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Asia Destinations For First Timers

Asia Destinations For First Timers

Old May 24, 17, 11:38 pm
  #1  
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Asia Destinations For First Timers

I am a total newbie at this so I hope you will excuse any ignorance I may have.

My girlfriend and I (40 & 50 yrs) have been giving a lot of thought to visiting Bali. We picked Bali based on photos we've seen on websites and Instagram. The pricing seemed attractive to so we thought it would be a nice place to try. We've been to the Cook Islands and Bora Bora and are hoping to capture the same types of nice beaches, crystal blue waters, and resorts. We like the tropical coconut destinations with friendly locals.

Collectively we have some travel points we could use to supplement the journey. Alaska pts= 160,000, American Air pts= 70,000, IHG pts= 177,000, SPG pts 120,000, Chase pts 250,000, Barclay pts 200,000.

My question(s) are;
1. Is Bali a good choice or is there something better in the same region? We heard Bali has become the next Cancun and can be a bit overrun by Aussie partiers (nothing against my Aussie brothers). We're open to suggestions @:-)

2. What do you feel in the best option for points flights & routing from LAX? We certainly like Cathy Pacific but are open to other comfortable carriers provided we're not on a flight/layovers of 25+ hrs.

I would certainly appreciate anyone's assistance with tips or pointing me in the right direction. I periodically browse here for tips but just couldn't find enough about Bali.
Kwicherbichen is offline  
Old May 25, 17, 9:24 am
  #2  
 
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my impression of the beaches was that they weren't especially clean. But some parts of the island are definitely quieter than others. Kuta is more popular with the partiers I believe.

Everyone I encountered was very nice - as is the case in most places. There are lots of historic and cultural sites around the island. But if you just want to lounge on the beach you can do that as well. I am not really a beach person though so I'm sure others here will have better answers to those questions. I preferred Ubud and the sights around there.

Korean Air should have decent connections via ICN. I believe they are still Alaska partners or you could transfer Chase or SPG points to KE's program. Or Star Alliance flights via NRT or SIN should be possible too. You'd need to look at the schedule.
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Old May 27, 17, 1:59 pm
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If you like the white beaches and perfect blue water you should look into Phuket in Thailand or Langkawi in Malaysia. I've been to both and they were wonderful.
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Old May 27, 17, 2:46 pm
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GILI ISLANDS!!!

Off the the coast of Bali but if you're looking for the beaches then this is the place!!

Note that they are very small and no vehicles on them - but that adds to the charm in my opinion.
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Old May 29, 17, 1:18 pm
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Been to Bali 7 or 8 times, my favourite location by far is Lovina Beach on the north coast. Black volcanic sand beach, much quieter than the resorts on south, west and east coasts. Good variety of accomodation, all of them will arrange for transfers from airport. Plenty to see and do nearby, e.g. I wanted a Balinese gong, so asked a taxi driver who took us to 2 or 3 local makers, found one that sounded well and at 2 ft. diameter would just fit in my hold luggage. Not expensive, enjoyable 1/2 day trip. Also countryside treks including "exciting" bamboo bridges, etc., etc.
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Old May 29, 17, 7:13 pm
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Originally Posted by Hawes7701 View Post
GILI ISLANDS!!!

Off the the coast of Bali but if you're looking for the beaches then this is the place!!

Note that they are very small and no vehicles on them - but that adds to the charm in my opinion.
We loved Gili T and the fast boat ride to from the island
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Old May 31, 17, 2:08 am
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I've been to Rarotonga, Aitutaki, Tahiti and Moorea, and Bali isn't really something along those lines except for a few similarities to Rarotonga. It's more of a cultural destination than a beach destination IMO. The southern beaches do have the most hotels, but also the most-aggressive hawkers in the streets. Heck, there was even an Arby's when I went.

Much better was Ubud (in the center of the island) and all the daytours and nightly shows out of there. Lovina and Candi Dasa worked as less-visited beaches, but nothing so arresting like Aitutaki (or, I'd imagine, Bora-Bora). And rather than the grass skirts you get the kecak dance or the gamelan orchestra (amazing but in a different kind of way). I also came down with "Bali belly" once (not fun).

Nonetheless, I'm a big fan of Bali but it impressed in different ways than expected. Lombok and Gili were touted as having more natural beauty and fewer people (if you really want something unique, try the original spice islands in the Bandas in Maluku, though I dunno if it's safe there these days)

Hotels in Kuta/Sanur were so overbuilt when I went that low $20s got a nice midrange place with air-con, TV and private bath), and for Ubud I went further downscale for a cottage with mandi and breakfast on the porch (no climate control needed) at $10. Probably more today, but the point is that everything is so cheap that it seemed a waste to use hotel points. Nusa Dua was nice but cloistered and not very distinctive.
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