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Questions, questions and more questions for first time trip to Asia

Questions, questions and more questions for first time trip to Asia

Old Dec 3rd, 2013, 06:49 PM
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Questions, questions and more questions for first time trip to Asia

Hello Everyone,

So, I finally have our itinerary set. I figured we will probably never go back to this part of the world because a. United is changing their points system and it'll be harder to travel with my hubby's free mileage and b. There are too many other places I want to see and so little time (and even less money). WIth that in mind (and we're traveling end of July beginning August), we've decided on:

1- Arrive in Kuala Lumpur and stay for 3 nights (1 day trip to Melaka and possibly Batu Caves, Petronas Towers, there's a city tour that people on trip advisor seem to rave about);
2- 3 nights in Penang;
3- Fly to Thailand (this part depends on flight costs as to what comes first) 4 nights Chaing Mai;
4- 2 nights Bangkok (would love to squeeze a day trip to Ayutthaya here but must do grand palace, Wat Phra Kaew and Wat Pho);
5- 4 nights Ko Samui (it'll be Mansoon season so that's why we chose this island rather than Phuket is this a good choice?);
6- 1 night in Kuala Lumpur (before returning home and nope we can't change the outbound flight).

So, that's our 17 nights. Suggestions for what to do? Where to stay? I'm trying to balance my hubby's "let's take it easy and relax" attitude with my "get up! There's so much to do!" attitude.

Thanks!
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Old Dec 3rd, 2013, 08:28 PM
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K/l hotel--Sheraton imperial..

bkk-- depending on price-- anantara riverside... Plaza anthanee (Sheraton), Conrad, marriott sukhumvit park, marriott Mayfair

Sumui-- renaissance

Penang-- clove hall or E& O.

Add Jim thompson house as a site in bkk and have lunch there too.

I personally would not waste a day going to Ayuthia (sp)...

4 nights Chiangmai Mai is way too long unless there is something you need to do there... In fact I would cut it all together and add time to sumui and ESP. To bkk.

Bangkok air to fly to sumui

Air Asia to fly other places (watch severe limits on luggage).
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Old Dec 4th, 2013, 01:35 AM
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Hubby was a "go go go" traveller whilst I like to take it easy. In Asia we found that a lot could be completed by mid afternoon and I'd go back to the hotel to rest and hubby would continue on his travels alone.

In Bangkok you could try Kempinski. You can leave hubby at the pool if he wants to relax and wander around yourself or go to Jim Thompson's house which is only about 10 mins away. This hotel is perfect if you want to shop - it's close to 3 malls (maybe more I don't know of) which sell cheapo knock offs to expensive $100,000 rings and luxury cars.

Batu Caves were fun but not a super mega tourist attraction in my eyes. It only took half a day.

The PETRONAS Towers was crazily busy when I went. If you want to go to the look out get there super early.

I have not been to Chiang Mai. Phuket I enjoyed as it was something different to back home here in Australia. It was more of a party area I found. Hubby loved the bars and the nightlife, whilst I could take it or leave it. I was sick of being asked to go to dodgy sex shows as we walked down the main street are.

You travel different to me. I would only travel to 2 or 3 places in that time. I feel all the plane trips to the next place wastes the whole day. But we're all different.

Sounds like a fun trip.
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Old Dec 6th, 2013, 03:11 AM
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Thanks! I'm thinking of cutting out Penang . Honestly, I don't feel like flying so much. Will I really miss much? I can't seem to "fall in love" with it anyway. If we do that, we'd do day trips around kl.

