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How can we see the most of Asia?

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Thinking about planning a honeymoon in Asia but I feel like I wouldn't know where to begin! Would like to see at least 2 or more countries but we only have 14-16 days...is this doable? Our main interests are wild animals, beautiful, calm snorkeling beaches, and a city or two to round it off. My fiance I am sure will want an interesting culture and more to do besides a beach. We like interesting hotels such as ones where you stay in a tree house, sleep in a hammock, over water, etc. things that are very out of the ordinary. We have up to $9,000 USD to spend but that has to include everything- airfare (from NYC), restaurants, spending money, etc. Since this is our honeymoon we would like to really be able to treat ourselves to a fun and sometimes-luxurious time.

Is this doable in Asia and what countries/areas would you recommend to us based on our interests?

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    it is very doable and at nice hotels too....

    what month?? that is important...

    thailand is perhaps one of the easiest and most fun countries to visit in SEA.... from there it is easy to go to several other nearby countries: vietnam, myanmar, malaysia, singapore, indonesia, cambodia...

    but with your limited time i would suggest a max of two countries and quite honestly one would be better....

    bali would be a really wonderful place too with a stop in singapore....that way you get a unique city and a wonderful unique island paradise...

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    Bali is a good choice because of the wide range of activities and well established infrastructure. You can get beach and upland culture within a few hours drive.

    I like the beach in Bali, but I would stress that it's not the pristine white sand / clear turquoise water variety. Rather, you're likely to find a lively and active beach resort community with big-waves and spectacular sunsets.

    With two weeks, I'd limit your travels to one connecting flight, either two stops within one country (say, Bangkok and a Thai beach) or two nearby destination (like Singapore and Bali).

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    www.sawadee.com with some Phuket Chang Mai Cambodia or Vietnam

    would provide more wildlife beach and vibrant city diversity

    than Bali which is nice laid back around Ubud not as diverse.

    Fly into BKK www.zicasso.com for upscale agent travel or

    DIY lots cheaper... Congrats!

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    Wild animals? Snorkeling beach? Culture? Staying in a unique setting?

    While I love Thailand and Bali, the places others have recommended, neither of those places give all you are looking for. I'd suggest Malaysian Borneo. In Sabah (fly into Kota Kinabalu from either Singapore or Kuala Lumpur) you can take a short hop to Lahad Datu and stay at the Borneo Rainforest lodge located in the primary rainforest and have the opportunity to see orangutans in the wild along with lots of other wild animals. There are a number of places to do great snorkeling on the coast of Sabah. Then fly to the other side of Borneo to Kuching, a charming town that gives you access to a number of other exotic reserves and to the unique longhouse cultures of the Iban and other tribal groups. Your big city experience could be Singapore, the most convenient entry point to Asia that will get you to Borneo.

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    Sri Lanka also meets your criteria. And it has some of the lovliest boutique hotel properties. We used Boutique Sri Lanka to book our trip and they were great.

    If you click on my name, I have trip reports here from both Borneo and Sri Lanka.

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    First, my husband and I travel quickly due to limited vacation time. I don't see any problem in doing two or three stops but you have to determine priorities and review flight options. Although you would like to visit a few countries, staying in Thailand would be easiest; allow a stop in Bangkok for a night or two, head north to Chang Mai and then south to Phuket. All very different areas providing culture, wildlife and beach. Another option is some time in Thailand but include either Luang Prabang in Laos or Cambodia (Angor Wat/Siem Reap area). You can just enjoy the culture, food, people or if you want to be active....we found a bike tour in each area for one day to see the villages. If traveling through Hong Kong, try to stay two or three nights. This is a lovely city and a great stop for getting clothes made as well as good restaurants/bars (use the ferry for transport). And for beautiful beaches, Bali is great but also has beautiful scenery and artists colonies to visit. I was underwhelmed by Vietnam although wandering through Hanoi is an experience. Just avoid the Halong Bay trip -- long drive and similar sites/karsts are available in Phuket area. Hope this helps!

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    Some thoughts and suggestions:

    1. I see from your other posts that you are also considering South America as a honeymoon destination. I have only been to Sao Paolo and Costa Rica, so my experience is limited (and the latter is Central America of course), but I would say that if animals are a big part of your itin, then South or Central America may be a better choice. (Actually South Africa would be your best choice, or places like Kenya, Madagascar or Mozambique where you could combine snorkeling with tremendous wildlife viewing.) But between Asia and South/Central America, I think you would find the variety of animals, plus the relative ease of access to them, better in South/Central America. Asia is not really as developed for this type of activity. You can see elephants in sort of a canned atmosphere, it may be more zoo-like than you want. Borneo, mentioned above, would be more of an exception; however IMO even that can’t compare to Africa (the orang utan experience is, IMO, a bit stilted; although they have great plant and bird life; and places like the bat caves at Mulu are very interesting.) India may also work, as there are some wildlife preserves, again not as good as Africa but fine as an add-on to other things. I agree that Sri Lanka may be a very good choice too, for the mix of beach and wildlife. Asia offers a tremendous amount of variety and options, however IMO good wildlife viewing is not really their strong suit (other than diving, see below). If it is just to be an adjunct to other activities, then you should be able to fit something in that will work. It depends on what you really want to focus on.

