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Bali or Phuket - Nice place to stay / dive??

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Hi everyone,

 

I am going to be working in Kuala Lumpur during the last three weeks of January and I am traveling to Asia already on the 26th of December to do some nice beach / diving vacation.

 

My girlfriend is going with me and we are now trying to decide where to go during that time. The places we are mostly considering are either Bali or Phuket.

 

Any suggestions with regard to these places in terms of beach and diving. And which hotels to stay?

 

Thanks!

 

Nuno

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Hi everyone,

 

I am going to be working in Kuala Lumpur during the last three weeks of January and I am traveling to Asia already on the 26th of December to do some nice beach / diving vacation.

 

My girlfriend is going with me and we are now trying to decide where to go during that time. The places we are mostly considering are either Bali or Phuket.

 

Any suggestions with regard to these places in terms of beach and diving. And which hotels to stay?

 

Thanks!

 

Nuno

 

You can't go wrong with Bali. Depending on where you go, it's much less "tourist-y" than Phuket.

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You can't go wrong with Bali. Depending on where you go, it's much less "tourist-y" than Phuket.

Well you can actually - it's wet season in Bali at the moment, the currents in Tulamben are all over the place, viz is down, and today it is windy as all heck so we can't even get in the water so I'm teaching first aid to some locals for the day. The viz is too bad for shooting wide angle, and the surge is making shooting macro very frustrating. I vaguely recall that it might be dry season in Phuket at the moment?

Edited by RedSeaDiver

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Do a bit of research around the best season to visit each place and you may have your answer. I am not an expert but if I recall correctly, Phuket's good season should be coming up.

 

I personally like Bali more but that's because I like muck diving and shooting macro. In Bali, I would recommend sticking to Tulamben, Seraya, and Amed for macro and Nusa Penida for mantas (mola mola season is July-Aug). Bali is also great for food, culture, and just generally chilling out. Maybe the same could be said for Phuket, but I have always liked Bali more.

 

The Similan islands have very healthy reefs and are well protected so the reef fish life is very vibrant. It is a wonderful thing to see a healthy reef scene with lovely soft and hard corals and reef fish. Richelieu Rock is known for mantas but only during manta season - I went out of season and found it quite disappointing. I did the Similans on a liveaboard and I understand that is how most people do it. I guess land based vs. liveaboard will figure in to your decision on location as well.

 

I don't have any view on the beaches as I was in both places primarily for diving.

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Well you can actually - it's wet season in Bali at the moment, the currents in Tulamben are all over the place, viz is down, and today it is windy as all heck so we can't even get in the water so I'm teaching first aid to some locals for the day. The viz is too bad for shooting wide angle, and the surge is making shooting macro very frustrating. I vaguely recall that it might be dry season in Phuket at the moment?

 

Yep, it's the beginning of the season in the Andaman Sea. Lasts till April.

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I am thinking of going to Lembeh and Bali in February. Is that still the wet season? Would it be better in May?

 

Thanks!

 

 

Well you can actually - it's wet season in Bali at the moment, the currents in Tulamben are all over the place, viz is down, and today it is windy as all heck so we can't even get in the water so I'm teaching first aid to some locals for the day. The viz is too bad for shooting wide angle, and the surge is making shooting macro very frustrating. I vaguely recall that it might be dry season in Phuket at the moment?

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Well you can actually - it's wet season in Bali at the moment, the currents in Tulamben are all over the place, viz is down, and today it is windy as all heck so we can't even get in the water so I'm teaching first aid to some locals for the day. The viz is too bad for shooting wide angle, and the surge is making shooting macro very frustrating. I vaguely recall that it might be dry season in Phuket at the moment?

 

Well Tulamben is only ONE area in Bali. There are protected bays you can dive without worrying about the currents and/or wind as much, sorta like all weather dive sites for macro like Secret Bay. Tulamben entry is just tough because of the rocky beach. However, according to my forecasts, if you think it's gusty now, wait till Tue/Wed!

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Tulamben entry is just tough because of the rocky beach. However, according to my forecasts, if you think it's gusty now, wait till Tue/Wed!

Tuesday is off gas day, Wednesday is fly home so I should be ok. There are some pretty stunned people here in Tulamben at the moment that came expecting sunshine and great viz - has hardly stopped bucketing down since about 8am.

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Yes it's the tropics, you can have tropical storms anytime of the year and they can last days, even in the dry season.

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There are some pretty stunned people here in Tulamben at the moment that came expecting sunshine and great viz - has hardly stopped bucketing down since about 8am.

 

Wow. That's tough. I was there for two weeks in April and it was wonderful. It rained a few times but briefly and only at night.

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I was expecting it to be wet as it's the wet season, but a few that have turned up here the last few days didn't do their research. Has been bucketing down for most of the day.

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Any suggestions with regard to these places in terms of beach and diving. And which hotels to stay?

 

Use Agoda.com to book your motel.

I have used them a few times with no hassles.

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I just returned from three weeks in Phuket (12/1-22), and while I can't say much for Phuket itself, the weather was good and the diving was excellent. Did a 6 day liveaboard in the Similans, which was unbelievable, followed by 9 daytrips diving out of Phuket. Had fantastic viz the entire trip, with very few exceptions. Out of Phuket we had two days with mantas at the south tip of Koh Racha Noi (12/16 & 12/19). Obviously the Similans are far better than the sites south of Phuket, and I can tell you that the life up there was phenomenal at the beginning of this month, and the boats aren't overly crowded right now.

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If you want a really nice place to take your girlfriend that is still relatively undiscovered and has amazing diving, I would highly recommend the Racha on Racha Yai island (also known as Raya Yai island): http://www.theracha.com/new/index.htm

 

It is a 30-minute boat ride from Phuket (a speed boat is provided by the resort for anyone staying there), and is much much nicer than Phuket IMO. The diving there is great (similar to the Similans from what I hear). We saw mantas when there, and now is the season for them there. I liked it much better than Ko Phi Phi personally, and way better than Phuket. I would recommend using Raya Divers, which is right be the resort, rather than the resort's "dive" shop, which is really more like a dive agency. http://www.rayadivers.com/site/raya-yai-2/

Edited by mcliffy2

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I have been both of the places. In the end of January/start of February I prefer Phuket. The Similans are on its best that time, take a liveaboard Mermaid II or Queen Scuba. If you prefer land based diving take Phi Phi or Raya Yai, the divesites usually are very close. In Phi Phi divecenter Barracura Diving, Racha Yai Divecenter Ray Divers. There is lot of accommodation on that time, so there is always room available. I usually take room couple of days before from latestays.com.

Aksu

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