I asked ChatGPT to help me plan a vacation and this is what I think of it

With all the recent hype about what ChatGPT can do, I decided to give it a go. I asked the wizard to help me plan a 5 day trip to Bali that includes some of the destinations that I would like to visit. Here goes…

Help me plan a 5 days 4 nights holiday trip in Bali, Indonesia which covers seminyak, ubud, snorkling at Nusa Penida, Canggu and squeeze in a visit to the Tirta Empul temple

And this is what ChatGPT came up with…

Certainly, I can help you plan a 5 days 4 nights holiday trip in Bali covering Seminyak, Ubud, snorkeling at Nusa Penida, Canggu, and a visit to the Tirta Empul temple. Here is a suggested itinerary for your trip:

Day 1: Seminyak
Arrive at Bali and check into your hotel in Seminyak.
Spend the day exploring the town's beaches, shops, and restaurants.
Visit the famous Potato Head Beach Club for sunset drinks and dinner.

Day 2: Ubud
After breakfast, check out of your hotel in Seminyak and head to Ubud.
Visit the Tegalalang Rice Terraces and take a walk through the lush green fields.
Explore the Ubud Monkey Forest and see the playful monkeys up close.
In the evening, watch a traditional Balinese dance performance at the Ubud Palace.

Day 3: Snorkeling at Nusa Penida
Start early in the morning and take a speedboat to Nusa Penida for a day trip.
Visit the famous Kelingking Beach, Broken Beach, and Angel's Billabong.
Snorkel in the crystal-clear waters of Crystal Bay and see the vibrant marine life.
Return to Bali in the evening and rest for the night in Ubud.

Day 4: Canggu
After breakfast, check out of your hotel in Ubud and head to Canggu.
Spend the day surfing and exploring the trendy beach town.
Visit the Tanah Lot Temple for sunset and take in the stunning ocean views.

Day 5: Tirta Empul Temple
On the final day of your trip, visit the Tirta Empul Temple.
Witness the holy water rituals and immerse yourself in the Balinese culture and spirituality.
Spend the afternoon at a nearby hot spring for a relaxing end to your trip.

Return to your hotel in Seminyak for your last night in Bali.

This itinerary will give you a taste of Bali's different regions and experiences, from the beachy Seminyak to the spiritual Tirta Empul temple. Make sure to try some delicious Balinese food along the way and soak in the island's natural beauty.

At first glance, it looks pretty decent. It did cover most of what Bali is known for. However, I still don’t think that it can replace a human travel advisor. Why?

Simple Map of Bali, Indonesia

Firstly, it lacks a good sense of direction. It recommended us to go north to Ubud to visit the monkeys, then go south-east to snorkel in the waters of Nusa Penida before staying a night in the western area of Canggu and then spending the last day in the car going further north than Ubud to visit the Tirta Empul Temple. Not very smart there, that temple should have been included during our stay in Ubud!

Instead of recommending just a beach club (the Potato Head), perhaps the wizard should have read up on a few newer and probably more “happening” ones such as Finns.

Then I asked ChatGPT to plan a trip to Sabah. At first glance, it looked great too. However, the wizard did not remember that one has already flown to Sandakan on day 4 and visited the Orang Utans and the Kinabatangan River, because it suggested that you fly to Sandakan again on Day 6!

Day 1: Arrival in Kota Kinabalu
Upon arrival in Kota Kinabalu, check into your hotel and spend the day exploring the city. Visit the Kota Kinabalu City Mosque, Signal Hill Observatory Tower, and the Sabah State Museum.

Day 2-3: Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre and Kinabatangan River
Take a flight to Sandakan and visit the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre. Spend the afternoon at the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre before heading to the Kinabatangan River for a river cruise in search of wildlife. Spend the night at a river lodge.

Day 4-5: Sukau Village and Kinabatangan River
Continue exploring the Kinabatangan River with morning and afternoon river cruises. Visit Sukau Village for a cultural experience and explore Gomantong Caves to witness the swiftlet bird's nests collection.

Day 6-8: Lankayan Island
Fly to Sandakan and transfer to Lankayan Island. Spend your days snorkeling, diving, and relaxing on the island's beautiful beaches. Take a boat ride to witness whale sharks if it's in the season.

Day 9: Kota Kinabalu
Fly back to Kota Kinabalu and spend the day exploring the city's local markets and food scene. You may also visit the Tun Mustapha Tower and take a walk at the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park.

Day 10: Departure
Depart for your home country.

This is just a sample itinerary, and you can customize it to your liking. Some additional activities you can consider are hiking in Kinabalu Park, visiting the Poring Hot Springs, or exploring the Sandakan Memorial Park. Make sure to research and book activities and accommodations in advance, especially during peak travel season. Enjoy your trip to Sabah!

The moral of the story is – speak to a human when it comes to travel because isn’t travel all about making and experiencing human connections?

In hindsight, I wonder if ChatGPT would have planned the itinerary differently if I asked it to plan the trip more ‘efficiently’.

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Andrew is a self-confessed guru when it comes to frequent flyer programmes. He claims that he is more familiar of the terms & conditions than the one who came up with the terms & conditions. His dream is to be able to feast on cookies day and night without getting fat.