Vietnam, Cambodia, or Thailand

Old Jun 16th, 2007, 08:06 AM
  #1  
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Vietnam, Cambodia, or Thailand

I had been working on a trip with my 17 year old niece as her graduation gift. Her parents put the trip on hold due to various reasons. A day after her graduation the parents give me their approval for July. So, now I'm scrambling. I'm going to Bali in August so my bank account is really going to be hurting but I'm thrilled. I want to take her somewhere exotic, and different culture than anything she has ever experienced.

We can only be gone 12 days max and I think a group is best - not only cuz it seems less money but less organizing for me at a such a late date.

Please, Please if you can pls. tell me what you think of Singapore and Angkor Wat (adding one more day)
Essence of Indochina or Taste of Vietnam.
http://www.globotours.net/featured.asp

I really appreciate any comments or suggestions.
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Old Jun 16th, 2007, 09:10 AM
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I looked at both the options you suggested. Personally, I like Essence better because of the variety. However, it is 'crowded'. To a 17 year old lst time to Asia, I assume, she will be happy with whatever you chose. Don't stress too much over it -whatever your choice she will love the trip.
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Old Jun 16th, 2007, 10:20 AM
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As you probably are aware, I really don't like group tours. One of my (many) complaints about them is that they move so quickly from one place to another you never get to experience anything of a place. The Essense of Indochina tour goes to lots of great places, but they will all just be a blur, as you never spend more than a day or so in each place. And the hotels they choose are often not well-located, so you can't just walk to other places you'd like to see.

If you could add on days on both sides of the Singapore/Anglor trip, it might be your best option. Stil, I would expect you could do as well if not better on your own. SIngapore Air often has specials that include air and hotels, maybe transfers, but you schedule your own number of days, etc. and would hire your own driver and guide in Angkor. As you probably know, there is no reason at all to take a tour in Singapore.

I know you don't have much time to plan, and that does make it tempting to use a tour.
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Old Jun 16th, 2007, 10:21 AM
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PS An easy option would be Thailand, choose Bangkok and one other place. Thai Air often has specials.
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Old Jun 16th, 2007, 12:46 PM
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Thanks for your time and advice, wintersp and Kathie.

I think that Angkor is the way to go. I can picture us strolling around Siem Reap on our own and browsing through the night market. And, I think your 're right the others would be just too overwhelming.

I checked with many different airlines for special packages and could find none - think it must be the time of the year.

Yes, I think 3 nights in Bangkok and 4 nights in Chaing Mai would be ideal but cannot find affordable air anywhere. She would love it and it would work with my schedule.
Do you have any other thoughts or suggestions?
Many thanks,
One very happy aunt
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Old Jun 16th, 2007, 01:36 PM
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Try Thailand on your own. You will be able to relax and absorb the sense of it. It can be magical. You could do BKK-Sukothai-Chiang Mai-BKK by trian. You might also look at Air Asia for cheqp flights.
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Old Jun 16th, 2007, 01:56 PM
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Kathie is absolutely right about the down side of group travel. However, if you are new to this part of the world then there are benefits. The moving around is all taken care of and you have a safety net of a tour group. There is nothing to stop you opting out of the group now and then and doing your own thing, which is what I would advise. Definitely I agree that you will be better to hire your own guide and driver for the Angkor Complex. Whatever hotel your group takes you to,I'm quite sure you will be able to arrange this when you get there.

I think your niece will certainly find Cambodia different and exotic, an unforgetable experience.
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Old Jun 16th, 2007, 04:30 PM
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Thanks for all your time and great suggestions. I have until Wed. to make a decision. If I choose Cambodia & in order to get more a feel and perhaps have some of those one-on-one moments that we all love about travel I will hire our our guide. I hope to just tour around the villages and have long lesisure time at the temples.
I looked high an low for good air fare to Thailand (I think my first choice) with no luck. But, I did find this for $1500 w/air http://www.aberdeentours.com/dTour/pack.asp?qpid=19616
As you have suggested I could ditch the tours. Please, what do you think?

Thanks Again!
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Old Jun 16th, 2007, 07:44 PM
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I would go to Siem Reap. Singapore is worth a couple of days at best imo. The ruins of Ankor are clearly the top attraction in the region, I was quite happy to spend a week there though I know days seems to be the average.

Phnom Penh is also worth a few days tocheck out the city and perhaps look at a few historical relics of the Pol Pot era. Other popular destinations are the seaside resort of Sihanoukville and historic Battembang.

http://www.travelsinasia.com/Cambodia/Cambodia.htm

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Old Jun 17th, 2007, 02:31 AM
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It might be beyond your budget, but I did the 7-night cruise along the Mekong from Saigon to Siem Reap and aded two nights in Siem Reap to see Angkor. I stayed at the Bophar Angkor Hotel in Siem Reap, which was exquisite and modestly priced (about $40US 15 months ago).

It was arguably the best group trip I have done in 30 years of travelling.

I went with www.pandaw.com and have photos here: http://jmpr.photium.com/portfolio7393.html
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Old Jun 17th, 2007, 09:03 AM
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Wow, Weilong and Mitch!

Fabulous Photos! I'm going to share them today with my niece at Father's Daylunch at my house. Wow, very impressive.

Thanks!
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