Country Hopping in Asia

Mar 9th, 2003, 09:50 AM
  #1  
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Country Hopping in Asia

Hi all:

My hubby and I are contemplating visitng Hong Kong, Bangkok, Singapore and Beijing NOT in that order. Has anyone done any sore of country hopping, if so what means did you use (air/sea/rail), and the cost if possible.

Thanks!
Chica is offline  
Mar 9th, 2003, 12:12 PM
  #2  
 
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Hm... Chica,
I would call this city hopping, rather than country hopping. Sounds very exhausting to me! Not only the travel involved, but all the cities themselves, unless you have a lot of time available.

Honestly, I don't see the point of it. Visiting only cities can be very tiring, especially with hot and sticky weather. Keep in mind, all four of them are large cities, some are more difficult to get around than others.

From my personal experience, Hongkong and Singapore are pretty easy, while in Bangkok and Beijing sites you will want to visit are more spread or even outside the very center.

Rather head for one city, maximum two of them, and spend the rest of your time either exploring the country itself, or if you want some relaxing days, somewhere on an island.

I've visited all four cities you mention, but always in connection with a longer trip throughout the country itself. Exception was Beijing, where we spent a whole week, whereas after Hongkong, we flew into Bali on one trip and to Thailand on another.

Maybe, others have a different opinion.

Sorry, can't help with transportation, but I see that you mention the Cathay Airpass on a different post.
Ursula is offline  
Mar 9th, 2003, 04:02 PM
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A number of years ago we had American Airlines FF miles that provided us with free business class tickets on Singapore Airlines to Tokyo, Taipei, Singapore, and Hong Kong so we did those four cities and loved the trip. I'm currently looking at cashing in again next year to go to China and have found a couple of options, that I assume you can also do on your own without the miles.
Cathay Pacific will allow us to fly to Bangkok with a stop over (unlimited time) in Hong Kong and then a return from Beijing with a stopover (again unlimited time) in Singapore -- or vice versa. This would mean you'd then have to get your own flight from Bangkok to Beijing.

Ursula, I'm not so sure that Chica is suggesting that she only wants to stay in those cities, but rather those are the destination cities. Although certainly Hong Kong and Singapore stand on their own as cities, it would be easy to venture out from Beijing and from Bangkok. And since the four cities are in three different countries, I see nothing wrong with calling it country hopping.
Patrick is offline  
Mar 9th, 2003, 04:15 PM
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As far as means of transportation, I would fly.

The only exception would be between Bangkok and Singapore. If you were going to spend some time on the southern Thai islands, then you might want to continue south to Singapore. But even so, I would guess it would take no more time to fly back to Bangkok and then to Singapore.
Marilyn is offline  
Mar 9th, 2003, 05:40 PM
  #5  
 
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alright there chica here ya go your best pics if you are in the USA. is to pic up a malaysia air, ACCES ASIA PASS. 25 citities $899 or Cathay pacifics ALL AISA PASS. 17 cities $999

I used the Cathay pass. last year. i chose the 3 month option and traveled to the below cities for $1300
hong kong, (land Yangshou), china
taipai,
Osaka, (land kyoto), Nagoya. japan
Manila, philapines
Bali, (land Jakarta). Indonesia
Singapor
Kuala lampore. (land Penage)
Bangkok, thailand (land vientine, LP. Laos.)
Saoul, S Korea

chica don't listen too the folk that say it can't be done.. it's easy but yes maybe try too plan a couple days in each destination and may'be use a city then beach destination cambo or something in that nature..
orgy7 is offline  
Mar 9th, 2003, 05:47 PM
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time, as mentioned above is an important consideration first of all...if you just want an overall view do it spending at least 3 days in each place....you must allow 1/2 to one full day for travel between places when you consider getting to the airport, immigration, etc, plus flying and the same on the other end....
both cathy pacific (hong kong based) and malaysia air have special all asia passes which would allow you flexibility to move from one place to another at a low cost and include your transpacific flight...see your travel agent or their respective web sites for details...one note...each require you to fly to their home base (hk or kl) initially and on each leg of the journey...cost between $900-$1500 depending on when you go---fabulous buy....i think beijing is not included in the malay package, however...substitute bali instead??
four those 4 destinations i would think that you should not be considering a vacation of less than 17 days, and more preferably i would stay 5 full days in hk, 5 full days in bkk, 3 full days in sing, and 5 full days in bei, plus 6 travel days including coming and going from the usa (i presume)....
do it and enjoy---you will be going back i can guarantee that...

another option for this first trip would be to geographically do either a northern trip (hk, elsewhere in china, incl. beijing) or do a southern trip (bkk, other thai areas like chiang mai and the southern islands, and sing., plus bali, kl, langkawi)????
rhkkmk is offline  
Mar 10th, 2003, 06:40 AM
  #7  
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Thanks to Ursula, Patrick, orgy7 and the last person rh7. This is good advice and I do really appreciate it . I should have mentioned that i am giving myself over 2 weeks but under 2 weeks and YES I will plan to spend 2 days MINIMUM per city. and yes I know the flying has to be considered. This trip is not going to be relaxing, it's not one of those trips...that's what Mexico is for . This is my hubby and myself lifetime trip so we expect to be flying...for the HECK of it...we have 3 tentative itineraries..if anyone feels to read it one of them to get an idea it's here GRACIAS to all! >>

