Many travelers turn to the collective expertise of our forums when it comes time to planning a trip. Ask a question and our members rise to the occasion; they give great advice about everything from crafting a detailed itinerary to ballparking a trip budget to finding locals-only spots. Armed with suggestions from the forums community, travelers take off for their trip prepared to have a great time.
On their return, they often report back as a way of thanking fellow members for their guidance. The resulting trip reports are inspiring and helpful to travelers considering similar trips. They can also be pretty entertaining and humorous.
This week, we're highlighting a few reports recently posted in our Asia forum. Planning a trip to Asia, especially without the structure of a tour group or the help of a travel agent, can be daunting---especially for first-time visitors. But reading through these reports, it becomes obvious that the challenges are certainly worth the surprises and discoveries in store for travelers.
Thailand Trip Reports
Just back: libero7, member since March 2007
Traveled to: Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia
Trip highlights: Krabi, Phnom Penh, Room at Pavillon d'Orient in Siem Reap, Bang Melea
"Thanks a lot to this board for help in planning our trip. Bit about us before I start - 30 year old married, professional couple from London. I like rushing about, my wife likes relaxing; I like cities, she likes countryside; I like non-touristy places, she likes to be well on the trodden path; As you can see we have a lot in common! We do both love eating out and going to bars and consider seeking out good restaurants as being one of the most fun bits of a holiday. You will forgive me, therefore, if this trip report is perhaps more about restaurants than it is about monuments."
India Trip Reports
Just back: travelaw, member since August 2003
Traveled to: India
Trip highlights: city of Jodphur, Boudhanath shrine
"...India is a place where you are truly stripped of your everyday thinking and comforts. I expected that somehow I would go to India, directly experience it and come back with an understanding of it, a kind of possession of it. But India is indefinable -- you instead come back with even more curiosity, daydreams, and layers of oddly romantic notions. At home, I spend my days working in a bureaucratic job, a legal job, in which I attempt to force people to change their behavior. It was wonderful to be in a place where I couldn't force or control anything, no matter how hard I might try. I loved the feeling of being thrust into chaos and discomfort."
Cambodia Trip Reports
Just back: BostonGal, member since August 2005
Traveled to: Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam
Trip highlights: Kayaking caves in Halong Bay, cheap massages in Siem Reap, Hanoi, Bangkok, and Chiang Mai, and Patara Elephant Farm
"All in all, an INCREDIBLE trip. I cannot wait to return to Thailand and Cambodia. I left my heart in Cambodia, and when I go back to retrieve it, I'm taking all the people home with me. They are simply amazing. Thank you again for all your input. I welcome questions and am happy to elaborate on anything."
Vietnam Trip Reports
Just back: ared2879, member since February 2007
Traveled to: Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia
Pre-trip prep: Vietnam/Cambodia Itinerary
Trip highlights: cooking class in Hanoi, sunrise at Angkor Wat, elephant trek in Laos
"We flew a combination of airlines, taking United from Chicago to Los Angeles, then Asiana from Los Angeles to Seoul and on to Hanoi. i know it's a longer route, since you can find flights from Chicago to Asia without going to the west coast of the US, but this saved us more money than we ended up spending on our hotels for the 2 weeks."
China Trip Reports
Just back: Pumblechook2, member since February 2009
Traveled to: Beijing
Trip highlights: Grand Hyatt, Panjiayuan Market, the Great Wall
"My wife and I have just returned from 6 days in Beijing and in appreciation of the help I received from the people on this forum in planning the trip, I thought I'd post my first ever trip report. Firstly about us: we're Australian, both 45, and have done a moderate amount of independent travelling. Not seasoned veterans but not novices either. We like to walk around foreign cities as much as possible and like to take our time, not schedule things too closely. Partly because of this we decided to spend all our time in one city."* etoile; (4) Photo from Flickr member rickycliphoto; (5) Photo from Flickr member Mahatma4711