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Old 01-24-2018, 06:44 AM
 
Location: San Francisco
317 posts, read 245,710 times
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We have one week off in April and would be traveling from Middle east. Would like to experience nice beach but also interested in churches/temples/ historical sites. Don't want to be in a tourist trap but would like a comfortable safe locale. If we went to Philippines, would like.to see Manila. Don't know about combining Jakarta with Bali. Suggestions?
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Old 01-24-2018, 09:49 AM
 
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Bali beaches are ugly and dirty. If you decide to go to Bali, you should focus on the beautiful temples and lush scenery.

Palawan, Philippines has much more beautiful beaches than Bali but very far and difficult to get to from Manila. There are no worthy historical site.
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Old 01-24-2018, 01:36 PM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
22,947 posts, read 40,469,876 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nn2036 View Post
Bali beaches are ugly and dirty. If you decide to go to Bali, you should focus on the beautiful temples and lush scenery.

Palawan, Philippines has much more beautiful beaches than Bali but very far and difficult to get to from Manila. There are no worthy historical site.
^^^^^ agree (mostly) ^^^^

Bali was very disappointing and really a tourist centric and HUGE traffic nightmare and terrible beaches (in central district). Best time was a bicycle tour down from Volcano, through small towns and rice paddies.

Palawan, had a pretty good time and plenty to see and decent beaches (there are better, nearby)
Underground river tour was OK, but touristy. I'm sure you could get a private version (late at night?)
I found enough interesting history / places in Philippines.
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Old 01-25-2018, 12:39 PM
 
Location: On the road
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They are both wonderful destinations but with only week off I'd do Bali over Philippines. First of all anyone who says beaches in Bali are ugly and dirty is overgeneralizing. Bali is a lot more than the Denpasar area where most mass-market tourists hop into for a week, the island is almost 100 miles across and takes hours to drive across, that's like someone judging all of Hawaii's beaches by Waikiki. There are some beautiful beaches in and around Bali, and most of them are quite clean.

Reasons I'd say Bali over Philippines is accessibility since you have only a week. The Philippines has some amazing locations but you're flying or spending a lot of time on ferries to get between them, whereas you land on Bali you've got (almost) it all just by scooter/car/van. You can do some resort time in the South, then go over to Ubud, then on to Amed's black sand beaches on the east coast, or up north for beaches where you won't see a soul if you walked the beach all morning. You could also take the hour ferry from Sanur to Lembongan and spend either a day trip or a few days around that island. Lembongan has it all in a package small enough to ride a bike around, everything from kayaking through Mangrove forests to beaches in the south to cliffs with 20 foot waves to the north.

I don't think any beach in Bali is as beautiful as Palawan or Boracay in the Philippines, nor is any sight in Bali as breathtaking as the rice terraces in Banaue Philippines, but with only one week if you want to be able to do a lot of different things without too much hassle I'd go for Bali. It's a good time.

Also = don't combine Jakarta with Bali, Jakarta isn't worth leaving the airport. If you're going to do any combining with Bali the best options are:
1. Gili Islands and/or Lumbok. More of the same as Bali except more on the backpacker circuit.
2. Flores to book an overnight boat trip for great snorkeling with a stop on Komodo Island for a dragon hike.
3. Yogyakarta for some of the best temples in SE Asia not called Angkor Wat.

Last edited by lieqiang; 01-25-2018 at 12:48 PM..
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Old 01-25-2018, 01:39 PM
 
12,523 posts, read 18,621,625 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lieqiang View Post
Also = don't combine Jakarta with Bali, Jakarta isn't worth leaving the airport. If you're going to do any combining with Bali the best options are:
1. Gili Islands and/or Lumbok. More of the same as Bali except more on the backpacker circuit.
2. Flores to book an overnight boat trip for great snorkeling with a stop on Komodo Island for a dragon hike.
3. Yogyakarta for some of the best temples in SE Asia not called Angkor Wat.
Gili islands (which literally means "Island Islands") was pretty cool. Where else can you combine psilocybin mushrooms, muslim temples, topless bathing, free roaming farm animals, and early morning prayer chants from loudspeakers in the same little spot. Oh also no vehicles.
It's on the backpacker circuit indeed with the same dazed young Aussies, but there are otherwise quiet areas. I got there by talking to the locals and hiring a small pontoon craft on the eastern bali coast and just beaching it on the island after about 5 or 6 hours of getting soaked by swells coming over the bow. Not recommended for the less adventurous - there are ferries leaving from that tourist cesspool called Kuta - crossing the south china sea by some dude with a 5 HP engine, no radio, no emergency supplies, but amazingly we made it alive.
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Old 01-26-2018, 12:42 PM
 
