South Asia Travels

Sep 16th, 2005, 04:31 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2005
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South Asia Travels

My friend and I will be travelling to Asia in a few months and we are looking for tips on great places to go. We are two girls in our early 20's we're up for anything as long as its safe. We arrive in Bangkok, but that is the only place we have planned to go. We want to spend about 2 months in Asia and we definetely want to go to Cambodia and Malaysia as well. We want to go to one of the islands in Thailand, but we're not sure which one. We are really interested in culture, nightlife and nature. Any suggestions would be great.
Carmel2 is offline  
Sep 16th, 2005, 05:09 PM
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What months do you plan to travel? This can have a lot to do with which islands will have better weather, less rain. I've only been to Phuket and while nice, I'm not a beach person so others on this forum can help you more with that. Koh Samui is supposed to be quite nice I hear. For nature and culture, head to Northern Thailand, Chaing Mai, Chiang Rai and the Golden Triangle.

For nightlife, you can't beat Bangkok. Plan on spending at least a week there as it had loads to offer in culture, shopping, sights, food and everything in between (except nature).

I haven't been to Malaysia yet, I'm leaving this coming Thursday to go there, but for nature, you may want to consider Borneo. I'll be posting a trip report on it so if you can wait a few weeks, I'll have more to say on that.

I see you have Cambodia on the list, a wonderful place. Angkor is truly one of the most spectacular places you will ever see.

Vietnam is another consideration. Hanoi is full of culture and there are trips you can take from there for beautiful scenery, such as Halong Bay. Central Vietnam, Hoi An and Hue are lovely small towns with an abundance of culture and they're very scenic as well. Saigon is not too big in the culture department but nightlife there is very active. From Saigon, you can go to the Mekong Delta, which is stunning.

Laos and Burma are also wonderful countries. In Laos, Luang Prabang is becoming very popular. It's a lovely little town with dozens of working wats, each one a jewel. I don't think you'll find much nightlife anywhere in Laos, maybe Vientiene, but I doubt anyone goes there for the nightlife. In Burma, Yangon, Shan State/Inle Lake are filled with culture and scenic beauty.

An obvious chioce would be Hong Kong for shopping, nightlife and culture but HK is more expensive than the other places mentioned. I haven't been to Singapore yet but many on this forum love it.

Wherever you go in SEA, you will encounter wonderful, gentle people who will be quick to welcome you and go out of their way to make you feel comfortable. It's the most wonderful region in the world imo.

This ought to give you a few places to think about so you can do some research and narrow the choices down. If you want help with what to see, hotels, let us know and give us your budget so we could better guide you.
laurieco is offline  
Sep 16th, 2005, 06:06 PM
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We are going in January and February. Those tips sound great, I'll definetely have to look into them. I'll wait around for your posting on Malaysia too. We are working on a Medium budget. We are willing to spend the money if we have to, but we are interested in cutting corners where we can. We want to see as much as we can without having spend a fortune, so any advice you have on that would be wonderful! We have no problem staying in hostels, but we also want to stay in a few nice hotels here and there. What about travelling around Asia. Is it easiest to fly or take trains and buses every where?
Carmel2 is offline  
Sep 16th, 2005, 09:36 PM
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Flying is easiest and fastest. A good budget airline is Air Asia.

They have very cheap flights in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia and you can travel within the region with them. By the way, Java Indonesia is supposed to be spectacular, I'm planning to go there next Spring. Another option is Bali. Many Air Asia flights are so cheap that it doesn't pay to take a bus or train.

For hostels, you're better off looking at Lonely Planet's forum, the Thorn Tree. For a range of budget, moderate and expensive hotels, check

and and

These should give you a good idea of some of the offerings and prices. If you see any that you like, let us know, some of us may have stayed in them and could give you info on them. Many of us do tend to stay in high end hotels, especially in BKK, but quite a few have stayed in and can recommend less expensive options.

All the hotel sites I put up are for Thailand. I have sites for other SEA countries as well but I'll have to post those tomorrow since I'm starting to fall asleep while typing this!
laurieco is offline  
Sep 16th, 2005, 09:39 PM
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I need to qualify that, and have hotels for all over SEA, not just Thailand.
laurieco is offline  
Sep 17th, 2005, 05:25 AM
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Okay, I'm a little more awake now. This site is good for general information about different countries in SEA and has links to hotels as well.

Another site for hotel ideas:
laurieco is offline  
Sep 17th, 2005, 07:03 AM
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For Thailand, Malaysia and cambodia you will probably find you don't have to down budget too much, USD 20 for 2 will get you a/con in most places and acceptable place with own bathrooom etc, if you go to arounds USD 30 ( that is USD 15 each ) you are well in to 2 star hotels, many with pools, air-con proviate bathroom etc, there are alos in Thailand lots of guesthouses that area really like small hotels and range from USD 15 upwards so you won't be tight accommodation wise.
Thailand and Malaysia both have budget airlines and both countries have good train systems, 2nd class air conditioned sleepers, also lots of express buses. If you can plan ahead the budget airlines are very cheap but if you want flexibility to go as you please still worth checking online whilst traveling for cheap fares for say the next day. ( Thailand and malaysia ) ( Thailand ) has hotels for all those countries. Also try has places right down to budget guesthouses, fan cooled beach places, some places rates fown to even USD 8 a night!! ( though very basic ).

Islands of Thailand vary from those with busy nightlife and lots of tourist things like Phuket and Koh Samui to quieter islands. Koh Chang and Koh Samet are relatively quiet USD 20-30 gets you decent enough accommodation. Koh Tao is superb for snorkeling and diving.

I would buy a map of the region, put it on the wall and start c89ircling these places to get an idea of their location to eachother. Northern Thailand main city is Chiang Mai, next biggest Chiang Rai, the area around Mae Hong Son and Pai is very nice, places like Ferm resort give you a taste of nature but at the same time nice comfy accommodation.

February is a good time to travel as past the peak of the peak time but weatherwise ok.

The only route that is liekly not to be cheap is Cambodia as not that many flights and no budget acrriers, I would not recommend the overland, but perhaps you can stretch your budget for Cambodia wehilst saving on other sectors.

To do Cambodia from Bangkok the Bangkok Airways Discovery pass is the cheapest way to do it, you need to but a number of sectors but you could perhaps do bangkok-Siem reap ( for Angkowr Wat ) and then bangkok-Koh Samui for nightlife and beach, from Samui it is easy to boat to Koh Phangan and Koh Tao islands.

From Bangkok the rail line follows the coast south past lots of places to stop and stay, this line continues into Malaysia. Budget airlines are cheap but if you want to go place to place and enjoy train travel you can get all the way from Bangkok as far as Singapore using trains.

Also check that rail line on the map.
JamesA is offline  

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