2 weeks in Asia with my adult kids Xmas

Jun 3rd, 2017, 08:12 AM
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2 weeks in Asia with my adult kids Xmas

My wife, 2 adult kids and their SOs are headed for Asia for 18 days around Xmas. We were thinking Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Luang Prubang and finish in Komodo. We've been to Indonesia (where my son now lives), Sri Lanka and Viet Nam in the past. I'm looking for some suggestions on our proposed itinerary or other ideas. We like wildlife, historical culture and are moderately physically fit.
Thanks to all for your time

scottelb1 is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2017, 09:14 AM
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Certainly, Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Luang Prabang are realistic in your time frame, but I question whether you could get to and from Komodo in the time you have. One of our members has recently returned from Komodo. Another Fodorite reported on a cruise he took in Indonesia which included a stop at Komodo. Since your son is currently living in Indonesia, he may have some contacts who can help with a trip to Komodo.

I notice you tagged you post with Burma as well. Burma has become my favorite destination in SE Asia, and 18 days would be the right amount of time (taking into account flying in and out of Bangkok to access Burma. With that much time, you could see the "big 4" and get off the beaten track as well. If you decide to explore this option, let me know, and I'll be glad to give you some resources.
Kathie is online now  
Jun 3rd, 2017, 10:47 AM
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one note, I assume you know hotels will be at their most expensive point during this period?? I too will be there with family during this period and have been amazed by the hotel costs, and in some cases the lack of availability in some cases (beaches especially).

do you know about the concept of "serviced apartments"? these are hotels without full amenities and are usually way cheaper than the standard 4* hotel, and in places like Bangkok, chiang mai and others are right in the middle of cities. good chains are ascott, chatrium (we love chatrium riverside in bkk), Marriott (esp. sukhumvit park), Conrad, centre point and others.

we also love the anantara riverside in bkk as our preferred hotel.

Khao lak 1 hour north of Phuket is a great beach location--jw Marriott is our hotel there for xmas this year (double the normal amount we pay).

tamarind village is well located in chiang mai and has a very good restaurant.

hire tours by tong (google her and then telephone for reservations) for excursions in and around bkk.

do a klong (canal) tour by long tail boat of thornburi section of bkk. boats available from taskin pier below skytrain at taskin stop---1-2 hours.

jim Thompson house tour, plus a lunch there
rhkkmk is offline  
Jun 4th, 2017, 04:56 AM
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Thanks for the feedback. I was wondering if we were taking on too much in too short a period of time. I do have to ask what the big 4 is. I'm thinking Bagan, Rangon, Mandalay and Inle?

Thanks for the info reervided apartments. Will definitely look into it. Thanks also for the ideas of what to do in and around Bangkok.

Was wondering what you thought about Chiang Mai? Seems a bit touristy. We've ridden elephants in Bali and I have ethical issues with how some of the elephants are treated. Is there more to do there that makes it worth the trip? and Luang Prabang (same question)?
scottelb1 is offline  
Jun 4th, 2017, 05:44 AM
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Yes, those are the big four, although Inle Lake and Bagan rate higher than the other two. I found just being driven through the countryside fascinating, although that was before the tourist boom and a lot of people seem to fly these days.

Luang Prabang was a lot more touristy the last time I visited (2011) than in 2002 and 2004, but I thought it was still a worthwhile stop for a first timer. You need to see it as a place to chill out and wander, and maybe take a boat trip, not so much a place to see "sights", although the temples are beautiful.

Yes, please don't ride elephants! I think there is somewhere in north Thailand that treats their elephants properly - someone will probably add the location.
thursdaysd is offline  
Jun 4th, 2017, 08:27 AM
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Personally, I am not fond of Chiang Mai (others here will laugh at that understatement). If you want to interact (NOT ride) elephants, The Elephant Nature Park near Chiang Mai is highly recommended. Near Chiang Mai is Doi Suthep, a lovely Buddhist Temple atop a "mountain." There is some pretty countryside around CM - if you were interested you could drive the Mae Hng Son Loop staying in small towns.

We loved Luang Prabang, but it has been years since we were there and it is more developed now. It is a place to go to soak up the atmosphere, visit the temples and chat with the novices. We very much enjoyed the boat trip to the Pak Ou caves, a traditional Buddhist pilgrimage site. But these are low-key attractions. If you and your family are interested in traditional ways of life and in Buddhism, you'll love it. If you are looking foe "attractions" - not so much. There is lovely countryside around LP and opportunities for hiking and trekking.

Yes, you are right about the "Big Four" in Burma. But there is plenty more in the country. We loved our days at Mrauk U, and our 7 -day cruise in Northern Burma in the Chindwin River was simply fabulous! If Burma sounds interesting to you, take a look at our photos at www.amralndc.com There are three sets of photos from Burma: 2009, 2011 and 2015. Also, if you are still thinking of Indonesia, look at our photos of Java from 2012.
Kathie is online now  
Jun 4th, 2017, 12:19 PM
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I second Kathie's recommendation of Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai. It is a magical place where rescued elephants are cared for by their incredible founder. Many of the elephants have such abusive histories. Please do not opt for elephant riding - it hurts the elephants and can inure their backs over time. ENP does not allow elephant rides but you can opt for several different tours. I went with 3 friends and we spent the day walking with the elephants and feeding them as we walked. We were supposed to help bathe them and do a rafting trip as well, but it was strangely cold while we were there and we could not do that. In fact I had to buy a fleece before I went there - that's how cold it was...try finding a fleece in Chiang Mai...not an easy task!

Be sure to get a Thai massage or two - or almost daily like we did! We enjoyed going to Let's Relax in both Chiang Mai and in Bangkok.
ellenbw is offline  
Jun 4th, 2017, 12:32 PM
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I also do not care for chiang mai--have gone 4 times to see why people like it, but I can't figure it out...

we too loved LP. it is a small town and well worth about 3 days.
rhkkmk is offline  
Jun 4th, 2017, 01:57 PM
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Yipes! I just noticed that the URL I gave you for our Burma photos is garbled. It should be www.marlandc.com
Kathie is online now  
Jun 5th, 2017, 07:27 AM
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In case you didn't see my report on Flores and Komodo


Your son could probably give Fitri a call, she's an independent agent in LBJ.
mlgb is offline  
Jun 5th, 2017, 07:53 AM
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Love all this great info. Kathie, your pictures are great. mlgb thanks for the Flores/Komodo report. Ellenbw, like the daily thai massage idea. rhkk thanks for the BKK ideas. thursdayd, thanks for Burma info.

Anyone hot air balloon in Burma? Looks marvelous. Safe?
Also, would love to spend 2-3 on a boat. Originally thinking Chiang MAi to Luang Prabang. Othe roptions?
scottelb1 is offline  
Jun 6th, 2017, 06:15 AM
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please know the ballooning is very expensive, but loved by all
rhkkmk is offline  
Jun 6th, 2017, 07:38 AM
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There are now a couple of Hot Air Balloon companies in Bagan. We were twice scheduled to go up, but fights were cancelled both days due to weather, even so while we have been to Bagan several times, we've never made it up. The companies are very responsible about safety.

You can also spend a couple of days on a boat in Burma. I'd recommend gong with Pandaw - lovely teak boats.
Kathie is online now  
Jun 23rd, 2017, 05:41 PM
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Great information. Bookmarking.
Jackie is offline  
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