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Singapore and where else?

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  • rashomon

    Hi all

    Have flights booked for a two week holiday in Asia next August – flying in and out of Singapore. I would like to spend 3 or 4 days in Singapore itself as we haven’t been there before but looking at options for a couple of other places to visit in the region. We have covered a bit of Thailand already in a previous trip – Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket and also Siem Reap in Cambodia so not looking to revisit these.

    Currently top of my shortlist I think is Penang for culture, food, shopping and then Langkawi for a few days of beach, nature and chilling. Would like to snorkel if possible.

    Any other options I should consider in the itinerary instead that you’d recommend to give us a good mix of culture and sights as well as some nature and beachtime?

    Aston100

    What did you pay for the flights?
    Prices seem to be crazy for next summer to all of SEA.

    Michael C

    We’re doing the same – currently thinking of tagging on Bali + Hua Hin.

    Love Penang – beaches not great, but everything else fab, especially staying at the E&O.

    Froggee

    Bali was the one place in Asia my parents kept going back to. If you’ve not been before, it is totally worth visiting.

    If you’re not going for a year, you should be able to get enough points together to book SQ business class from Singapore also which was compulsory for my parents!

    rashomon

    What did you pay for the flights?
    Prices seem to be crazy for next summer to all of SEA.

    I haven’t really got a baseline of what return to Singapore would normally look like but I booked using BA Avios and 241 vouchers … going out in Club and returning Economy (zero Avios seat availability in WTP for my return flight dates let alone Club) … paid total 2,500 GBP return for four of us so think this is quite reasonable for the distance and the direct flight benefits.

    BuildBackBetter

    Bali, especially Ubud, will be a very good contrast to Singapore as its all about culture and a must visit, i’d say.

    We didnt like the beach in Langkawi much – its good, but not as great as Thailand. Maybe some resorts are better.
    Same for Bali – dont go there for beaches, unless you must stay in a resort. Or split the stay.
    Penang is great for a short visit. Apart from the fabulous food, dont forget to visit the temples there.
    If you like history and monuments, visit Borobudur and Prambanan in Indonesia – easy day trips from Yogyakarta. If you can afford it, splurge for Amanjiwo.
    You can also cover one end of Vietnam for a few days – Hanoi would be my preference.

    rashomon

    Cheers for the input so far …

    Bali – will def look into further as mentioned a few times. Seems like it has lots of what we like – culture, temples, wildlife, food, local crafts and shopping etc … surprised to hear beaches are not good. I though Bali was renowned for it’s beaches.

    I did have Ko Samui in mind for the beach part of the holiday but it’s not cheap to get to 🙁

    strickers

    +1 for Bali, split your stay between Ubud and one of the resort hotels. Plan on an extra night in Singapore on the way back just in case something goes wrong with the Bali to Singapore flight.

    Roberto

    Langkawi – Casa del Mar Hotel.

    BuildBackBetter

    While there are plenty of low cost flights to Bali, don’t forget to check if KLM 5th freedom flight suits your timings.

    polly

    We are tagging on Bali, then MH J up to Penang. Phuket next time plus Bali. Air Asia from SIN to DPS this time. All 3 locations great. Canggu beaches great, neat little eats around there….pretty low key and clean.

    rashomon

    Great responses all – thanks

    Did some further research last night and yup Bali looks like a must do!

    Just now deciding on if I split the time with Penang or leave for a future trip as transfers will eat up a day at least

    SamG

    Def just Bali. Penang isn’t worth a day travelling to get there. The weather is perfect there around then and there is plenty to do. As others have said move hotels so you get a mix of locations (and the famous traffic is back ! So avoids long drives when touring). Klook is great for drivers, tours, activities etc

    The KLM flight sadly isn’t currently as much of a bargain up front as it used to be. A 2hr flight though so no big deal whoever you fly with

    Michael C

    Totally agree with just Bali – you could easily split your time there between two very different areas (e.g. Canggu, as Polly suggested, then a few days in Ubud, etc.)

    Jon

    I’m just back from Tioman – stayed at Japamala Resort (part of Mr & Mrs Smith / IHG), flew with SKS Airways from Subang (KL) on a little Twin Otter aircraft, which was fun. Had a lovely stay – I’d highly recommend it if you want a few days of peace and quiet on a nice beach, with snorkelling and jungle trekking etc should you wish.

    Might work to follow on from a few days in Georgetown, Penang – you could fly back to KL with Firefly, arriving at Subang. Tioman can also be reached by car and ferry, from either Malaysia or Singapore, though it’s a longer journey. If you want something a bit off the beaten track, less developed, and less busy, might be something to consider.

    Otherwise (or as well!) I’d second the recommendations for Ubud in Bali. Perhaps also consider Candi Dasa (the Allila there is very nice). Or Lombok perhaps, if Bali is too crowded for your liking (Jeeva Klui resort was lovely when I went a few years ago).

    I would say Penang is definitely worth it for the food and architecture etc, although perhaps not that different to what you’ll find in Chinatown in Singapore. Probably not worth more than a three day stay though, unless you split the time between Georgetown and a beach resort. Have you already been to KL?

    heb999

    Have you considered Nihi Sumba on the island of Sumba. Fantastic beach and accommodation. No traffic, unlike Bali. We also loved Bawa island, which is a very easy hop from Singapore.

    rashomon

    Hi all

    Thanks for the responses everyone … I’ve been digging around further and settled on Bali as per many recommendations here. Penang is still very much on my to do list but will visit in a future trip to SEA .

