So. Africa, Thailand, or Israel?

Jan 25th, 2005, 08:54 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1
So. Africa, Thailand, or Israel?

Hi all-
First post here. My wife and I just won free airfare and are thinking about one of the countries I mentioned in the title. We would be travelling in mid-February, and would be on a budget. I know that is pretty vague, but this is last minute so we haven't even sorted out the financials yet. Also, we would only be vacationing for a week or less. Sad, I know but at least we're going somewhere right?
Anyway, the question I pose is simply this: where would you go, why, and could it be done 'cheaply'?
I appreciate your help and please don't scold me for not doing my homework yet: we just found out.

SeaLord is offline  
Jan 26th, 2005, 02:27 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 2,501

I would have gone to Thailand. It is possible to get cheap but nice hotels, the food is great and it is pretty cheap, Bangkok is an amazing city etc. I have been to Thailand twice on vacation with my wife and it has been great. I have posted trip reports and pictures from our trips on my homepage Maybe you can find some useful information there.

Stavanger, Norway
gard is offline  
Jan 26th, 2005, 02:43 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
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Been to "Africa" many times - ditto Thailand. Never visited Israel and have no intention so to do (I'll leave it at that). First, Africa is 50 odd countries which vary enormously, and Thailand is one. Do you want beaches, or landscape, or animals, or cultures that are completely new to you?

Thailand is very "nice". And if you have never visited a Buddhist country that aspect is wonderful. Beaches good, food good.

Africa? For a week you have to be thinking SA, or one of the east african countries.

Cheaply? depends what u mean by cheaply. Travel by bus is cheap either place. For accommodation, Thailand probably has more in the way of 3 star hotels. What are your minumum requirements? Must you have a/c for instance? Do you insist on eating facilities where you are staying or do you prefer to go check out the town?

If it was me? No contest. I'd go to Kenya or Tanzania and do a cheap and cheerful safari - 3/4 days and if you can wear the cost of some internal flights spend the rest of the time in Zanzibar.

But it really all depends on what you like to do...

Best wishes - wish I won free flights!!
alice13 is offline  
Jan 26th, 2005, 05:54 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I would think a week in South Africa would be a frustratingly short time. Can't speak for Thailand, also don't know from where you'd be traveling, but transport time with that short a period also would mitigate SE Asia or Africa IMO.

OTOH, Israel is small, compact, and in a week you can see quite a lot. Obviously you'd be in N. Hemisphere winter instead of S. Hemisphere summer (or Thai heat, regardless) but areas like the Dead Sea will be warm, uncrowded, and as always, fascinating, educational, and beautiful. Rent a car and you can get around very easily.
Gardyloo is offline  
Jan 26th, 2005, 05:58 AM
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You don't mention from where you're traveling and your budget once you land at any of these destinations.

But Thailand can probably give you the best value. However, Thailand is very hot and humid, so you have to be prepared for that. You can get lovely 3*, 4* hotels, all with a/c, most all with pools. Hiring a driver/guide while there is very reasonable. And right now, for as many people who have continued with their plans to Thailand since the Tsunami, as many have sadly cancelled their plans. You can probably get whatever you're considering here.

I'd go to Africa at the drop of a hat, but if Tanzania, which has it's calving season in the Southeast Serengeti in February - you'll be hard pressed to get accommodations at this late date. Not only in the Serengeti, but many other of the normal stops on the northern circuit.

Kenya might be an easier book for February. And while a week in either country isn't enough, you can visit the Masai Mara, Amboseli and maybe a few days on the coast in/around Mombasa.

South Africa is just too far to go for such a short time. Barely enough time to spend a few days in Capetown, a run up the Garden Route and then you're outta there.

Israel on the otherhand, might be the easiest... hopefully with a non-stop flight you're there rather quickly and cover quite a bit of the surroundings in a week.

All of these destinations are so diverse, and have their pros and cons... it's you who have to decide based on your flights (how long, non-stop or connecting, weather, budget) and your interests.
Jan 26th, 2005, 06:55 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,751
I would have to say Thailand.
The food, the peole, the whole attitude to life, when something goes wrong, just smile and laugh! Takes some getting used to but it is the attitude that life is for living that I find the overall best thing.
If you travel November to February it's not too hot and certainly if you head for Northern Thailand it can be downright 'cold' at night, and beaches along the Coast south of Bangkok have a constant sea breeze.

If things were 'better' places like the Victoria Falls and other parts of Zimbabwe and sourrounding areas would be great, but from what I read and hear you can't get a decent hotel for $30 a night or a class hotel for $60 like in Thailand. Pity because Africa has some truly amazing places to see.
JamesA is offline  
Jan 26th, 2005, 09:40 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I love Thailand & have been there twice. Haven't been to Israel yet. But South Africa is probably my favorite place that I've been. Still a good value (not as great as it used to be, but still good). Split a week between Cape Town (gorgeous, fun) and Kruger National Park (drive yourselves around and see elephants, hippos, lions, hyenas, baboons, zebras, giraffes, etc...incredible). Accommodations in both are reasonable & can definitely be had for under $100/night.

Thailand is great too, wonderful value, and needs your tourism right now. Split a week between Bangkok and either the beach or the north. Loved Phuket but others can better advise on where to go in Thailand post-tsunami.

I don't think you could go wrong with either one.
lisa is offline  
Feb 11th, 2005, 04:09 PM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 16
Definately Israel. Its the most diverse in terms of things to see out of the choices mentioned.

One day, you can be in the cosmopolitan hustle and bustle of Tel Aviv. Hot restaurants, coffee shops, beaches, and great nightlife.

Then you can enjoy one of the richest histories in the world with amazing archeological digs from BC times as you head North.

THen there is Jerusalem. There is only 1 Jerusalem. Do not miss Yad Ve Shem Museum. An absolute must in your lifetime.

Then there is the Dead Sea. Have you ever been in water where you cannot but float? No matter what you do? Your skin will be GEOURGEOUS and soft when you are through! Indulge in a little mud, too.

Then there is the North of Israel - lush, fertile valleys and the Sea of Galilee. And at the northern tip is the coolest underwater cave - georgeous.

Then there is the South - the deserts, the jeep trails, the craters (yes there is a large crater in Israel).

And finally, there is Eilat at the southern tip. Its the Cancun of Israel. Even in February you can enjoy the sun and some of the best snorkeling in the world.

Finally, there are the people. Most likely, if you befriend someone there, they will help you with an amazing itinerary of secret gems and places that you would have never found on your own. They love to travel, Israelis, and have a very small country. They can't exactly go to their neighboring countries, so they get to know all the nooks and crannies of their own country. And there are a lot of gems!

Rent a car - you can see most of the counrty in a week if you really wanted to.

ctheworld is offline  
Feb 13th, 2005, 08:23 AM
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 87
Africa, The Animals, Beaches,People, Endless landscapes and if you want this with a big mac and 1st world services, it's to be had in South Africa.
Photos of Africa and a few other places.
rdkr is offline  

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