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Better than Bali

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julinico
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Better than Bali

Postby julinico » Sun, 31 Jan 2010 1:41 pm

Can anyone think of a place better than Bali in Asia? For the beaches, the food, the scenery, the people, etc.

Like Bali is the knee jerk response from all the people I asked.

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Re: Better than Bali

Postby ozchick » Sun, 31 Jan 2010 1:53 pm

julinico wrote:Can anyone think of a place better than Bali in Asia? For the beaches, the food, the scenery, the people, etc.

Like Bali is the knee jerk response from all the people I asked.

Yeah good question. Personally loved the Gilli Islands off Lombok. Quick flight etc, great beaches and all. But yeah there must be more undiscovered treasures! Come on you guys spill the beans!
'Are you trying to tempt me because I come from the land of plenty?'

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Postby gravida » Sun, 31 Jan 2010 2:09 pm

Phi Phi, Maldives, second that Lombok is good.

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Postby Vaucluse » Sun, 31 Jan 2010 3:04 pm

Spent a glorious week on Pulau Pangkor . . . simply beautiful

Also had some very nice times on Redang and really anywhere in Sabah


(I've been told the Perhantian Isands are quite nice)


Malaysia has really stepped up its game in this regard
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Re: Better than Bali

Postby x9200 » Sun, 31 Jan 2010 3:31 pm

julinico wrote:Like Bali is the knee jerk response from all the people I asked.

Bali is with a character and this is what makes the difference but only as the whole package. It is large enough and small enough at the same time to make an ideal holiday place if you need some diversification. But if your focus is right from the start more specific then it is not necessary the winner. For good beaches, clear water with nice marine life (also for snorkelers only like myself) I'd rather go to Tioman, Gili, Phi Phi... Never visited Redang archipelago but also heard good things about. Food is always tricky - for example I like very much Phi Phi but don't like food over there - seems to be tailored to suit more the Western taste - nothing was truly spicy. Anyway, you need to know what you really would like to do then it's more easy to decide.

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Postby Nath21 » Sun, 31 Jan 2010 4:50 pm

I wouldnt go to Bali if you paid for all my expenses. Dodgy law enforcement, chance of terrorism, expensive alcohol, lack of real infrastructure, overrun with aussie bogans and other tourists doing everything on the cheap, every one trying to rip you off, in your face all the time, rude backward manners (like asking women where there men are if women are out for dinner by themselves), other numerous examples I have encountered similar to that. Not for me there are plenty of beautiful places in the world without that hassle or worries.

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Postby gravida » Sun, 31 Jan 2010 7:34 pm

Nath21, I've been to Bali two times and have never noticed lack of infrastructure (are you expecting malls, skyscrapers etc. on the resort island?), or most of things you have mentioned. People were friendly, yes some of them tried to earn on us, but on the other hand - it was nothing if you compare it to Cambodia, India, Thailand or other places. This is the price you pay when you are traveling to touristic places, regardless the geographical location.
Once we have stayed in Nusa Dua and have not been bothered at all, everything was exactly as we expected - separated from the rest of the island, comfy and unrealistic. Second time we've stayed in Sanur, rented a car with a driver and went around the island. It was great, and excluding one incident when the driver had to 'secretly' pay the 'commission' to local police, everything went smoothly, people were great and we had a wonderful holidays.
One must decide what he/she wants from the stay - if you are looking for infrastructure, bars, restaurants, and are not interested in changing your way of living (I mean for example dressing accordingly to local customs to not offend/provoke anyone, acting reasonably etc.), then you should not travel beyond your closest neighborhood ;) People from the south of your own country may act (and expect others to do the same) than those from the north, east and west...

To add some good news - if you are looking for a cheap alcohol, go to Langkawi, whole island is duty free. A pure paradise for those who have stayed in Sg longer than a year :)

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Postby Vaucluse » Sun, 31 Jan 2010 7:38 pm

Nath21 wrote:I wouldnt go to Bali if you paid for all my expenses. Dodgy law enforcement, chance of terrorism, expensive alcohol, lack of real infrastructure, overrun with aussie bogans and other tourists doing everything on the cheap, every one trying to rip you off, in your face all the time, rude backward manners (like asking women where there men are if women are out for dinner by themselves), other numerous examples I have encountered similar to that. Not for me there are plenty of beautiful places in the world without that hassle or worries.


Sounds like pretty much anywhere in Thailand as well, except in the Land of Smiles you add the sexpat factor

Sleazy, mangy country
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Postby road.not.taken » Sun, 31 Jan 2010 7:50 pm

Sounds more like he's spending time in the wrong parts of Bali. Bali is still the best in my fair opinion. Spiritual, fantastical, wonderful Bali. Been there a dozen times, always enchants in some new way.

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Postby QRM » Sun, 31 Jan 2010 7:51 pm

Boracay Island, mind you its been over 20 years since my last visit. When I was there, no electricity, no phones, no cars and was voted as the most beautiful beach in the world !.

