Asia Forums

Post New Topic

Recent Activity

View all Asia activity »
  1. 1 Yunnan to Guilin
  2. 2 Best beach in December
  3. 3 Hotel swimming pools - Delhi and Kolkata and more
  4. 4 Paddy fields in Vietnam
  5. 5 Vietnam, or ?, Cruise, or ?
  6. 6 Christmas in Cambodia
  7. 7 Christmas in Bali
  8. 8 China visa
  9. 9 Help with choosing guided tour
  10. 10 Trip Report Trip Report with Pictures and HD Video: Middle East & India
  11. 11 Japan: SIM card vs. MiFi
  12. 12 Where to stay in Hong Kong and Macau
  13. 13 How to avoid MSG in China?
  14. 14 Inoculations for Vietnam & Camboda
  15. 15 Kyoto to Tokyo airport - Train or Fly
  16. 16 Visa to Beijing China
  17. 17 A couple of Kyoto questions
  18. 18 Surin Beach - Rubbish Reports?
  19. 19 Hotel in Langkawi
  20. 20 Kerala- Periyar or Alleppey, which place is more scenic ?
  21. 21 Good restaurants in Shanghai
  22. 22 Flight from Siem Reap to Chiang Mai
  23. 23 Japanese Alps
  24. 24 Trip Report One month in Java and Bali
  25. 25 Visa Service Referral Needed
View next 25 » Back to the top

Not your usual trip report - INSTEAD, a PRE-TRIP report

Jump to last reply

Many on this board ask questions on how to get started planning their trip to Asia. And many more provide fabulous trip reports when they get back. But few if any ever offer a blow-by-blow description of how they put their trip together. So at Bob’s suggestion, :-) I’ve decided to give you a “PRE-trip report” laying out the logistics I’ve worked out and what I’ve got planned for February. So for those of you who relish the details, herewith begins the tale of “How a 49-Year-Old Asia Neophyte, With a Lot of Help from Fellow Fodorites, Cooked Up a Fabulous Three-Week Trip to Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia... ALL BY HERSELF... and If She Can Do It, Surely Any of You Can.”
By althom1122 (aka Karen)

It started over a year ago with a dream of expanding my horizons. The U.S. had become old-hat, and even Europe, after nine trips, was starting to seem bland. I’m not, after all, just your average government worker with a stable job and suburban lifestyle. (Well, I am that, but) I’m also a travel junkie who, as the years pass, needs more and more travel spice for the same travel kick.

So in 2004 I turned my imagination loose, and Morocco, Turkey, China, and Egypt all beckoned. But it was Southeast Asia that grabbed hold of my heart and wouldn’t let go. Visions of wonder danced in my head: Buddhist temples, floating markets, monks in orange robes, elephants that I might actually touch, and architecture with designs more intricate than anything my Scandinavian ancestors in their plain wooden boats had ever dreamed of. Ah, Asia. A plethora of sights, sounds, smells. My fancy was captured, my trip decided (my fate sealed?).

But... how to do it? Sure, I’d done Europe on my own – mostly with a husband at my side. And I’d been to the Middle East – on work trips where Uncle Sam made all the arrangements. But how in the world was a rather naive, somewhat timid 49-year-old West Virginia native to embark on a journey to Southeast Asia with her 24-year-old daughter, a Penn State grad with a degree in, of all things, philosophy?

I could picture it clearly. We’d arrive at the airport in Bangkok, I’d say to my daughter, “Well, here we are,” and then... then... then, what? We’d stare at each other wide-eyed, look around, not have a clue what to do, and I’d burst into tears. (She, being the more mature one, would figure out our next step.)

To avoid that nightmare, I had a lot of work ahead of me. I started with Fodor’s
(TIP #1: START WITH FODOR'S) and read every trip report I could find. One thing I’ve discovered is if I’m not interested in visiting a place it’s because I don’t know much about it. Before long, every place in Southeast Asia seemed fascinating. I wanted to see as much as possible and posted my first draft itinerary.

Fodorites went to work on me. I was “trying to see too much,” “wouldn’t enjoy it,” “needed to slow down,” “would definitely be back.” Humph, I thought. I LIKE to travel fast. Didn’t wanna slow down. Didn’t think I’d be back. But I also knew that the experts here are just that – experts. And I was not. So I went back to the drawing board to rethink my plans. Unfortunately, I got side-tracked – a year at the National War College for a master’s degree (and a trip to South Africa!) derailed my plans for a 2004 Asia vacation.

To be continued.

82 Replies |Back to top

Sign in to comment.