh Samui, and they are off to Koh Chang and Phuket this trip so more input will be forthcoming.
Can I just add that the prime differences between Koh Samui and Hua Hin is the beach. There is nothing wrong with the Hua hin beaches they just aren't as 'glorious' as the Samui or Phuket ones, not so tropical, but another angle is that the main Hua Hin beach stretches perhaps 3-4km plus more beaches carry on from there. As is more north in the Gulf the water isn't like crystal clear, sand color is more what you'd find north of Cairns along that area. Now, as far as 'more Thai', the majority (probably 90%+) of visitors to Hua Hin are Thai. His Majesty the King resides there, it is very sedate, far more 'Noosa' than Surfers if you get my drift. It probably/arugably has far more temples and temple areas than any other 'beach area', and it has night markets that are not there just to sell souvenirs to tourists, they are the real local markets where prices are 'local' prices and bargains. The tuk tuks still charge tourists just the same as anyone else, the samlor rickshaws are a delight. Although sufficient friendly bars you won't find Patong/Chaweng style nightlife, it is more seafood and Thai restaurants ( some 'very Noosa' ), stylish places such as Fisherman's Wharf and the Oyster Pot, you can choose local seafood over the water or some trendy places, Monsoon has been designed by people from Hong Kong modeled 1920's style , great for drinks and eats. people stroll around the restaurant areas, shopping, old Thai houses where the original occupants refuse to sell out , antique shops etc, that kinf of drift. Lots of 1920's era old buildings. Top hotels/resorts include Hyatt Regency, Sofitel Grand ( Raffles style ), Hilton Resort, Dusit, Regent, Anantara etc, lots of quality places and lots of boutique style. Go to a bar and a beer is B 40, not B 80(!!), there are sufficient foreign tourist to allow for things like Elephant treks and rides to be available. There are 2 working fishing areas, at Khao Takiab Bay people take early morning jog, beach cycling, some even do sea/wave horse riding, lots of Golf courses, fishing boat trips, horse and carriage rides. Pala-u waterfall is nearby and just 20 minutes from town the Sam Roi Yot National Park, limestone mountains, deserted beaches with Casurina trees, caves and temples, pineapple plantations and farms. As said, 3 hrs by road to River Kwai, day trip with guide about AUD 60 each, also overnight trips. Snorkeling day trips costs about AUD 60, snorkeling is about 2.5 hrs south of Hua Hin proper. Koh Samui is much more Kata/Karon and Chaeng is a smaller Patong, so hope that gives the idea of difference. Sofitel Grand classic 1920, roughtly AUD 130 a night.
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May 11th, 2005, 07:02 PM
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since i have been mentioned, it will add the following....we enjoyed both our stays at hua hin and at ko samui....they are totally different...the only thing that they have in common is the ocean and sand...

samui has a real island and future paradise feeling....it is not over developed as of yet but that is not far off....i fear that this is what i will find in phuket next month...samui offers you accomodation at every level and restaurants at every level as well...we stayed at peace resort on james' suggestion and i could not have picked a more perfect place for us had i done it myself...the beach there or should i say the water part of the beach was the only disappointment...we never went in more than knee high...
we had very good good and we could see that in certain areas there is nite life but we are toooooo old....the peace restaurant was delicious and very reasonable....we rented a car for a few days and explored the island and decided if we return we would go right back to peace resort....the new anantara was not finished so we might consider that as we like that management company..

hua hin on the other hand was a lovely albeit old sea side town....it has tons of good hotels and budget places as well...the beach was very nice in front of the marriott where we stayed...the marriott was also nice and i would consider the hyatt as well but the location is more issolated...the water here was nicer and the beach was very nice....we also rented a car there for a couple of days....after a week we were ready to move on....
at both places we used the pools extensively...

both have limited shopping...nothing in comparison to bkk or CM....the hua hin restaurants outsise of the hotels were adequate but we found nothing as good as at samui, except for la noria above the hyatt which is excellent and a great beach and town view....

we are looking forward to both phuket and koh chang next month and i will be reporting on both as well as 2 days in pattaya, to see if they have released james from jail yet...
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May 11th, 2005, 10:35 PM
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Many thanks to both JamesA and rmkkmk for your interest. Still debating where to go (Thailand or Bali). Both your postings give us much to ponder. Hua Hin sounds more like the pace we're aiming for this trip--can you tell us more about the Anantara? What about the elephant polo? is that put on for us farung? Also, is the beach swimmable in HH? Sailing possible? I've seen a really nice place on the web called the Aleenta--anyone know it (in ?Pranchiburi??) a little south of HH? We don't wish to be too far removed from everything though.
As for Koh Samui, are eastern shores more swimmable, as opposed to the north where the Peace Resort is? It does look like a lovely place otherwise. I rejoice when seeing husband finally relax and leap in the waves like a porpoise although he'd be mortified I just typed this!
RMKKMK, what's this about being too old--it's all in how you feel in your heart, friends.
where to learn to speak Thai better--are tapes a good option since the language is so very tonal/musical? How else can we show our respect for the Thai whilst visiting their country?
Last question--what is this about James being in jail? serious or joke??
thanks--My name is Susie
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May 12th, 2005, 06:12 AM
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susie...i like to tease james...see if he is reading carefully---joke...no one would ever put an ozzie in jail...they are all criminals you know...hahaha
hua hin is laid back...you can swim there except at low tide when the water is one foot deep and you have to walk 1/4 mile out for any depth...the first day we were there the water was full of jelly fish...they were totally gone the next day....

we looked at the anantara when we were there...it is quite far north of the town...next to the king's place infact...good company...we did not think it was for us for several reasons...kathie from this borad liked it a lot during her visit...

i think you would be happy with either...they are different...HH is easier to get to at less expense: taxi, limo, bus or train....you almost have to fly to samui, although land and sea trip is possible...
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May 12th, 2005, 04:11 PM
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Bob- hahaha-and aren't they proud of it--I can say that as I am a Yank married to a mad Aussie! Well, guess what, we're going to Bali, I THINK. After all your help with Thailand, too! I'll check in with y'all next year...or later this week if we change our minds. all the best to you and JamesA, susie
ps I think I'll post a new query for input about Bali--glad for your input either way
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May 12th, 2005, 04:18 PM
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Don't worry I will get my own back on Bob! There is torrential Monsoon rain in Phuket at the moment, that will teach him!!
Susie, the Aleenta is an award winning boutique place that has rave reviews but again it is well out of town and although very nice indeed you loose out on access to shopping and restaurants. If you can say which State you live in hopefully I can throw in some comparissons to place locally, as Bob says you need to add in something like AUD 400-500 return for both of you Bangkok to Samui, Samui was mentioned locally as being very much busiier than ever before. The AUD/Thai Baht exchange remains fairly constant.
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May 12th, 2005, 04:43 PM
  #14
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Where are you from in Oz, JamesA? Have you been to Bali yourself??--as in my previous message, we are now leaning in that direction. I went ahead and posted a new query to that effect Thanks for all your interest. We are from Melbourne, hubby true-blue, I am a Yank who had to travel 10000miles to meet her prince charming.
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May 12th, 2005, 05:14 PM
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I suggest you visit Ubud in Bali and stay at one of the Balinese villa properties.
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