southeast asia trip in december 2012

Sep 8th, 2012, 07:49 AM
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southeast asia trip in december 2012

Hi all, I would like some information about southeast asia, we are planning a trip to see Penang, Siem Reap, Phnom Phen, and Bali. We have about 14 days, will be flying from Atlanta to airport in the area. So far Ho Chi Minh seems best. My question is how much time to spend in each and with flights from these locations, is that enough time. Our trip will be between Dec 21 to Jan 6. Not familiar with the area and am a bit overwhelmed with the travel time to S. Asia and the high cost of airfare. Thanks so much for any info.
anjun is offline  
Sep 8th, 2012, 08:11 AM
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You will be traveling at the busiest and most expensive time of the year. Many hotels (especially in Bali) will be fully booked already.

Pause and think about what you want to do/see/experience on this trip. You have two weeks - is that two weeks on the ground in Asia or two weeks total? - and you've listed four places you want to visit, plus you've added an entry city. This is way too much for two weeks. Also, note that three of the places you've listed are relatively close to each other, while the last, Bali is a four hour flight away.

My general guidance on these places is to spend three full days in Siem Reap (that means four nights), one or two days in PP, three to four days in Penang, and a week in Bali. Adding in travel time, you'll need three weeks to accomplish what you want.

Take a look at some of your many options for flights. There are a number of gateways to consider. HCMC wouldn't be my first choice if you aren't visiting VN as it requires a visa in advance or a pre-arranged visa. Bangkok is usually the least expensive gateway in the area, but you wouldn't want to fly into Bangkok without spending some time there. GIven the places you want to go, Kuala Lumpur might be the best gateway, as Air Asia flies to all of the places you want to go. However, you'll be routed back through KL each time.

If you add some time to this trip, you could do something like this:
Fly Atlanta to KL, spend the night in KL
Fly to Siem Reap, four nights there,
Fly Siem Reap to PP two nights,
Fly PP through KL to Penang, four nights
Fly Penang through KL to Bali, a week there.
Fly Bali to KL, overnight and fly back to Atlanta.
Kathie is offline  
Sep 8th, 2012, 10:31 AM
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kathie has set the right tone for you.. i would add that singapore is also a ngood entry point...

you could easily do singapore, K/L, Penang and siem reap, using air asia a discounter or several other airlines.

do you have a reason to visit PP?.. it is one of the lesser SEA cities to visit.

look at korean air as a trans-pacific carrier--a delta partner, which should be good from atlanta.
rhkkmk is offline  
Sep 8th, 2012, 10:56 AM
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I'd consider a different entry airport. If you are just transiting quickly, you won't care about either the airport or locataion. If, however, you end up having several hours (or more) you might want to be in an interesting airport or somewhere you can hop out for a short tour. HCMC is neither. Singapore, Bangkok and Seoul are all nice airports and expensive visas are not required to leave. Im not sure of Seoul, but the others have transit hotels in case you end up arriving at midnight and not leaving ill the morning.

I also think you have one too many stops, and Bali doesn't really fit with the other three. I'd either skip Bali, or do Bali + Siem Reap+ Singapore( or Bangkok)
lcuy is offline  
Oct 1st, 2012, 03:34 PM
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Thank you all for your help. The problem is school holiday falls on those days and I can't extend my days. I would have to eliminate a place. I really want to go to Bali, the rest are chosen by others in family. I have heard from others that Siem Reap is only a day or so. Is that not true? Plus I heard that there is a boat ride from Phnom Penh that takes you to Siem Reap.
anjun is offline  
Oct 1st, 2012, 03:36 PM
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Sorry it took so long for me to get back to you all. My mind is just not into planning this trip as cost seems exorbitant.
anjun is offline  
Oct 1st, 2012, 04:11 PM
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"I have heard from others that Siem Reap is only a day or so. Is that not true?" No that is not true unless you have no interest in the temples of Angkor, in which case I would ask, Why are you going there then? Get a copy of Dawn Rooney's book, Angkor: A Guide to Cambodia's Wondrous Temples if you have any interest in going there.

