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Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, or Phillippines

Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, or Phillippines

Old Feb 22nd, 2016, 11:10 AM
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Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, or Phillippines

Hello all,

I am planning a trip with my girlfriend to SE Asia for 8-10 nights, during the last few days of March into April.

-Mid 20s
-I am well traveled (Africa, Americas, Middle East, all over EU), while my girlfriend has only been to Canada O_O
-Looking for a luxury beach area that is established enough to have different local shopping / restaurant / sightseeing, while not being too crowded.
-Looking for a taste of one of the urban centers for something different as well

Some of the different trips I have planned out are:

Bangkok 3 nights - Phuket 5 nights
Ho Chi Minh 3 nights - Da Nang 5 nights
Bali - half at a beach resort, half at a resort in the interior
Manilla few nights - Boracay Island for the rest

Any recommendations on which country? Both of our first times to Asia. Thanks in advance.
JosephNY is offline  
Old Feb 22nd, 2016, 04:51 PM
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While Bali has beautiful beaches, I doubt it has the "urban center" you're looking for.

Just my 2 cents' worth - I'd pick Thailand from this list. Bangkok city is easy to navigate with its well-connected subway and affordable taxis. It has a good mix of urban and "non-urban" elements with its shopping malls/establishments and markets/street stalls. IMO Thailand's a good preview to Asia as well. The metropolitan Bangkok mirrors other more developed Asian cities like Singapore, Hong Kong or Manila; while the rural side reflects other countries like Vietnam or Myanmar. That way you can gauge what to expect when you travel to Asia again the next time.
supershim is offline  
Old Feb 22nd, 2016, 07:20 PM
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Bali certainly has the luxury resort options that you are seeking -- both at the southern beaches and the inland area surrounding Ubud. The Seminyak/Petitenget abounds in sophisticated restaurants, shops, spas, clubs. Ubud is quieter and more of a nature-culture destination, but offers good food, shopping and spa experiences as well.

Not sure how to define "not too crowded." Bali's best beaches are developed and lively, but you don't get a sense of crowds on the beaches themselves. The luxury resorts are serene oases with lush gardens and sparkling pools.

The west coast features dramatic big wave beaches, not the pristine white sand, turquoise water that you would find in parts of Thailand or the Philippines. So it depends on how you visualize your beach time.

Late March/April usually means excellent beach weather in Bali.

If you're coming from New York, Singapore Airlines offers a good connection through Singapore which could offer an urban stopover for a couple of days enroute to Bali.
marmot is offline  
Old Feb 22nd, 2016, 09:40 PM
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Saigon for the city stay.

But for the beach I'd stay in Hoi An [close to Da Nang] for the beach. The beach is only a short taxi ride from Hoi An, and Hoi An is a magical place after dark.

Only use Vinasun or Mai Lai taxis in Vietnam, and beware of imitation look-alikes.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2016, 10:26 PM
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I will vote for Danang beach, it have a long and beautiful beach. Hotel and restaurant always available with good quality. The luxury resort system here will make you satisfy with spa and massage service. Danang also have many store with hundred brand and local product, it nearby Hoian - an ancient Town could help you relax and feeling comfortable.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2016, 10:59 PM
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"Some of the different trips I have planned out are:" [emphasis added]

I trust you have asked your girlfriend?
kja is offline  
Old Feb 28th, 2016, 01:48 AM
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Flying directly to Kalibo airport will be much better if you're going to Boracay.
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Old Feb 29th, 2016, 12:37 AM
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That place nearly freaked me out.
DON'T use the entrance under the clock tower, you'll get 'attacked' by a bevy of pretty girls anxious for your custom. There are other entrances, so use them.
LancasterLad is offline  
Old Feb 29th, 2016, 01:08 AM
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Saigon is one of my favourite cities in Vietnam and a great place for a short break. A huge amount to see in the city. Beaches in Vietnam are not the best for a variety of reasons, so I would probably forego that in favour of a visit to the delta. Plenty of places to relax, just no beaches. Da Nang is a large city and does have China beach which is great if you want to relax in 5* hotel - Hyatt, Pullnan, Intercontinental etc. The beach is great and the surrounding areas are mostly half finished building sites.

