Vientiane and ??

Old Aug 5th, 2016, 04:08 PM
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Vientiane and ??


Thinking of visiting relative now based in the Laotian capital. Would begin my trip from JFK. I have been to SEA numerous times but partner has never been to Asia. No real wish to re-visit LP again.

What combines well with Vientiane? I would love to return to Japan and thinking along those lines. While I've been to Siem Reap (2000) I have never visited PP. Trip has to have a good deal of luxury/comfort in order to satisfy more timid travel partner.

At this point just casting for general ideas..maybe combine Tokyo/Kyoto with Vientiane? Maybe a side trip to PP? Would love a luxurious beach option with clear, flat water but no need to fly too far to find that....

Total trip no longer than three weeks..budget generous but not Aman-level (although could be arm-twisted, maybe, as this is celebration to mark return to decent health for both of us) ...many thanks!!
ekscrunchy is offline  
Old Aug 5th, 2016, 05:31 PM
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Phnom Penh is a great option. From there it's a couple hours drive to Kampot (interesting) and Kep with lovely beaches depending on the time of year.

You could also consider the area south of Vientiane. I haven't been but believe it's very picturesque.

I can't help with the luxury lodgings, sure others will chime in.
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Old Aug 5th, 2016, 08:28 PM
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I have the same idea with the first post, you should refer to Phnom Penh where you can take cruise to enjoy sunset and temple as well
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Old Aug 6th, 2016, 01:07 AM
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Taiwan? South Korea?
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Old Aug 6th, 2016, 04:59 AM
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I agree with Sartoric that Phnom Penh is a great city with a lot going for it in terms of places of interest, good hotels and great food. Kampot is a beautiful riverside town two hours away by car with a couple of nice hotels in town ( Rikiktikitavi is one) and some more out in the countryside along the river. Kep makes a nice day trip and I believe there are some very luxurious hotels on one or two of the islands off the coast which may meet your requirements for luxury. Some photos of our time in PP Kampot and Kep from last year.

From Vietianne it is possible to visit some beautiful places in the south of Laos and even continue by bus and boat to PHnom Penh via Kratie - although the travel will be quite challenging.
It would be possible to do a circuit of the south by car visiting the Bolaven Plateau ( waterfalls and coffee), Wat Phu (temple ruins that pre date Ankor Wat) and Si Phan Don (the 4000 islands area in the Mekong).
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Old Aug 6th, 2016, 10:23 AM
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great to see you back.... and healthy
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Old Aug 6th, 2016, 10:54 AM
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Thanks, all! I have until mid-2018 to make the trip (posting will last until then) , so thinking perhaps of early winter 2017. Would late November or early December be a good time for SEA?)

Have spent some time in Seoul and although have plan with KoreanAir might skip ROK this time..

Love the good reports about PP..very appealing to me. Will do my best to include.

Going to look at Crellston's' photos now.

RHKKMK: Thank you so much. Last year was challenging With partner's health (seems now to be on the upswing) and also family death. Here's hoping for better fortunes in the coming year for all of my good friends here!!

Keep in mind that partner has never been to Asia....(and never been to a third world country as far as I can recall, although we did go to Mexico about two years ago, yes I know that is not Third World but perhaps closest he has been outside of (his very restricted) comfort zone. Not a geography major like myself, obvious!!

I have to drag him to eat in Flushing Chinese restaurants where he is the one invariable diner who looks for sweet and sour pork on the menu. (Never mind that chef is from some far-flung province; they always have those dishes on the menus to placate the "difficult" foreigners!)
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Old Aug 7th, 2016, 06:04 PM
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very good and diverse food in Vientiane..

he'll get over it...
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Old Aug 8th, 2016, 08:19 AM
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Hey, it is good to see you back here on the Asia forum.

Yes, late Nov/early Dec is a fine time for this part of SE Asia.

Another place to consider (though it would require a flight) would be Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia. A charming World Heritage site, it is often named as having the best hawker food anywhere. And the Eastern & Oriental hotel (one of the old Sarkie Bros hotels like Raffles in Singapore) is a delight.
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Old Aug 8th, 2016, 10:27 AM
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Kathie thanks so much and great to be "back!!"

I stayed at the E&O pre-renovation and absolutely adored Penang. Adored it!
(also stayed a couple of times at the Swiss Hotel, likely gone simple but I loved it!!!) Mind you, this was in the mid 80s when I did the bulk of my SEA travels! Oh what do they call those tanks in the bathroom with the plastic bucket where you would wash yourself in lieu of shower? Mandi comes to mind.....great idea we should adopt in hot climates here in US!

Penang could be a possibility although I might be stymied by the development since my last visit and, more important, by the partner's lack of enthusiasm for all the great street food. Not sure if I can drag him around in the heat...but come to think of it, could plant him at hotel and foray on my own if necessary.

I guess the main thing is that I need to investigate the options to get to SEA from NYC. I've done the routing via Seoul a couple of times (then on to BKK or Saigon for one or two trips) but wonder if I can get there by another airline in that group, or even (shudder!) just choose another options and to heck with the points. Right now feeling kind of down in thinking that there are not so many of these long trips left for me and the partner. Our budget is generous and would like his first, and likely last, visit to Asia to be a memorable, non-threatening, and just fun experience. And to visit my cousin who has two little boys and a lovely wife from Asia.

Singapore???? I've been a few times but again, not in more than 20 years...easy for a novice traveler..what do you all think of the city/state nowadays? Not even sure they fly from NY direct anymore. Or if I could fly Malaysian to Penang via KL??

