SE Asia (Kuala Lumpur, Bali, Singapore) Recs

Part travel recommendation and part recommendations. One of our best family friends moved to Kuala Lumpur for work. Are there any places you recommend visiting within a 2/3 hour plane ride? We will have a 11 and 13 year old in tow. Thailand, Indonesia (not Bali), Cambodia?

For the places we know we are definitely going to visit would love any recommendations for KL, Bali and Singapore. We will likely not be doing any high end Michelin level style eating on this trip. In Singapore are we just eating every meal at the Marina Bay Sands? Thats an impressive lineup of restaurants.

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I recommend that you take a look at the other site.

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Super wide open question! How long are you traveling for? What type of trip are you exactly trying to do? Stay at a hotel and do a couple excursions? Are you willing to drive or ride scooters? I would recommend you do one or two countries at most. So much to see and do in each. If you have specific questions about places I will try to do my best to answer them.

In Malaysia have you considered the perenthian islands or penang?

Angkor wat is awesome fly into siem reap don’t ride the bus from Phnom Penh.

Have you considered Vietnam? Food is out of this world and it’s very nice and vibrant, north central and south all have different vibe.

Thailand is awesome too, see above like Vietnam and with more beautiful beaches and islands.

Bali including Gili islands would probably be pretty fun if you had teens. I’m not sure the rest of indo so much but I’ve only really travelled the other parts to surf. The best pork I’ve ever eaten is at Babi guling selingsing slightly north of canguu. Where do you want to go and what are you trying to do in Bali?

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Flying from LAX to Singapore direct using miles. Plan on going directly to KL where our friends have extra rooms for us to get over jet lag.

In SE Asia for a total of 12-13 days. The initial plan was
KL 3-4 days
Bali 4-5 days
Singapore 2 days

We might be able to squeeze in Thailand or Cambodia for 2 days or just extend KL or Bali for longer. I’m not sure how many flights and airports I want to drag my kids to. I think we may opt for more local options like Penang or other areas near Bali. We might stay in Singapore longer and hit up the zoo, gardens, Universal studios. I figure by that point in the trip I might need to get my kids a slice of pizza or some pasta.


The Asia board on HO is very heavily skewed to Penang which will be useful if we decide to go there. A few posts for Singapore and KL which I read through. I’ll try to figure out which hawker markets and stalls to hit up. We will probably only be able to hit up 2 markets.


If you ask Peter on HO about the areas you’re interested in, I’m betting he’ll have many suggestions.


Langkawi or Penang might be good for the couple extra days which are both in Malaysia. Never been to either but heard they are amazing.

As far as bali I would recommend a couple of days in seminyak/canggu region. Seminyak is much more built up and has nice restaurants, bars, and nice beaches and resorts. Canggu is much more hipster but quite touristy now a decent beach and also rice paddies so a little more country. They are about a 20 to 30 min scooter ride depending on traffic. Be aware that traffic is a huge bitch up and down the peninsula so be prepared for trips to take much much longer than expected and plan for traffic.

And then a couple of days in ubud. A mountain village with great hikes, yoga, and scenery and the monkey forest park. Made famous by eat pray love. Lots of hip local restaurants. Their local speciality is ayam betutu.

If you want some restaurant recs I have some for Bali but most of them are “local”.

Also if you have two days to spare Angkor wat in Cambodia is 100% worth it. The temples in the area are insane. I’ve never seen anything else like it and to me it’s a must see. There’s not too much to do in the area so two full days is likely enough. I think the siem reap airport has flights from Singapore but maybe KL too. Worth checking if you can get a direct flight.

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When in KL, consider a day or overnight trip (preferably on the weekend) to Melaka/Malacca, another UNESCO world heritage city and much closer vs Penang. Good Nyonya/Peranakan (i.e Baba Ang) eating among other things. Stay @ Liu Men or Majestic hotel.

Some other related recs

In Singapore, explore the HDB (Housing Dev. Board) hawker centers. Where the non-hipster OG locals dine.


My parents lived in Singapore for a few years and we loved visiting over the holidays a few times. Highly recommend the Singapore Zoo! It was the best zoo we’ve ever been to, in terms of animals seeming happy, plenty of young animals (again, happy residents), large enclosures, etc. Funny enough, good food at the zoo too, with critters hanging out in the trees overhead.

