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Malaysia vs Indonesia (Bali&Lombok)

(16 Posts)
FestivalBlue Tue 29-May-18 09:05:29

2 adults and 3 dc.

In August 2019 we are going on a 3 week holiday but can’t decide between 3 weeks in Malaysia (mixture of mainland and east coast islands) or Bali/Lombok (Bali for a week and then 2 weeks in Lombok/some Gillis).

We’ve been to Bali and Lombok before and has a great time. Bali was really cheap to eat out and you could hire a driver for £30 a day. Lombok was much more expensive but we were in the south.

The flights should be similar price as we would fly into Kuala Lumpur or Singapore anyway.

Can anyone help us decide please??

I’d love to do the Malaysia holiday but I’m worried about the cost of the food and accommodation. Plus it seems like a lot of travelling if you stay on the mainland and then go to an island or two.


OP’s posts: |
midsomermurderess Wed 30-May-18 21:19:38

I think I'd choose Malaysia. Quite a lot of cultural and geographical variety. The Cameron Highlands are beautiful, Penang is great for a visit, Melaka too. One of the islands, Tioman perhaps? I've been to Bali and Lombok. Bali's undeniable very pretty but I didn't click with it. Lombok, predominantly Muslim, I think, though scrubbier and less cute, I preferred. I went to one of the Gillis (the biggest one I think) and hated it. Sleazy, overrun, lots of rubbish on beaches, lots of drugs. Quite a nasty atmosphere.

CheeseGirl4 Thu 31-May-18 06:39:31

I LOVED Malaysia. Good food is a real priority for me on holiday and it's easy to eat out very reasonably indeed. I went to Kuala Lumpur, Taman Negara, Penang, and Langkawi.

FestivalBlue Thu 31-May-18 12:07:53

Thanks both. We had just about decided on Bali etc but now you’ve changed my mind again grin

midsomer Gili T is the biggest one and we wouldn’t go there as we’ve heard it’s the party island. We were looking at Gili Meno and Gili Air.

Cheese Penang is defo on our Malaysia list. Nice to hear the you can eat out reasonably. Online there seems to be a lot about how expensive it is but I wonder if they’re comparing it to Bali/Thailand where you get eat really well for a few pounds.

OP’s posts: |
ZombieHunter Fri 01-Jun-18 23:55:54

A few months back someone here recommended staying at the Sea Gypsy Village on Sibu Island ( We are going there in four weeks as it looks amazing. It seems perfect for families, have a look at their website. I obviously can't vouch for it yet, but it looks perfect.

Why are you limiting yourself to Bali if going to Indonesia? The country has so many other wonderful islands. We loved Sumatra, flew from KL into Banda Aceh and then took the ferry to Pulau Weh. The island has a lot to offer: Scuba, snorkel, volcanoes, scenery, hikes, waterfalls, local traditions (loved just watching the fishermen for hours and even helping them). Very friendly locals, very cheap to get around and eat out. We spent 8 days on the island and didn't get bored. Banda Aceh also interesting for the Tsunami, very moving experience seeing what really happend there.

To throw something else into the mix: Fly to Kota Kinabalu from KL and then either hike Kinabalu, go and visit surrounding islands or see the orang utans in sepilok.

yorkshireyummymummy Sat 02-Jun-18 00:14:18

Oh Malaysia every time. Been to both , My father has villa in Bali and I find it a bit .....mehhhh. Maybe it just isn’t for me.
But I adore Malaysia........KL is FAB, loved Penang ( dead cheap to eat out there, just avoid ‘touristy’ places with bad steaks in gravy(!?) and look for mopeds - you know the locals go there and that’s where you get cracking Malaysian food at cheapy cheep prices. Also, the night markets are really cool and sell a huge variety of goods at silly bartarable prices.
Loved Langakwai too. Similar to Penang, gorgeous quiet beaches and pools that are as warm as a bath!
Next time we go I’m going to fly to the other half of Malaysia and see the orang utangs.
Singapore is great and was the place I wanted to go. Went there on a seperate trip and if I had the chance to go back I would in a shot .....but if the choice was between Bali, Singapore and KL I would choose KL . Singapore was great but I just found it a bit sterile. It’s not the cleanliness and it was very very interesting but it lacked the - I don’t know how to describe it- feeling of life and excitement that KL had. And the shopping center in the Petronas Towers is bloody FAB!!
Wherever you go I’m sure you will have a wonderful time < not at all jealous!!😳>

