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2 Weeks in SE Asia in Late September/October- Go!

2 Weeks in SE Asia in Late September/October- Go!

May 6th, 2014, 11:21 AM
  #1  
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2 Weeks in SE Asia in Late September/October- Go!

Where would you go?

I was planning on Thailand, but the continued civil unrest is leading me towards not going to there this year. I went to India last year, and will be waiting for my SO to have time off to go back.

Where would you go?

I enjoy culture, history and would really like at least 2 nights on a beach somewhere to read and relax.
I'll be 24 when I go, female, not big in to partying (at all). I am happy to take a tour, as I will be going by myself, but would be open to maybe a 1 week tour coupled with one week solo.

I'd be flying from DFW in the US. Budget is around 5k, including airfare (which I've seen is typically around $1500 RT)

Ideas? This will be my first time in SE Asia.
foggybridges is offline  
May 6th, 2014, 11:29 AM
  #2  
 
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Thailand is such a great intro to SE Asia, that I suggest you not rule it out. I haven't been there for about a year but there are others here who can give you a better feel for the situation as it effects visitors, if it does at all. Many times disruption is limited to a very small locale and it would be a shame to write this wonderful country off because of minimal, or no impact. I know they're still welcoming visitors and some of them here can, I suspect, reassure you.
MmePerdu is online now  
May 6th, 2014, 12:05 PM
  #3  
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I'm not writing it off! Just this year Trust me, it has been on the top of my list for probably 15 years!

I do have to take into account my parents considerations (they don't want me going at the moment, due to the unrest) as they still assist me when it comes to keeping/paying for my retired horse.
But if those who have been recently would like to chime in, that would be helpful!
foggybridges is offline  
May 6th, 2014, 12:22 PM
  #4  
 
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We were in BKK in January and then again in late February. This was right at the height of Occupy Bangkok and there was some violence at night while we were there. It was disconcerting, but didn't pose a problem for us.

We stayed on the river both times and were never bothered by the political unrest. We read international and local papers before going and followed blogs to keep up with day to day actions. At one point we did consider canceling, but am glad we didn't.
In BKK one passed by the rally sites going to see tourist sites (for example - when we got off the BTS to go to the Jim Thompson House we walked right past a rally site.) and we had no problems. When we went back to BKK towards the end of FEbruary we didn't leave the river area so one would never know anything was going on.

I think the rest of BKK is perfectly fine to visit. We were in Hua Hin, Chiang Mai and Nan and there was no unrest.

This was only our second time to Thailand. For me, the problem was figuring out where things were in relation to the rally sites. I dont know BKK very well, so off the top of my head didn't know where there might be an issue. I did feel safe the entire time we were in BKK. That said, there are so many places to visit why go some place that is experiencing unrest? As you say, you can go another time. Only you can decide how comfortable you will be.

I've got a TR and you can read about our time in BKK.
yestravel is offline  
May 6th, 2014, 12:41 PM
  #5  
 
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As I thought, since I tend to spend little time in Bangkok, there would be zero effect for visitors like me. I know many here adore BKK, but I'm not one of them. I like it well enough, just like the smaller towns and countryside much better. But that's true for me in general, not just in Thailand. I wouldn't hesitate going and if your parents who give you money for your horse have objections, the solution is to just bypass BKK altogether and go to Chiang Mai or a beach or anywhere else. I still think Thailand is your best bet for a first visit to the region.
MmePerdu is online now  
May 6th, 2014, 12:48 PM
  #6  
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Ok, let's say I just don't want to/can't go to Thailand at all in 2014. Where would you suggest?
foggybridges is offline  
May 6th, 2014, 01:39 PM
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What about Vietnam ? We spent 3 weeks in Hanoi and surrounds one October. It rained on maybe 3 days, and that was only light showers. It's a fascinating country with delightful people.

We were in Thailand in Feb and Mar this year, had no problems with the political situation.
I do know that even at my age, my 92 year old mother was worried, so can understand how your parents might be concerned.
sartoric is offline  
May 6th, 2014, 02:00 PM
  #8  
 
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Throw a dart at a map of the region. It's all nice, each in it's own way. Asking this way, you get our favorites, not necessarily what might be yours. I suspect, in any case, you'll end up in the usual places. Which is fine, as far as it goes. But I've never understood the forum route to a personal best.

