HELP !!! I'M AFRAID OF ASIA

Jul 13th, 2008, 01:46 PM
  #1  
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HELP !!! I'M AFRAID OF ASIA

I am a 42 year old,Canadian woman who for various reasons hasn't travelled in 15 years to a foreign country. I do love to travel, and have done lots of domestic travel, but have been afraid of Asia! Sadly,and embarrassingly I know nothing of the culture, food, customs etc.Due to unusual circumstances and the chance to bond with my dad on a crazy adventure I just booked a trip today to go to Singapore with him(73 years old). We are both adventurous,and fun, but dont want to rough it too much or spend too much money.We are leaving in August and havent decided yet when to return to Canada (perhaps 10 days). We both love culture, the arts,and surprisingly shopping. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. What should I be reading? Kelly
thordarson is offline  
Jul 13th, 2008, 02:04 PM
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kelly---singapore is very expensive, one of the most expensive cities in s.e. asia... but it is doable....food can be very reasonable, however, especially at the hawker stands...

get yourself a good guidebook like frommers or fodors for a start..

you will learn quickly from that...

ask as many questions here as you wish because many of us have been to singapore...

selecting a hotel is key to saving money....or is your hotel provided?

sing. is totally safe, for your person and for your stomach which is not the case for all asian cities.

english is the language of choice.

menus are pretty easy for you..

all kinds of food are available..

shopping is fantastic...
rhkkmk is offline  
Jul 13th, 2008, 02:10 PM
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Singapore is a great first visit to Asia. Can you combined it with a few days in Thailand?
degas is offline  
Jul 13th, 2008, 02:14 PM
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Singapore is a very easy first trip to Asia, as it is cleaner, safer and more modern than any city in North America. With 10 days, you might spend a few days in Singapore, then try a wonderful and more exotic destination like Bali or Thailand. Singapore is more expensive than other areas of SE Asia.

If it's shopping you are after, you might opt for Bangkok - truly a shoppers paradise. There are wonderful hotels in Bangkok at lower prices than SIngapore. Both Singapore and Bangkok have great food.
Kathie is offline  
Jul 13th, 2008, 02:15 PM
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Singapore is easy. the first language is English. everyone will be very helpful.

Singapore will not hold your attention for 10 days. I suggest that you pick another destination. bangkok and Bali are also very easy. You can fly a discount airline to Bangkok. It is a wonderful city. Bali has perfect weather in August. Ubud is delightful and also very easy for a first-timer.
Gpanda is offline  
Jul 13th, 2008, 04:43 PM
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Cambodia is excellent. Very easy and very friendly people. A friend of mine and her daughter are currently there, and are having a ball. Siem Reap is easy to get to (the Foreign Correspondents' Club is an ideal location) and Phnom Penh. I think that 10 days is a bit if a stretch. You may find it bit boring after the first 5 days. Email me if you want anything further.
Mitch04 is offline  
Jul 13th, 2008, 04:52 PM
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Singapore is very easy traveling, with Malay, Indian and Chinese cultures to explore, but I would definitely recommend spending some time in other places to get a better feel for Asia. Malaysia is just over the border, where a lot of English is spoken and transport is easy. You could take a bus or train to Melaka and on to Kuala Lumpur.

Totally agree with the recommendation to read some guidebooks - try your library, or visit Borders or Barnes and Noble and read their books along with a cup of coffee. If you're worried about travel in Asia you might start with Lonely Planet's "Read This First: Asia & India" or Rough Guide's "First-Time Asia".
thursdaysd is offline  
Jul 13th, 2008, 07:06 PM
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This might ease your doubts a little.

http://www.straitstimes.com/ST%2BFor...ry_257488.html

Hotels can be expensive here but food and transportation aren't really. It depends on how pampered you want to be.

We'll be celebrating our national day on August 9th. Join in the celebrations.

KMLoke is offline  
Jul 13th, 2008, 09:42 PM
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Kelly,

I think that Singapore is an excellent city to visit for a first timer to Asia.

I made my first solo visit (ever) to Singapore last December at the age of 53 and had a wonderful time.

I stayed for 8 nights at the Swissotel Stamford which is right on top of the City Hall MRT and next to a huge shopping mall. It was so easy to get to anywhere from there and I enjoyed the Stamford (especially the buffet breakfast) very much.

I also went on quite a few tours and I'm sure you would enjoy the Night Safari and the Zoo, amongst many other attractions.

I love Singapore and it is so safe that I could walk around by myself (in well lit areas with other people around) at night. Without exception everyone I met was friendly and helpful and English is very widely spoken.

Now that I've cut my teeth on travelling alone to Singapore, I've booked a week in Chiang Mai and a week in Bangkok for this December. I know it will be very different to Singapore but that's part of the enjoyment of travel isn't it?

Have a wonderful time whatever you decide to do.

Kind regards,

Sue
Sue1954 is offline  
Jul 14th, 2008, 05:08 AM
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Do Sing for 3- 4 days then a short hop to Kaula Lumpur for the rest. Its very close.
BillT is offline  
Jul 14th, 2008, 11:24 AM
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My husband and I just got back from Singapore and had a great time. It was his first trip to Asia. My only experience to Asia was a couple trips to Japan several years ago for work.

Singapore was terrific - as others have said, it is easy, clean, pretty safe, and since English is one of their official languages, you can pretty much talk to anybody. We spent 5 days in Singapore before heading off to Bali. We didn't see everything we wanted in that time, but I think we did get a good feel for the city and we saw a lot of great stuff.

