japan/Thailand

Old Jun 25th, 2005, 12:03 AM
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japan/Thailand


Hello, My wife and I received a wedding present: a $10,000 trip to Asia. We are very lucky. It is our first time. We will tentatively spend about 10 nights in Japan and 18 nights in Thailand/Cambodia.

Is the following itinerary feasible:
December 16 fly to Tokyo,
December 17-21 5 nights in Tokyo
December 22-23 2 nights somewhere else in Japan (suggestions? Hakone?)
December 24-26 3 nights in Kyoto
December 27 fly to Bangkok
December 27-29 3 nights in Bangkok
December 29 fly to Angkor Wat
December 29-January 1 4 nights in Angkor
January 1 fly to Golden Triangle
January 1-4 4 nights in Golden Triangle
January 5 fly to Koh Samui or Phuket
January 5 to 9 5 nights in Koh Samui or Phuket
January 10 fly to Bangkok
January 10-11 2 nights in Bangkok
January 12 fly home to New York

Is it feasible to do all of this, including airfare, on a budget of $10,000 and to stay at fairly upscale places? Or am I being too optimistic for this particular budget?

Is a consolidator the way to go in terms of the JFK-Tokyo-Bangkok-JFK airfare? When should I buy my tickets by?

When should I have all my hotels booked by?

If we were going to sleep somewhere cheaper along the way, where should we be more frugal, where should we splurge?

In Japan, we will stay in cheaper places most likely. We realize that Japan will eat up a lot of budget, but it seems like a really fascinating place and my wife has a good friend in Tokyo.

The Marriot Spa in Bangkok is quoting prices for $210 per night on their website. Can I get a cheaper price somehow?

The Anantara in Golden Triangle is listing rooms at $375 per night. Is there a way to get a better deal?

Is Koh Samui a way better option than Phuket? We would love some light hiking possibilities or interesting excursions mixed in with our beach. We are hoping to miss some of the holiday rush by hitting the beach on January 5th or 6th. It also seems like a pleasant way to end the trip.

possible hotels:
Tokyo: Ryokan Shigetsu
Hakone?
Kyoto
Bangkok: River Marriott or Dusit Grand China Princess
Angkor: Angkor Village Resort or FCC Angkor
Golden Triangle: Anantara (is their a less expensive option)
Koh Samui: Anantara or Zazen Botique Resort
(or if Phuket: Evason or Marina Phuket)

Thanks for any help. Jeffrey
alibi13 is offline  
Old Jun 25th, 2005, 02:14 AM
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What a totally amazing gift!

To get you started...Japan. You don't have to break the bank to have good accommodation. You can certainly eat well for the same or less than you'd spend in the states...you just have to know how to find the places that are reasonable and good - ask in your hotel, ask people on the street even, and specify what kind of food and what budget. Noodles, yakiniku, yakitori are all very reasonable. Sushi in the conveyer belt sushi shops that I call "round and round sushi" is a real deal...priced by the plate according the color of the plate.

The Hilton in Tokyo (Shinjuku) has surprisingly good rates, often for under 20,000 yen/night. Join Hilton Honors, and your spouse stays free...meaning you'll pay the single room rate for the two of you.

Before Christmas, you'll see gorgeous Christmas decorations. Tokyo and Kobe both have fabulous special illumination displays that you should try to see at least one of.

Your Thailand/Angkor plans sound great too. I prefer Samui to Phuket because Phuket is just too many high rise concrete hotels for my taste.

Keep in mind that Japan will be cold...hovering around 40 degrees F or colder, and that Thailand will be hot.

Without trying too hard to think too much about your budget...I think you'll be able to do it in 10,000 dollars. We are a family of 3 and we budget $5000.00 US for our 16 -18 day trips to Bali and Thailand from Japan. Airfare from Japan is what gets us...eats up about half of our budget. When we travel within Japan, we typically spend 30,000 yen per day on average...some days much more, some much less...But at that rate you'd only use one third or your money in Japan which would be right on.

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Old Jun 27th, 2005, 01:53 PM
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Hello Kim,

Thank you for the information. Your description of the food in Japan, rattling off the names of those dishes, makes me very hungry.

I will look into the Hilton in Tokyo. That's a great tip about the free spouse.

Any suggestions on where else to go in Japan? We are thinking 5 days in Tokyo, 3 days in Kyoto, and then 2 days someplace else. I was thinking Hakone because I like the idea of hot springs and being in the countryside a little, but maybe that's not a great option for that time of year.

Also, any lodging suggestions for Kyoto?

Samui sounds more interesting than Phuket from the way you describe it. A lot of people seem to like Hua Hin, but I assume it's more of a quick trip from Bangkok, but not overall as enchanting as Samui. My wife liked the looks of Koh Chang, but it seems like Koh Samui trumps all.

Do you know anything about Sukhothai? I just saw some pictures and it looked awesome.

Thanks again, Jeffrey
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Old Jun 27th, 2005, 02:39 PM
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I would spend less time in Tokyo and more time in Kyoto which is the heart of Japan. Skip Hakone at that time of year. In Tokyo you can do a day trip to either Kamakura or Nikko. From Kyoto you can do day trips to Nara, Hiemji, Uji, the fabulous Miho Museum. I spent 2 weeks in Kyoto two years ago and felt I didn't have enough time. I would say 5 days in Kyoto should be the minimum with maybe 3 days in Tokyo.

Sukothai is wonderful but if you are going to Angkor Wat and have limited time in Thailand, don't go there. Try www.asiahotels.com for discounted rates. Be aware that it is peak travel time in Thailand. Check out Japan Air or ANA for airfare. If possible, fly an asian airline as they are MUCH better than the US carriers.

I reduce your time in Koh Samui by a day and add it to Bangkok.
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Old Jun 27th, 2005, 02:53 PM
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The prices you quoted for the Marriot Resort and Spa in Bangkok and for the Anantara at the Golden Triangle are outrageous. You can certainly find rates at half that or less, even during peak season. Yes, do look at www.asiahotels.com but also take a look at the Anantara website. I stayed at the Anantara for $150 a night during November. The Anantara is really gorgeous and there is nothing that compares with it in the area. The Anantara soetimes has special deals if you are staying at two of their properties. If you don't find a special deal on the web, email them about it.

Foe airfare, check with airlines about RT tickets to Bangkok with a stopover in Japan. Since many airlines fly through Tokyo to get to Bangkok you may well be able to get your ticket for the NYC-BKK price, with perhaps a small surcharge for the stopover. It's worth checking.

By the way, I think your itinerary looks good overall.
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Old Jun 27th, 2005, 03:31 PM
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Highly recommend Ryokan Shigetsu and the neighborhood there. (See my posts from Japan trip and others posts too.) In Angkor consider also Shinta Mani, contemporary SE Asian style and it supports a school of hospitality for locals. Enjoy planning your trip and your wonderful gift!
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Old Jun 27th, 2005, 03:36 PM
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www.asia-hotels.com has Marriott Resort and Spa Dec. 27 to Dec. 30, three nights $188 per night including breakfasta and taxes (which are 17% in Bangkok). We are using this site for upcoming trip to Thailand on others recommendations here on fodors.com. I believe Christmas and New Years can be sold out and premium hotel rates.
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