Hmm...where to go next?

May 7th, 2010, 03:46 PM
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Hmm...where to go next?

Yes, yes...I know I still owe the end of a trip report...but I just can't help but get 10 steps ahead of myself again.

Already thinking about next year's trip and trying to narrow down some possibilities. Would like the input of my good friends here.

Originally had thought of Africa (please Fodor's trigger-happy editors, don't move my post to another forum--I may mention other countries outside Asia here) but a safari is way too cost-prohibitive for us right now. Need to save up a few more years for that one.

So here are things I've been jostling about in my head (somewhat listed in order of interest level), taking into consideration our availability and the best times of year to visit these places (FYI, never been to any of these places before):

India (possibly in March or December)
We only have 2 weeks for this trip total (16 days max) and I worry we might not have enough time to see so many things we want to see. Places we're interested in seeing: Varanasi, Agra, Kerala (houseboat), tiger safari (but haven't done much research into the time or ethics involved in something like that.) So, as you can see--many interest, little time.

Morocco (March or April)
Thinking of a Marrakech, Fez, Essaouira, desert trek type trip--with a 3 night trip-ender in Paris on the way home.

Japan (possibly April or May trip)
Would like to spend some time in Tokyo shopping and a LOT of time exploring the Zen beauty and nature of the country.

Bhutan (December)
Always been somewhat entranced by this mysteriously place but admittedly don't know much about what there would be to do for 2 weeks there. Sounds like trekking is an option (but see my comment below about possible caveats**) but is there enough to do/see for 2 weeks or would another stopover make sense? Also would it be too cold in December?

Argentina (not sure what time of year--would have to be spring or December)
Really want to see Buenos Aires and Patagonia, and possibly a stop in wine country. David is much more into the idea of Argentina than I--it seems wonderful but what I've seen and read about it reminds me of Europe and that doesn't particularly appeal to me.

I's a cornucopia of all really great places and choices to be thinking about. I just wonder what you guys think might make for the best 2 week trip given the specific times of year and knowing what you know about our interests (those of you who know us.)

**Also one more big thing to keep in mind. Our mom may join us for this trip. She's a pretty feisty and active early-60something chick who loves animals/wildlife and loves fashion shopping (great combo in my book!) and she's traveled pretty extensively. She just wants to see more of the world and figures she'll have a better chance of that with us than her DH who is more of a homebody lately.

Looking forward to your advice
filmwill is offline  
May 7th, 2010, 04:18 PM
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I spent two weeks in Bhutan, and thought that was a little too long, but I didn't trek. If you trek AND are there for at least one festival two weeks might work. But I'm not sure that there are festivals in December - I was there in September, and it's an expensive place - minimum spend per day.

India is a fabulous destination, but two weeks isn't very long - you'd probably need to pick north or south rather than trying to so both.

I did Morocco last year (click on my name for my TR) and wasn't as impressed as I expected. I'd certainly go back to India before I'd go back to Morocco.

I'll visit Japan on my next trip, and everything I've read suggests that I'll really like it (except for some of the food, lol), but you never know.
thursdaysd is offline  
May 7th, 2010, 05:21 PM
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We may have already discussed this over dumplings, but why not Nepal instead of Bhutan? December is perfect for trekking there if that's what you are looking for. I think that's the "dry" season so it may be a little cold in the higher elevations, but not wet. We trekked in November and it was perfect weather. There are plenty of easier trekking areas if your mom will be joining you.

Argentina- Our Spring is their Fall. December is Summer. Yes, Buenos Aires is very "European" but you could combine that with travel outside the cities. Doesn't Bob have a lenthy trip report on Argentina? I've always wanted to go but have not been. Don't forget the great wines and steaks.

Japan is #1 on my list right now and a two week trip sounds like a perfect amount of time to me. Plus that would be a very easy trip for your mom.

I have the same dilemma as you do regarding India. Two weeks just does not seem long enough.

