travel to Malaysia or Indonesia

Old Jan 30th, 2017, 08:08 AM
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travel to Malaysia or Indonesia

We will be in Singapore on business the second week of May and want to spend a week/8 days somewhere we haven't been to in the area. We have never traveled to Malaysia or Indonesia (been to Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia) We are looking for a combination of culture and nature, if possible, without having to do a whole lot of traveling - i.e. spending many hours getting from place to place. Is it possible to fly from place to place?

Also, in the middle of May, where in Malaysia is the weather not very rainy?
I was thinking of Penang (George town), KL, and if not too crazy to add Cameroon highlands. Or should I try someplace on the east coast? Or is Indonesia a better bet? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Old Jan 30th, 2017, 09:17 AM
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West coast Malaysia - Penang will see the beginning of tithe monsoon in May but should still be ok. Penang is great for food and culture but not so much for nature.

East coast Malaysia will have the better weather. In therms of culture, it is way more Islamic than the east coast or Borneo. Taman Negara NP is the obvious choice for nature and is pretty accessible (I am looking at taking the jungle railway there and onto the Thai border later in the year.

I would take a look at Malaysian Borneo - Sabah and Sarawak which has it all and great weather in May. Some photos and detail of our time in Malaysia @ https://accidentalnomads.com/category/malaysia/

As far as Indonesia is concerned, Bali may suit but I do find it very crowded. It is however quite compact so would meet your requirements for not moving around too much.
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Old Jan 30th, 2017, 06:43 PM
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I spent about 2 weeks in Java and 9 nights on Bali last May into June. You might find some useful information in my trip report:
http://www.fodors.com/community/asia...a-and-bali.cfm
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Old Jan 30th, 2017, 06:55 PM
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May is a good month weather-wise for travel in most of Indonesia and it's before the tourist crunch in July/August.

You can certainly find a combination of nature and culture in many of the Indonesian islands. Bali offers a high level of both, within a developed infrastucture and compact land area. You could easily spend a few days in the Ubud area which is the epicenter of arts and crafts, performing arts and religious ceremony and pageantry. Maybe add on a few days at the beach if you like.

Bali is just a short flight from Java with it's ancient temples, court culture and lush volcanic landscape would also be of interest.

If you're looking for less development and more adventure, there are quite a few other areas that you could consider, e.g., Tanah Toraja in Central Sulawesi or the islands of Nusa Tenggara. Raja Ampat is sublime.

I would note that the Ubud Food Festival will take place in Bali from May 12-14. It's a great event if you like that sort of thing. If you don't, then avoid Ubud on those days.
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Old Jan 31st, 2017, 07:53 AM
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Thank you crellston for your input - loved your photos and commentary. Great ideas to consider.

kja - your trip report is really amazing and detailed. I'm curious about the guides/drivers you used - did you hire them directly from the hotel after you arrived or did you do it ahead of time. Sounds like you had fantastic drivers/guides. If you had only 8 days - how would you divide your time between Java and Ubud? To add snorkeling into the mix - would that include too much time for travel back and forth? I'm not into spending my precious few days at a beach but if it's easy enough to get some snorkeling in -that would be great too.

marmot - thanks for the info on the food festival - yes, that would interest me and it fits with the days we'll be traveling. Does it get really crowded during that time? Flights between Java and Bali should save us a lot of travel time.

Did anyone use local travel agents to arrange local flights/hotels etc? If not, how easy is it to arrange for all that? I am thinking that Indonesia will be where I will go after Singapore - so any help with itinerary would be great.

Again, thank you for all your suggestions.
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Old Jan 31st, 2017, 08:25 AM
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marmot, I read a comment you wrote on another report that there is biking in the countryside. Do you have a biking guide you would recommend? Also, how safe is it to bike - traffic, road conditions? I have biked in the countryside in India and although there was very little traffic, some of the roads were so chopped up it was difficult to bike.
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Old Jan 31st, 2017, 02:28 PM
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I'm glad you found some value in my trip report!