+1 for HDB hawker centers as Sgee mentioned. Had a college classmate from Singapore that I met up with there and we ate EVERYTHING at the joint closest to his family apartment. I have to go back and see where that was…


How much cash do you think we’ll need in each country? We plan on eating at both restaurants and hawker centers/street food.
KL - 4 days
Bali - 5 days
Singapore - 3 days


ATM is the best way to go for cash.

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Interesting. I was going to get from a bank in the US before my trip to avoid any fees.

Yeah I would go Atm too. But my bank also refunds fee charges. Sometimes atms don’t give you the best exchange but they are better than money changers. It’s usually best to go to a big bank atm that is not located at the airport to get money.

I would be more concerned about carrying so much cash around over a 12 day period.

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Did you figure out where you’re going in Bali happy to give you recs as needed.

Yes we are staying at a villa in Seminyak. Taking a day trip (possibly 2) up to Ubud. Going snorkeling one day to Nusa Penida. I’ll take any recs. Thanks.

Check this out.
ATMs In Asia - Fees, Withdrawal Limits & More… (

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bebek tepi sawah for bebek betutu (smoked duck) Nice food and great atmosphere

Warung makan bahagia for nasi campur.


Sisterfields hip westernized brunch

Revolver great coffee

Barbacoa latinish with a Balinese twist fire grilled whole pigs

Mades warung pretty famous upscale nasi campur

Babi guling pak Malan- one of the most famous Babi guling shops I don’t think it’s the best but it’s very accessible and user/family friendly if you like pork you have to try this dish while in Bali whether here or somewhere else.

Two markets near kerobokan which is the main road running north and south.

Taman sari market sells a lot of fruits and veggies and has a lot of vendors that sell foods. Lots of locals and expats shop there.Specifically the martabak telor/manis vendor is very good there. You have to try both martabaks when you are there telor is savory and manis is sweet (manis also means sweet)

There’s also a night market slightly south of there that has quite a few food vendors. And a great ayam/curry/campur stand across the street. Don’t know the name but here’s the location.
Open Night Market

Try to ask your hotel if there’s a good ayam bakar place nearby. That’s seasoned grilled fish and other seafood. They’re really popular in jimbaran beach where they have tables on the sand and grill outside. Might be worth the drive but traffic can get hellish. Something like this
Warung Ramayana Ikan Bakar Jimbaran
+62 811-397-283

Sate babi bawah pohon best sate in the area in legian worth a visit.

One thing to keep in mind Bali belly is a real thing. I’ve tried to give you a pretty sanitized list without anything too crazy. Bring pepto bismol tabs and electrolyte packets, wash your hands and eat what is popular at the restaurants, don’t eat if food looks old or if there’s no one at a restaurant. For some reason they don’t seem to sell pepto in Bali. Obviously uncooked foods or ice always are more risky but each person kinda has their own threshold.

Have fun and if you rent motorbikes be safe!

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When in Rome. DTF in Malaysia at Pavilions Mall. I’m not sure I’ve ever been to a more crowded mall in my entire life. A bunch of items they don’t have in the states. Everything was excellent except for the skinny string beans with pork. A little sweet. Much prefer the US thicker garlicky green beans. Two families of 4 so 8 people total.
5 order of XLB
1 order of spicy pork shrimp wontons not pictured
3 orders of fried rice
1 extra pork chop
2 string beans
1 pea shoots
8 ice water which we were charged $0.30 for each
Total came out to $95. I could do this everyday.


Enjoy your Asia travels! Such a feast for $95! The contrast highlights the difference in cost of living from us here in SoCal.

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KL loves their nice high end malls with food courts and dozens of restaurants. Asians love their coffee on the sweet side. Had a nice dinner at Tsukini No 8 for Xmas. Everybody in my family hates coconut so I tried some food court nasi lemak which was ok. The chili pan new was ok but I prefer chow fun. I’m sure I didn’t go to the locals spot for the best versions.

Bali is wildly popular. I can’t understand now anybody drives a car or scooter here. Ubud day trip without time to try any places but had fun on ATVs, coffee tasting and some required Instagram photo spots. The cat poo coffee is overrated. In Seminyak it’s very touristy so tough finding great food but Baked and Sisterfields are a 3 minute walk from the villa. Happy for the not so sweet coffee, good pastries and solid breakfast options.