Flight
Depart Date: Apr 16, 2003
From: Toronto, ON, Canada
To: Singapore, Singapore

Confirmation #:
Cathay Pacific Airways (CX) Flight 829
Depart: 2345 - Lester B Pearson Intl Apt - Toronto
Arrive: 0700 - Hong Kong International Apt
Connect:
Cathay Pacific Airways (CX) Flight 717
Depart: 0855 - Hong Kong International Apt
Arrive: 1225 - Singapore Changi Apt

Flight
Depart Date: Apr 20, 2003
From: Singapore, Singapore
To: Bangkok, Thailand

Confirmation #:
Cathay Pacific Airways (CX) Flight 712
Depart: 1335 - Singapore Changi Apt
Arrive: 1455 - Bangkok, Thailand

Flight
Depart Date: Apr 24, 2003
From: Bangkok, Thailand
To: Tokyo, Japan

Confirmation #:
Cathay Pacific Airways (CX) Flight 708
Depart: 0950 - Bangkok, Thailand
Arrive: 1345 - Hong Kong International Apt
Connect:
Cathay Pacific Airways (CX) Flight 500
Depart: 1505 - Hong Kong International Apt
Arrive: 2020 - Narita Apt - Tokyo

Flight
Depart Date: Apr 26, 2003
From: Tokyo, Japan
To: Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Confirmation #:
Cathay Pacific Airways (CX) Flight 521
Depart: 1720 - Narita Apt - Tokyo
Arrive: 2055 - Hong Kong International Apt

Flight
Depart Date: May 03, 2003
From: Hong Kong, Hong Kong
To: Toronto, ON, Canada

Confirmation #:
Cathay Pacific Airways (CX) Flight 828
Depart: 1620 - Hong Kong International Apt
Arrive: 2145 - Lester B Pearson Intl Apt - Toronto

Chica is offline  
Mar 10th, 2003, 06:41 AM
  #8  
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CORRECTION...planning to go for over 2 weeks but under THREE (3) weeks!
Chica is offline  
Mar 10th, 2003, 07:07 AM
  #9  
 
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what about checking out one of those Pacific cirlce trips..

offerd by many consolidators.
www.airtreks.com

orgy7 is offline  
Mar 10th, 2003, 08:10 AM
  #10  
 
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You are going to get a lot of personal opinions on this, and here is mine, based on having lived in Hong Kong and Singapore for 10 years:

I have read your itinerary, and do not see Beijing, is that correct? I would actually skip Tokyo and add Beijing. This is entirely personal, but I think Beijing is such an interesting city and there is so much to see and do. There is nothing in Tokyo to compare to the Great Wall, the Forbidden City or Tiananmen Square. Also, much as I love Singapore having lived there for 5 years, I would skip Singapore and concentrate on Bangkok, Beijing and Hong Kong. Singapore is simply not as interesting a place or culture as the other three. These three cities will give you a good taste of the different cultures and religions of the area. Also, if you concentrate just on these three places, you will get a chance to see outlying areas in each, like Lantau Island or Shek O beach in Hong Kong, and the Summer Palace outside Bangkok. Finally, you don’t' mention the time of year you are going. If it is in the summer, all three will be very hot and humid, (especially Bangkok and Hong Kong) which will slow you down in how much you can (or want) to cram into each day.

My recommended itinerary would be 4-5 days in Beijing, 3-4 days in Bangkok and 3 days in Hong Kong. If you want to add more days, I would include Xian to see the terra cotta warriors, about 2ays. Also if you want to see some beaches or countryside, you could spend 2-3 days in Phuket, a short flight from Bangkok, or you could go by car to the Hua Hin coastal area about 2 hours by car south of Bangkok. Another good choice for a few days would be the Chiang Mai tribal area in the northern mountains of Thailand, about 2 hours by air from Bangkok. Finally, 3-4 days in Bali would be a good option, although the distance and flight time don't make this quite as attractive as going to beaches or the countryside in Thailand.

As this is a Fodor's site, I would suggest you get the latest books on the area and do some research. At a minimum, read the destination guides for each place which Fodors has already provided on this site.
Cicerone is offline  
Mar 10th, 2003, 09:56 AM
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actually I didnt want too say anything since it has been mentioned a million times here but Singapor really is not much of a tourist town.. I would( cost and time pending) swap Sinapore for beijing. TOKYO and japannee cities have a different flavor from other asian cities (except S korean) so it would be worth going.
orgy7 is offline  
Mar 10th, 2003, 10:02 AM
  #12  
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Thanks Cicerone and Orgy7:

in all fairness to be honest, Beijing will be better and I know it...it's just because the add on for the all asia pass for that was 600 a person..AND..also what my hubby and I were going to do was to go to Hong Kong and take the rail from Kowloon into Canton (Guangzhou), the home of my maternal grandfather and just spend a night there..but my hubby was going on about the great wall of China etc..and based on his thinking and your thinking it is DEFINITELY to be cosidered.