    2. If you decide on Asia, you might want to look into ballpark costs for international airfare for several itins in Asia, and then you would have an idea of how much you will have left to spend on the ground. I know airfares can be all over the place, but if you check several sources, you may begin to get a general idea. Is there any way you can use airmiles for some or all of the flights? Also, in major cities you may be considering, if you have hotel points, look into that as well. All this will give you a bigger budget. While US$9,000 is certainly nice, for two people when you consider airfare costs, and the possibility of having to buy intra-Asia flights, it does add up. While there are numerous budget hotel options in Asia that are perfectly fine and comfortable, if you want luxury, you are going to have to be prepared to pay for it; there really aren’t discount luxury hotels here in my experience. But what you pay for will be excellent in terms of service and rooms (some of the best anywhere are here).

    3. With 16 days, let’s assume 2 are given to your international flights, which leaves you with 14 days on the ground. Two countries are quite possible, and a third if travel time is reasonable. You could also choose to spend all the time in one country, but go to various parts (like Bangkok, then the north of Thailand, then a beach area. Or the PRC which you could not begin to cover in 2 weeks.). It depends on how much time you want to spend travelling. Asia is a huge area geographically. Look at flight times within Asia to get an idea of how long it may take to get from Point A to Point B. You may decide you don’t want to spend the better part of a day going between the two. (Beijing to Bali, for example will take more than 10 hours.)

    4. Late October and early November are gong to be a bit tricky in SE Asia because there are two monsoons, one advancing and one retreating. This will mostly affect beach areas, but does not affect all of them. Bali, for example is fairly dry at that time, many beaches of Thailand and Malaysia (including Borneo) conversely, are in rain. Vietnam is usually quite rainy then, esp the central and coastal beach areas (DaNang and Nha Trang). Late Oct and early November are excellent in most of India (other than the east coast). Of course India is sort of in another league as far as travel. Thailand, Malaysia and Bali are far easier to travel in. See weather websites (weatherbase.com and others) for an idea of what to expect. If you are considering the PRC, temps in the north will be on the cool side in those months, perfectly doable, but will require diffrent clothes than say Thailand.

    5. There are very few hotels in SE Asia with over-water bungalows (you need to go to the Maldives or French Polynesia for that), so if you can give that idea up, I think you would be quite happy with what is available (lots of beach front, just not over the water). Hammocks on a porch and the odd tree house hotel should be doable as well. You could also consider renting a house, in Bali this is eminently possible and a good way to do the trip on more of a reasonable budget. You can rent on the beach or inland rice terrace areas (or a week in each). For a start, see vrbo.com and sites like http://www.laksmanavillas.com/villajemma/index.html.

    6. If you can give up the idea of seeing lots of animals, IMO Bali or Thailand may ideal honeymoon spots. There is lovely scenery, great food, vibrant culture and very nice people. It is easy to combine city and country here (Bangkok for Thailand and either Singapore or Hong Kong as part of a Bali trip). Bali to me is still a magical place, despite somewhat heavy development on the southern coast. I would be a little concerned about rain in beach areas in Thailand at that time, so look at weather info to be sure you are comfortable with it. The west coast (i.e. Phuket) is coming out of monsoon then, so may be a bit of a better choice. Sri Lanka involves more of a travel commitment, and really can’t be combined with any other country ( a lighting stop in India might be possible), but does offer a lot when you get there. Sri Lanka has some rain issues as well in those months. I also think that other parts of Indonesia, beyond just Bali, may also be of interest to you. Places like Sulawesi and the Maluku islands, or other parts of Indonesia like Java or Sumatra which are relatively off the beaten tourist path, but which also offer activities like orang utan preserves at places like Bukit Lawang (can also be on the rainy side in November). I love the east coat of Malaysia, and it offers wildlife viewing ops too, but will be in fairly heavy rain in those months, so I don’t think I could strongly recco it.

    As a final comment, if you are going to come all the way to SE Asia and want to include seeing coral and fishlife, I would encourage you to learn to scuba dive before your trip. This would give you better options here for wildlife viewing, IMO. Fish are often overlooked as “wildlife” but the coral and variety of fish in Asia is outstanding (weather permitting). If you want to focus entirely on fish and coral life, then the Maldives may be a good choice for you (some rain issues in those months, see weather websites). You could also have the water bungalows there.

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