maldives, SIN and then?

May 9th, 2004, 05:17 PM
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maldives, SIN and then?

We have booked our first trip to Maldives (love those frequent flier miles) for a week the end of this year and will be flying on Singapore Airlines so get free stopover in Singapore. We have 7 nights which we can split up in Singapore and somewhere else. Since we will have done the beach/snorkeling thing in the Maldives--where do you suggest we go? How many nights in Singapore? We like birdwatching, nature etc. Thanks!
lacontessa is offline  
May 9th, 2004, 08:50 PM
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does it have to be budget??
rhkkmk is offline  
May 10th, 2004, 03:17 AM
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I would first of all spend as much time as you can in the Maldives as you probably won't want to make that flight from the US again. . . I think 3 nights in Singapore is sufficient. One problem you are going to have in December and January in SE Asia is the monsoon season, which affects my recommendations.

If you can work out the flights, then a stopover in Delhi would be great, you could spend 2 nights there and then train or drive down to Agra (Taj Mahal) for 1-2 nights. Not sure if you can do this via Singapore Airlines; but if so, it would be my first choice as the weather is perfect in December and it would be a totally different experience from the beaches of the Maldives. If you can do this and can spend 7 nights there, then you could add Jaipur to the list as well and/or - Bharatpur, Corbett National Park or Sariska Wildlife Sanctuary (all in the Agra or Jaipur area) for fantastic bird watching (from what I hear, not being a birder myself), or Ranthambore a few hours from Jaipur for tiger-viewing and other wildlife.

I see from your previous posts that you have already been to Bangkok, but you still might enjoy another trip there, esp. as January is such great weather and if you are there for New Year's that would be fun. Also an advantage that you can fly non-stop from Singapore, as you will have had enough of flying in going from the US to the Maldives. You could also head from Bangkok down to the Hua Hin area (about 3 hours by car) where there are some great parks, esp for butterflies. You could also head north to Chiang Mai for trekking.

If you have not been to Vietnam, then I would suggest Ho Chi Minh city and/or Hanoi or coastal areas like Hue or inland areas. Great weather in December, although Hanoi and Hue and inland areas will be on the cool side.

You might consider renting a car in Singapore (or even cheaper from Johor Bahru just over the causeway in Malaysia) and driving up the west coast of Malaysia to Malacca and possibly Penang. Malacca is a very interesting little city with several well-preserved Portuguese colonial buildings. Penang is also interesting. You could also consider inland areas of Malaysia like Fraser's Hill, although this would be a longish drive from Singapore. The west coast of Malaysia is generally good time of year there weather-wise. The east coast of Malaysia and Taman Negara national park are not great weather wise in December or January as that is the height of monsoon season. (You may also have days of rain in Singapore as well, but not so much of a problem as you are not trying to see countryside or beaches in Singapore.) Western Malaysia, like Sabah and Sarawak (i.e. Borneo) would be very rainy, I would not recommend them.

You could consider Bali as long as you can get a non-stop flight from Singapore. Skip the beaches and head for the hills. I have put this lower on the list as December and January are fairly rainy in Bali, otherwise this would probably be my first choice after India.

Phuket is also an option, perfect time of year, but you have had enough of beaches plus you may not be able to fly non-stop from Singapore.

Once you decide on an itinerary, I can suggest some hotels.
Cicerone is offline  
May 10th, 2004, 03:19 AM
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Sorry, totally forgot about Hong Kong ( a sin as I lived there for 5 years.) Great weather in December and January, a total change from the Maldives or even Singapore. More interesting than Singapore (hate to say it, having lived in Singapore for 5 years as well.) An easy 3 hour flight from Singapore.
Cicerone is offline  
May 10th, 2004, 03:56 AM
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Thanks for the suggestions. We will be in the Maldives for just a week (with husband who gets motion sick on long boat rides, are not divers, and have family history of melanoma--week is a good length of time). Since are flying through Singapore--India is probably out at this time.
lacontessa is offline  
May 10th, 2004, 07:11 AM
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OK I will try not to question the wisdom of the decision to go to the Maldives at all?.