4 days kl
4 days chiang Mai (day trip to chiang rai)
4 days bangkok (day trips)
4 days ko samui
1 night kl
layanluvstotravel is offline  
Old Dec 6th, 2013, 07:05 AM
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Personally, I think Penang is MUCH more interesting than KL or Chiang Mai (or Koh Samui, for that matter) but I do think it is smart to limit the number of destinations you choose, so cutting one will make it a more relaxing trip. Four days in Bangkok isn't much, and I don't know that I'd take any time away from the city for day trips... ok, maybe Ayutthaya.
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Old Dec 6th, 2013, 04:57 PM
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Warm Saturday morning greetings again layan, from 'on the road', and once again, congrats on forthcoming holiday. (So wish our fine home of Singapore was on your listed itinerary; any changes involving SIN and Singapore Airlines, honoured to assist.)

Will continue to give the highest praise to my main (and to date, only) Kuala Lumpur business travel hotel, the Mandarin Oriental. My profile page review of her only touches on her refinement; just like her MO sisters that have had the privilege of staying with for work and brief holidays in Bangkok and London: class operation. If nothing else, do try for at least one dining experience with her rather extensive options.

Another ongoing (shameless) promotion and praise for my current Bangkok business travel property, the Four Seasons. Nothing to lose by perusing her current offers. To date, various FS properties have never let me (us) down for work / brief holidays.

Very happy for you, layan; savour your planning. Early and warm weekend wishes to you and all (from 'U.A.E.' - and more on that, later),

macintosh (robert)


... Singapore Girl, You're a Great Way to Fly ...
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Old Dec 6th, 2013, 05:46 PM
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Agree with Kathie that you shouldn't cut Penang. I'm not a big fan of BKK, but I would spend time there rather than in Chiang Mai. If you don't want to fly there is a perfectly good train from Penang to BKK - see seat61.com for details. (Also from KL to Penang, but the Malaysian buses are very good.) What is your budget? There are plenty of cheaper options than those suggested above.
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Old Dec 7th, 2013, 07:02 AM
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Thanks Kathie and Thursdays and everyone for your patience and especially your advice! Ok so adding back Penang. Still need to cut 1 night out. Suggestions? I've also added the "must-sees" (or at least I think they are) am I missing something?:

3 nights KL [arrival day get over jet lag, Petronas Towers, Jamek mosque (oldest in KL), Batu Caves, Islamic Arts Museum, Indian temple, walk through China town, Bird Park, walk around Merdeka Square, day trip to Melakka, Lake Gardens Park]

3 nights Penang [Stay in Georgetown (?), Penang Hill, Kapitan Keling Mosque, Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion- looks like a place mostly for eating, suggestions?]

3 nights Chiang Mai [walk around the city, night market, Wat Phra Singh, elephant nature park (I hear we can hike through the forest, wondering if this is the same thing as the elephant nature park?), Doi Suthep, Wat Chedi Luang, day spa at Dhara Dhevi with dinner.]

4 nights Bangkok [Grand Palace/temple of the emerald buddha, Wat Pho (reclining buddha), Wat Arun, thinking about doing a day tour for these places, cruise on the river, weekend market (assuming we are there during the weekend), day trip to Ayyuthaya]

4 nights Ko Samui [island tour to see waterfalls, the beach, relax, Ang Thong Park]- we don't swim.

1 night kl [night before we leave home]
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Old Dec 7th, 2013, 07:04 AM
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Have you allowed for travel time? Remember that three nights in one place is only two full days.
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Old Dec 29th, 2013, 04:42 AM
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Not sure why you're so set on Petronas Towers. They're a lovely piece of architecture, that's for sure, but I'd have a quick walk around during the day to appreciate the structure, do many of the other things in KL like the Chinese and Indian quarters, or shopping if that floats your boat, then wait for sunset. The lights are on, the steel shines in the last light of day against a dusky sky. Best seen from a slight distance rather than close-up. Quite beautiful in the evening.

KL itself is not a user-friendly city. Traffic is impossible, like most major cities in SEA. Two nights is enough (the bird park is well worth a visit, though).

Don't cut out Penang or Malacca. Beautiful towns to explore on foot at leisure. If the colonial architecture and history don't get you, the people and food and the general atmosphere will. Try staying in one of the boutique hotels that have been redeveloped from old Chinese shop-houses. Or the E&O in Penang, simply lovely if you care for colonial grandeur.

