Southeast Asia Trip Advice...

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by wcblack34, May 29, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. wcblack34

    wcblack34 Silver Member

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    Goooooooood Day All!

    I am in the midst of plotting my next overseas adventure. I've traveled throughout Europe and Russia in the past, but this year I want to do something completely different. I've been wanting to go to Asia for a while now, and I feel like Southeast Asia will be a fine introduction. I'm planning to take 15-17 days in the October-November time frame, and I know that Thailand is certainly on the list (mostly because Thai food is just frickin' awesome). I figure that I will probably spend a week in Thailand between Bangkok and another city/island. I'm trying to figure out where to go for the rest of the trip, and I'd sure like to hear your experiences and recommendations.

    I've thought about Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia, Kuala Lumpur, and Bali, but I'm certainly open to other locales. I don't have real specific requirements for accommodations. I'd like air conditioning, but other than that, I just plan on sleeping there. I travel alone, so I don't need family friendly activities. I'm just looking to experience different cultures and people, and to have a great time.

    I look forward to hearing everyone's thoughts and ideas!!!
     
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  2. i like Samui, Phuket too or Krabi, Vietnam's great and inexpensive, SIN's interesting in the limited time frame i personally wouldn't rush to KL, bit depends on if you like the beaches, if so i'd stick to Thailand/Bali
     
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  3. anileze

    anileze Gold Member

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    I think for the time at hand, you should stick to one or two countries. You could do BKK-Phuket-Siem Reap. Or, Saigon-Hanoi-Halong-Bay-HongKong, or Singapore-Bali
     
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  4. iterfacio12

    iterfacio12 Silver Member

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    You could also easily do Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Singapore, and Bali. There are flights between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore 10X a day, everyday, through Air Asia. Nothing special, but only a 1hr 5 minute flight, $25-75 a pop. Singapore is tad expensive, especially for SWA, but definitively worth a 3 days or so. KL has a good mixture of foods, so if you're a foodie you're certainly going to enjoy yourself. Bali is stunningly beautiful, with a massive amount of things to do, from the beaches to the high class bars to incredible and cheap food. If you move elsewhere on the island away from the Jimbaran Bay type of places, you can see some breathtaking views of mountains and an active volcano, which you can hike up (only with a guide though; every once in a while, some individuals try to do it themselves and wind up hurting or killing themselves). Ubud is incredible. The Monkey Forest is actually a lot more incredible than you would probably think; the architecture and stonework looks as if it came out of some Lord of the Rings production.

    Vietnam is a great suggestion, so if you're leaning that way you could do Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City, but most still call it Saigon), to Hanoi, to Cambodia.Vietnam has some great attractions and brilliant food, and if you add Cambodia in, you can do Phnom Penh for 4 days or so with 2-3 days up exploring Angor Wat (bout 300km from Phnom Penh). Do 5 days for both Saigon and Hanoi.

    You have an absolutely amazing array of options. Good luck!
     
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  5. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    Much of this is almost precisely what I would have suggested for someone with a couple of weeks to kill. I criss-cross SE Asia at the end of every year, but I usually start up North and work my way down. Your grouping of the cities/countries is also logical and at one time or another I have done each of the groups. So, for the OP, here are suggestions, visually, since a picture is worth a thousand words. I would do the cities with same color together:
    SE ASIA.png

    Yup. If still unsure, just put up a map of the area on a board and throw darts at it to pick your cities. You can't go wrong...;)
     
  6. RestlessLocationSyndrome
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    RestlessLocationSyndrome Silver Member

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    When I try to come up with ideas on things to do, one place I look to are tour operators. They tend to put together packages that include activities or locations that I wouldn't have thought of so it might be good to check with a couple to see what kinds of itineraries they have.

    That said, you can't really go wrong with staying in Thailand for 2 weeks exploring the country from North to South.... or adding in Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, Bali etc.

    The only advice is not to move too fast where you don't have time to soak in a city and the activities. I've known people who (and have even been guilty of this in the past) like to go to as many places as possible, mark off as many things as if travel is a checklist and the one who has the most things checked wins. I've never found that I've truly enjoyed my trips as much when doing this and with so many places and things to see and do in SE Asia, it's very easy to get caught up into this.

    Enjoy your trip... and be prepared for some hot and humid weather.
     
