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Hong Kong, Singapore or Taiwan for short layover before China trip?

Hong Kong, Singapore or Taiwan for short layover before China trip?

Old Oct 18th, 2010, 03:16 PM
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Hong Kong, Singapore or Taiwan for short layover before China trip?

We want to travel to Asia ahead of our tour in China to recover from jet lag. This is our second trip to China and last time jet lag short changed our enjoyment of the first part of our tour. We have been to Hong Kong and loved it but never have visited Singapore or Taiwan. Any suggestions for a four to five day short break before China?
We're tempted to return to HK but welcome any advice.
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Old Oct 18th, 2010, 03:21 PM
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singapore makes a perfect place to stop in SEA.... it is warm and the food is very good....the hotels are expensive but even the lower end ones are just fine.... lots to do there for a few days and a good place to relax....make sure you select an hotel with a swimming pool....

have you considered bangkok....it too is a perfect place for a stop over....the hotels are far cheaper and very lux for the cost....food is fantastic, both eastern and western and prices are amazingly reasonable...

connections for both places are excellent to china....
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Old Oct 18th, 2010, 03:30 PM
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We may go to SE Asia following China but a good thought reangkok. I'm thinking relaxing, and dining..which we enojyed in HK..
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Old Oct 18th, 2010, 03:32 PM
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rhknmk,
Any recommendations for best airlines on these routes?
Last time we flew United which was OK.HOping to fly BusClass.
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Old Oct 18th, 2010, 03:34 PM
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I leave for Taiwan day after tomorrow, so will know more shortly, but I'd say Taiwan would be an excellent stop on the way to China. Taipei has the best museum of Chinese art and artifacts anywhere, including inside mainland China. You could make a day trip or overnight to Taroko Gorge, which sounds beautiful, or there are several day trips nearer Taipei, including hot springs.

I'm not a fan of Singapore - Disneyland Asia - or of Bangkok - too big and crowded with horrible traffic - but YMMV. However, I would think Taiwan would make an interesting intro and contrast to mainland China.
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Old Oct 18th, 2010, 05:45 PM
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And now that there are flights from Taiwan to China, Taipei is a possibility for a stopover. The museum thursdays refers to has a really stunning collection.

I always enjoy Singapore. Yes, it's clean and safe, but that isn't something I usually complain about. Singapore has wonderful food and a delightful mix of cultures. I enjoy the botanical gardens and the Museum of Asian Civilizations.

Bangkok is my favorite city in the world. Yes, it has terrible traffic, but I rarely deal with it as I use public transport (skytrain and water taxis) most of the time in Bangkok.

As far as airlines are concerned, which to choose depends on which stopover you opt for. For instance, if you choose Taipei, you might want to fly EVA. For Singapore, Singapore Air is an obvious choice, but United and many others fly there as well.
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Old Oct 18th, 2010, 06:23 PM
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I don’t think any would be a bad choice. Some thoughts and suggestions:

1. Some of the decision may depend on the time of year of your trip. Taiwan has a rainy and typhoon season (just like Hong Kong, basically May-to mid-October) and you may not want to go during it. Singapore has a wet season (Dec, Jan and Feb) and wile rain is not as big an issue there (they don’t get typhoons), if you want to avoid rain as much as possible, then avoid Singapore in those months.

2. Taipei, Singapore and Hong Kong all have unique holidays which may lend themselves to the time of your trip. Taipusam in Singapore (generally Feb, but depends on moon phase) and the Mid-Autumn Festival in Hong Kong or Taipei (Sept-Oct again depending on moon phase) are all quite interesting. National Day in any of them would bring fireworks, parades and other interesting thing to see (October 1 and July 1 in Hong Kong, August 14 in Singapore, October 10 in Taiwan). Chinese New Year in any of them would be a good place to be, and not quite the traffic overload and mass closures that you find in the PRC.

