How would you best spend 4 or 5 days in Bali, bookended by a few days in Singapore? Short trips from Singapore might be possible and a couple of day-trips within/from Bali too. Any ideas?
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The most important thing to make plenty of time for in Singapore is the food! Highlights for me are roti prata, chilli crab, char kway teow and satay…though I could go on and on. Hawker centres are my favourite places to try the local food – they’re no-frills, but you can’t beat them for an authentic experience.
Otherwise, don’t miss Singapore Zoo – the Night Safari is particularly worth doing.
In Bali, I’d definitely make time to head into Ubud to experience the island’s traditional culture. If you want to be on the beach, the southern resorts are generally the most popular and built up, but that might be what you’re after…
… ok, and for us : the Asian Civilization Muzeum, the botanical garden … and in Orchard road pick the shoppingcenter ION , or Vivo City but thats further on over Chinatown. There you have nice restaurants aswell where you can sit on a terrace. Arab street and the little shops aroubs and small cafés are worth going too.
This is probably too late…but I’d second Emma with the food recommendation. Newton Circus used to be the ‘classic’ hawker market, but there are loads of local places – and because it’s Singapore you know it’s going to be the cleanest street food you’ll ever eat..ask about ‘Roti John’ – it’s a real ‘fusion’ thing (involving baguettes)! I’d also ask about the best place to eat laksa – an unforgettable experience, as is mopping up chili crab sauce with bread on the east coast. The Little India hawker market is amazing – the Indian food here is Tamil all the way, quite different to what you get in UK.
If you go to the Night Safari (which is really the ‘evening safari’), don’t miss the tiger enclosure – the big cats often prowl right up to the see-through glass, meaning you can look right into their eyes (I suspect they can’t see you) – it’s shiver-inducing.
Short trips from Singapore means Malaysia – historic Malacca (Melaka) would be my choice.
Little India and Arab Street to enjoy the cultures and cuisines.
A day trip to the islands nearby:
-Pulau Ubin (the boat departs every 15 mins or so from Chagi Village) – good for cycling, you can hire a bike once you get to the island.
-Kusu Island and St. Johns Island (the small ferry leaves from Marina South Pier, 4 or 5 a day) – very quiet, no man’s islands, good for swimming and relaxing, there might be one shop in Kusu Island, but generally there’s no places you can get food nor drinks in these island.
Shot trips from Singapore:
I recommend Malacca, too, and it’s quite accessible from Singapore.
Tioman Island in Malaysia is also a great place to visit if you like nature.
You might enjoy visiting Lombok island, less commercialized than Bali. I think there is a boat that goes to Lombok from Bali. You can also hike Mt. Rinjani, the second highest mountain in Indonesia.
Thanks to everyone for those suggestions – I’ll try to fit in as much as I can, but wildlife, local culture and cuisine will be top of the list. I recall a disappointment on my previous (flying) visit, about 10 years ago. In search of some traditional Nyonya food near Clarke Quay, we searched up and down River Valley Road, to no avail, for a restaurant that we later discovered had been transformed into an Irish theme pub only a few weeks earlier – so frustrating! Should have better luck this time, with your help.