About the possibility of timing the markets most long term investors dont feel comfortable timing the markets. Part of it is related to discomfort of giving up a winning position and part of it is the ingrained belief that its not possible to be right most of the times while trying to time the markets.
In such situations different people have different options they can take comfortably. There are no one size fits all solutions.
Regarding alternative investment I think of late the market cycles have become so quick that often investment options turn up off and on. So for a shorter period of time one might consider liquid funds or debt funds etc.