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15 days in SE Asia starting SUNDAY - Is this schedule ok?

15 days in SE Asia starting SUNDAY - Is this schedule ok?

Old Jan 9th, 2009, 09:38 AM
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15 days in SE Asia starting SUNDAY - Is this schedule ok?

Hey all! Lots of good advice on this website, so thanks in advance for all your help. On a whim, I have booked a trip with some friends to SE Asia. I depart this Sunday, and arrive in Singapore Tuesday morning local time. Here's what my tentative schedule looks like. Haven't booked the interim flights yet or hotels, but am hoping to do that today. Let me know your thoughts!

Thanks!!

Singapore - 2 days
Bangkok - 4 days
Bali - 4 days
Lombok - 3 days
Jakarta - 2 days
(15 full days on the ground)

What do you guys think? Am I missing some awesome spot that I should see in lieu of one of my other destinations??? Curious on your thoughts.

Thanks

mrnick is offline  
Old Jan 9th, 2009, 09:42 AM
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I would suggest you skip Lombok and add that time to Bangkok and/or Bali- in Bali split your time between Ubud and a beach location.
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Old Jan 9th, 2009, 09:45 AM
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Why skip Lombok? I've heard that most of the locals prefer Lombok to Bali (I think there was even a NY Times article that said Lombok is a nicer, less crowded version of Bali?)?

Also, I'm a big architecture buff, are there any spots in the areas I've listed I should check out (or other cities/areas in SEA that I should check out instead of some of the destinations I've listed)?
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Old Jan 9th, 2009, 10:29 AM
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Have you ever been to Asia? I ask because you are really trying to do too much in so little time. When you say you have two days somewhere, I'm guessing you really have 2 nights - which when you consider getting from place to place means you really have 1 day. With 15 days on the ground, I'd say choose 3 or a maximum of 4 places to visit.

Personally, I'd cut Jakarta. I'd add a day to Bali and one to Bangkok.

I like Lombok. The NYT article was bout it being a less crowded version of Bali is deceptive - or clueless. The cultures on the two islands are really very different. The reason you go to Bali is for the accessability of its unique culture. Lombok is lovely, but in no way a smaller, slower version of Bali.
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Old Jan 9th, 2009, 10:43 AM
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Sorry, I got interrupted - here are some other options to consider:

Bangkok is my favorite city in the world, so I hesitate to say skip it, but your itinerary would make more sense if you stuck to Indonesia - say, Bali, Lombok and central Java. This would give you a view of the diversity of Indonesia - rally an amazing place.

What kind of architecture interests you? Modern? ancient? For modern architecture, it's hard to beat Hong Kong (but it's a much longer flight from Singapore), though both Bangkok and Singapore have some interesting modern buildings. For ancient architecture, consider Angkor, and in central Java, consider Borobudor and Prambanam.
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Old Jan 9th, 2009, 11:09 AM
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Thanks for the input. I'm going through Jakarta because I have a friend there and that's where I will depart for my return back to the US. Sounds like Bangkok is pretty high on everyone's list (Btw, I'm least interested in modern/contemporary architecture).

So maybe it would be:

2 days in Singapore
5 days in Bangkok
4 days in Bali
3 days in Lombok
1 day in Jakarta

I would have loved to visit Angkor but I need a visa and this was a last minute/spur of the moment kinda trip that I just booked 2 days ago!
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Old Jan 9th, 2009, 11:34 AM
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You should have no trouble getting a visa for Cambodia once you get to SEA. However, I'm with Kathie in thinking that fewer places are better. Personally, I'm not a big fan of Bangkok, and it is a detour from a Singapore - Indonesia itinerary. Definitely keep Lombok, and consider adding Yogyakarta instead of Bangkok.
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Old Jan 9th, 2009, 08:28 PM
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the second layout is more to my liking..

bkk has fabulous new buildings in the city center, but less and less older style buildings all the time..

lombok has no traditional buildings that i saw that were interesting, but the place itself is fantastic...if you can afford it stay at qunci villas...
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Old Jan 9th, 2009, 08:42 PM
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Yes, the second schedule is better although that's still a lot of places in just 15 days. Happy Travels!
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Old Jan 10th, 2009, 10:18 PM
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That's a lot of places still, you have to factor in lots of time at the airport and in the air.
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Old Jan 11th, 2009, 01:28 AM
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One day in Jakarta is enough - Jakarta is a place with a difficult layout and unless you have a car and driver to take you around its very difficult to move around there.
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Old Jan 11th, 2009, 07:03 AM
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I agree you don't need much time in Jakarta, but I didn't find it that difficult to get around. I used taxis, rickshaws and feet, but I was staying in the center (Ibis Arcadia, I believe).
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Old Jan 23rd, 2009, 12:21 AM
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Hey everyone! Thanks for all of your input...so I'm near the end of my trip now, and wanted to give you all an update on how its going. My semi-final itinerary was as follows:

Day 1: Singapore
Day 2: Singapore (Sentosa)
Day 3: Singapore AM / Bangkok PM
Day 4: Bangkok (Grand Palace, Wat Po, Khao San Road, Patpong, etc)
Day 5: Bangkok (Boat Markets, Teak Mansion, Chatuchak Market, etc)
Day 6: Phuket
Day 7: Phuket (Boat tour - Phi Phi Island, Bamboo Island, etc)
Day 8: Phuket (Phang Nga Bay boat tour)
Day 9: Phuket to Kuala Lumpur, Petronas Towers tour & lunch during 5 hour layover, then Kuala Lumpur to Bali
Day 10: Bali
Day 11: Bali
Day 12: Bali
Day 13: Bali
Day 14: Jakarta
Day 15: Jakarta
Day 16: Jakarta AM / Flight to US PM

