We're going to Bali and Singapore - any tips (oh and Squeeeeeeeee!)

(21 Posts)
NormaSpoonOeufEggcher Tue 09-Apr-13 22:55:12

We are out there in late July/early August. Family wedding so first week in Bali, then second week in Singapore. In Bali we will be in Seminyak. In Singapore, we will be in Singapore.

I am hugely excited. This is a big deal for us, and it is my first time out or Europe, and the first time on a plane for the kids. I am burning most of the rest of my leave, and it is costing a small fortune.

Accomodation is sorted.

So, There is me, DH, DS1(24), DS2(13), DD(6 going on 7)

What should we do, see, etc? Should we hire a car in Bali?

Thanks in advance.

Bartlebee Tue 09-Apr-13 23:09:47

Wow, lucky you!

Kuta in Bali is pretty horrid. If you get a chance to visit lovina, I would. We did a great boat trip as the sun came up to see dolphins. I have never seen so many in my life, it was amazing & the snorkelling there was great too.

Singapore is very interesting. Obv Orchard rd if shopping's your thing & Haji lane is great. Geylang for fab food, botanic gardens are gorgeous. The zoo is a must, imo. Their version of the London eye is worth doing (can't remember the name) & it's touristy, but I still love to have a Singapore Sling at the Long Bar of the Raffles hotel.

And the airport is possibly the best in the world!

NormaSpoonOeufEggcher Tue 09-Apr-13 23:17:30

Oh thank you Bartle thanks

The bride and groom live in Singapore so I have heard about the Botanic gardens.

The boat trip sounds fabulous.

infin Wed 10-Apr-13 08:40:03

In Bali, try to fit in a trip to Ubud. It's great for shopping and there's lots of lovely places to eat. There are also some beautiful walks through the paddy fields which are right next to town. If you like monkeys the monkey forest is very popular but beware, they are super confident examples of the species!
In Singapore agree with Botanical Gardens and a wander round Raffles with a drink or afternoon tea, if you're feeling flush, thrown in. Eating at the Hawker stalls which are in all areas is highly recommended...delicious, freshly cooked cheap local food which is very welcome in a rather expensive city.
Have a fantastic time!

twintwo Wed 10-Apr-13 08:47:21

Make sure you visit sentosa island when you are in Singapore. We had a great time there.

Astelia Wed 10-Apr-13 09:40:01

Another vote for Sentosa, Raffles, Gardens on the Bay and the Botanic Gardens. Sentosa has Universal Studios, a huge new aquarium, a luge and a great water park.

A new $160 million river-themed wildlife park, River Safari (home to Pandas Kai Kai and Jia Jia) opened a week ago. I haven't been yet but it looks fab from the pictures. It is next to the zoo.

I'd also recommend The Night Safari, a trip on a bum boat on the river after dark, a visit to the rooftop of Marina Bay Sands, a trip on the Flyer, an evening walk round the bay (start and finish at the Esplanade and enjoy a cool beer afterwards, the walk takes about an hour and a half), a drink at Clarke Quay, coffee at The Fullerton Hotel (the stunning former post office built by the British) or a drink at Dempsey Hill (the former army camp which is now restaurants, bars and quirky stores).

JustWannaDrinkAndDance Wed 10-Apr-13 09:52:52

Another vote for Sentosa here.

Singapore also have a science centre that the younger kids would probably enjoy.

www.science.edu.sg/Pages/SCBHome.aspx

specialsubject Wed 10-Apr-13 13:07:25

Can't speak for Bali, but don't plan too much for Singapore as you will not believe the humidity. It is 'only' about 30 degrees there but the humidity really does wipe you out. Remember the suncream.

good news is lots of stuff is indoors - but obviously you do want to see the outside. The Botanic Gardens are amazing (and I think there's now an MRT station near) and there's a great food court there. Wander round Raffles - you can have tea and cake there for a not-too-stupid sum. If you can stand the heat, Singapore has green and wild bits in the centre too for walking. Little India is also interesting and there are some lovely temples; you can visit, just follow the instructions about shoes.

Sentosa is just a theme park - don't go at weekends! I loved the zoo in the daytime - you can walk round with plenty of shady seats. It's an all day thing. As well as the other things listed, visit the Fountain of Wealth in the Suntec centre - quite a sight and you can also 'touch the water' for luck. :-) Great food court there too, go for the workers ones not the expensive restaurants.

don't bother shopping, you can do that anywhere and the days of Singapore being ultra-cheap are long gone.

Get MRT passes for everyone and you touch in and out on buses and the metro.

it is an amazing, fascinating, clean and safe city. With British plugs and drinkable water. :-)

chicken rice, chicken rice, sigh...

NormaSpoonOeufEggcher Wed 10-Apr-13 13:35:39

This is brilliant stuff. Thank you all.

Shopping is not really a leisure activity for us. Am looking forward to local food and seeing something completely new though.

specialsubject Wed 10-Apr-13 16:51:38

excellent. Eat at food courts or hawker centres, not in the 'posh' restaurants or the 'western-style' delis - you can get chocolate brownies anyway but there is nothing like local Singaporean food!

(salivate...)

sashh Thu 11-Apr-13 08:49:42

If you like monkeys the monkey forest is very popular but beware, they are super confident examples of the species!

And if you go near a pregnant female expect to be chased.

You will find that the hotel will be able to book a coach for the day with a driver and guide. I would not hire a car in Bali.

I was with a bunch of Aussie surfers so we negotiated the bus and where we wanted to go. In the evening they dropped us of at a beach with loads of fish restaurants on the beach itself.

