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Southeast Asia Vacation - Please Provide Advice on our Itinerary

Southeast Asia Vacation - Please Provide Advice on our Itinerary

Old Aug 12th, 2010, 05:15 PM
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Southeast Asia Vacation - Please Provide Advice on our Itinerary

My husband and I will be going to Southeast Asia next year late February/early March. It's hard for us to get away from work too long so we want to make the most of our trip and see as much of the region as possible. While we're both quite energetic, we don't want to move around so quickly that we miss out appreciating the places we visit.

We're flying into Bali, Indonesia and out of Da Nang, Vietnam on Singapore Airlines, and we're hoping people can provide advice on our itinerary. We'll be flying to connect destinations to maximize our time at each place.

5 Days - Bali (Ubud and Seminyak)
1.5 Days - Siem Reap, Cambodia
2 Days - Luang Prabang, Laos
1.5 Days - Hanoi, Vietnam
3.5 Days - Hue/Hoi An, Vietnam

Given the varying weather conditions in Feb/March and the appeal of the destinations, do you think we should allocate days differently? Are we spending too much time in Bali, especially since it is rainy season? We're quite comfortably taking a day from that portion of the trip, but we just don't know what to prioritize. Also, in case it helps, we're serious foodies, and we especially love visiting local markets, ancient ruins, architecture, temples, nature, animals, getting to know the locals and...to be embarrassingly honest....luxury accommodation.
gulliver433 is offline  
Old Aug 12th, 2010, 05:23 PM
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I would cut out two locations. SEA is best appreciated at a slow pace. You will have a batter time. I would skip VN or Siem Riep and LP.
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Old Aug 12th, 2010, 05:30 PM
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I think you need to start by deciding what is most important for you to do/see/experience on this trip. You have too many destinations and too few days at each place.

Personally, I think 6 full days (3 beach, 3 inland) is really a minimum for Bali.

For Siem Reap (can you really get there from Bali in half a day???) it takes three full days just to see the so-called major temples.

I think Luang Prabang deserves a minimum of three full days. Likewise Hanoi.

Where are you flying from? If you are flying from Europe or the Americas you also have to consider the impact of jetlag as well as the impact of the heat and humidity on what you can do in a day.

I don't know how you are counting your time, but two nights in a place is just one full day. For a place like Siem Reap, you want to be there at sunrise and sunset as the light is most beautiful then.

I think you are trying to pack way too much into a two week trip. I think 4 destinations in your 13 days is an absolute maximum. Logistically you can do this trip (though you won't have as much time in places as you think you will - figure your time from check out of one hotel through check in to the next), but I don't think you'll enjoy it.

You really have to slow down in order to experience SE Asia.
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Old Aug 12th, 2010, 06:09 PM
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Thanks for the feedback. The days listed are actual full days as I excluded time in between for longer connection travel and didn't count them as days dedicated to seeing the destinations. It's really a 15 day trip with 13.5 days of true sightseeing. We're also taking either the first or last flight of the day whenever possible to maximize our time in each place.

We're traveling from the US, and figured we'd spend the first whole day relaxing on the beach. We've been to Asia, the Middle East & Africa before and find that with Ambien and an easy first day we're usually fine with jetlag for the remainder of the trip. It's returning from vacation that's the tough part!

If you had to cut something, which do you think is the least regrettable?
gulliver433 is offline  
Old Aug 12th, 2010, 06:19 PM
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Cut out Hue/Hoi An and either Hanoi or LP.

You need 6 full days Bali, 3 full days Siem Reap, 3 full days Luang Prabang and at least 3-4 days for Hanoi.
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Old Aug 12th, 2010, 06:26 PM
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gulliver, I've been to most of the places on your list and agree that it's tempting to pack in as much as possible . . . but for 13.5 days on the ground I'd cut to three countries maximum and even that is pushing is.

I'm a Bali aficionado so I would say 6 days minimum there. You will most likely get rain, but it comes and goes and it won't slow you down.

