My 1st Trip to Asia in July (Business), Nervous about Travel!

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by SuperW2, May 25, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. SuperW2
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    SuperW2 Silver Member

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    I'm taking my first trip to Asia this summer for work... it's going to be a pretty busy trip with a number of stops, city and country changes and honestly I'm pretty nervous. I havn't been out of the US since 2004 "dream" trip to New Zealand that was 2 weeks for "work" and 2 weeks pure vacation, and before that, just trips to Europe in 2001 and 2002. Since it's a work trip, we will be working during normal day work hours for the most part, and hope to have some free time in the evenings and one weekend in the middle of the 2 week trip to do some exploring and sightseeing.

    Will be traveling with 3 other American's, all of whom have traveled to at least some of these sites before. We didn't get a lot of say over flights and hotels (all had to be "corp approved"). We are flying Delta Business Class, which I was really hoping for Singapore Air but again, didn't have a lot of say. I have almost no miles with Delta (and rarely fly Delta from SFO/SJC), so I guess I'll gain some from this trip for future travel.

    SFO -> NRT - Narita, Japan (layover) -> SIN - Singapore (3 Nights in Singapore)
    SIN -> PEN - Penang, Malaysia (3 Nights in Penang)
    PEN -> BKK - Bangkok, Thailand (4 Nights in Bangkok, including Weekend Off)
    BKK -> PVG - Shanghai Pu Dong (3 Nights in China)
    PVG -> NRT -> SFO

    I'm pretty nervous about all the different stops and stays and while I'll probably take some heat for this, I'm honestly worried about the food. I'm a VERY non-adventurous eater (having grown up Steak and Potatoes from Mid-west). I don't eat Seafood at all, very few Veggies or noodles and don't care for Curry spice, dishes or smell (Don't eat Thai or Indian food, etc). I don't want to be disrespectful to my counterparts from these sites that I suspect we will be doing some team meals with, etc. My wife and kids aren't very happy about me being gone for 2 weeks either, but at least I don't have to travel more than a couple times a year and usually all domestic and generally for only a few days to a week.

    Anyhow, Just wanted to share, see if anyone had any words of wisdom or absolutely must not miss things to see or do in any of those sites above.

    Thanks for reading!
    SW2
     
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  2. jrp2

    jrp2 Gold Member

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    visit the DL Skyclub in NRT. It's has some nice views of the tarmac. I have only stopped in NRT for a layover. I haven't been any of the other cities you have mentioned. Now if you end up in PEK, then I can help you out there. I have been there many times.

    Enjoy your trip!
     
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  3. euromannn
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    euromannn Gold Member

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    Singaporean food is FANTASTIC. The cuisine mix of multiple cultures brings a special variety of too and tastes not found else where in Asia:
    Chinese, Singapore, Thai, Malaysian, Indian, Indonesian. A bit of each influence is found in some exotic dishes.

    Each different cuisine is available. If you have ONLY one place in Asia to eat.....let it be Singapore!
     
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  4. philatravelgirl

    philatravelgirl Silver Member

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    I have similar food issues plus a food allergy, I tend to pre-eat at the hotel ( room service always has chicken or pasta) before work dinners and then eat lightly so that I don't offend and am still participating rather than go hungry. I've also kept snacks on me that I've eaten in case of emergency. You'd be surprised how the worlds foods have changed so try a few things if you can
     
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  5. DestinationDavid
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    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    I hope you enjoy your first trip to Asia. Sad to hear you have food issues because out of the many places in the world I'd say that the food isn't anything great, Thailand, China, Japan, and Malaysia aren't the countries I'd apply that label on!

    As philatravelgirl notes above, most hotels with a restaurant or room service have Western food options available for guests. Also, don't forget the ever powerful presence of American fast food. You'll probably be able to get your hands on some McDonalds/KFC/Pizza Hut along the way as well. If you do have local cuisine, don't be afraid to ask for something with light seasoning or recommendations from your co-workers on a good "introductory" dish to their cuisine. You could even feign illness and just ask for a bowl of rice and some sauteed chicken to soothe your stomach.

    If you need food in Japan, "tonkatsu" (tohn-kah-tsu) is a breaded fried pork cutlet typically serviced with white rice and a mild sauce that is easy on American palates. It even comes as a sandwich with white bread and shredded cabbage at most convienence stores. Or if you find yourself in a Lawson/AM PM/Family Mart, you can ask for "karage" (kah-ra-geh). You'll recognize and enjoy the fried chicken that is presented to you. Japanese convenience stores in general are a great way to sneak by without having to eat too much out of your comfort zone. Last November I took one of my best friends to her first trip abroad and when we landed at Narita she casually mentions that she doesn't like fish. In Japan. Oh, great. She got by just fine though with a little help from yours truly and frequent stops at Lawson.

    Singapore is a fanastic location for sampling Asian cuisine, but it's also very Western. You shouldn't struggle too hard to find something edible here.

    I haven't been to Penang or Shanghai, so don't know much about easy food options and alternatives there.

    I still can't help but feel like I should encourage you to at least step out of your comfort zone a little. You never know what you'll like till you try. My friend who hated fish that went with me to Japan and was worried she wouldn't like anything? Turns out she loves Japanese curry.

    Either way, good luck! :)
     
  6. FlyingFree
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    FlyingFree Gold Member

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    I second that notion. I grew up as a steak and potatoes Midwesterner, but evolved as an adult into a vegetarian who adores Indian and Thai food. Consider mentally re-framing the experience; rather than a challenge, consider it an opportunity that so few Americans get to experience the culture of other countries. I hope you have a wonderful trip!
     
  7. sfo1
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    sfo1 Silver Member

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    Whatever you do, do not eat at a KFC in China, tried it once, the most horrid food on earth.
     
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  8. Singapore Flyer

    Singapore Flyer Silver Member

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    Ironically the KFC in Singapore and Malaysia is quite good. Especially the chili that they give. Think taco bell sauce except that it is good and sublime.

    My kid are very westernized but they really enjoyed eating in Singapore and Malaysia which has very similar foods and styles. They like Thailand as well. Unfortunately seafood is probably some of the best there but you can get by with ordering hainanese chicken rice - boiled then cooled to room temperature and chicken stocked infuse rice. They also have fried chicken over rice in Bangkok as well. Shanghai you may have some issues.

    If you have a chance hit the Asian restaurants around San Francisco. They have some good stuff there that will help acclimate you to it.
     
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  9. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    Especially since this is a business trip and you wil be expected to function during normal business days, since you seem to have a possibly sensitive stomach, I would be conservative about what you eat and drink. Outside of Singapore, drink only bottled water, including to brush your teeth, no ice, and don't eat from street vendors or in places that look questionable unless you are with locals who know. Avoid obvious problem foods lie raw seafood, undercooked pork and chicken, etc. It's better to be conservative than to get sick.
     
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  10. SuperW2
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    SuperW2 Silver Member

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    Whelp, my trip got canceled (deferred technically) so I guess I was worried about nothing...there is discussion about a single site visit to Thailand (near Bangkok) where folks from some of the other regions in APAC would converge in Thailand for a longer summit...
     

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