Do not, under any circumstances buy durian fruit. It stinks, really really stinks and tastes as bad.

Do go shopping in Bali and barter hard. It is fun and you get some lovely materials/batik.

If you buy water insist the top is still on, turn it upside down to shake it, no one will be offended.

If you see someone washing outside do not look, that is really offensive. Many Balinese don't have a bathroom so use the local river stream, you have to pretend they are invisible.

Singapore - do again look at the shops, especially if you want anything electrical. You must, it is the law, have a Singapore sling in the Raffles hotel.

Do not take any chewing gum into Singapore and do remember to flush the toilet, you can be fined if you don't.

Are you flying back from Changi Airport? It has a swimming pool so put your bathing gear in hand luggage. I've mainly used tho pool when changing flights and after 12 hours it is the most wonderful thing.

specialsubject Thu 11-Apr-13 11:20:45

hopefully no-one needs to be reminded to flush the toilet...

the comment about durians reminds me - when you go on the Singapore MRT you'll see a sign that looks like a hedgehog, crossed-through. This is 'no durians' - you can't take them on public transport. I quite liked the taste but the smell is indeed horrible.

The MRT is also a no eating and no drinking zone, keeps things clean. If you are over 5 foot 5 watch out for the handles hanging from the ceiling of the carriage, too!

NormaSpoonOeufEggcher Thu 11-Apr-13 13:53:38

Thank you all again. This is really helpful. I am taking notes!

Will warn dh re mrt, as he is 6'6"

specialsubject Thu 11-Apr-13 21:40:43

having read Neil Humphrey's 'notes from an even smaller island' remind your husband to duck!

great book - pick it up in Singapore if you see it. There are sequels too.

gordonpym Fri 12-Apr-13 11:09:04

Just one warning: I almost drowned in Semyniak. And I am a very good swimmer, I'm a lifeguard and I wasn't even so far, water till my waist more or less. But then there are the waves and the strangest current ever. Each wave took me further toward the open sea. And my DH and more or less 10 friends were just lying on the beach in front of me, and none took notice.
We were staying in Legian, which is between Kuta and Seminyak, and the water there is far more safe. Be sure to ask at the reception about currents and danger on their beach.

MarjorieAntrobus Fri 12-Apr-13 11:37:03

Night safari at Singapore Zoo is good. Also Botanic Gardens. Also the river cruise and Clarke Quay, the National Museum, and the Battle Box and the park there. I'd like to go to the Gardens on the Bay (looks a bit like the Eden Project from photos). It is really easy to get around SG by MRT. Yes, it is v humid. Carry a water bottle, and an umbrella for both rain and sunshine. Walk slowly. Stop often!

You've got quite a mixed party there, OP! I bet the middle one oscillates between being an adult and a child, depending on what's going on!

In Bali I have stayed at Kuta, which is v busy and the beach is a bit tacky. I hear Seminyak is better. Traffic is a bit crazy in Kuta. There are many lovely temples and beaches within easy driving distance. Not too expensive to hire a driver and minibus.

YoniDoesntGrowOnTrees Sat 13-Apr-13 15:50:50

Thanks for the warning Gordon. We had heard that the beach has strong currents, but after reading your post we will keep any swimming to the pools at the villa.

Marjorie, there are other family members staying at villas on the same site with kids of all ages, so it is going to be fun.

gordonpym Sun 14-Apr-13 07:26:44

It's just semyniak that I found dangerous. Legian is safe, Nusa Dua and sanur even more because of the coral reef. If you go to L/N/S , you must try the sea, the water is sooooooo warm, it's a bliss.

suburbophobe Mon 22-Apr-13 16:29:00

Oh Bali is wonderful! I stayed in a fantastic hotel in Kuta so really enjoyed it, and it's a great base from which to explore the south of the island (temple in the sea etc.).
You just book where you want to go and they pick you up and drop you at your hotel. Including for the ferry to the Gili islands.

Ubud is amazing, very laid back, amazing temples, some nice cafes and wonderful shops to browse in.
I did a great eco bike tour from there. Going through villages and stopping off at different places. Again they pick you up and drop you at your guest house.

Shanghaidiva Tue 23-Apr-13 13:07:08

Ubud is lovely - great shops, restaurants and temples. A monkey did jump on me at the Monkey Forest - but just kept still and everything was fine.
IMO Kuta is awful and to be avoided.
Singapore - Zoo, night safari, new hotel and gardens at Marina bay, botanical gardens, good museum on Sentosa about Singapore in WW2, Raffles hotel. I love Little India - some great temples all within walking distance of metro stop and great food too.

GrumpyKat Tue 23-Apr-13 22:12:48

I love Bali, we're planning our fourth trip for next year and I'm already a tiny bit excited.
Get out of the tourist bit at the bottom and take yourself up north for a couple of days. The rice paddies in the middle are stunning and you can climb Gunung Agung at the right time of year.
Make sure you go to Ibu Oka's for Babi Guling whilst in Ubud. Lovely lovely roast pork mmmm. We always go on a Sunday for a Bali Sunday roast!
Try and take some time to visit one of the directional temples, they protect Bali from the spirits in the sea and are lovely. Also, if you can wangle an invite to a funeral then do go, the whole village saves up for a really auspicious date and they exhume their dead and give them an amazing send off with big processions and lots of noise.
If you go to Ubud then head out to the artists village around Penestenan, it's really pretty and much less crowded than Monkey Forest Road and the surrounds.
I love Bali <dreams......>

Have fun!

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