I do appreciate advice, it helps!

--chica.
Chica is offline  
Mar 11th, 2003, 03:36 AM
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Chica... I am from HK. I travelled to Guangzhou regularly. The city is not very nice. It has nothing to offer for tourist. Beijing, on the hand, is one of great cities in the world. You need at least three days in Beijing.

If I were you, I skipped Singapore.
tattoo is offline  
Mar 11th, 2003, 04:00 AM
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I agree that Guangzhou is not much to see expect for knock-ff handbags and cheap tailors, but as it is an ancestral home for your family I would say to make the trip. Even better, you should be able to get cheap round trip airfare from Guangzhou to Beijing, probably much cheaper than from Hong Kong. You can take any of the domestic Chinese airlines and don't need to be tied to Malaysian airline partners. There is also a train, but it takes something like 18 hours. Run a search on this site for information on cheap flights from Guangzhou to Beijing. I agree that it would not be worth going on your air pass for this portion as that price does seem high.
Cicerone is offline  
Mar 11th, 2003, 05:02 AM
  #15  
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Thanks all again and Cicerone you sort of hit the nail on the head here, I am hoping you can answer a question for me. I wanted to know the CHEAPEST way of getting to Beijing from Hong Kong or as you say maybe try it from GuangZhou. I will appreciate if ANYONE can give me any kind of ideas on this. The train is way to long 30hours..so we are looking at air. Again if we are using the all asia pass to add on China is 600 CAD per person, we are really trying to avoid that amount of money.

Thanks again.
Chica is offline  
Mar 11th, 2003, 06:01 AM
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You might want to post this as a new entry with a different title, as you may get more responses. I don't have any direct experience with buying tickets for flights out of Guangzhou, but my suggestions would be as follows:

1. If you have any relatives (no matter how distant), friends, friends of friends or work colleagues in Guangzhou or China generally, enlist their aid in finding a good price. Do some research on the web and with travel agents in the US and Hong Kong (see below) so you can get an idea of high and low prices. Then see if someone in the PRC can get it for you cheaper.

2. Go to the website for the Lonely Planet guidebooks at "lonelyplanet.com". This is the site for backpacker travelling, and they often have good ideas for cheap air travel. Get onto the chat/talk site and post your question. The area of the site you need is called "Thorn Tree Posts ". Select "South Asia and the Mainland". The site is somewhat similar to this Talk section of the Fodors site.

3. Get a copy of The South China Morning Post and look at the ads from travel agents in the travel section. This is the main English-language paper for Hong Kong. If you live in a major city, you should be able to buy a copy, or your library may have one. (You can try their website at scmp.com, but I took a quick look and couldn't figure out how to use it without subscribing. You might consider a brief subscription if you can't get a copy where you live.) There may be ads for Guangzhou-Beijing flights, otherwise contact the travel agents by e-mail or phone/fax and ask for quotes. (I would set up a hotmail address for this, otherwise you real e-mail address may get on all sorts of mailing list.) See why prices they can get. I wouldn't buy from them on-line or by fax, but wait until you get to Hong Kong. You could certainly ask if they would hold a reservation and you would pay them when you get to Hong Kong. You would want an agent in Kowloon (Nathan Road area is popular) or Hong Kong Island (Central, Wan Chai or Causeway Bay).

Don't be surprised is a guy named Peter N-H totally contradicts everything I said above. He has written a travel book (surprise!) and basically tries to tell contradict everything said by other contributors on this site. He has useful experience and advice, but it often comes out in a condescending way.

With regard to your trip generally, don't forget that you will need a visa for China. If you are a US citizen, you can obtain a visa as a "walk-in" applicant or by mail from the PRC embassy in Washington or a consulate in a major city. Mail takes 7-10 working days and costs $35. For walk-in applications, normal processing time is 4 days and fee is $30. There are offices in Washington, NY, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Houston. For information, go to the website for the PRC embassy in Washington at www.china-embassy.org. You can also get a visa in 2-3 days in Hong Kong. However, if you will only be there a few days, it is not worth the time and trouble to wait until you get to Hong Kong to do this, IMHO. China is the only country for which you will need a visa. You don't need one for Hong Kong, but do for the mainland.
Cicerone is offline  
Mar 11th, 2003, 06:19 AM
  #17  
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Thanks Cicerone...I am printing all this info..and yes I will start a new post...to get more responses..actually I was reading up on the trains..it really seems like the cheapest option..and there are sleep quarters for more money of course but for less than the airfare...appreciate!
Chica is offline  

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