  7. anileze

    anileze Gold Member

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    I normally select the airport(s) where my main carrier flies into; barring that, I select the alliance. Then use that city as a base to explore neighboring countries.

    If you have a flexible palette, the cuisines of Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam are quite varied and yet distinctive. Singapore, Hongkong, Bangkok have very many choices for eating - From hawker stalls to elaborate buffets in 5 star hotels that impress even the sceptics !

    Enjoy your trip !
     
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  8. Street Smart Traveler

    Street Smart Traveler Member

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    Your itinerary looks solid. I'd also consider Laos, if you're looking for a laidback, bohemian experience.

    If you're up for it, Myanmar (a.k.a. Burma) is amazing. I like to think of it as the "Soul of Southeast Asia" because it's relatively untouched (albeit due to an oppressive government). The economy is starting to open up, so things are changing fast.

    TravelFish.org is a great resource for Southeast Asia travel info.
     
  9. Chitoc

    Chitoc Member

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    If you enjoy good food and relaxing environment is SEA Region, then you should consider Boracay Island in the Philippines! Highly recommended especially if its your first time in this region. Majority of the population can converse with you in English. Your point of entry will be Manila and then take the domestic flight going to Caticlan Airport in southern portion of the country. Then another 25 minutes boat ride to Boracay and then you're in Paradise! Enjoy your trip to SEA
     
  10. anileze

    anileze Gold Member

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    Agree, however, for a first trip to the region ? I'd say do the cities first :)
     
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  11. Lynda
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    Lynda Milepoint Staff

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    I don't know your traveling style, but a great trip is Thailand and Vietnam and maybe one other country like Laos, Cambodia or Myanmar. In Thailand, along with Bangkok and a beach, you could trek through the hill country something along these lines: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thailand/activities/trekking (naturally, no a/c available when you take a trek, but it's a great experience - at least it used to be, it's been awhile since I was there)

    In Vietnam, my favorite places are Saigon, Hanoi, Halong Bay and Hue. There are so many possibilities and the countries can really vary. Have fun planning!
     
  12. iterfacio12

    iterfacio12 Silver Member

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    [quote=" If you're up for it, Myanmar (a.k.a. Burma) is amazing. I like to think of it as the "Soul of Southeast Asia" because it's relatively untouched (albeit due to an oppressive government).[/quote]

    Ooh, South Korea has that copyrighted, I think. You know, the "Seoul of Asia".
     
  13. Steven Schwartz
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    Steven Schwartz Gold Member

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    In terms of Thailand, you're in luck. Go to the Destinations thread and go to the bottom to find Thailand, We have a member, Kalboz, who is easily the most helpful and generous person on Milepoint and a source of incredible information. You will also find he is very responsive to any questions you may have.

    We went to Thailand in January and had a ball. Doing it all on miles and points means you have to make your own plans - obviously no travel agent to help. What I did was google, for example, "four day itinerary in Chiang Mai". Got tours from a number of companies, found all the common threads and then contacted the hotel. My sense was that I knew nothing about these companies and had nowhere to turn if there was a problem. Contacted the concierge at the hotel and asked for help with a private tour to include the sights I had seen in the google search.

    We stayed at Le Meridien in Chiang Mai and they set us up with a wonderful private guide. That includes the guide, the car and a driver - all for only $80 per day! Thailand is as cheap as it gets and I imagine much of SE Asia is the same. I'm sure you'll have a ball but whatever you do, be sure to connect with Kal for Thailand.
     
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  14. wcblack34

    wcblack34 Silver Member

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    I think that I would like to do a bit of both. The hustle and bustle of the Asian metropolises intrigues me! I've been to busy cities (Rome, London, Moscow), but Bangkok, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Seoul, Jakarta and the like seem to be on a whole other level. I think it will be an amazing experience, but if it gets to be a bit overwhelming, it may be nice to have an island paradise to end the trip with :) That's one of the reasons Bali is high on my list.
     
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  15. wcblack34

    wcblack34 Silver Member

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    I will certainly contact him! I may just have to follow your tour guide strategy as well...

    Were there any "can't miss" sights for you?
     