3. Taipei has much more limited service to PRC cites than Hong Kong or Singapore. (You can guess why). If you are going on to Beijing or Shanghai, you should not have a problem, although there are far fewer flights (e.g. 4 flights a day to Beijing versus 6 from Singapore and 16 from Hong Kong) You won’t be able to get to most secondary cities (e.g. Xian, Guilin) on a non-stop from Taipei. Without knowing where you are coming from in the US, my guess is that a non-stop from your nearest airport to Taipei will be harder to come by then a non-stop to Hong Kong and Singapore. So you may have to factor that into the mix as well.

4. I would say that Taiwan deserves time to see. Taipei, which does have an excellent museum is rather short on other sightseeing, and it is a sprawling urban area of about 6 million people without any real charm or natural beauty like a mountain/harbour or seafront, which Hong Kong and Singapore do have. (Singapore is also far greener.) You have to get out into the countryside (and on more than a day trip, which I avoid for virtually all sightseeing) to see the natural beauty of Taiwan. There are Alp-like areas in addition to beaches and hot springs. Of course, if your objective is to rest and stay put to recover from jet lag, then you probably don’t want to spend time travelling around the countryside. But then just staying in Taipei for 4-5 days would be kind of a waste, IMO. Conversely, places like Singapore and Hong Kong do lend themselves to these kind of layovers, as they are much more compact and it is easy to get around.

5. Singapore to me has the advantage of the mix of Indian, Malay and Chinese culture that you will not get in Hong Kong or Taiwan which are overwhelmingly Han Chinese and Mahayana Buddhist. (Taiwan does have some small remaining tribal areas, but you have to travel to get to them). Singapore could therefore offer a nice contrast to the PRC; although I can also see the attraction of the contrast between the KMT history of Taiwan and the PRC (they have some interesting politics always going on there too).
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Old Oct 18th, 2010, 07:39 PM
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You're adding significant flying time if you decide on Singapore, assuming you're flying from N. America. [Unless you're flying SQ's business-class only non-stop from LAX or EWR.]

While there are now non-stop flight between Taiwan and China, they are seldom discounted, and can cost you quite a bit.

I actually think Tokyo is a more desirable place for a stopover from N. America. You can probably add a stopover on your plane ticket to China with no or minimal extra cost.
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Old Oct 18th, 2010, 07:42 PM
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thai air to bangkok perhaps....
china air

do a search on expedia and see what they show and then see if you can get it cheaper on your own or directly from the airline...

food is fantastic in bkk....i also have a listing which i make available....i leave for bkk next week and will be updating the listing by mid-december....ask me for it then at:
[email protected]

all kinds of food, not just thai and the shopping is fantastic there and there are plenty of things to do there...go for it!!

come back here and we will help you plan too as many of us are bkk nuts...
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Old Oct 19th, 2010, 07:11 AM
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Thanks everyone for your valuable input. The trip is early next September and we'll fly out of LAX or SFO. Right now I think Singapore is a good choice for us but all these cities have merits. It's a hard decision as I want to go all of them, and hopefully will at some point during our travels.
Have great trips to Taiwan thursdaysd and Bangkok rhkkmk!
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Old Oct 26th, 2010, 12:40 AM
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Singapore and Bangkok, both delightful places, would suit you perfectly for R&R before a big trip, but I agree with rhkkmk that Tokyo would be a better choice: it isn't out of your way. If your purpose is to recover from jet lag, don't travel any further than you have to. Tokyo is a wonderful city and it is en route to China.

Having lived in Taipei for five years, I am a big fan of this overlooked destination. A new Mandarin Oriental should have opened by next September and the W Hotel opens this December (I think). There is also a good Hyatt and Shangri-La. However, check the connections to China. It may not prove to be all that convenient and best saved for another trip. My vote is for Tokyo. I now live in Jakarta and ANY extra time you spend on a plane has to be seriously evaluated...I'd keep your focus on your fabulous China trip.
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