    Looks like there is so much to see and do on Bali even though it doesn’t necessarily offer those white sand beaches.

    Currently looking at :

    – 2 nights in Seminyak or Sunar to acclimatise and get into the island mood
    – 2 nights in Nusa Penida or Amed for snorkelling
    – 5 nights at a centrally located resort in Ubud. Gotta say Ubud looks so good and will tick a lot of our boxes from a culture and sightseeing perspective.
    – 3 nights in Singapore to finish off with before the long flight back home.

    Exciting times ahead … and that is just in all the planning! 🙂

    Michael C

    Hi all

    Thanks for the responses everyone … I’ve been digging around further and settled on Bali as per many recommendations here. Penang is still very much on my to do list but will visit in a future trip to SEA .

    Looks like there is so much to see and do on Bali even though it doesn’t necessarily offer those white sand beaches.

    Currently looking at :

    – 2 nights in Seminyak or Sunar to acclimatise and get into the island mood
    – 2 nights in Nusa Penida or Amed for snorkelling
    – 5 nights at a centrally located resort in Ubud. Gotta say Ubud looks so good and will tick a lot of our boxes from a culture and sightseeing perspective.
    – 3 nights in Singapore to finish off with before the long flight back home.

    Exciting times ahead … and that is just in all the planning! 🙂

    Hi again, Rashomon!
    The trip will be fab! Each to his own, but personally I might reduce Bali to 2 destinations (less repacking/moving, and get to know the area you’re in better) and just hire a car and driver for (long) daytrips. Ubud to Amed would be about 2 hours .. Seminyak has SO many places to eat/stroll around. Oh, and Denpasar market great for craft from around the island.

    We do the same, and always end up in Singapore for a relax at the end – do ask about hotels if needed!

    BuildBackBetter

    Each to his own, but personally I might reduce Bali to 2 destinations (less repacking/moving, and get to know the area you’re in better)

    +1. The time spent on packing, checking out, transport, waiting for checking in and unpacking – can be used for a mini trip, even a half day trip.

    Entitled

    Is the weather not an issue in August?

    rashomon

    Thanks @Michael C

    I’ve actually had further thoughts … does this itinerary work in your view?

    – 2 nights in Sunar. Leaning towards Sunar over Seminyak at the moment as it seems a bit nicer and more low key but not finalised this and happy to consider Seminyay still.

    – 2 nights in Gilli Air. I would like my boys and I to spend a full day snorkelling while my wife has time at one of the yoga resorts and Gilli seems better suited than the Amed area for these activities. Is it too much to squeeze in a trip to Gilli? I believe Scoot offer a service from Sanur to Gilli Air – 3hr each way.

    – 5 nights in Ubud. Looking at the Komaneka Bisma resort.

    – 3 nights in Singapore. Swissotel Stamford looks well situated.

    Welcome thoughts on itinerary … and also hotel recommendations!


    @BuildBackBetter
    – fair point about reducing number of places to stay in Bali … but I thought getting around was horrendous so day trips would be tricky? Also, our BA Lon->Sin flight lands at 16.05 and there are two AirAsia flight to DPS I could take – one departing 17:50 and arrives at 20:35 and a later fought at 20:45 arriving late in DPS at 23:25. Not sure if I can safely catch the 17:50 flight – risky?!? But as a result, I’m expecting a late arrival in DPS and a two or three hour drive to Ubud as a first destination may not be wise. Hence splitting the trip and looking at nearby Seminyak/Sunar as a first destination.


    @Entitled
    – everything I’ve read to date suggests August in Bali is great weather-wise.

    Final note – I would also seriously consider cutting a night in Singapore and add that to the one of the other destinations – we have a 23:15 from Singapore to London so we have most of that final day in Singapore to sightsee/explore.

    SamG

    I’d do 3 nights on Gili Air, it is quite a bit of time spent getting there for only 2 nights. Probably a day less in Ubud instead. Looks like you’ve done a lot of research but do think about what you actually want to do in each place, for me personally even 4 nights there would be too long as you can cover off quite a bit in a day out with a driver, but I’m a beach lover!

    I haven’t been to Sanur but from what I’ve heard it’s quite quiet, mainly older resort style hotels and the beach is rather blighted by boat operations, so hasn’t been on my to do list. I love Seminyak (further up towards Canggu , away from Kuta!)

    Weather should be great in August

    You won’t make a 17:50 AirAsia flight as you need to collect your bags and take a shuttle bus to T4.

    Swissotel is a great location for Singapore with the MRT and a mall etc just below. Personally I think 3 nights is good, people rush through Singapore and it’s a shame, there is so much to do and see

    Jon

    Just to add a thought. Given your arrival time into Singapore, I might be inclined to book an airport hotel (eg Crowne Plaza was good value on points last time I looked) and spend the evening doing the Jewel, then take an early morning flight to DPS, rather than try to fit it all in on day 1 and arrive tired and grumpy 😉

    Crafty

    Just to offer a counterpoint, I found Ubud to be traffic clogged, polluted and uncomfortable; with all the “spirituality” pretty contrived…

    LD27

    Have stopped off in Singapore many times en route to Auz or NZ. Often do side trip to the Malaysian islands which I love, especially Perhentians and Penang. Was also very disappointed with Ubud so busy and polluted, but enjoyed the Gilis.

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