Can't wait to see what you decide.
Kristina is offline  
May 7th, 2010, 05:28 PM
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Myanmar - forget about being politically correct and just do it - the people there need your money and they are some of the friendliest on the planet. And it's cheap. You'll also have some time to do more days in Bangkok which may appeal to your mom...

You can't do India in the way you are accustomed unless you are willing to spend lots of $$$$ and 2 weeks isn't much time.

Bhutan is generally cold and not your style of traveling.
Craig is offline  
May 7th, 2010, 05:39 PM
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I agree about Myanmar-magical place. But, Africa is one of my favorite destinations and did you check in to a Kenya only trip, possibly using Porini camps? I know a good agent if you need one for the future.
moremiles is offline  
May 7th, 2010, 05:53 PM
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Japan would be wonderful and beautiful during that time (April/May) with the cherry blossoms! Everything will be booked, crowded and even more expensive than it usually is during that time though (especially Golden Week) - but many people say the beauty and atmosphere during that time is worth the extra hassle and cost.
unitoro is offline  
May 7th, 2010, 06:07 PM
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I vote for Burma too, 2 weeks is enough time to get a feel for the beauty of the country and gentleness of its people. As for Bhutan, you know I'm a big fan and there is a wonderful 3 days festival in Trongsa in December (that is unless they decide to extend it a day like they did when i was there). December is also National Day with parades and celebrations throughout the country. Trekking season ends in early November there. No great shopping but Bangkok is a gateway city to fly into Bhutan.
Robbietravels is offline  
May 7th, 2010, 06:35 PM
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india would have to be december in the north of the country...two weeks would wet your interests.... the hotels are doable if you use lesser hotels other than taj or oberois.. sheraton, marriott and heritage hotels would be nice...

game in s. africa can be done less capetown and the garden route would wow you....look at elephant plains for game.... kruger parks are very cheap and you see lots of game there as well...

argentina is good both spring and fall---opposite of our seasons....we went in oct. and it was fantastic.. you get fashion there and also lots of lovely buildings and great food... it also is easier and cheaper to get to....

we will be in morocco in mid-march too.... its a very interesting place.....also what about turkey??
rhkkmk is online now  
May 7th, 2010, 07:00 PM
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Hanuman is offline  
May 7th, 2010, 07:13 PM
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I vote for India, Morocco, and Turkey in no particular order!
pattyroth is offline  
May 7th, 2010, 08:02 PM
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From the places that you show interest in on this thread and with the caveats** which may be attached there,is one destination listed that screams in harmony with nature so loudly for your attention that it is clearly heard and need not be mentioned by me......

hawaiiantraveler is offline  
May 7th, 2010, 08:05 PM
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might it be japan
rhkkmk is online now  
May 7th, 2010, 08:44 PM
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Even Bob can hear it,lol
hawaiiantraveler is offline  
May 7th, 2010, 09:27 PM
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So very subtle, Peter.

Thanks so far for all the advice, guys!

I should note that while Mom is very young-at-heart for her age, I don't think trekking is her cuppa. I referenced the spring in her step more in regards to her being open to moving around a lot--she's like us in that regard...doesn't need to stay too long in one place and likes to see a lot of different things.

I think it's safe to say that Africa is out this time. We definitely want to do it the *right* way and see the migrations and that will take quite a bit of saving up. It's something to work towards though.

Burma is something I want to do with David alone--and considering we're just coming back from 4 back-to-back SE Asia trips, it's a little too familiar to do right I think I can scratch that off.

Bhutan sounds perhaps not the right match given our circumstances (thanks for the reminder about Nepal, Kristina--we definitely haven't forgotten our conversation with you about it--but again, I fear it's a trip for the 2 of us to take alone.)

I think Japan is definitely leading the pack right now--although I do worry about "high season" given that we probably won't be able to shore up any reservations for a few months. Just curious when the 'busiest' time is around April and May. Would prefer to try and schedule around the cusp of that.

The Morocco/Paris combo is probably following up as a close 2nd.