For instance, one of my all-time favorites is time spent on the Batang Rajang in Sarawak in a tiny town up the river sharing the sidewalk with former headhunters and watching from the deck of a deserted resort while men in boats on the rapids lasso logs. No roads, travel by boat only. I certainly didn't find it by asking here, and while clearly not for everyone, I recommend it.
MmePerdu is online now  
May 6th, 2014, 02:43 PM
  #9  
 
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In general Fodors is great for the tried and true. That said, I'd pick VN. It's a diverse interesting country.
yestravel is offline  
May 6th, 2014, 03:14 PM
  #10  
 
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I have not seen a $1500 RT, but then, I fly from OHare, so that might make a difference.

I just returned from Thailand on this past Sunday, and there is no unrest on display. I saw the "tent camp" at Lumphini Park, but that was the extent of anything. No rally sites, no stages with speakers, music, etc. I was there in December/January, and there was plenty of rallying to "see" along Sukhumvit. This trip I just took was totally quiet in Bangkok.

As far as other choices, probably VN, although I've not been.
simpsonc510 is offline  
May 6th, 2014, 04:50 PM
  #11  
 
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September/October is a great time for Bali and other parts of Indonesia. Good weather and not too many tourists. It's safe for a solo female.

You can socialize or not as you prefer. There are plenty of laid back opportunities for 20 somethings to interact that don't include an out of control party scene. You don't have to join a group tour, but you can hire a driver and guide on a daily basis, if you like. Bali is easy to navigate on your own.

There are many, many safe budget and moderate accommodation choices. Transportation and food are inexpensive(though liquor is costly).

You could spend some time at the beach for sun and sand and some time inland in the Ubud area for culture and nature. You can go deeper into the arts, nature, wellness or spiritual activities as your interests lead. There's a lot to do.

If you'd like to combine with another destination, I'd suggest Java -- Yogyakarta and Borobudur -- or further afield, Angkor/Siem Reap in Cambodia.

If you can't find a flight from DFW to Bali/Denpasar in your price range, then look at flights to Singapore or Jakarta. Connections from there are good, and especially inexpensive on Air Asia.
marmot is offline  
May 6th, 2014, 05:36 PM
  #12  
 
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September/October can be very wet in parts of SE Asia.

I think a limiting factor could be airfare. Tokyo or Narita are usually the cheapest gateway cities. Are you against changing planes in Bangkok?

Japan in nice in October. You could split your two weeks with a trip to Okinawa or catch a cheap Air Asia flight to a beach in Bali, Cambodia, Vietnam or even Malaysia
lcuy is offline  
May 7th, 2014, 09:51 AM
  #13  
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Thanks for the tips! Indonesia sounds interesting, I was actually thinking a while back about doing 9 days in Vietnam and then heading to Bali solo for some R&R.

My flight budget is locked at $1500, it was just what I was seeing, that way I could give you guys a realistic idea of 'on the ground' budget of about $3500?

Lcuy- thanks for the tips, unfortunately Japan is quite far down on my list of places to see, it just doesn't appeal to me, like Australia/NZ (maybe it's my subconscious saying "You can't afford it!! Go cheaper places!!")
foggybridges is offline  
May 7th, 2014, 11:00 AM
  #14  
 
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You can have a lot of fun with this!

I'm only a little older than you and am very familiar with the worried parents aspect. What I do that really helps my parents is I'm always careful to make sure that I have internet access (SIM card, hotel internet, etc) and I will either skype or email about once a day to check in. It costs me just a few minutes if I don't feel like talking but it goes a LONG way towards reassuring them that I'm safe and having a great time. Anytime I'm on the move and may be out of contact for longer I give them a heads up so they know not to worry. It's usually nice to have a chance to chat with my mom and tell her about some of the amazing places I got to see that day, not a burden at all.

To also reassure them, I'm headed to Vietnam and Cambodia solo this fall and have been assured on multiple forums that it is very safe for a young woman traveling alone. Use common sense and you'll be fine!