Phu Quoc is a possibility and the weather would be nice at that time of year.

Another negative vote for Ben Than market. It is one of the worst places to shop in Saigon. An overpriced tourist trap, rife with pickpockets. Some nice bbq fish stalls set up outside in the evening ( still overpriced ) though. There are many other local markets that are much much better.

Seven days is a very short time for this region and your arrival airport and its connections .may well have a big influence on where you choose to spend your time.
PS "Looking for a luxury beach area that is established enough to have different local shopping / restaurant / sightseeing, while not being too crowded." Good luck finding that combination!!!

One final thought, given your criteria, Take a look at a combo of Kuala Lumpur and Langkawi. KL is not to everyone's taste but I like it, some incredible 5* hotels at decent prices. Terrific, varied food from street stalls and markets to 5* upscale restaurants and probably the most varied cuisine in Asia. Langkawi has a plethora of lux hotels, The Datai, Andaman and Four Seasons being amongst the best but many nice levels below that. Bon Ton is a goodie. Quiet beaches can be found - Renitang a car is a great way to explore.
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Old Mar 4th, 2016, 02:50 AM
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What's your budget looks like?

>>Looking for a luxury beach area that is established enough to have different local shopping / restaurant / sightseeing, while not being too crowded.
redsoleslady is offline  
Old Mar 19th, 2016, 05:51 PM
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Skip Manila if you're going to the Philippines. Choose Cebu instead. It's nearer to Boracay, and it also gives you a much better Phl city experience. Manila is just TOO overcrowded and there is nothing much to it. 5 nights in Cebu + 5 nights in Boracay would be excellent. Cebu is the first city in the Philippines and many of its cultural treasures (churches, Spanish history markers) are well-preserved. You also get a taste if its bustling urban center. Plus, food and value for money are excellent. Many international hotel chains abound (Mariott, Hilton, etc). Boracay beach is topnotch. Make sure to stay at station 1 (where the white sand is finest (probably in the world!). Be prepared to party every night. Food along the beachside you can do without. Not excellent but very expensive. Try moving farther from the beach and the choices and food quality improves. Also lots of luxury beach resort options here. When flying to Boracay, make sure to choose Caticlan airport instead of Kalibo. Caticlan is much nearer to the beach and you won't need an additional 2+ hours of land travel from the airport, which you will have to endure if youre coming from Kalibo. Good luck!
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Old Mar 23rd, 2016, 12:39 AM
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I suggest Vietnam or Thailand .
Vietnam is the most recent spot in South East Asia that I’ve explored and I have one take away from it – why didn’t I travel there sooner?!

I spent 3 weeks travelling up the coast from Ho Chi Min City to Hanoi after heading overland there from Cambodia and to be honest 3 weeks just wasn’t enough!

From the moped chaos of Ho Chi Min to the beautiful lanterns of Hoi An. The crisp mountain air of Dalat and the stunning sand dunes of Mui Ne – Vietnam has so much to see and do.

And the coffee?! Oh the coffee! It’s totally ruined coffee for me but it was well worth it for 3 weeks filled with ice coffee, brewed coffee and egg coffee…so if you head that way make the most of it.

As with most spots in Asia is was super easy to organize transport throughout (I used overland buses, internal flights and mini buses) and there was plenty of accommodation for all levels of budget and style.

The land of a thousand smiles is one of the most popular countries to travel in South East Asia, Bangkok is a huge international hub making it an easy and cheap place to fly into and the position of Thailand means it’s a great bouncing point to head off into other countries afterwards.

The common overland trail of Bangkok down to Singapore is an easy route to tackle and there’s plenty to see and do in this beautiful country too.

Whether you fancy learning to scuba dive in Koh Tao, island hopping over on Koh Phi Phi, tackling the infamous Khao San Road in Bangkok or chilling up in the jungle in hippie spots like Pai there’s plenty of adventure to be had and it’s a spot I’ve been drawn back to time and time again.

With a solid tourism infrastructure Thailand is the perfect country to introduce you to travelling in Asia too whilst still retaining heaps of culture, food and backpacker goodness, so there’s no wonder it’s heaps popular!
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