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SEA Trip planning - 5wks

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I am a 1st time poster. I have read and enjoyed these forums a lot over the past few months. I have really enjoyed all the posts by folks in MA (Massachusetts). I live in Boston currently and am planning a trip to SEA around Oct/Nov 2011. I would like some help about where to start and end the trip and other details.
We are 33 old couple who have travelled extensively in India and will be starting the trip in India. The segment I would like help is flying out of India to Thailand and back.
We have a rough outline of what we would like to visit and the order of priority:

1. Siem Reap
2. Bangkok & Thailand Beaches
3. Bali
4. Kuala Lumpur

I understand October is Northeast monsoon season time and we should try to be on the western side of Thailand for that or even Bali would work for that time. I have some flexibility about my start date for the trip by the latest I can start is Oct 10th. So bbasiclaly Oct 10-Nov22nd or so.

Would something I have below work?
1) Fly to Bali through KL/Bangkok - 5 days
2) Fly to Bangkok - 2 days
3) Travel to Angor Wat - Spend 3-4 days
4) Fly to Kuala Lumpur - explore malaysia - 8 days
5) Travel up the Malay peninsula - hit a few beaches in Thailand on the Andaman Sea - 10 days
6) End in Bangkok - 5 days explore places around bangkok(City Life etc)

Buffer travel days - 3, give me a total of 38 days.

Does this sound reasonable? Anything I should change the order and sequence of? We are not partiers, like culture, temples and would like to experience a new country. Like beaches to relax but like the less touristy non party areas. Moderate budget ~ planning about 7000USD for the whole trip starting in India and ending back there. Any recommendations, comments etc ? Please add

thanks a lot

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    I would say that 8 days in Malaysia is rather too much. Based on what you're interested in you might want to consider Vietnam, Laos, North Thailand, Lombok, or Java instead. Maybe a few more days in Bali and a few more days in Siem Reap.

    Another thought would be to use Singapore as your hub, instead of KL.

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    Excluding Indonesia we did a similar trip down the Andaman coast of Thailand and Malaysia from Bangkok to Singapore using a combination of bus, ferry and train in 2008. We stopped off at a number of islands, some large like penang, & langkawi some small like Koh Libong. We liked Malaysia a lot as it has a diverse range of cultures and, argaubly some of teh best food in Asia. My main conern with your trip is the timing as you will be on the cusp of the seasons (although these days it is inreasingly difficult to predict when teh monsoons will arrive).

    Given your interests, like marmot, I would suggest you consider Vietnam or Laos. If you are feeling adventurous maybe head off from Siem Reap or Phnohm Penh through Cambodia into Southern Laos and up the Mekong to Luang Prabang in the north and onwards to Northern Thailand or Vietnam.

    here is a link to our blog covering some of the places we visited.

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    it looks perfect to me (we live in needham, ma). i leave for bkk on oct 18.

    attend the boston fodors GTG--get together in early for date here..

    penang is fab in malaysia...

    ask help here for bkk hotels.. serviced apartments are a good buy.. my current fav is chatrium riverside...

    check out korean air... also finn air ... air france from bost... others fr nyc.

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    Iswswein, you have reversed the monsoon patterns in your planning. To clarify: October and most of November are the monsoom season on the WEST coast of Thailand. The Andaman Sea is on the west coast, and it is better to avoid it in October and early November. In October, you want to go to the EAST coast of Thailand or Malaysia. However, in November on the east coast you are gong to start running into some heavy rain, esp. in Malaysia. See weather web sites and look at Mersing, Kuantan, Kuala Terengganu. In the old days, island beach resorts off the east coast of Malaysia used to close from late October through March; these days they get international travelers who are not really aware of the rain issue, and so they stay open and welcome the tourists to their rainy isles.

    So for Malaysia, one way to avoid that issue might be to concentrate on inland areas, like the cooler hills/tea areas. While they may be a bit rainy, it will not interfere unduly with a holiday, IMO. Or go to the east coast beaches of Malaysia as early in October as you can, after Bali but before other parts of your itin. You can fly from Bali to S’pore (or even cheaper to Johor Bahru or Batam, Indonesia fromwhere you take a ferry to Singaproe see and then rent a car or take a bus to the lovely east coast. Air Asia (, Firefly (, Riu Air see , Berjaya Air ( and Lion Air ( can offer some cheap airfare and good routings.