India would be at the top of the heap, but I think we really need 3 weeks there and unless we can pull that off in December of next year somehow, it just may not be logistically possible given our jobs.

Lots to still mull over and far from making a decision--but this gives me a LOT to chew on.
filmwill is offline  
May 7th, 2010, 11:24 PM
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My first trip to India was for just two weeks. Perfect for a first trip. Just don't get all crazy and try to do more that one area, eg Rajasthan, or the "Golden Triangle +one other place such as Varanasi, Darjeeling or perhaps Dharamsala. April would be nice.

Japan is also a perfect two week destination. Small, exotic, great food, lots to look at and experience, great food, cherry blossoms perhaps. Lots of outdoor activities-hiking, walking, bicycling, lots of good food, shopping can be expensive, but oh, the stuff they have! Lots of Romantic and luxury things to do as well. Japan does not feel anything like Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia. Also easy, easy to get around.
lcuy is offline  
May 8th, 2010, 08:15 AM
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We have done trips to Morocco and Argentina both in late March - an excellent time to go to both. Morocco is still our favorite trip - the night in the Sahara still our top adventure!

We really liked Argentina - Buenos Aires may feel a bit European, but EXCELLENT fashion shopping - and not nearly as expensive as Europe - lots of local designers. Plus excellent food, and again, fairly inexpensive. Patagonia is an excellent adventure part of the trip - amazing, amazing glaciers and you won't feel like your in Europe at all. We also incl. 2 nights in Iguazu which was fantastic too. Of course with this trip in March - we hit all kinds of weather - the first snow on the glaciers, ideal 70-80 in BA, and hot 90 in Iguazu.

We are probably headed to Japan next March so I can definitely see why that is making it to the top of the list!!
jgg is offline  
May 8th, 2010, 08:33 AM
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Oops, I see yous aid December or March for India. Both would be nice. DEcember would be cooler, but March would still be nice and a lot cheaper.
lcuy is offline  
May 8th, 2010, 08:53 AM
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All right then - let's get going with that trip report. Your fans are waiting...
Craig is offline  
May 8th, 2010, 10:25 AM
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"cusping" the crowd next year would be Lv LAX 4/8 or 9 stay till 4/24 then leave a few days before Golden Week starts

You would arrive back in LAX the morning of 4/24 SUN although you would have left NRT 4/24 Sun afternoon.

You have lots of time as most Japanese hotels won't take reservations till 6 months in advance anyway especially outside the big cities.....
hawaiiantraveler is offline  
May 8th, 2010, 11:02 AM
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I love India, and two weeks for a first trip, if you can limit your itinerary to one area--is perfectly adequate. I'm no expert--this will be only my third trip (next month) and i hope for many more. As Lcuy said, that is a good amount of time for a first trip to India I'd chose the South (Kerala, TN, Karnataka) as a more mellow intro, although it starts to get pretty hot and humid there in March. You can also plan more more hill country areas there, which will be cooler.

I'm your Mom'sage and found this to be completely do-able. Like her, I love the natural scenery, shopping--but not trekking. A "soft trek" into a village, or to shop,is more my speed!
Re: the tiger safari you mention for India:
Read this. Also, note interesting comments after the article. The blame is probably misplaced (tourism) but the end resultfor us is the same:

However, in the South, you can go to Kabini area (we stayed at Cicada--there are other safari "resrots"too) which is not specifically noted for tigers--although we saw one there.

For hotel in India, you can stay at wonderful, clean reasonably-priced (by US standards--less than $100/night if that is within your budget) places without ever stepping foot in a chain hotel whether Indian or American based chain.

My daughter and I spent $200/day for both of us (i.e $100/ per person) which included lovely hotels and /or homestays excellent driver in ac Innova (the size car you'd want , esp'lly if Mom comes) breakfasts at all hotels, all meals at some, etc. If three of you share a hotel room it would average even less per person, and teh daily price of the Innova won't change. The biggest expense was just getting there from California!
CaliNurse is offline  

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