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Please Inspire Asia 1st Timers for 3 Week Trip


Mar 14th, 2007, 05:56 PM
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Please Inspire Asia 1st Timers for 3 Week Trip

In our 60s & looking to go in January.Flying from Canada.Please recommend most beautiful & memorable itinerary to include magnificent scenery, architecture,interesting people, etc.I'm overloaded with too much input.Thanks for your assistance.
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Mar 14th, 2007, 06:08 PM
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How much time do you have? Budget? Itinerary largely depends on these two variables.

But, to start you off:

The most stunning scenery I have ever experienced would be inland Bali or the the Hongs in Phang Nga Bay in Thailand.

The Balinese people are the warmest and most open and welcoming people we've encountered.

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Mar 14th, 2007, 06:32 PM
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For a first timer, I would suggest Thailand for two weeks. if you have three weeks, you could include either Angkor Wat (lots of walking through temples) or Luang Prabang. Thailand has by far the best tourist infrastructure of any place in SEA. It is both fascinating and relaxing. Once you get there (Air Canada is pleasant) it can accomodate any budget. A typical two week Thailand trip includes BKK, Northern Thailand and some beach time. Don't try for the perfect trip, just make a choice, buy the tickets and you can fill in the details later.
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Mar 14th, 2007, 07:05 PM
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i would agree with both suggestions above....

we are in our 60's and have just completed our 10th trip to thailand...

it is very hot and humid all year in se asia so be prepared for that...

another interesting add on might be to stop over in hong kong for a few days...it is really fantastic and if you take A/C it stops there...

so i would look at 5-7 days in hong kong and then move on to bangkok where i would spend about 4-5 days and then go one other place in thailand, either to a sea side area of which there are many, or to the north at chiang mai or chiang rai areas...i would not do both...

that would be a splendid trip...

think about things and your budget and get back to us and we would be glad to assist you every step of the way...
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Mar 14th, 2007, 08:16 PM
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It's understandable (being overloaded) -- I don't know many people who've gotten their full dose of SE Asia in one trip, unless perhaps it was 3 months long.

If you think this might be your only trip -- Angkor for the temples, Bangkok, Golden Triangle area of Thailand (hill tribes, scenery), beaches Kim mentioned, and Bali (Ubud, as opposed to the beach)would be my choices. The tourist infrastructure for all these places is in very good shape, you'll get a wide variety of people, cultures, visuals. Depending on how your route it, you may end up in/out of Singapore to get to Bali and a few days there would add another level of city/modernity/architecture.

You really cannot make a bad choice, however. Everyone has their favorites, and there are places like Laos and Myanmar which I have not been to yet but are on my future list.
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Mar 14th, 2007, 08:33 PM
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Being a proud member of the FCPA, I feel compelled to post my comments

I suggest that besides budget and time, you also consider the environments you want to be in. Do you want to be in crowded areas? Or do you want to spend your time in less crowded places. Do you want to go to the main tourist attractions? Or do you want to visit less touristy places?

Most of the well known attractions tend to have a large number of tourists. There are, however, some terrific things to do and places to go that have fewer tourists and are more pristine.

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Mar 18th, 2007, 08:32 AM
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How workable is this?
-Fly into Bangkok(2 days)
-Siem Reap (3 days)
-Luang Prabang (3 days)
-Hanoi (4 days including Halong Bay
day boat trip)
-Saigon(3 days including Mekong Delta
& Chi Chu Tunnels)
-Saigon to Mui Ne Beach( 2days)

Please suggest as per route, # of days in each area & airlines? Is it necessary to see the Mekong from Saigon if we can do it from one of the other cities we'll visit?

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Mar 18th, 2007, 09:22 AM
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Syl is offline  
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Mar 18th, 2007, 11:35 AM
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Syl, I think that's too much moving around. Asia lends itself best to slow travel. Figure you'll lose most of a day each time you change locations.

You don't have enough time in Bangkok - an amazing city with lots of attractions. You will want a minimum of three full days at Angkor (not counting your travel days) - more if you are really interested in the temples. You will want a minimum of three full days at Luang Prabang, again, not including travel days.

You could do a full and wonderful trip with just these three locations.

