China or Panama? Our Next Trip

Discussion in 'Asia' started by LazyGirl, Nov 24, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. LazyGirl

    LazyGirl Silver Member

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    Help. We have exactly 1 week with no kids next September (2014). We'd like to go somewhere outside of Canada / US. We're also looking for something adventurous that we might not be able to get to with kids.

    We're not interested in Europe as we plan to do this in 2015.

    I have looked all around the world, and have narrowed it down to 4 places:

    China: For our dates and budget, there are some great flights to both Beijing and Shanghai. If we miss this opportunity, I can't see us going back anytime soon.

    Panama: Flights are not the best, but looks like a really cool place to visit. We may, in the future, visit Costa Rica or other central America destinations.

    Manila, Philippines: I don't really know what there is to do here, but relatively inexpensive flights for our dates.

    Here is our dilema. We think Panama would be the most fun, but we will likely return to Central America at some point in the future. On the other hand, the chance of visiting China in the future is slim since its not on our top list of destinations. We have no interest in going to Manila but largely due to ignorance of what there is to see and do -- we could be convinced otherwise.

    Here's what we're looking for in our trip:
    - the opportunity to see something we might not otherwise when travelling with kids
    - a good time -- for us, this means experiences and sight seeing (as opposed to lying on the beach or getting drunk at a bar)

    Opinions wanted.
     
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  2. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    All of those destinations have things to see and do with or without kids, though I'd probably put Manila at the bottom of the list. You'd want to get out of town there to see stuff but it is hard to know how the typhoon recovery will play out and what the situation will be on the ground 10 months from now.

    Panama is fun. I've been a few times and have enjoyed Panama City quite a bit. I think that a week is too long just to be in the city - more like 2-4 days is plenty IMO - but you can definitely have some fun there. I've also done Beijing for a few days and quite enjoyed it in terms of things to see and do. You will need a visa to visit China assuming you carry a US passport so figure those costs into your budget.

    The fares to China will, IMO, continue to show discounts for economy class travel from time to time due to the continued growth of capacity in the market. In other words I'd bet you find a similarly priced deal a year later if you wanted.
     
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  3. Jaimito Cartero
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    Jaimito Cartero Silver Member

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    Don't forget to factor in the costs of Visas for China.

    I'm a bit "meh" on China itself. There are certainly lots of nice things to do there, but I'd probably pick Hong Kong or Bangkok before I'd choose a mainland China trip.

    You might also consider doing an award trip, as this might let you kill two birds with one stone. Say fly into Panama for a few days, and then hit Costa Rica for 4 days. Some awards may let you do a stopover for free, or for a small difference in miles.

    Other countries that I like in the general area: Colombia and Peru. Brazil can be quite nice, hopefully they'll get rid of the expensive visa to enter the country.
     
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  4. marcwint55

    marcwint55 Gold Member

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    I would highly recommend China over the other destinations. If you go to Shanghai try to stay on the Bund and get a view of the river. It is absolutely beautiful at night. The museum inside the tower in Pudong is really fantastic. There are so many things to see and do in China that you will not get bored for even a second. Panama is fantastic also, but like Seth said a week is a bit much there unless you are travelling around to different destinations. It is much closer and might be a fun trip with your kids. The Casco Viejo and the canal are worth a trip there.
     
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  5. Colombia isn't that very dangerous
     
  6. flynow

    flynow Silver Member

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    Wherever your traveling check with customs and the TSA what is needed. And the latest update on tourism and each and every country !! Make sure it's safe to go to these countries
     
  7. flynow

    flynow Silver Member

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    You can Google the world's most dangerous countries. They will give you an update!!
     
  8. Jaimito Cartero
    Original Member

    Jaimito Cartero Silver Member

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    No, I didn't find Colombia dangerous in the least. I've had problems with pick pockets and other scams, but not there. Nice people, plenty of things to do, too.
     
  9. ranman1973

    ranman1973 Silver Member

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    I've been doing a lot of research on China lately. A good friend of mine lived there for 5 years as a golf pro. He said if you only have time for 1 destination between Beijing and Shanghai, make it Beijing.
     
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  10. jonspencer

    jonspencer Silver Member

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    I used to live in Shanghai and think you should go to China but I would spend the whole time up in Beijing (BJ) area. With luck September weather should still be nice. The history is fascinating with The Great Wall and all the sights in BJ. If you book early you should be able to splurge a few nights at some quite decent hotels, get massages, take a couple tours and / or have some clothes made.

    Then the food in incredible if you like Asian food.

    China takes plenty of energy, it can be frustrating as it is like a different planet but it is fascinating.

    I like Panama but a week would be stretching it.

    Manila would rank very low on any list for me.
     

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