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Need help choosing summer SEA destination

Need help choosing summer SEA destination

May 4th, 2005, 08:09 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: May 2005
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Need help choosing summer SEA destination

Following summer work travel to China, we're looking to piggy-back 7-10 vacation days in Southeast Asia, someplace new to us. We've only been to China/HK, Japan and Singapore before this.

You all have written wonderful past reviews of Luang Prabang, various Thai beaches, etc., but before we fall in love with some of these places as described, please advise where it's a good idea to travel in late July-early August.

Many thanks for any guidance you can offer!
marya_ is offline  
May 4th, 2005, 08:56 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 4,282
If you want a beach go to Bali. It's gorgeous and also has a lot of culture and things to do. August is actually a good month there weather wise. You could divide your stay into beach time and time in Ubud. Perfect for 10 days.
glorialf is offline  
May 4th, 2005, 09:02 AM
  #3  
 
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Depends really how you want to spend your time, or if you want a mix of temples/culture plus beach lazing. In Jukly/August Gulf of Thailand is relatively dry, Koh Sam,ui for a very busy holiday island, beaches and palm tress, eating out, bars and clubs, Koh Chang for a quieter island, coastal areas for relaxation.
Which city in China would you be flying from? If you are close to HK there are non stop flights to Koh Samui, or if you are coming from Kunming or the southern area in general you could fly into Chiang Mai for some treks etc and then head to a beach.
JamesA is offline  
May 4th, 2005, 11:03 AM
  #4  
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Gloria, I don't know how to interpret that state dep warnings against travel to Indonesia. Does it feel safe in Bali now? Just clicked on the Fodor's narrative which sounds grim warnings against travel, somewhat to my surprise.

I have always wanted to see Bali but, with our two teenaged children in tow, I want to make more conservative decisions than I would if it were just me traveling. What do you think? Nothing to worry about?

James, Is Koh Samui overdeveloped at this point or still appealing? Thank you for mentioning the direct flight from HK since that will indeed be our departure point.

Finally, will our travel dollars go farther in Bali or Thailand (or is that not an issue)?

Thanks so much.
marya_ is offline  
May 5th, 2005, 07:31 AM
  #5  
 
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Schedule of Bangkok Air's direct flight between Hong Kong and Samui -

Samui - Hong Kong
Flight No.: PG298
Departure Time: 08:40
Arrival Time: 12:40
Operate on: Mon, Web and Fri
Stop: 0

Hong Kong - Samui
Flight No: PG299
Departure Time: 13:40
Arrival Time: 15:50
Operate on: Mon, Web and Fri
Stop: 0

There is a promotional fare on Bangkok Air's website. Go grab it quick.
watakeet is offline  
May 5th, 2005, 07:57 AM
  #6  
 
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Only you can decide if you are comfortable going to Bali given the State depsrtment warnings. If you do a search on this board, you'll find one person who belives it's foolhardy to go to Indonesia, while many on this board have been to Indonesia recently or have a trip planned. I've been to Bali several times and would certainly return now. I was in Lombok (the island next to Bali) in November.

As you know, no place in the world is completely safe, even your home town. My personal opinion is that the travel warnings about Indonesia are more politically based that based on actual intelligence. I do keep tabs on the news in Indonesia and would recommend that you do likewise if you plan to go.
Kathie is offline  
May 5th, 2005, 08:14 AM
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I would say its safer to do Bali than Jakarta (not much to do/see in jakarta anyway)
BillT is offline  
May 5th, 2005, 08:28 AM
  #8  
 
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Bali is not Islamic as is most of Indonesia so the warnings are because they feel that western tourists will be a target. Personally I think you are probably as safe ther as you are in this country but as Kathie said, you need to make your own decision. After 9/11 our state department urged people to come to NY to show their support. But when there is a problem someplace else they urge us to stay home. Personally I have a big problem with that. Read as much as you can and make your decision.

And, remember -- there are people who say you shouldn't go to Thailand because of terrorism (in the south) and bird flu. No place is 100% safe -- including your home city.
glorialf is offline  
May 5th, 2005, 11:41 AM
  #9  
 
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You just mentioned having 2 teens, in that case althoug Samui is very developed at least there will be lots for them to do which should help 'you' find time to relax, July/August does get very busy, that direct flight into Samui certainly makes it easy just a straight 3 hr hop. Places range from guesthouses and budget places up to total luxury, lots of places with bungalows etc. Try Beachsiam.com or also access from www.kooloola.com/koh_samui.html, Tradewinds Cottages are good if you want a laid back fun beach place, peace resort at Bophut if you want somewhat quieter, there is a lot of choice.
Your other option if you choose Thailand is to fly into bangkok and then go to a beach by cab from bangkok, several within a few hours, Gulf area is OK weather at that time.
JamesA is offline  
May 5th, 2005, 12:05 PM
  #10  
 
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I believe Bali accommodation is very very cheap, but then again Thailand is cheap too, I cannot speak for day to day prices in Bali but here are some very rough ballpark prices for day to day things in Thailand: These are approx USD/cents
Can of Coke: 33 cents
Bottle drinking water: 12-15 cents
Coffee: $1 - $1.25
Main Thai dish plus rice at acceptable small restaurant: $ 1.90-2.00
Street stall snacks: 50 cents
Beer in a Bar: $1-1.50
Accommodation varies widely, decent enough a/c place for 2 including Breakfast and tax USD 40-60, prices on Samui vary as so much of a range of accommodation.
Day tip/tours: USD 19-50 depending on type of trip

If you want to down budget you can always find a/c accom for around $25 for 2. From Bangkok bus to a beach town about $4.50.

Do comparte Bangkok Airways fare to Samui with what is available on the HKG-BKK route as HKG-BKK is highly competative, Thai, Cathay, Dragonair, China Airlines, Emirates, Gulf, kenya Airways etc.

If you plan on 'flying in' to HKG from China then Dragonair way be worth looking at , remember there are a lot of direct flights from China straight into Bangkok so unless you are just across from HKG you could look at those direct flights to BKK. There are other islands and beaches too, Koh Chang south east from Bangkok by air or bus is still relatively quiet but might be 'too quiet' for teens.
JamesA is offline  
May 5th, 2005, 07:41 PM
  #11  
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This is wonderfully helpful information!

I am following up on various links and other reading so that I can frame more precise questions. We are looking more closely at various destinations in Thailand at this point and will probably choose at least one Thai destination (Thank you, JamesA).

We're still very intrigued by Luang Prabang though, particularly in light of Kathie's enthusiastic postings on the town. I also wonder if I could really go all the way to Thailand and Laos, yet skip seeing Angkor Wat.

That's the problem with this process, narrowing down options...

Thanks so much for helping give shape to this search though. My teens are also impressed that people on this board are sensitive to the preferences of people their age.

Off to do more research.
marya_ is offline  
May 5th, 2005, 08:51 PM
  #12  
 
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skip angkor for LP..NO WAY and I imagin Kagthie will say the same.

as for as the teens go samui and bali 2 huge backpacker joints..

how old are the teens and what are they into
orgy7 is offline  
May 6th, 2005, 07:40 AM
  #13  
 
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marya, you have the wonderful dilemma of having too many places to go in one trip. So you will have to do what all the rest of us do - return again and again!

It sounds like you are leaning twoard some time in Thailand. Why not combine Thailand with either Angkor or LP and save the other location for your next trip. The one thing I warn people about in planning travel in SE Asia is that you need to take your time. Don't choose too many locations and end up experiencing none of them.

If you want some photos of some of these wonderful places to help you choose you can see photos of a number of my recent trips at www.marlandc.com
Kathie is offline  

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