You may want to save VN for a different trip. If you want to visit this time, I'd recommend you choose either Hanoi and environs or Saigon (HCMC) and environs. If you want to see the Mekong Delta area, Saigon is the closest city. You really need to cut one location or else extend your trip.
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Mar 18th, 2007, 12:17 PM
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Kathie.You're so helpful.Can you please, therefore, map out an ideal 18 day itinerary omitting Vietnam that allows for down time in between running? What is the difference between the Mekong River sites from LP vs Cantho? Note also that my brother just returned from Bangkok & found it crowded,pure air quality with pushy vendors & prostitutes.He couldn't wait to get out of there & escape to the beaches.What is so beautiful about the Golden Triangle that you suggest? Can we somehow factor that in? Again, thanks for your time.
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Mar 18th, 2007, 12:25 PM
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I would stick to Thailand and Cambodia only, for your first trip. The Angkor complex is a must. At least three full days in Siem Reap. Bangkok, maybe Chiang Mai, and then somewhere in the south. Possibly Krabe for spectacular scenery or even Phuket for some beach time. Whatever you decide, it's quite likely that you too will catch the bug for S.E.A.,and like many of us on this board, you may well return again and again!!
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Mar 18th, 2007, 02:12 PM
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Syl, you can see the Mekong river in a number of places, but you specified the Mekong delta, which is accessible from Saigon, but not from the upriver places.

If you don't like cities and don't want more than a couple of days in Bangkok, that's your choice. Note that your brother's criticisms of Bangkok could be said about any major city. But there is much more - the Grand Palace/Temple of the Emerald Buddha complex is truly spectacular, and I'd add in Wat Po (the reclining Buddha) as a must see. There are many more wonderful wats, many off the tourist track, so you would be the only western visitors. Other must-sees in Bangkok in my book are the Jim Thompson House, and perhaps the Prasart Museum. Stay at one of the lovely hotels along the river, it will make a big difference in your perspective.

The Anantara at the Golden Triangle is a lovely resort in a lovely setting. There are day trips, such as to Chaing Sean anad Doi Tung, but it's also a great place to relax (beautiful swimming pool, luxurious spa, a balcony overlooking the Mekong river and Laos and Burma).

Decide whether you want some beach time. Thailand has some very nice beaches, but consider it pure relaxation, you won't get much flavor for the Thai culture there.

If you have 18 days on the ground, you could divide your time something like this:

2 nights Bangkok (recover a bit from jet lag, see one or two major sites - relax, enjoy the city with great food, relaxing spa, etc).

4 nights in Siem Reap, Cambodia (this will give you 3 full days)

4 nights in Luang Prabang, Laos (again, three full days)

4 nights at the Anantara Golden Triangle (OR, if you prefer a beach, insert a beach here - Krabi or Phuket or Samui depending on the time of the year.

2 more nights in Bangkok (shop, more sights)

That leaves you with two extra nights. If it were me (and it isn't) I'd add that time to Bangkok, or, alternatively, add another night to the Golden Triangle and one to Luang Prabang.

Stay at nice places, don't push yourselves too hard on the sight-seeing, and I predict you'll be back. You can stay at really wonderful places for the price of a very mediocre hotel in teh US or Canada.

By the way, you are welcome to browse the photos of our last few trips at www.marlandc.com This may give you more of a sense of where you want to spend your time.
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Mar 18th, 2007, 03:52 PM
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On my first (and only, so far!) trip to SE Asia, I worked with this board a lot and ended up with the following itinerary:
4 days Bangkok
2 days Mae Hong Son
4 days Chiang Mai
3 days Luang Prabang
3 days Siem Reap
1 day Bangkok (before flying home next day)

It was a wonderful trip, the best ever in my life. If I had it to do over, I might cut Mae Hong Son (or try to add a day). I found three nights a comfortable minimum. We loved Chiang Mai, but next time around I'd switch it out for the Golden Triangle area.

Here's a link to my recap and top 10 lists (I did a lengthy trip report, too - if interested search on karen and julie and it will come up)...


You'll have a wonderful time. And definitely pay attention to the experts here - they know whereof they speak.

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Mar 18th, 2007, 06:50 PM
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kathie has it down perfectly....
that would be a fantastic trip
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