The cost will be higher than it might otherwise be, as you are traveling at the highest season and you have waited until rather late to plan this trip.
Kathie is offline  
Oct 1st, 2012, 05:00 PM
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anjun, it's very difficult to get low price seats from the US to Asia around Christmas and New Years. In additional to everyone else who takes advantage of the school holidays, thousands of Asians studying in the US and Europe go home for their school holidays too.

The best time for traveling from the US to Asia with school age kids is early June right after school gets out and before the July/August crush. Better weather in Bali too.

I agree with the other comments: 4 days in Siem Reap, 7 days in Bali. A couple of days will be used up in transit and jet lag recovery. Spend whatever's left in your place of entry. Singapore (as mentioned) is a good hub, as are Bangkok and Hong Kong.
marmot is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2012, 02:34 PM
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Thank you for the information. I will have to confer with the rest of the family and see what they want to do.
anjun is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2012, 05:49 PM
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Of the 3 hubs if you have an extra day or two I would choose Bangkok for things to do. As for opportunity for numnber of flight selections I would consider BK or Singapore. So based on Bankok might get the nod.
StanKase is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2012, 03:24 PM
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If I were to eliminate a location which would you suggest? I know I might have offended Kathie in saying not to spend a lot of time in Siem Reap but as we are indian, we have seen a lot a temples.
anjun is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2012, 04:22 PM
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Oh, you haven't offended me. If you feel like you've seen enough temples in India, then cut Siem Reap and PP from your itinerary. There are plenty of other places to visit.

You might fly to Penang after your first night in KL. Spend 4 nights there, then fly back through KL to Bali. SPend a wek or more there, dividing yor time between an inland location near Ubud and a beach location.

You would then have time to add another destination, and I would recommend central Java. Yes, more temples - Prambanan and the largest Budhist monument in the world, Borobudur. You can also see the Ramayana Ballet performed near Prambanan. It would be a very different experience than Angkor. I have been to central Java before and am returning in November for another visit.
Kathie is offline  
Nov 22nd, 2012, 10:51 AM
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I can provide some insight into Bali and Siem Reap.

I was there this summer for my southeast asia trip and enjoyed both very much.

Siem Reap and really just Angkor Wat can be done over 2 days. 1 day at the complex is really enough and another day to account for travel or tack on another day to try another activity like horseback riding like we did.

Bali was my first stop on the trip and had a lovely time. We were there for I believe 5 days and it was both relaxing, cultural and fun. I would say 6 days would be good. Ubud is a must. Hanging out in Kuta/Seminyak/Legian are good for a day and the rest either you can just relax at your hotel or find some tours to take you out to some of the other unique places in Bali (rice fields, more temples, volcanoes).

One thing I will recommend here is going to Java. We went to both Mount Bromo and Yogyakarta (for Borobudur and Prambanan). Since time might be tight for you I might not suggest venturing all the way out to Yogyakarta but doing a overnight round trip from Bali out to Mount Bromo and back might be worth your time. It was quite the experience watching the sunrise come up over the volcano and then taking a jeep close to the volcano and climbing up to the caldera itself.

For more detailed information, I blogged about each day of my adventures. There's tips & tricks and itineraries as wel that you might be able to take advantage.

Hope it helps!

willsterstyle is offline  
Nov 22nd, 2012, 06:17 PM
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Willster's comments about Angkor are rather odd. Did you really visit only Angkor Wat and none of the other dozens of accessible temples near Siem Reap? I suppose if you just wanted to see one temple, you could do what he is saying. But you have very limited time in SE Asia, and making a one or two night stop in Siem Reap if you aren't interested enough to see at least a few of the temples would be a waste of time and money.

I love Java (i'm in Java right now), but adding that o an already overcrowded itinerary makes no sense at all. Save it for another trip.
Kathie is offline  

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