Location: NoVa
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Comparing one island (Bali) to an entire country with chains of Islands (the Phillipines) is silly, not to mention unfair. As Lieqiang mentioned on his post, both places are wonderful and Bali has a lot of beautiful beaches beyond Kuta. You just have to do your research ahead of time (something you should do before going on any trip anyway).

I remember Bali's Padang Padang beach that our driver took us to. Once we got to the area, we had to work to get down to the beach by climbing down a long stretch of twisty and narrow stone steps, but it's so worth it! It was one of the most beautiful beaches I've seen, very clean with white sugar sand all around. A big Hindu temple perched precariously on the cliff above the beach, complete with annoying monkeys roaming freely on the temple ground (I hate monkeys!). That's just one example.

I seem to agree with LieQiang here, skip Jakarta (I personally love Jakarta since it has fantastic street food). Go to Yogyakarta instead and visit Borobudur and Prambanan, two huge Buddhist temples from centuries ago still intact in Indonesia. If you have time, I highly suggest going on a Mount Bromo trek - leave at midnight and be at the top of the mountain just in time to see the sunrise. One of my most memorable experiences in my travel.

Last edited by graceC; 01-26-2018 at 12:52 PM..
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Old 01-28-2018, 02:22 PM
 
Location: NYC
3,052 posts, read 1,654,037 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmlandis View Post
We have one week off in April and would be traveling from Middle east. Would like to experience nice beach but also interested in churches/temples/ historical sites. Don't want to be in a tourist trap but would like a comfortable safe locale. If we went to Philippines, would like.to see Manila. Don't know about combining Jakarta with Bali. Suggestions?
"...like to experience nice beach " this would be in various areas of the PH, you would have to figure out transportation, say to Boracay or less developed beaches

"...interested in churches/temples/..." these would mostly be found in Bali

"...Don't want to be in a tourist trap..." stay away from Kuta!

"...would like.to see Manila" Why? Doesn't contain beaches or much in the way of churches/temples.


You're comparing one tiny island with an entire nation of 7,000 islands, it sounds like you really haven't any idea of what you really want to do/see. Think some more about this.
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Old 01-29-2018, 06:37 AM
 
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What's intereting in that comparison, is that both the Philippines and Indonesia are archipelagoes that are also independent nations , there are not so many of them, besides them, there is Japan, the Maldives, Micronesia, Belau, Marshall islands, New Zealand, Fiji, Tonga , W. Samoa, Vanuatu, Tuvalu, Kiribati,Solomon islands, Seychelles, Comoros, Cabo Verde, the Bahamas.
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Old 01-29-2018, 02:12 PM
 
2,591 posts, read 1,704,884 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pigeonhole View Post
What's intereting in that comparison, is that both the Philippines and Indonesia are archipelagoes that are also independent nations , there are not so many of them, besides them, there is Japan, the Maldives, Micronesia, Belau, Marshall islands, New Zealand, Fiji, Tonga , W. Samoa, Vanuatu, Tuvalu, Kiribati,Solomon islands, Seychelles, Comoros, Cabo Verde, the Bahamas.
French Polynesia as well.
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Old 03-02-2018, 06:56 AM
 
Location: San Francisco
317 posts, read 245,710 times
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Finally made our plane reservations and have chosen Philipines for one week in April - less than $400 roundtrip from the Middle East on Ethihad. We will stay a few days in Manila and then go to Palawan. Questions:
I know Manila is not the city people speak about but I understand there are a number of tourist attractions - any recommendations? Also, is Taal Volcano worth it as a day trip. I found a nice/reasonably priced hotel in Makati.

Palawan looks like our choice - all the feedback says go to El Nido however it is a long trip from Puerto Princesa. Are there many attractions around PP? - I know the underground river is there but also looking for beach and snorkeling spots. It looks as if it would be 6 plus hours to El Nido and that may be a lot considering we may arrive Monday and leave Friday.
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