Air Singapore, Laos, Cambodia itinerary

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Jan 17th, 2008, 12:59 PM
  #1
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Air Singapore, Laos, Cambodia itinerary

Two of us are planning a trip for next February (I know, but we like to use our miles, so plan ahead). We'll go on Air Singapore, and will most likely visit Cambodia and Laos during a 2 1/2 week visit. We are both mid 40s, travel a lot, but have never been to this area of the world. We like cities, but we also love seeing wildlife in its natural setting. I'm looking forward to the food, the massages, the different way of life,the temples, and more. Questions:
Air Singapore - previous posts discuss problems with seat assignemnets. I'd hate to be stuck in the center for a long flight, even on Air Singapore. Is this a real risk? Also, if we fly with Air Singapore, we'll most likely go through Singapore, so we'll take a few days there. If we do, are Laos and Cambodia realistic in our 2 1/2 weeks. There are so many interesting areas close together. Thailand sounds terrific, and Vietnam, too. But, Laos and Cambodia seem a bit less crowded. Borneo and its wildlife is intriguing. The usual problem - we want to go everywhere. Any advice is very welcome!
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Jan 17th, 2008, 04:48 PM
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Laos and Cambodia are probably realistic, but you'll need to focus on what, exactly, you want to see.

From Singapore, Silk Air (Singapore Air's regional subsidiary) and Jet Star Asia have connections to Cambodia. You can fly either of them directly to Siem Reap (Angkor Wat) from Singapore, or you can also get to Phnom Penh from Singapore, spend a couple days there, then transfer overland to Siem Reap.

Depending on where you want to go in Laos, you may be able to get there from Siem Reap. The most popular Lao destination seems to be Luang Prabang, and there are daily flights there from Siem Reap. You can also get to Pakse or Vientane by air from Cambodia.

Getting back to Singapore from Laos will probably involve going through Bangkok.
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Jan 17th, 2008, 05:41 PM
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I agree with Micharl. With limited goals, you can visit both Laos and Cambodia and have a few days in Singapore. You'll have to really focus on what you want to do/see.

If you are still thinking about Borneo, you may want to read Kathie's Borneo Trip report. We had a fabulous time there (but then we've had a fabulous time everywhere we've gone).
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Jan 17th, 2008, 06:06 PM
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If your plan is to visit Cambodia and Laos, why fly all the way to Singapore? If you're using miles on Singapore Airlines with Star Alliance, you can also try Thai Airways, ANA, Asiana or United Airlines and fly to Bangkok or Hong Kong. Singapore is about 2 hours south of BKK, so unless you want to visit, I don't see the reason to fly there.
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Jan 17th, 2008, 06:23 PM
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I just want to mention when planning your trip that there is a very interesting Hindu religious festival in Singapore called Thaipusam which is celebrated in Jan/Feb which you may want to see. Devotees piece their bodies with skewers which hold up huge headdresses and walk barefoot about 2 miles between two temples. There is fire walking and other similar physical feats going on at the temples. This festival is not even celebrated in India any longer, just in Singapore and at the Batu Caves near Penang Malaysia. IMO, this is a festival worth seeing. I used to live in Singapoer and this was one of my favourite local events. However, the exact dates for 2009 are not set, it has something to do with the moon cycles, so I only know that it is sometime in Jan or Feb each year. This year it is Jan 26-28. The exact date should be fixed later this year and will be posted on the Singapore tourist website.

Chinese New Year is being celebrated from Jan 26-28 2009, which is good and bad for you. Good because you will miss all the crowds, high prices and more expensive hotels and flights in places like Bangkok and Luang Prabang (where all the expats go over the holidays), and bad because you will miss the special foods, fireworks, lit-up buildings, lion dances and general celebrations in Singapore.
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Jan 17th, 2008, 06:29 PM
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Sorry, did not see the "Borneo" part. It's quite rainy in eastern Malaysia in February, I am not sure it is worth inlcuding it this trip which is short to being with. Take a look at weatherbase.com for rain info. The winter monsoons are in the area at the time. Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam and OK, actually a very good time of year for those areas. Singapore actually has rain, but not the amounts as more to the east, and you aren't in Singapore for the wildlife viewing, beaches or outdoor weather generally, so you can work around this.

With just over 2 weeks, you will have to cut out a few places. I would take out Kalimantan (Borneo) first based on weather.
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Jan 18th, 2008, 07:15 PM
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Thanks for all the advice and information. Yes, I agree that there are other airlines with which I can claim my miles, and I will investigate. Perhaps we can fly non-stop from O'Hare to somewhere in Cambodia or Laos. And, I think it's best to save Borneo for another trip, since it sounds like weather isn't great there in February.

We'd like to visit Angkor Wat and Phnom Penh in Cambodia. In Laos, we want to visit Luang Prabang. And, for the rest of the 2 1/2 weeks? Maybe this is enough, so we have time in each place. There are other spots that interest us, but I hate to rush too much from place to place. Still, if there's time for another spot or two...
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Jan 18th, 2008, 07:48 PM
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Uh... there are no non-stop flights from anywhere in the US to anywhere in Laos or Cambodia. The closest place you'll be able to fly to is Bangkok. And there are no non-stops from ORD to Bangkok. The only non-stops from anywhere in the US to Bangkok are from LAX or JFK on Thai Air.

With two and a half weeks, you could easily spend all of it in your time in a gateway city plus the three places you mention: Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, Cambodia and Luang Prabang, Laos. With a few days in Bangkok (or Singapore) at the beginning and the end, you can just fit all of that in two and a half weeks. Oh, exactly how many days do you have on the ground in Asia? Remember you lose days in transit.

Asia lends itself best to slow travel. Especially as a first-time visitor to SE Asia, you will have much to learn and adapt to.

Have you purchased guidebooks yet? Do make sure you buy Dawn Rooney's guide to Angkor.
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Jan 19th, 2008, 02:33 PM
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Yeah, that's what I was afraid of. I visited some sites, and discovered we have to go through a gateway city. I'd love to visit Bangkok, so maybe that'll be the plan. I am glad you said to just stick with these spots. I want to visit more, more, more, but it's best to just return again. Usually we go away for longer trips, but it will be hard to get away for a longer period this time. In answer to your question, the 2 1/2 weeks will most likely be total, including travel days. I know - we need longer. Maybe another couple could be squeezed in.
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Jan 19th, 2008, 04:25 PM
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Do count your days on the ground, and if you can squeeze in a couple more do so. You'll need a minimum of three full days in Siem Reap just to see the major temples, If you are really interested in the temples, you'll need more. We spent a week and could have used more time. You'll want two days in PP, and I'd recommend at least 4 in LP. Bangkok can absorb as much of your time as you are willing to give it.

If you have, say, 14 days on the ground in Asia, I'd say 2 days Bangkok, 2 PP, 4 Siem Reap, 4 Luang Prabang, 2 Bangkok.

Photos are worth a thousand words... check out our photos of Angkor, Luang Prabang and Bangkok (as well as many other places) at www.marlandc.com This may give you a better sense of what you want to do, where you want to spend the most time.
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Jan 23rd, 2008, 12:14 PM
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Thank you, Kathie. Your photos are outstanding. You are certainly an expert on this board, so I will follow your advice. The next step: convincing my partener's boss to allow him to take a larger chunk of vacation time at once. cross your fingers for me.
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