I have to admit I didnt like Bali, maybe the expectation was too high. The Amanusa was lovely but Bali did nothing for me.
Last edited by QRM on Mon, 01 Feb 2010 3:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Nath21 » Mon, 01 Feb 2010 12:24 pm

I know I have a different point of view to a lot of people on Bali. I believe people tend to see Bali through rose coloured glasses a bit. Ive heard and experienced that Bali produces very aggressive responses when you bag it (not on this forum so far) but I have endured it in the past which shows that some people do really enjoy there holiday there. My whole point here is it surely not close to being the best part of Asia. I stick by my view I wouldn’t go there. This is why:
• This sort of crap worried me with kids: two recent reported cases involving alleged rape / sexual abuse of children whose parents had left them in the care of crèches in 5 star hotels in Nusa Dua (isolated but scary still);
• On the 22nd January Australia issued a high likelihood of terrorism activity warning for Bali. Its been attacked once and I have no doubt will be attacked again. Bali authorities have issued many statements how they have beefed up security to make it "one of most secure places in the world". Far from tight security, laziness and delusions of competence reign supreme;
• businesses cut corners there which impact the health, safety, physical and financial security of tourists;
• got tired of food with copious amounts of MSG added;
• The seemingly high chances of credit card fraud (card swipe). I had one mate done at the airport duty free!;
• got tired of the crime and fraud on the island, all due to the fact the police are out to make extortion money, not uphold the law;
• got tired of being offered drugs on the street by pushers working with the police;
• got tired of being offered young women and men for rent;
• got tired of hearing western tourists swear at the Balinese and behave so badly;
• I found that so many of Bali's so called luxury hotels really terrible value for money;
• When I talk about poor infrastructure I am talking about quality of hospitals not malls; and
• When I arrived in Kuta and had a chance to look around, I was very glad I had made plans already to get out of the area. Although many people enjoy the bars and shops of Kuta it was ultimately as Balinese and tasteful to me as a McDonalds.
I feel sad for the Balinese to some extent their dirt poor and rich dictators and government deals have sold their island from under them. Do not get me wrong, I think that Bali can be a wonderful holiday destination. I believe however it only becomes wonderful when you take the time to get past the suffocating weight of mass institutional tourism and find what is truly Balinese and friendly. You have to put up with a lot of crap to get there though. Anyway bit of a rant I wont expect a call from the Balinese Tourism Board anytime soon.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Mon, 01 Feb 2010 12:37 pm

I've been here 27 and have never been to Bali on a holiday. I've been to Bali several times though but for work. I personally don't think I would spend my own money to go there, There are some very nice reefs up around Lovina though, I dove on them years ago. Not sure how good they are today though. (That was back in the late '80's - were no dive operators up there then).

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Postby jpatokal » Mon, 01 Feb 2010 1:14 pm

I spent about a year working in Jakarta and traveled quite a bit around the archipelago, and the only place I've returned to multiple times and will most probably continue to visit every now and then is Bali (and the Gilis, which are much more an extension of Bali than a part of Lombok).

Why? Simply put, it's the only bit of Indonesia where -- if you plan things right -- it's possible to eliminate or minimize virtually all the hassle that Nath21 describes (and which is pretty much unavoidable in all touristy locations in the third world, eg. Phuket, Angkor Wat, etc). You can stay at a 5*+ superluxury resort in Ubud with an infinity pool cascading over the rice paddies, having your every whim catered to... or you could stay at a private villa with your own pool and kitchen staff, a stone's throw from the beaches, clubs and hip restaurants of Seminyak... and when you're in the mood for something a little local, you can charter a taxi for a day for around S$50 and zoom off to temples, art galleries, craft workshops, local eateries etc... and real Balinese food, if you can find it, is pretty darn good!

Now, there are many places in the world where you can do one or even two of those, but very few that can pull off all three, and for a reasonable amount of money at that. Sure, there are places like the Maldives or the Bahamas with better beaches, but you pay through the nose for the privilege and then you're stuck in your little tourist bubble. Langkawi and Phuket have good beaches too and they're just as cheap, but good luck finding anything interesting to do outside that coastal strip of sand. And places like Chiang Mai and Vientiane may have local culture, great food, great hotels and a decent bar/restaurant/pub scene, but where's the beach?

Just my 200 rupiah :cool:
Vaguely heretical thoughts on travel technology at Gyrovague

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Postby x9200 » Mon, 01 Feb 2010 1:44 pm

Nath21 wrote:This is why:..long list of bad things...

As it was already pointed out, you may say practically the same about many if not the majority of the surrounding countries. Some other thing may just happen anywhere and it really looks like you had just a bad luck.

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Postby road.not.taken » Mon, 01 Feb 2010 2:59 pm

Virtually everything on Nath21's list could and does happen anywhere as jpatokal pointed out. I like the size of Bali, the diversity, the architecture, the food, the wonderful people, the landscape. I don't feel that same way about Phuket or Chang Mai or Tiomon, or Langkawi or Phi Phi or Krabi or Lombok or China Beach etc...


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