Mother and teen: Where should we go?

Apr 17th, 2005, 05:38 PM
  #1  
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Mother and teen: Where should we go?

Hi. We are a Mom and teen daughter and have not traveled much at all. I want us to travel this summer to somewhere exotic and beautiful, but safe and clean. I was thinking of Singapore and then ??-- Bali? We are a mixed family - African American and Caucasian, and it is imperetive that we are as safe as we can be....i.e. not walking in blindly to a situation or culture or place we know nothing about and are perceived as ugly americans, or where blacks are not tolerated or appreciated, etc. If this sounds naive or paranoid, I'm sorry, we are just inexpereinced travelers. Please...any suggestions -- destinations, hotels, etc. -- anywhere? Thank you so much!
joslin2 is offline  
Apr 17th, 2005, 05:47 PM
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you have mentioned two wonderful destinations...singapore is clean and orderly....great for shopping and walking around....i think it is totally tollerant of race situations...bali likewise is tollerant...bali would present a wonderful change to the citiness of singapore...it is laid back, full of interesting (even for teens) culture, tons of cheap shopping and teen friendly clothing at very inexpensive prices....neat stuff if i can use a word from another generation....combinging the two would make for a wonderful vacation...

any hotel you choose in singapore would be acceptable to you from a quality stanpoint...the orchard hotel is inexpensive and decent and not badly located

loging in bali is all over the map...lots of less to medium expense places....look at the bali hyatt for a mid price place which is very nice and in a small town called sanur....there are lots of smaller places as well...

www.balidiscoverytours.com is a good resource for everything bali....

ask questions here as well


an alternative is thailand....bangkok is fantastic and you have inexpensive travel options to beaches and countryside---chiang mai and chiang rai, koh samui, phuket, krabi, etc...

lets see what other have suggested as well
rhkkmk is offline  
Apr 17th, 2005, 05:50 PM
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Thanks, rhkkmk. Great info. What about the racial issues? (Yes, I am a little scared to travel, but want to!)
joslin2 is offline  
Apr 17th, 2005, 07:12 PM
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In Singapore you should have no problems with racial issues - Singapore is multi racial as well. As for Bali and Thailand, the people are very friendly and won't make any trouble for you.
rv224 is offline  
Apr 17th, 2005, 07:33 PM
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i see no racial issues at all....
rhkkmk is offline  
Apr 17th, 2005, 07:51 PM
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Great! So Singapore and Bali would be great destinations? How many days do you recommend at a minimum? I looked online at airfares and hotels and it looks like it might be upwards of 4K per person. Any specifics to see in both places, and things to avoid? Good Hotels in each that you recommend or don't? Activities not to miss? This is so helpful, thank you!
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Apr 17th, 2005, 08:09 PM
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I agree that either Singapore and bali or a trip to Thailand (Bangkok and the north or a beach) would be excellent chioces. I agree that race should not be an issue in either place.

Give us some hints as to hotel price ranges so we can give you some ideas. As far as things to do and see, there are so many we'll need hints on that too.

