6+ weeks in Asia, itinerary version 2

Apr 8th, 2013, 11:54 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 109
6+ weeks in Asia, itinerary version 2

Please critique, but bear in mind that we have the following goals for this trip:
1. A relaxing scuba vacation after packing up our lives in New Zealand before returning to the U.S.
2. Followed by a cultural and gastronomic tour

We want to see as much as we can because we won't be back in Asia anytime soon (really, we'll be starting a family, so we expect our travels over the next 10 years will be confined to more child friendly spots in the U.S, Canada, and Europe) but we don't want to kill ourselves by going too fast.

I've marked travel days below with an asterix

*July 15: Fly New Zealand to Sulawesi, Indonesia
July 16-21: Scuba Bunaken and Lemba, with some above water activities too! (6 full days)
*July 22: Fly Sulawesi to Singapore. Overnight in Singapore (This is the only international flight out of Sulawesi, not available on Sundays. We might consider flying Sulawesi to Java to Siem Reap instead depending on flight schedules, possible a day early.)
*July 23: Fly Singapore to Siem Reap, Cambodia. Rest.
July 24-25: Siem Reap/Ankor complex
*July 26: Fly Siem Reap to Hanoi, Vietnam
July 27-29: Hanoi (3 full days)
*July 30: shuttle to Halong Bay for overnight cruise. Night on boat.
*July 31: shuttle back to Hanoi. Get on overnight train to Hue. (note that the Hue airport is closed for renovation this summer, so flying is not an option. Night on train.
August 1-2: Hue (2 full days)
*August 3: train Hue to Danang. Car/taxi to Hoi An (3.5 hours total)
August 4: Hoi An (1 full day, plus half of the day before)
*August 5: Hoi An to Danang. Fly Danang to HCMC to Tokyo, Japan.
August 6-9: Toyko (4 full days, first day is mostly rest)
*August 10: bullet train Toyko to Kyoto
August 11-15: Kyoto (5 full days. May spend one night going to Koya-san)
*August 16th: fly Kyoto to Beijing
August 17-19: Beijing (3+ full days)
*August 20: mostly Beijing, then take sleeper train to Xian. Night on train
August 21: Xian (1 day)
*August 22: Fly Xian to Shanghai.
August 23-24: Shanghai (2 full days)
*August 25: Fly Shanghai to Hong Kong
August 26-27: Hong Kong (2+ full days)
*August 28: Fly Hong Kong to San Fran for cousin's wedding later that week. Our flight is at 10:30 pm, so this is basically a full day in Hong Kong too.
September 1: Back to Boston and our house and dog!
AlisaAAM is offline  
Apr 8th, 2013, 07:52 PM
  #2  
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 22,143
Of the places you are considering, I have only been to a few - Tokyo, Kyoto, Koyasan, Beijing, and Xi'an.

Your timing for Tokyo and Kyoto will likely give you enough time to visit the highlights. I was very glad for my night in Koyasan and recommend Shojoshin-in. For reviews and information (including about other temples there), see http://www.japaneseguesthouses.com/d...hojoshinin.htm
And search this board for other information about Koyasan. Several people who have stayed at other temples appear to have had less positive experiences.

In China, I was glad to have more than 6 full days in Beijing and 4 days in Xi'an, so your plan for these cities sounds very rushed to me, but it all depends on what you want to see and experience. You might find some helpful information in my very long (but searchable) trip report on my time in China - just click on my name to find it.
kja is offline  
Apr 8th, 2013, 09:44 PM
  #3  
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Thank you for the recommendation on Shojoshin-in, kja. We really would like to experience Koyasan but want to make sure not to try to fit too much in our Japan time as it's the most leisurely of our stops and we'll be spending lots of time in gardens there! The multiple modes of transport required to get there from Kyoto also are a bit of a concern, though I've read that the actuality is smoother than it sounds. Your China trip report is amazing!
AlisaAAM is offline  
Apr 8th, 2013, 10:16 PM
  #4  
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 22,143
> The multiple modes of transport required to get there [Koyasan} from Kyoto also are a bit of a concern, though I've read that the actuality is smoother than it sounds

That was my experience -- easier than it sounds. And parts of the journey were fascinating and stunningly beautiful. If you do spend a night on Koyasan, be sure to take advantage of Japan's efficient luggage-forwarding option -- no reason to take all your baggage with you, just take an overnight bag!

> Your China trip report is amazing!

Thanks! It was a wonderful trip, made possible in large part by the generous input of Fodorites.


Oh- just noticed that you'll be in Japan in August, which I believe many people find uncomfortably hot and humid.
http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2273.html
Check this board for posts by KimJapan - I think she's provided some particularly clear information about that. If you keep Japan in your itinerary despite the heat and humidity, Koyasan might be particularly welcome!
kja is offline  
Apr 10th, 2013, 08:06 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 5
>If you do spend a night on Koyasan, be sure to take advantage of Japan's efficient luggage-forwarding option -- no reason to take all your baggage with you, just take an overnight bag!

kja, Can you tell me more about this luggage-forwarding option? Sounds great.
FreedR is offline  
Apr 10th, 2013, 10:32 PM
  #6  
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 22,143
Here's info on luggage forwarding:
http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2278.html

I encourage you to check that site (japan-guide) for EVERYthing about your trip!
kja is offline  
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