I did have some fantastic drivers! I arranged all the drivers I used in Java through my hotels there. For Bali, I arranged for Amik through the Alam Group hotels (with which I did not stay). Amik was, IMO, a true find. You should be able to reach him at [email protected]

I'm glad I had as much time as I did, and honestly, wouldn't venture to suggest how how to divide 8 days -- it really depends on your preferences! I hope that my trip report -- and other sources -- help you decide what would best suit your purposes. BTW, the snorkeling at Bunutan was perfect for a novice (I'd only snorkeled once before), but I think other parts of Amed might be suitable for more experienced snorkelers. I'm sure marmot can offer advice on that....

I made all the flights and hotel arrangements for my trip independently, with the exception of booking my flight from Java to Bali: That flight was on Garuda, and I was unable to complete that purchase from outside Indonesia. Once in Java, a travel agency at one of my hotels facilitated the purchase.
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Old Jan 31st, 2017, 07:34 PM
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You can read about the Ubud Food Festival here:
http://www.ubudfoodfestival.com/
The 2017 program hasn't been posted yet, but if you look at 2016 you can get an idea of what to expect. Last year you had to buy tickets for each event separately. Not sure what the arrangement will be this year. The Festival draws a lot of people to Ubud, so accommodation will be tight during those days.

I don't think it's necessary to use a travel agent for flights or hotels.I'd recommend flying AirAsia whenever you can. They're cheap and efficient with an easy to use website. Be aware that everything is ala carte and they have a strict cancellation policy.

Most hotels/resorts can be reserved through sites like Agoda or directly with the hotel. Shop around and negotiate.

With only 8 days, I think you should consider either concentrating on Bali only or one place in Bali (e.g. Ubud) and one place in Java.

In Central Java you could either stay in the town of Yogyakarta and "commute" to sites like Borobudur and Dieng Plateau, or you could stay in the country side around Borobudur and visit Yogya on a day trip. I prefer staying outside of town, but both have advantages. If you want to visit the Mt. Bromo area in East Java, that would entail another flight from Yogya to Surabaya.

Same with Ubud -- which refers to both the town itself and the surrounding country side. Again, I prefer to stay out of town along the river valleys and rice paddies, but if you're in town you have better walking access to restaurants and shops.

From the Ubud area you can arrange day trips to snorkeling areas in Amed and around Menjangan Island in the northwest, but it makes for a very long day.

Organized biking trips through the back roads and villages are quite popular in the Ubud area. The routes can be challenging or very low key. I can't recommend any one in particular, but once you have selected your hotel, they'll be able to help you make arrangements for bike trips and any other activities that you're interested in.
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Old Feb 1st, 2017, 07:46 AM
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Thank you kja and marmot for your help - again. kja, I did email Amik but have not yet heard back from him.

marmot, I was thinking of staying in Yogyakarta and "commuting" to the those sites - how long would the commutes be? If too long, then I would definitely consider staying closer to Borobudur and visiting Yogya.
I would have loved to visit the Mt Bromo area but I think given my limited time I would have to skip it. Another time

So far I'm thinking of staying in/near Ubud 4 nights, Yogy or Borobudur 3 nights and 1 night somewhere for snorkeling. Any recommendations for a place to go snorkeling that would leave me near enough to reach an international airport the next day? Or perhaps someplace near either Ubud or Yogy/Borobudur? Or do you think this would be too hectic, squeezing something in that might not fit? If so, which location would you add the extra day?

Thanks for the website link to the food festival marmot. It looks like fun and definitely would like to take advantage of the cooking events.

Again, thank you for your help!
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Old Feb 1st, 2017, 06:26 PM
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Borobudur is very close to Yogyakarta, about an hour's drive, so no problem to visit on a day trip. Prambanan is just on the outskirts of town. Dieng Plateau is a bit further, 2-3 hours.

It isn't so much the travel time as the different experience. Yogya has some interesting attractions and plenty of arts and crafts, but it's a crowded city that's difficult to get around. If you stay in the countryside you're surrounded by rice paddies, volcanoes and Javanese serenity. The Phoenix Hotel in Yogya is a good choice if you decide to stay in town.

From Ubud the drive to northwest Bali, to Pemuteran, the launching point to Menjangan Island is about 3 hours. To the northeast, to Amed -- which is a town and also a general area comprising several seaside villages -- is about the same, though I think Amed is a bit closer to the airport. They're both good, but I'd say that the reefs are better at Menjangan and the town is nice at Amed.