Bangkok, 4 nights, I wouldn't do that. Like KL, traffic is hell. Hit the tourist points for 2 days and exhaust yourself, get your breath back somewhere else, even just a trip on the river on a local boat for a full day excursion out of the city is interesting and relaxing, a complete alternative, a lot like the Mekong Delta.

Everyone finds Asia in their own way, however. Mine is probably a bit different to others here, but I hope you have a lovely trip, it's a beguiling part of the world. You won't be sorry that you went, and I bet you will return once you have a taste of it.

(btw, you mention the monsoon. August isn't usually beach resort weather in Thailand. Something else to consider).
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Old Dec 30th, 2013, 06:30 AM
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keep 4 days for bkk--a must..

cut Malacca, imo
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Old Apr 25th, 2014, 04:26 AM
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In Penang, you can choose city or beach hotels. There are homestay to luxury 5-stars hotels likes Hard Rock Hotel and Rasa Sayang Resort.

In George Town, Penang, some tourists come here for food. Besides food, it has many things to offer or see likes colonial buildings, traditional handcraft likes shoes making, cultures and etc.

For nature lover, one should not miss out Penang National Park. Penang Hill is another attraction place to stay away hot temperature in day time. At night, one can have gorgeous view of George Town city.

If you love tropical fruits, you should not miss out Tropical Fruits Farm. To visit the farm, it is best to take a cab. Although bus service is available, it may take up much of your time to go there.

A Malaysian Licensed Tourist Guide
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Old Apr 26th, 2014, 01:12 PM
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OMG I would never cut out Chiang Mai, it is gorgeous there, the people warm, friendly and honest and so cheap. We rode elephants bareback there (we are 55+), and had a hoot!! For all my trips to Asia and to be honest, around the world, Chiang Mai is the one that totally captured my heart. Cheap too, with so many beautiful temples around the city, Tuk Tuks cost us $2-$3 max. Everyone was so helpful and kind, we were told to catch a certain Song Tsaio outside our hotel to go to a local market, for 20c. We so much preferred Chiang Mai to Bangkok. The tiger temple there was better too in Chiang Mai.
We did Ayutthaya - a long way for what turned out to be about 30 mins actually there. Kind of disappointing really. There are better ruins near CM again....and less crowded.
All the best day experiences we had were in Chiang Mai, and they don't seem to be full of scams that BK is.
Loved Malaysia too, very warm hearted people.
Enjoy!!
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Old Apr 27th, 2014, 02:52 PM
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Thanks I wrote this post several months ago and our plans actually changed. We are now going to Thailand only (not Malaysia- though our flight still goes into Malaysia and we may still spend 2 nights in KL). We decided to split our time between Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Koh Samui. Our kids weren't originally coming with us, but now they are. Chiang Mai-we'll be staying 4 nights, looking forward to it!
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Old Apr 27th, 2014, 09:46 PM
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Ayutthaya is the ancient capital of Siam.

I wouldn't waste a day visiting there because it deserves a bit longer. Try a couple of nights.

Ayutthaya is easy to reach by train from Hualamphong station in BKK. A 3rd Class seat, which are by far the most atmospheric cost the ridiculous sum of 15 bahts for the 2 hour journey.

The first 30 minutes on the train will take you through neighbourhoods that most tourists never sea, and it's all part of the real BKK which you shouldn't miss.

It's easy to get around Ayutthaya and visit the ancient sights by tuk tuk. All the tuk tuk drivers know all the sights and routes. Alternatively you can hire a pushbike and do it yourself, but it does get v.hot in Ayutthaya.

There's plenty of accommodation in the area. We stayed at Somjai Place, which was inexpensive, very clean, and we'll stay there again next time.

Most people only visit for the day, but Ayutthaya is one of those many places that will grow on you if you give it a bit of time.
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