A few days in Singapore is enough. A week to ten days is fine for Bali, though if you have more time you can do more things there.
Kathie is offline  
Apr 17th, 2005, 09:05 PM
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My daughter and I just returned from a nine-day trip to Bangkok. We had an absolutely wonderful time taking in the sights, sounds and smells of the city. Our hotel was located in a truly local neighborhood, filled with street markets and bazaars, food stalls and make-shift cafes, barefoot children and stray dogs, etc. We loved every minute of it, but in my opinion, this kind of trip is not for everyone. I do not know where you live or what experiences you have had, but believe me, a trip to Bangkok can be a real culture shock! To be fair, we did see a good number of Western-style hotels, shopping malls, and restaurants, but if we wanted to spend time in these kinds of places, we would have stayed in California! We loved Bangkok and will go back again some day, but for inexperienced travelers like you and your daughter, maybe another location would be better. No one has suggested it yet, but Beijing is an amazingly easy and enjoyable place to visit. My daughter and I did that last year. You might want to look into it.
OJudy is online now  
Apr 17th, 2005, 09:14 PM
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We have a friend who just came back from spending ten days in Beijing with her teenage son. Neither were experienced travelers, and the son had never been abroad at all. They both absolutely loved it and are already talking about going back. She said that it was a great, easy, safe trip with a teenager. There is so much to do in Beijing -- you could have a wonderful trip there.
WinterTravel is offline  
Apr 18th, 2005, 07:23 AM
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Great feedback so far! I appreciate it. RE: hotels--does not have to be 5 star! But very clean and quiet and safe, and pretty would be great. That's for Sg., Bali and Bangkok. FOr the mom who just got back from Bangkok, can you share your expense amount for the trip? I am trying to budget for a trip like this, and any ideas from more seasoned travellers would really help. I have never travelled abroad. Also, packaged tours that you recommend in each place? Clothing to wear and not wear (for my teen!). Also, the mom and teen who went to Bangkok, any activities and sights you recommend?
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Apr 18th, 2005, 11:08 AM
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Don't worry, just forget about any racial issues totally! Singapore and Bali great ideas, remember Singapore is very 'city' and bali is very scenic/mystical/enchanting whatever, Thailand of course I love becuae I live here!
Fist think how you want to spend your time and then give us a rough idea of budget, then if you are flying from east Coast or West Coast as many can give tips on where to find the best air fare deals and also the best routings to get value for money.
On the budget side maybe it would help to give you a few ideas. Budget hotels would be less and luxury hotels more but if you are talking let us say average 3 star hotel room, air conditioned, mini-bar/tv, hotel restaurant and pool you would be looking at very roughly USD 60/70 for say Singapore, and roughly USD 40-60 for Bali and USD 30-50 for Thailand, though in all those places you can still find air-con nice accommodation for say 20% less than that with the exception of Singapore where you probably would spend about USD60/70.
Regional travel is overall easy and cheap.
So let's here which coast you would be flying from, type of place you want to stay ( big hotel, boutique style, friendly guesthouses etc ) and also some interests, e.g is beach that important? Temples/culture? History?...Shopping?
Have fun planning and I am sure everyone will give you some great ideas and tips.
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Apr 18th, 2005, 11:14 AM
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Just saw your question about clothing, I think the base guide is comfort and sensible for travel, I would suggest for your daughter not to bring too much with her as I think you may find it hard keeping up with her around some of the clothes shops in Singapore! Singapore young people dress well, modern, trendy yet smart, same goes for working people in Bangkok. For Bali and beach areas loose fitting comfort, sarongs, sandals are fine, nothing too revealing but there is no major concern, I am sure you will get lots of tips and ideas.
JamesA is offline  
Apr 18th, 2005, 11:15 AM
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Oh, one item that is wise to buy before travel is a good pair of walking shoes for any trips to jungle/mountain off the main track areas, but them well before you travel and get them well worn in, a good pair of walking shoes is an investment.
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Apr 18th, 2005, 12:34 PM
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Wow, o.k. We will be leaving out of Houston. I thought Singapore first. Nice hotel, near everything we would want to see. We are usually o.k. with 3* hotels. I think character is most important, but my daughter will probably go for more glitz. We both really appreciate architecture and natural beauty. For Bali, which sounds a little more challenging to inexperienced travelers, we need a real family atmosphere hotel. Again, nature is very important....beauty! And Bankok, we need near the activities we'll want to see. Also, is it possible to have a reasonable itenirary which is Sg., then Bali, then Bangkok? What about Cambodia? My daughter is part Vietnamese, so this would be very meaningful! Suggestions? Thoughts or ideas? Also, realistically, how much money do you think we need to have put aside for a two destination trip of 10+ days? Thanks, all!!
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Apr 18th, 2005, 01:02 PM
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Since I've never been to Singapore or Bali, let me tell you about our trip to Bangkok. First, we flew from San Francisco and spent 10 nights at the D'Ma Pavilion Hotel. We bought the package on Expedia - total cost was $959 each! While there, we did tons of shopping, sightseeing, eating, etc., all of which cost us a total of maybe $300-400 more. This trip was a real bargain, but more expensive than our weeklong trip to Beijing which cost us approx. $800 each.

So what did we do there? We visited the Grand Palace, the Temple of the Reclining Buddha and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. All were indescribably magnificent! We took organized daylong tours to the Summer Palace and the ruins at Aruythaya, as well as the River Kwai, if only to give us a taste of small towns and rural areas. We enjoyed both of these very much and appreciated the chance to take a break from the hustle and bustle of Bangkok.

