3 Weeks SE Asia itinerary. HELP

Old Sep 6th, 2016, 08:00 PM
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3 Weeks SE Asia itinerary. HELP

Hi friends... Wife and I are planning a 3 week adventure in SE Asia in Feb. We are looking for a tourist minimal vacation and are interested in beaches, nature, culture, friendly people and maybe an humane elephant experience . Some ideas included Vietnam paired with Laos..... the whole 3 weeks in Thailand or Indo (although I now realize Indo rainy season is in Feb). Any thoughts are appreciated. thank you!
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Old Sep 6th, 2016, 08:40 PM
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What's "a tourist minimal vacation"?
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Old Sep 7th, 2016, 07:04 AM
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There are now a few humane elephant experiences available in SE Asia. The original is the Elephants Nature Park in northern Thailand, but there is now a branch in Cambodia and a branch in Phuket, and I understand they are developing a branch in Myanmar.

If Indonesia is where you want to go, I wouldn't let rainy season stop you. It seems I always end up visiting Indonesia during the rainy season, but it hasn't kept me from enjoying it. If you opt for Indonesia, take a look at Java as well as Bali.

If you prefer Thailand, you might consider a side trip to Cambodia to see the temples of Angkor.

Take a look at our photos at www.marlandc.com for more inspiration.
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Old Sep 7th, 2016, 07:27 AM
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Hi Mme Perdu...

Sorry if I wasn't clear. We'd love to limit our time in the crowded tourist traps. A more "authentic" SE Asia experience if you will.

... Thank you for the reply, Kathie. I have looked into Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai as well as Elephant Village in Laos. Both look awesome. (My wife insists on hanging out with the elephants). Would you just limit 3 weeks to Bali and Java or is there time to venture elsewhere?
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Old Sep 7th, 2016, 07:47 AM
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If you're aim is to avoid tourist destinations, you seem to be working at cross purposes. What you give up when you head into the unknown in the way of infrastructure may not be what you want either. It sounds like this may be your first trip and I'd stick to the beaten path for now, nothing wrong with it and a great deal of right. But it sounds as though you are, in any case.
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Old Sep 7th, 2016, 08:01 AM
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If you opt for Java and Bali, I think three weeks is a good amount of time. I wouldn't add another destination.
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Old Sep 7th, 2016, 10:48 AM
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I can only speak to Elephant Nature Park. We stayed there over night and it was fantastic and one of the best, if not the best, things we did in Thailand. I would go back in a heartbeat.
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Old Sep 7th, 2016, 11:21 AM
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Bali is very firmly on the tourist trail, so if getting off the beaten tourist track is one of your main criteria, then I would give it a miss. Java is somewhat less touristy, although some of the highlights such as Borobadur, Mount Bromo get lots of visitors ( for good reason!)

Apart from the beach aspect, Vietnam and Laos would seem to meet your criteria. If you are happy with some rough roads and basic accomodation then I would consider, flying into Hanoi, taking a train to Sapa in the far north, maybe Ha Giang or BA Be lakes and then heading into Northern Laos via Dien Bien Phu.

In Laos head for Phongsali, Muang Sing, Luang Namtha and spend your last few days in Luang Prabang. The travel may be rough but the scenery, the minority people's villages and the culture are amazing.

Some photos and more info on some of these places can be found on our blog of our trip last year @ https://accidentalnomads.com just click on the destination tab for the relevant country.
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Old Sep 7th, 2016, 11:31 PM
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With three weeks I think you could add another stop to Bali and Java -- maybe a heritage destination like Angkor/Siem Reap, a city like Bangkok or another area of Indonesia like Toraja/Sulawesi.

You are correct that February is the rainy season in Bali. The weather is difficult to predict. Sometimes storms blow in and hang around for a few days; sometimes it's clear and sunny.

Ocean storms could make beachtime in Bali unpredictable, but wouldn't have much of a negative impact inland -- in the Ubud area for example.

It's also difficult to generalize about tourism and development in Bali. Some areas like Kuta beach and Tanah Lot have been overdeveloped in the worst way.

But there are other beach areas that are more gentile, still populated with resorts, but not developed in a way that hinders your enjoyment of the ocean. (With one exception, all buildings in Bali are low-rise.)

You won't find travel poster pristine white sand beaches and crystal clear turquoise waters in Bali, though. The best beaches are big wave surfer beaches. Depending on the swells and tides they can be fierce or tame, but they're always lively and active. You could also look at Lombok and the the Gilis which have some nice beaches in a somewhat less developed environment, but don't expect Robinson Crusoe.

Once you get inland the landscape is pretty much undisturbed (aside from the town of Ubud, which people either find charming or headache inducing). As you go further north you can get entirely off the beaten track. This is the arts and culture part of Bali, with great natural beauty as well.

"Authentic" Bali is a misnomer. It's all the real Bali, because everywhere you are -- even on the most Westernized beach resort -- will be full of real Balinese who have never stopped observing and embracing their unique culture.
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