Since all your flights will be routed through Singapore, going to Delhi is not really that much different than flying to many other places in SE Asia. On non-stop flights, Ho Chi Minh City and Bangkok are about 1 hour by air, Hanoi is about 2.5 hours, Bali is 3 hours, Hong Kong is almost 4 hours, and Delhi is 5 hours; but as Delhi time is behind Singapore, you arrive in Delhi only 2.5 hours after departing Singapore.

Also, I am not sure which airport you are arriving or departing from in the US, but if you did Delhi as your last stop in Asia, you could fly from Delhi to JFK via Europe in about 17 hours (change in Frankfurt or Amsterdam), which is better than flying from to JFK from Singapore via the Pacific, which will take you 22 hours. If you could do this, I would skip Singapore and spend the 7 days in Delhi and environs, as there is no question that India is much more interesting than Singapore. (I assume you will have to have at least on connection through Singapore, preferably on your way out to the Maldives from the US.)

Even better would be the reverse, where you go to India first via Europe, then fly to the Maldives via Singapore. In fact, doing the Maldives at the end would be the most relaxing way to do this trip, IMO, no matter where you end up going in Asia.

Cicerone is offline  
May 10th, 2004, 01:35 PM
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Thanks for the reply. Please don't worry about us. We love snorkeling and have figured out ways to enjoy it even more. A long-sleeve/long leg "skin" prevents burning--much better than using a T-shirt. Husband uses patch for air and boat travel which works great, but he doesn't like to use it every day--why we are looking for a place in the Maldives with a good house reef.

Think we will wait on India for another trip. It was tough to get the frequent flier seats so think we will stick to the overall order and find someplace to visit which isn't too far from Singapore.
lacontessa is offline  
May 10th, 2004, 05:31 PM
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Since you only have 7 days in addition to your Maldives time, and you are flying though Singapore, I'd suggest spenging you time in Singapore and Malacca. You will have had your beach time, so you'll probably enjoy a contrasting experience. Singapore is a fun city, very clean, very safe. Some peope say it's boring, but I have lots of things I enjoy in Singapore (cultural things like the Asian Civilizations Museum, outdoor things like the Botanical Gardens, the Jurong Bird Park, the Zoo, and of course, shopping and eating). There are many wonderful hotels in Singapore and a fabulous variety of restaurants. If you wanted to be lazy, you could spend the whole week in SIngapore. Bur for some added variety, I'd suggest a trip to Malacca for a couple of days. You'll be spending enough time on airplane you probably won't want another flight!
Kathie is offline  
May 11th, 2004, 01:33 AM
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since you like nature, if you stay in singapore you should go to the Sungei Buloh Nature Park. It's a wetland reserve. It's not a very touristy place and generally only locals who are into nature go there. You'll need to join a tour (ask at your hotel) or take a taxi then when you want to leave call one from there. It's quite out of the way. You can also take a bus. You should go early in the morning (6,7 am) before it gets too hot. It's not mountains or lakes or beaches, so the nature you'll be seeing will be very different. The end of the year is the perfect time to go there: you'll be able to spot many migratory birds who come to a warmer climate to escape from winter in their homeland!

Other 'nature' places to go to are the macritchie reservoir, and the Changi Boardwalk.

I think 7 nights in singapore might be too much. what you can do is rent a car from singapore (but more expensive than renting from malaysia) and drive up to malaysia for 3 or 4 nights. malacca (6 hours drive)is a good idea. check that you have a visa for malaysia (dont know if you require one) though before coming.
dumdeedeedum is offline  
May 11th, 2004, 06:52 AM
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I am not an expert on Sarawak/Borneo but it sounds to be like that area would be interesting if you are into wildlife/birwatching etc. You can fly to Kota Kinabalu easily from Singapore in a couple of hours.
Maybe someone will come in on that.
You could do Angkor Wat as Silk Air ( part of Singapore Airlines ) flies direct from Singapore and you can get a lot of decent package deals.
You can also do short 3/4 day cruises from Singapore with Star Cruises up to Penang and Phuket, Cruise rates are reasonable.

Take a look at this site, they have various 2-4 days packages from Singapore, I've used these people and they are fine, also Cruise Packages plus other short breaks from Singapore.
JamesA is offline  

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