    Just as an aside, while I love Malaysia, KL itself would be pretty low on my list of "must sees". Malacca, Penang/Georgetown, the beaches and the rain forest or tea growing areas would be far higher. KL is a big, perfectly nice city with very little to offer the tourist other than good food, which you can find everywhere in Malaysia. You could fly into Singapore from India (more non-stops availaible I belive esp from Delhi) and take it from there. S'Pore offers a lot to see and do (far more than KL), but you could skip it if you feel you want to get to countryside areas. Don't know your budget, but you could rent a car in S'pore (or more cheaply just over the border in Johor Bahru) and drive yourself around Malaysia.

    Mid to late November on the west coast of Thailand and Malaysia is better than October and early November. So if you work your trip out to be on the west coast in the second half of November, that would be better. (In India, the east coast of the country has heavy rains in these months, so the rainfall is similar to that of the west coast of Thailand. See weather for Port Blair in the Andamans.)

    Vietnam is also quite rainy in Oct and November esp at beaches. So do look into this when planning. Bali is good in October and still good in November, although the heavier rain can start toward the end of the month.

    It is perfectly possible to enjoy all of these areas in Oct and Nov, but if a beach holiday is part of the trip (esp snorkeling or diving), then you have to plan carefully or just be prepared for the good chance of overcast days and rain.

    I agree that if you like temples and less touristed places (for which Ankor Wat, stunning as it is, does not remotely qualify, no does charming Luang Prabang), you may actually want to stay in Indonesia after Bali and explore places on Java and Sumatra. You could go via ferry or a flight from Bali to places in Java like Yogyakarta and Bukit Lawang (can also be on the rainy side in Oct/Nov). I also think that the Philippines would be a very good choice for beaches, and you could consider rice terrace areas like Bagio as well. (October is the last month of the typhoon season, so November is a bit better in terms of risk of rain.) Hard to beat the Philippines for off-the-normal-tourist-track travel. I would also say to consider Papua New Guinea, however you will miss the annual sing-sing (which is August) and the island is heavily Christian, so you don’t find temples. Sri Lanka would seem to fit your interets as well, again there are some rain issues in those months, and perhpas you want to get away from the Indian subcontinent, but its perhaps worth considering.

    Finally, if you like temples and less touristed places, by all means come to Hong Kong where we have lovely beaches, water sport opportunities and where you can find many, many untouristed areas reachable via wonderful hikes, virtually all of which would include a temple or two as part of a walk. Then back to your hotel in the late afternoon in time for a great dinner somewhere. And from late October onwards through late Jan, we have wonderful weather. Sunny and dry.

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    I was in Bangkok, Singapore, and Siem Reap from Mid October to Novemeber last year. We got rained on periodically, but it was usually quite nice, and more importantly, cool. The rainstorms would be short, though quite dramatic, and kept the dust out of the air.

    It's the beaches where I would find the rain more of a bother. I thought Angkor Wat temples were actually very nice at the end of the rainy season. They are covered in bright mosses and lichens, so a lot more photogenic!

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    Cicerone - Thanks a lot for your detailed reply. I have started looking at the weather websites and yes I see that I missed the direction of the monsoon. Yes I want to be on the East side.

    I understand what you say about KL and will plan on a shorter stay there or even planning for Singapore. I will post again as I figure out more about the eastern side of Thailand & Malaysia. I have spent a couple of days in Singapore previously a couple of years back and was expecting KL to be more like it, but based on what you are saying maybe I should just stick to Singapore and add maybe HK.

    I dont mind the afternoon showers to cool down and will be prepared for being rained on. Not into diving and planning on maybe 3 days of snorkeling which I am willing to move around based on the weather etc.

    Your comments about more Indonesia sound interesting too. Guess I have more planning to do.

    Thanks to the rest of the folks too & rhkkmk I will surely try to make it to the GTG.

    thanks folks - will add more once I do more reading and research.

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