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  16. wcblack34

    wcblack34 Silver Member

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    I actually made that mistake last year. I took 25 days and started in Helsinki. I worked my way to Tallinn, Riga, Vilnius, Krakow, Prague, and Budapest, then flew to Barcelona and Lisbon. It was a great trip, but I didn't get to experience enough of a couple of the cities and the travel days took their toll. I'm glad I did it, but if I had it to do over again, I would certainly cut out a couple of the destinations. I'm going to take it a bit easier this time around!
     
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  17. Steven Schwartz
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    Steven Schwartz Gold Member

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    You will see all of the important temples - every guide or company knows which they are. In Hua Hin, we basically did nothing but R+R. The only truly unusual and extraordinary thing we did was the VIP tour of the Tiger Temple a few hours outside of Bangkok. If anyone ever told me I would see my wife feed a tiger cub, I would have thought they were drunk! It was an amazing experience and no one can believe our photos. Here's a link:

    http://www.tourwithtong.com/tigertemple.htm
     
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  18. RestlessLocationSyndrome
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    RestlessLocationSyndrome Silver Member

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    That is awesome... even though I don't know if I could do this, I will definitely keep this in mind for the next time I'm in the area.
     
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  19. Sweet Willie
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    Sweet Willie Gold Member

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    agreed, while the cub feeding is cute, I'd like to see the late afternoon exercise.
    Are you an outdoors/rural type person or an urban person?
     
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  20. wcblack34

    wcblack34 Silver Member

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    Both actually. I love hiking and camping (though I am no longer as athletic as I once was :( ), and I also love the vibrancy of the city and all it has to offer. I kind of think that 2 weeks should be enough to experience a little bit of both.
     
  21. Steven Schwartz
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    Steven Schwartz Gold Member

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    Here you go Sweet Willie. And BTW, it was my wife who was drugged, not the tiger!



    TigerTemple.jpg
     
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  22. Sweet Willie
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    Sweet Willie Gold Member

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    great shot, I love that rapid phft, phft, phft sound tigers make when greeting someone they know. (a friend of mine used to work at a big cat sanctuary and I've been fortunate enough to tag along with him a few times to get up close to the tigers & lions (but as a guest it was always through a chain link fence, not in person like you are doing))
    very good, I'm the same way. Personally I'd skip SIN & Bali as one can do those easy with a walker when old.:) If young like you, I'd be looking at Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos etc. My wife & I are coming to the realization that not being as young as we once were, we really need to keep pushing to travel to more "extreme/exotic" destinations where it is not as easy for an older person to travel to/get around. (I don't see myself trekking through a jungle at 90 but easily see myself walking (or if need be in scooter) in easier destinations.)
     
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  23. Aditya Vyas
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    Aditya Vyas Silver Member

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    I would try langkawi its great place, good food and weather specially that time of year
     
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  24. Traveling Momma

    Traveling Momma Silver Member

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    If you want a comprehensive digest of all the information regarding Bangkok, Chiang Mai that was gathered from the destinations page of Thailand here on Milepoint, go to the destinations page -Thailand and search for my post under the title "Sharing my Research." Kalboz gave very specific comments and suggestions that will likely help you too. And, my post has links to many of the places and things mentioned in other posts.

    Enjoy!

    Sent from my iPad using milepoint
     
  25. traveltenor

    traveltenor Member

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    Just to throw in my two cents... after 3 months of a great backpacking trip all over southeast Asia a few years ago (including all of your proposed destinations minus Singapore)...

    ANGKOR WAT

    I'm not sure why others haven't mentioned this, but for me, if I could recommend one place to go, this is it. Unforgettable. Breathtaking. Historical. Easily accessible. Not like anything else in this world.

    You can easily book a r/t flight from Bangkok, or take a bus trip. Set up base in Siem Reap (accomodation ranging from $5/night to the Ritz Carlton) and take day trips into this forgotten city. I'd recommend renting a bike, or hiring a local to take you on theirs. Stunning temples of all shapes and sizes, covered in jungle, some reconstructed, some crumbling... Truly like stepping into a hidden world. You can easily bypass the tourist trap (which mostly ends at the first temple - the same temple that you will see if you google photots of the place) and get absolutely lost among the countless ruins. I'd recommend a trip from 3 days (that's really fast) to 10 days (at complete leisure).

    I could list the next 5, or 10, highlights for me, if you are interested.

    Wishing you a wonderful trip!!!
     
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