Bali was a lot of fun too - we found it to be a perfect side trip from Singapore. We got tickets for about S$449 on Singapore Air, which at the time was around US$325, so not a bad price and the flight was only a couple hours, so pretty easy.
november_moon is offline  
Jul 14th, 2008, 11:33 AM
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Lia
 
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Singapore is a wonderful place to start in Asia though you might want to visit another city while you're there as you can see most of Singapore in 3-4 days.

In addition to Bali, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and others already mentioned, Hong Kong is easy to manage, with lots of cultural, arts and shopping opportunities!

More information is available on their tourism website: www.discoverhongkong.com
Lia is offline  
Jul 15th, 2008, 02:59 AM
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Kelly,

Singapore is a good first-time destination, a bit of Asia-Lite (clean, western, easy to navigate, English spoken widely). Think of it as a big shopping mall. It will be hot and humid outside but you can always seek refuge indoors where you're likely to have industrial-strength air-conditioning.

In general, I won't worry too much about unfamiliarity of culture/ food/customs. When you are travelling parts of Asia frequented by tourists, people you'll interact with are accustomed to dealing with visitors whose understanding of local culture may be limited to start with. You should be fine so long as you approach things with open mind and common sense about manners.

I agree with others 10days entirely in S'pore maybe a bit boring. 2-3 full days would be enough for me. Bali or Bangkok are good destinations--close enough, well-established resorts and tourism infrastructure, good culture and shopping (better in Bangkok). I'm more inclined to choose Bali, as Bangkok is another big city and you might want to see more natural beauty/beach.
W9London is offline  
Jul 15th, 2008, 03:27 AM
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Good for you, thor and dad!

Singapore is a very modern city with lots of shopping, a very fine History Museum, and lots else.

But I agree with many other respondents. It would be a shame to go all that way and spend all 10 days in Singapore. For a start although it's geographically in Asia it is very much a one-off.

Now you don't say whether your "trip" is all inclusive, but if it isn't, then you could so easily go somewhere else too. Thailand is easy to be in, and travel in, but BKK itself is a bit frantic. Siem Reap has been suggested. That's a brilliant idea!

Why? Well, Angkor is one of the great sights of the world; the small town of Siem Reap would be far easier to negotiate than BKK or KL and still, despite the influx of tourists, it is still "Asian"; 3-4 days is a perfect length of time to go; there are flights from SNG to Siem Reap.

For reading:

Any or all of the guide books already mentioned. And there are some wonderful novels about the Fall of Singapore too.

Have a fantastic time.
afterall is offline  
Jul 15th, 2008, 04:21 AM
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Hi Kelly.

I agree with others. Firstly, Singapore is a much more... sterile city... than most you would find in the west.

Did you know you can get fined for chewing gum (as they don't want it ending up stuck all over the streets) or for leaving still water outside in a container (lest mosquitos should breed in it)?

Secondly, after having been in Singapore for about 3 days, I was bored out of my mind. There's plenty of shopping but not much else going on there.

Thailand is a beautiful country, and while Bangkok would probably shock you initially, being a big, busy, asian city, it is very safe with even some of the most modern expatriate hospitals, staffed with American trained doctors. Nicer hospitals than I've ever seen in any western country!

And further outlying places like Phuket and Krabi have some lovely resort areas, akin to places like Hawaii, although lest spoilt and more remote. Lovely.

So maybe think of taking a few days somewhere besides Singapore too!
benderbabe is offline  
Jul 15th, 2008, 05:40 AM
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Not quite correct. What's banned is
the import and sale of chewing gum. The law has since been revised.

The chewing gum ban in Singapore was enacted in 1992 and revised in 2004. It bans the import and sale of chewing gum in Singapore. Since 2004, chewing gum of therapeutic value has been allowed into Singapore following the United States-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (USS-FTA).

The part about leaving stagnant water is true. It is to combat the spread of dengue fever. There has been several outbreaks in recent past. It's not something that a tourist would likely do is it?
KMLoke is offline  
Jul 15th, 2008, 06:37 AM
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Benderbabe, "Secondly, after having been in Singapore for about 3 days, I was bored out of my mind. There's plenty of shopping but not much else going on there."

I'm afraid you didn't look very far... Singapore has lots to do and see. You should read some of the reports here on this board. Did you visit the Museum of Asian Civilizations? The Botanical Gardens and the world-famous orchid garden? How about Little India? or Arab street? Some of the parks and hiking trails that have been left as rain forest? The zoo or Jurong bird park? The charming little museum in Raffles Hotel?

And of course, the thing Singapore really prides itself on is its food - from hawker stalls to world-famous chefs.

While I encourage thordarson to visit another place as well, There is lots to experience in SIngapore. Too bad you missed it.
Kathie is offline  
Jul 15th, 2008, 07:30 AM
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I agree with Kathie - there is a lot going on in Singapore if you look. My husband and I spent 5 days there last month and didn't see everything we wanted to or spend as much time visiting the places we saw as we would have liked. I think we will be going back

I have heard from several sources though that there isn't really much to do in Singapore except eat and shop. It seems to be a common misconception.
november_moon is offline  
Jul 15th, 2008, 07:46 AM
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Spend three days in Singapore, there's plenty to do and see to keep you occupied. Then go to Bangkok. You will be amazed by BKK. If you hate it after two or three dyas, you can always drive to Hua Hin, for some beach time. None of these diversions from Singapore is a budget buster.
Gpanda is offline  
Jul 15th, 2008, 09:12 AM
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3 days in Sing is just about right. Move on from there to BKK. Much more to do and see in BKK.
BillT is offline  

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