The PP idea sounds great....maybe Japan is best for a different trip, maybe me alone....not sure. What is best routing from east coast to PP and Laos...Sing, Cathay via HK? I am a fortunate gal to have all of these options, and to have so much support here during a difficult (and during earlier, non difficult!!) time. WE had to cancel 2 trips due to health last year and hoping this one will work out. And don't get me started on travel insurance!!!

I am glad to be back it is all spilling out.....need to do a lot of reading in between doctor visits!!!!

My very, very best to all of you and heartfelt thanks for all of your help, now and n the past.
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Old Aug 8th, 2016, 10:39 AM
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Remind me which airline alliance you use. For a trip that far, it makes sense to get the miles.

Singapore Air will be starting a nonstop from SFO to SIN this fall. I'd love to take that flight!

And Malaysian Air to Penang via KL is a good option. From KL you can fly to almost anywhere in SE Asia. Via Bangkok also works well.

Our last trip, we flew Asiana to Incheon, then Thai Air to Bangkok. On the way home we flew Thai Air to Narita, then ANA to Seattle. All of these are Star Alliance.
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Old Aug 11th, 2016, 03:33 PM
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Friday morning greetings, eks, from a winding down Seoul business trip; glad to see you may be returning to our lovely home of Singapore. Feel very fortunate to call SIN home for family, work and residence.

Safe to say, a few changes in our city-state of SIN since your last visit. Would be honoured to give lodging, dining and recreation suggestions.

Concerning flights, will give another subtle promotion of my primary business travel carrier, Singapore Airlines. Looks as though you fly in and out of the NYC area; should you decide to commence your journey from San Francisco, will suggest SQ's soon-to-launch SFO-SIN non-stops (coming this October; can't wait). My current work takes me to the SF Bay Area on a regular basis; looking forward to these non-stops.

As always, savour your planning, eks; happy for you. Early and warm weekend wishes to you from Seoul and soon, back home to Singapore,


... Singapore Airlines, You're a Great Way to Fly ...
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Old Aug 31st, 2016, 11:55 PM
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Vientiane and Penang or Langkawi are a great match. There are cheap Air Asia flights from Vientiane to Kuala Lumpur and frequent flights from KL to Penang and Langkawi.
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Old Sep 26th, 2016, 06:54 AM
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Hi Eks!

It's been a while, and I haven't been around here much either. Good to "see" you.

Phnom Penh would not be my first choice for spending any significant amount of time. I just can't get myself to like that city.

Knowing the foodie you are, I'd suggest Taiwan. Everything I've heard suggests it's a food lover's paradise and highly under-rated and under-touristed. I've been, but not for almost 20 years, so no specific recs from me.

I also like the idea of Japan because there's no shortage of new places to go even if you've been before. It also might be an easier place for your partner to adjust to (clean, orderly, easy to get around, etc).

I'm headed back to Cambodia (Siem Reap) for a 5th time in March and will add a few days in Luang Prabang. Any recommendations for there?
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Old Sep 26th, 2016, 02:28 PM
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HI, Kristina! It's been too long! Thanks for the ideas..both Japan and Taiwan sound tempting. I will do some further reading. I wish I had some recs for LP but it's been quite a few years since I was let us know about your trip..your reports and pics are always superb!!
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Old Sep 26th, 2016, 05:46 PM
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Thanks Ekscrunchy. I just posted a link to my trip report for my last trip to Cambodia/Burma (I'm late, I know) and now I'm working on last year's trip to China.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2017, 10:40 AM
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Revisiting this thread now that time is getting closer for a trip this coming early winter. Kathie I never answered your questions: I am member of Flying Blue: AF/KLM/Delta.

So far you all have offered great suggestions: Stopover in Taipei, or Penang sound great. Japan also. Is there a way I can stop in Hawaii to break up the trip from NYC? Mind you I am not concerned but partner has never been to Asia and needs a push to do this at all...
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Old Apr 3rd, 2017, 11:04 AM
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Hi Eks, While it tis possible to stop in Hawaii, it typically adds thousands to the airfare. I don't recommend it.

Let me offer one more thing to consider: A Pandaw Cruise. I am not a cruiser, but in November, 2015, we did a Pandaw cruise on The Chindwin river in the smallest Pandaw ship: a mere 4 staterooms. Here is the link to my trip report:

Pandaw has several cruises through Laos. Take a look here: I was just looking at the Laos cruises., thinking that might be what we want to do in November.
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Old Apr 5th, 2017, 08:57 AM
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Hi Kathie!!

Good idea, but I did do the Pandaw Irawaddy for 2 weeks in Burma a few years ago. It was a good way to see the back country but I do not think I would go on another cruise just now. I think we are looking more at urban areas. Keep in mind that the partner has never been to Asia and is not the most adventurous type. Hawaii would have been an idea but will now discount that due to your comments about price.

Japan would be the first choice, I think, since realistically I am not sure how many more trips I will take to such faraway places with the partner. I was thinking a week in Vientiane, then about 10-14 days someplace else. The flights will be a big determining factor.

Penang and Taipei also sound very good. Again, the flights will determine more than they should, due to price and length of travel time....

Does anyone (sane) from the east coast go to Asia via Europe?
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Old Apr 5th, 2017, 09:14 AM
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I am on the east coast, and I think I am more or less sane, lol. I have done four RTWs, two in each direction, but I usually do much of it on the ground. However, on one trip I flew Bangkok to London. It was on Qantas in business class, and it was fine! I ate an excellent dinner, with good wine and port, then I changed into the provided sweats and slept until breakfast. I cannot imagine doing the same flight in economy, however, or in a less comfortable biz class (looking at you, AA).
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