JakeBallardswife Sat 02-Jun-18 00:21:26

Love love Malaysia go to the Cameron Highlands, Langkawi, Malacca and Poland and KL itself. Lots to see & do all over great location. Wonderful islands nearby too.

JakeBallardswife Sat 02-Jun-18 00:21:46

Penang not Poland!

Hmmisthatit Sat 02-Jun-18 08:41:15

OP can I just jump in and ask a question ... when you've all traveled here, do you travel independently and sort everything yourself, or do you use an agent?

Not sure why, but for some reason it feels more daunting in this area of the world. Perhaps I'm just less familiar, but think I need to go!

FestivalBlue Sat 02-Jun-18 09:17:25

Zombie Hmmm, that’s got me thinking again. I’m going to research Sumatra and also Java.

Hmm We just did it ourselves. Booked our return flights to Kuala Lumpur and then booked all other flights with AirAsia. This was the cheapest way for us to do it.

It did mean that we had a longer wait in KL as I was paranoid about missing our onward flight to Bali.

We used for our accommodation and took all the reviews with a pinch of salt - people complaining about insects etc.

We booked our tours once there as they were very reasonable through our accommodation.

OP’s posts: |
CheeseGirl4 Sat 02-Jun-18 10:54:47

I book independently - find flight offers on Skyscanner and places to stay via Trivago or Airbnb

Hmmisthatit Sat 02-Jun-18 11:08:44

Thanks all smile. Usually go independent, but for some reason this seemed more challenging please god don't let this be a sign I'm getting old

ZombieHunter Sun 03-Jun-18 01:54:31

Hmm It is daunting at first, but definitely not as bad once you start. We live in China at the moment and before in the UK we always booked package holidays at travel agents. Here, we have to be independent, as there aren't really any good (affordable) tour operator around. First time round I was so worried, now I'm pretty good with knowing what to do, what routes to take for best deals etc.

I always look on ctrip or skyscanner to find good prices. Then go directly to the airlines to book flights. Airasia is usually best for flights in the area, but there are a few others with good deals. Afterwards for hotels which is really good.

Hmmisthatit Sun 03-Jun-18 08:59:19

zombie Thanks. I will have a stern word with myself grin

KickBishopBrennanUpTheArse Sun 03-Jun-18 23:03:17

zombie we're also going to Sea Gypsy based on that thread (I have name changed since). We might see you there!

hmm we have also booked independently except for a 4d3n package in Borneo. I used skyscanner for flights and alongside tripadvisor (and mumsnet) for accommodation. We go in July so I'll let you know whether it is successful!

OP we are doing a bit of both of your two options. I'm a bit worried we've crammed too much in but I got a bit carried away and didn't want to miss anything!

We have 4 days at Sea Gypsy which was the maximum dd 16 would agree to go without WiFi!

We then have 3 days in Singapore before flying to Borneo. We have one day spare then go on our tour. Then one day at the end to relax by the pool.

Then we fly to lombok via KL (we have a day in KL if we want to go sightseeing)

In lombok we have 4 nights at rinjani lodge and we are booked on a trek for one of those nights (Not to the summit though). Then we have 3 nights on gili air before we fly home.

There is just so much I wanted to do it was really hard to narrow it down.

Queenie72 Sun 10-Jun-18 22:57:55

Another vote for Malaysia , I too didn’t gel with Bali- but adored Malaysia .
Just feels less touristy and I found the beaches and sea in Bali really dirty.
There are some lovely islands and it just feels more unspoilt somehow.

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