In Bangkok, we spent most of our time exploring local neighborhoods, just walking up and down streets and alleys, shopping in the street markets and bazaars, sampling the local foods, chatting with residents and other tourists, feeding sugar can to the elephants, stopping for mango ice cream at Swensons and Baskin Robbins, watching the temple dancers at the Erawan Shrine, etc. Bangkok is so different from our home that every single minute was an adventure for us.

About our hotel - I think it's rated as a three star hotel. It was very clean and modern, the staff was very helpful and friendly, and the breakfast buffet including a wide range of Western and Asian choices. I would have no problem taking my mother-in-law there! However, once outside the front door, you are definitely in the midst of local color. My daughter and I liked the neighborhood, but others might find it difficult to adjust to the crowds, heat, chaos and congestion - not to mention the overall lack of cleanliness - standards are not the same as in the US! We found this to be true in most areas of Bangkok which we traveled through, not only in the Pratunam area where we stayed.

In regard to clothing, the young women dressed pretty much the same as in the US - hip-hugging jeans, flip flops and tee-shirts. But they dressed modestly - no tank tops, no spaghetti straps, no bare midriffs, no shorts - in spite of the fact that temperatures and humidity were sky high.

In our travels through the city, we found many nice Western hotels, American chain restaurants, upscale shopping areas, etc. When I return to Bangkok in the future with my husband, these are probably the types of places where we will spend most of our time. But this trip was a mother and daughter adventure, and it was great!
OJudy is online now  
Apr 18th, 2005, 03:29 PM
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First of all, consider this your first trip to SE Asia not your only trip. Chose not more than two places for a 10 day trip. Since your first thought was Singapore and Bali, let's use that as an example. Singapore is a great introduction to Asia as it's a small city-state. Public transporation is clean, cheap and reliable, and it's very easy to get around. You could plan for three days in Singapore which would give you a little time to recover from the jet lag and time to explore the city. Then go on to Bali for a week. For example, a lovely location that has all the amenities would be the Bali Hyatt at Sanur Beach. I'd suggest that you get on one of the major hotel websites (I usually use www.asiahotels.com) and look at pictures and prices. Once you have some ideas, ask on this board and people can give you their opinions.

Another good combination is Bangkok and Cambodia (for Angkor Wat). YOu'd want a minimum of three full days at the temples of Angkor, and could spend the other 7 days in Bangkok a few days at the beginning and a few at the end of your trip. Save this for another trip. The last thing you want to do is spend all of your time in airports flying from one place to another.

You can put together this trip on your own, buying air and hotels separately. Some people have had good luck with Singapore Air packages, so you might check out that option. Check airline websites for airfares, and check with any Asian travel specialist in Houston for and special airfare deals they have.
Kathie is offline  
Apr 18th, 2005, 06:44 PM
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i agree with kathie, as i always do...two trips---north with thailand, vietnam and cambodia and south with singapore and bali and malaysia if you have time....

choosing your hotel is the most important thing that you will do...be careful with this....only in singapore it is less impt as most are nice...

if you could tell us how much you want to spend per nite on a hotel we could give better advice....jamesA gives very good advice by the way as he lives there....thailand.....

generally thailand would be the cheapest trip....singapore is quite expensive and bali is moderate....

shopping is very cheap in all places...and there is tons of it....

eating is realtively inexpensive as well....it can be very cheap but you have to guard your health when eating....only bottled water, no ice and certain rules about food....more later on that/....