What might be a good mix for you is a small tour group like G Adventures for the first week (ish) and then the rest of your time on your own. They have a handful of short tours all over SEA that are well inside your budget and still look fun. A tour at the start is nice as it gives you a chance to get your feet wet while you have someone you can ask for help/advice. Then go play on your own and relax before you head home. There are many other tour groups that do the same, but G is the one I'm familiar with.

May I suggest seeing Angkor Wat in Cambodia and/or Halong Bay in Vietnam? Maybe a short tour through Vietnam and then time on your own in Cambodia? The photos look stunning and I think it would be a good middle ground between totally relaxing and being active.
Iowa_Redhead is offline  
May 7th, 2014, 12:56 PM
  #15  
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Iowa- Thanks so much!

I LOVEEE G Adventures! Went to India with them just last year!

I'm thinking about doing their Classic Bali (due to the recommendations of good weather) then to Siem Reap for Angkor, finishing off in Halong Bay!

That way I can keep the parents happy, and myself! I do want to go to Thailand, so so so badly, but I'll need to wait for my SO to have the time/parents approval!
foggybridges is offline  
May 7th, 2014, 01:15 PM
  #16  
 
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Just one comment regarding Halong Bay. If you have just a short time for Vietnam, don't bother with Halong Bay and spend the time in Hanoi. It's a wonderful city and much more satisfying than the less than thrilling HB. Hanoi is a place I spent a couple of weeks and hope to return to for a month or more.
MmePerdu is online now  
May 7th, 2014, 01:34 PM
  #17  
 
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Make *sure* you check the weather for Siem Reap and Halong Bay at the time you want to go. I'm going later in the fall so I'm really not familiar with what the weather would be during Sept/Oct. I want to say that it might be really hot still in Halong Bay and I'm not sure about rains in Siem Reap, so please double check that to see what the norm is and if it's something that would be okay with you.

I'm just starting to get into real planning for this trip and have been playing around on this board and also on the tripadvisor forums as well. I've found a lot of great info (and of course it all just makes me want to get on a plane tomorrow) on both forums.


Another thing for parents is to give them the option to say "please don't" and then respect that. I give my parents that option so that if something REALLY bothers them they can ask me to please not go and basically veto the idea for a while. That works with my parents because it gives them a feeling of some control but I know that they would NOT use that option unless something was truly a danger in their eyes. They've never used it, but have asked for more info before a couple trips.

Don't offer this unless you know your parents wouldn't abuse it and you're willing to abide by it if they do ask you to please not go somewhere that year. While I'm an adult and certainly don't need their permission, they put up with enough from me and there are enough places that I want to go that it doesn't hurt me any to do what I can to help them be comfortable with it.

I also make a point to include them in my planning so that they know what types of places I'll be visiting, staying in, etc. That's not a chore as I have a lot of fun planning and researching. They know I'm not staying in some shady little icky area where I probably shouldn't be out after dark.


They do get better as you get a bit older and they get a bit more used to it. The more trips you go on and come home safely with stories of how great things were and the more they will trust your judgement and calm down a bit.
Iowa_Redhead is offline  
May 7th, 2014, 01:45 PM
  #18  
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Yup, I realize the weather will be less-than-stellar in both places at that time of year (rainy/hot) and I'd love to go in Dec/Jan/Feb,but my job just doesn't work with that!

That's why I'm focusing the majority of my plans on Indonesia, which I hear usually does have nice weather!

What about Singapore/Penang? May I should drop Halong or Angkor and head there for better weather?
foggybridges is offline  
May 8th, 2014, 07:14 AM
  #19  
 
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Really, Indonesia would be ideal for you. Bali is wonderful, and I love central Java. I have a report here from a little over a year ago on a trip to Central and Eastern Java.

Singapore is quite an expensive destination, you could probably swing it for a quick stopover but a long time there will break your budget.

I love Penang, but the weather will be more like Thailand.

If it were me (and it isn't) I'd opt for 2 weeks in Indonesia and save mainland SE Asia for another trip.
Kathie is offline  
May 8th, 2014, 04:33 PM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
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We were in SIEM Reap
in 2011 in late October just afçter heavy flooding..We then cancelled our next leg to Bangkok because of the floods there..November and later seems a better time in that area..after the monsoons.
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