SINGAPORE
What is most remarkable about this city is its cleanliness and orderliness. It is by far the cleanest place I have ever been - no trash on the sidewalks, no homeless people, even the 20 year old Toyota taxis were immaculate inside. I was very impressed by how much order there was in the city. Traffic was light at worst, and overall, the city was a sterilized version of a SE Asia metropolis. I recommend catching a meal at one of the many food courts that line Orchard Road. Lunch can be had for US$5-8 per person. While in Singapore, we toured the many malls, shopping centers, Sim Lim Square, Esplanade, the financial district, Chinatown, Sentosa, Vivo City, Clarke Quay, City Centre (Parliament, Supreme Court, etc). Only thing we didn't do was check out the Night Safari. I'm glad we didn't spend more than a couple days there, because I think I would've been bored past day 3.

BANGKOK
Bangkok is in many ways, a stark contrast from Singapore. Where Singapore was orderly, Bangkok was the definition of chaos. Where Singapore is clean and sterile, Bangkok in many parts was unsanitary and grungy. Upon arrival in Bangkok, the first thing I noticed was the ring of dense smog that surrounds the city skyline. We stayed our first night at Plaza Athenee on Embassy Row, and from our 20th story room, we could see just a few miles before the cloud of brown became too dense for vision to penetrate. We used the MRT to get around the new city, spending a lot of time at Siam Paragon (GREAT FOOD at SUPER CHEAP prices...and VERY VERY CLEAN)...Siam Paragon, Discovery, Siam Square, etc are definitely worth at least a day or evening to explore. We found ourselves returning here to hang out at the True internet cafe, or catch a great meal at the food court in the basement. The next day, we hit all the major tourist sights. Word to the wise - always agree a taxi fare before you jump in. If you don't you run the risk of the drivers taking you to the most congested throughfares in the old city to run up the meter. When we first hailed cabs, they quoted us upwards of 600 THB to go from our hotel to the Grand Palace. After asking several different taxis, we finally got a taxi to bring us to the Grand Palace for 150 THB (roughly $4). The next couple of nights we stayed at the Millennium Hilton - I was very pleasantly surprised with this hotel. Great facilities. Great rooms. Awesome views. Free river shuttle to the MRT station across the way. And it was very cheap (less than $100/night). Over the course of the couples of days we were in Bangkok, we hit all the major tourist spots and did a side trip to the Floating Boat Markets. Having been there, I don't think I would have done that in retrospect. It was flooded with tourists and didn't have that authentic feel that I had expected from the many brochures we looked at. Overall, Bangkok was an interesting city worth checking out for a few days. Definitely check out the Chatuchak Market and Siam Paragon. Those were the two highlights of my trip.

PHUKET/ANDAMAN COAST
We took the Air Asia flight from Bangkok to Phuket for the remarkably low fare of $50. The flight was very very clean. In Phuket, we stayed at the Hilton Arcadia Resort. The accomodations were okay, and Kata Beach was so-so. The main attraction to the Phuket area are all of the islands. I highly recommend the Island Hopper tour to Phi Phi Island and several other islands. For $80-90/person, you get picked up from your hotel and spend the day traveling from island to island, resting/snorkeling at each for 45 min to an hour. The tour gives you a great feel/overview of the area. The included Thai lunch buffet was also great. The following day we did the Phang Nga bay tour with another tour company. Boat wasn't as nice, nor was the food at the gypsy sea village. But I must say, this was the highlight of my entire trip. The natural scenery of the Bay with the various outcrops is absolutely breathtaking. If you travel to Phuket, you MUST MUST MUST check out the bay.

KUALA LUMPUR
After spending a few days in Phuket, we boarded a plane to Bali by way of Kuala Lumpur. We had a 5 hour layover and figured that we could actually check out the Petronas Towers in the hours during our layover at the airport. We took a taxi for MR62 which is about $18 and it brought us right to the Towers (about an hour from the airport). We were lucky that the people working the Tower tour were sympathetic and let us in to the tour, despite having given out all of the tickets for the day. I can't say I was all that impressed with the Towers, but it did give us a good view of the city below. We took the taxi back and had a quick lunch at the airport before boarding our plane to Bali

BALI
Currently, we are in Bali. After visiting Phuket, its very hard for Bali to compare. I'll let you know in a few days what my final thoughts are on this over-toured area.

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Old Jan 23rd, 2009, 07:45 AM
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It sounds like you are having a good time. I hope this introduction to SE Asia will mean you'll plan another trip where you get a bit off the tourist track.

I do have to chuckle a bit about the places you are visiting in all of these locales. You mostly visited shopping malls in Singapore, and no doubt you would have been bored had you stayed longer and continued to visit shopping malls - I'd be bored in an hour! But there are lots of interesting things you apparently didn't do - Museum of Asian Civilization, botanical gardens, some of the interesting ethnic areas like little India or Arab street.

In Bangkok, you "hit all the major tourist spots in a couple of days"? Well, you saw a couple of the major attractions.

I'm fascinated that you loved Phuket and think Bali is over-touristed. There are lots of places in Bali that are lovely and untouched. Are you staying in Kuta or Nusa Dua, the tourists enclaves? I do hope you'll explore other areas of Bali to get a sense of the people and the place.
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