give us some more ideas....get a couple of guide books....your library may help with that
rhkkmk is offline  
Apr 19th, 2005, 09:13 AM
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I'm Black American.female,late 40s, and have been traveling around the world alone since I was 17... have been on all continents except Antartica.I read your post yesterday and found it interesting and don't think you are paranoid at all regarding the race issue....having experienced a lot of racial situations myself. However, as far as traveling throughout Southeast Asia, for the most part, I have found few problems. I love traveling through Thailand, Singapore, Bali and have also been in Malaysia. I usually take 1-3 overseas vacations a year. I just got two plane tickets...one for Singapore/Bangkok again in August and one for Bangkok for Dec/Jan...for three weeks. So, I really do like it there. You should pick up the book called,"Go Girl, by Elaine Lee" a Black American laywer from Oakland who wrote a travel book, about 8 years ago, composed of travel articles written by Black females.The women writers have traveled the world...and it seems that Thailand was on the list as the country that Black Americans found the least amount of racism in. One writer lived there a year with a Thai family and Elaine lived there with a Thai family,too for a while.I have met Elaine and talked with her extensively and the book is quite good.As for your trip, I think that for your first trip,Singapore and Bali would be an excellent choice. I go to Singapore and Bangkok regularly, but I have also been on Bali. My best friend who is Black American married to a German husband and has a teenage daughter...goes to Bali regularly and both she and her daughter love the place. First she took her first two trips alone and then took her daughter. Sometimes her husband travels overseas with them, but usually to Europe or the Carribean with them. She and her daughter were fine on Bali. She and her husband have been traveling overseas, with their daughter,since she was an infant. I think you should fly to Singapore and then check into the airport transit hotel...www.airport-hotel.com.sg and sleep there since flights into Singapore arrive very late. And then get up the next morning and fly down to Bali first and spend 6 days there and make sure half of the time is in Ubud. My best friend swears by the Kamandalu Hotel near Ubud. She's stayed a lot of places on Bali. Then after your 6 days on Bali, I would fly to Singapore and end the vacation there. I would stay there for 4 full days....Oops...I've got to go. I'll write more in a few hours.....Happy Travels....
Guenmai is offline  
Apr 19th, 2005, 10:06 AM
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For a first trip of 10 days I would go to Thailand. Spend atime in Bangkok and northern Thailand. I have seen more mixed families there than anywhere in the world. The Thais are a very tolerant people -- you will be very happy there.

I'm not a fan of Singapore but I do like Bali a lot. However, I think you will be happier in Thailand. I would definitely not do more than 2 places and, if possible, I would stick to one country in 10 days.
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Apr 19th, 2005, 12:05 PM
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OK...now I can continue...As for Singapore...I would personally check into the YMCA International House Hotel at 1 Orchid Road...tel..011.65.3366000.It's a very popular place. Last summer I called and the whole month of July was booked solid. I went in August. I've stayed there for years. The location can't be beat and it's next door to the Dhoby Gaut MRT(subway)station. I called last week to reserve for August and it's S$80.00 ($47.00) a night per room which is what I paid last year,too. Breakfast is included and is served in a very sunny,cheerful dining room with people of all ages...from children to folks in their 80s. I love the atmosphere. Each private room has two twin beds,TV,and a bathroom with shower,sink,toilet.The room also has an empty refrigerator that you can store food and drinks in. There's Jason's supermarket in the basement of the Raffles City Shopping mall about two stops from the hotel at the City Hall MRT stop. I load up on beverages,sushi, and other food and then stick it into the fridge. Internet use is also cheap at the Y and so is laundry service. Just throw the dirty clothes in a plastic bag, leave it in the room and it will be picked up and delivered back the next day. There's also a pool on the roof. I would put the larger amount of money into a hotel on Bali and less money into a hotel in Singapore since the Y is there and is more than nice and will save you a bundle. Plus take the MRT(subway). You buy a subway pass and then when you get ready to leave Singapore just go back to the subway station and they will refund you the unused amount...a no-lose situation. Plus taxis are inexpensive,too. But the MRT is fun since you will be riding with Singaporeans. I have met folks this way and had nice conversations. They are a friendly group. As for food in Singapore...it's great. If you end up there try...Thanying Express Thai restaurant at the B2 level of Takashimaya Dept store at Ngee Ann City mall...two stops from the Y on the MRT at the Orchard stop. Also Newton Circus is fun...three stops away at the Newton MRT stop. Go for dinner. It's Hawker food...stalls of Southeast Asian food and you sit outside at small tables and eat.Then there's Indochine restaurant...great for lunch in East Chinatown on Club Street...and Lei Garden Chinese in the Chjimes complex about 1 or 2 MRT stop from the Y. If you want a 4-star hotel then there is the Rendevous Hotel directly across the street from the Y. I recommended it to my best friend when she, her daughter and I were in Singapore. She's been in Singapore several times before, but said she would always stay at the Rendevous from now on. She stayed there and I stayed across the street at the Y. Oh, and go to the Asian Civilization Museum and walk along the Boat Quay. Try a Paranagan restaurant like Blue Ginger...not at the Boat Quay, but within taxi reach. I would stick with the Singapore/Bali plan and then on your next trip do Thailand and maybe Malaysia together...Hope this has helped. Got to go. Happy Travels!
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