Second priority would be Siem Reap and I'd allot 3-4 days not including travel. Any less would would leave you seriously regretful.

For the balance I'd choose either Vietnam or Laos. I've been to Hue but not the other places on your itinerary. Hue is interesting but not on the same level as Siem Reap or Bali.

A possible substitution would be to add in Central Java/Borobudur. Take a look at what the Amanjiwo offers.
marmot is offline  
Old Aug 13th, 2010, 05:38 AM
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If I had 15 days on the ground, I would do:

Bali-7 days-4 Ubud, 3 beach
Siem Riep-4 days
Luang Prabang-4 days

This will be a wonderful trip with time to relax in each location.
Gpanda is offline  
Old Aug 13th, 2010, 06:13 AM
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We’ve been in all locations on your list and agree with other posters about eliminating some stops. The suggestion to skip Seim Reap and Vietnam might not be a bad idea. There are so many things to do in both that you could easily do a trip to Cambodia and Viet Nam alone of the same length you are planning and feel like you wish you had more time.

In noting your dates, you should be aware that the first day of Nyepi, the Balinese New Year will be celebrated on March 5, 2011. (You should confirm the exact date for your own purposes as it is based on a lunar calendar and I may be off a day.) That afternoon, there will be parades in many villages with floats featuring giant figures of spirits and lots of fireworks and noise to scare the evil spirits away. The next day is a day of mediation and virtually all local citizens will remain indoors for the entire day. No traffic except for police and emergency vehicles is allowed. The airport will be closed. In the days leading up to Nyepi, temples will hold Melasti (cleansing) ceremonies. These involve the use of water for cleansing so if you can time your travels to be at a temple on some form of water during the ceremony, it’s a great experience. A local guide should be able to help out in the timing. We were in Bali to take in the New Year on a trip a couple years ago and wouldn’t trade the experience for the world but we did have to work our plans around the 2nd day.

If you can free up more time for Bali, I would also recommend trying to spend some time in Munduk in the northern mountains. We loved the Puri Lumbung Balinese Cultural Hotel there.

If you do include Seim Reap, you will want to spend at least one day seeing the more famous ruins but we also enjoyed getting away from the crowds and going on a tour of some less famous ruins in the area. I'm not sure 1.5 days is enough time given the time it will take you to get there.

There’s a lot to do in Luang Prabang. Other than just the overall experience of the beauty and spirituality of the place, one of our best experiences there was a 2 day Mahout course at the All Lao Elephant camp.

Given your time frame, I would probably skip Hanoi. It is a wonderful place but some of the best things to do there are actually overnight side trips outside of the city (like Sapa and Ha Long Bay). Maybe on your next trip?

Given that you are flying out of Danang, your going to be in the Hua/Hoi An area so it makes sense to spend some time there but if you need to, you could steal some time from the 3.5 days you allocated there and spend it in some of the other places. You might also consider limiting your stay to Hoi An rather than trying to do both.
mediakzar is offline  
Old Aug 13th, 2010, 06:24 AM
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i agree also....way toooooo many places....you will spend all of your time in transit...

for instance going to SR for 1.5 days is almost a waste of time....

are you prepared for the extreme heat and humidity...it knocks the wind out of you and you really need to slow down..

i assume you have your singapore tickets already and thus can't change things.... so i guess your only choice is to cut SR and LP or both and reallocate the days...
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Old Aug 16th, 2010, 09:14 AM
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You have too many places and too few days. But I would absolutely NOT cut out SR. It is one of the most impressive places I have ever seen.
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Old Nov 1st, 2010, 09:01 AM
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You will spend most of your trip in customs. How about one country? each country you're going to is very diverse naturally and culturally. Island hop Indo; Beach, bangkok, chiangmai thailand; Hanoi, sapa, halong, hoi an; siem reap, PP, kratie, ratanakiri Cambodia...

If you gotta fly into bali and outta danang, then indo and VN it is.

There is no such thing as too much time in Bali...

Rasheeed is offline  
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