Either way, you should plan to leave at least 5 hours before your flight departure.
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Old Feb 1st, 2017, 10:42 PM
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I'm sorry you haven't heard from Amik and hope he is well. You can also try him through the Alam Indah group
http://www.alamindahbali.com
(not to be confused with the Alam Hotels Group -- sorry for any confusion about that!) who can also, I'm sure, suggest someone else.

I was surprised at how long it took to get from place to place in central Java -- traffic was bad enough to lead to some very long trips, and I didn't enjoy being stuck in traffic very much. But then, I'm happy to move about with frequency if that's what best suits my interests. I agree that the Phoenix Hotel in Jogjakarta is a very good choice. And I was glad to stay at the Manohara Resort, on Borobudur's grounds, to make it a bit easier for me to visit Borobudur at sunrise. As marmot said, it's really a matter of personal preference.
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Old Feb 9th, 2017, 07:07 PM
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Warm Friday greetings from our fine home of Singapore to the OP, nycmary - glad you will be spending some time in our city-state.

You have received fine suggestions. Concerning flights, will add staying abreast of various promotions. Completed a brief business trip to Kuala Lumpur earlier this year and Singapore Airlines (and SilkAir and others) offered competitive business class fares. Over the years, have also taken advantage of decent business class promotions to Bali - and later today, to Bangkok for meetings early next week.

Wherever you holiday, have fun. Best from Singapore,

robert


... Singapore Airlines, You're a Great Way to Fly ...
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Old Feb 13th, 2017, 09:32 AM
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Thank you everyone for all your responses. We are going to Bali for one week. I am looking for a driver/guide for Ubud, a driver to take us from Ubud to Pemuteran (with maybe some interesting sites along the way) and then a driver to take us from Pemuteran back to the airport via some interesting sites along the way. Any recommendations? Someone who speaks English and can be informative as to what we are seeing. Thanks again everyone for your help!
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Old Feb 13th, 2017, 09:52 AM
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Your hotels can set you up with an English-speaking driver, no problem.
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Old Feb 13th, 2017, 10:35 AM
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Thank you Kathie. That's great. I thought I'd have to book in advance.
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Old Feb 13th, 2017, 03:41 PM
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As noted above, while on Bali, I was extremely pleased with my English-speaking and incredibly informative driver, Amik. He readily accommodated my specific requests and suggested additional sites that fit in with my plans and reflected my interests. You should be able to reach him at
[email protected]
or through the Alam Indah group
http://www.alamindahbali.com
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Old Feb 13th, 2017, 03:43 PM
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Sorry -- I meant to add that I know you tried to reach him, but do try again -- another person to whom I recommended him has gotten through since you tried....
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Old Feb 13th, 2017, 05:27 PM
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Whether you arrange your drivers in advance or on the spot, you might want to do some advance planning in assembling a preliminary list of places that you'd like to see between Ubud and Pemuteran and Pemuteran and the airport.

You won't have any problem finding a driver/guide in Ubud who can show you the sights on the way to Pemuteran.

The other direction may be more complicated as Pemuteran based drivers may be less familiar with interesting places to stop enroute to the airport. If you want to take different routes up and down, you might want to lay some rough plans before you get to Pemuteran.

The people at your resort and your drivers will be able to help you with this.

What time is your flight?
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Old Mar 24th, 2017, 05:44 AM
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I have been offline for some time so a belated thank you to kathie, kja and marmot. My flight returning home is midnight. So I thought I'd have a full day to spend touring. Any recommendations for dinner not too far from the airport?
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Old Mar 24th, 2017, 06:48 PM
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There are many good choices for dinner in all of the southern beach communities. The closest areas would be Kuta, Jimbaran and Sanur. Seminyak has the most restaurants and some of the best in Bali. It depends on what kind of dinner you envision.

The important point is to retain your car/driver so that you have a safe place to leave your luggage and belongings.

My choice would be La Lucciola in Petitenget the northern end of Seminyak. It's a beautiful open air restaurant right on the beach. Menu is Australian-Italian, mid-price. You will need a reservation.

Some other choices in the Seminyak area would be Sarong, Sardine. There are many others.

You could also have sunset drinks beforehand. The nearby Alila hotel is a good choice.

For a midnight international flight you would want to leave Seminyak at around 9:00 PM. It would be 30 to 40 minutes to the airport.
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