Where to go in Southeast Asia

Mar 16th, 2013, 03:09 PM
Original Poster
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Where to go in Southeast Asia

Which are the best destinations in SE Asia to include in a November (2014) trip? We are 60-somethings. First time to Asia (except Japan). Likely only trip to SE Asia. We don't need details yet. Just roughing out places to include with 2 - 3 weeks travel time, max. We like to experience different culture, exotic architecture, art, quaintness, history and variety. Would love to see a floating market. Definitely want to go to S. Vietnam / Ho Chi Minh City, but not sure if better to include North Vietnam or instead see parts of Thailand, Laos, and/or Cambodia.
LeslieC is offline  
Mar 16th, 2013, 03:55 PM
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To get the most out of such a trip you will want to choose a limited number of places and stay at each places for at least four nights (that is only three days) so you get a flavor for the place.

Here are some places to consider;

1. Siem Reap, Cambodia gateway to the Angkor temples. Get a copy of Dawn Rooney's book, "Angkor: A Guide to Cambodia's Wondrous Temples to prepare. $ nights here.

2. Luang Prabang, Laos a lovely, slow, meditative temple town, cultural capitol of Laos. The wats (Buddhist temples) here at all working temples, filled with saffron-robed monks, many of whom will want to practice their English with you.

3. Bangkok, Thailand This is my favorite city in the world, a modern metropolis still filled with gilded wats. You can stay in a luxury hotel for the price of a Holiday Inn in the US, eat wonderful food, and shop to your heart's content.

4. HCMC - you stated this was the one "must" place for you. You might consider a day or overnight trip to the Mekong Delta while you are there. Hanoi is an interesting city, with broad, tree-lined boulevards courtesy of the French occupiers, tiny alleys selling everything you can imagine, and a few old temples.

You might find some photos useful: www.marlandc.com
Kathie is offline  
Mar 16th, 2013, 04:28 PM
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We are your age and went last Nov. to Thailand and Singapore for 3+ weeks and loved the trip. I am in the process of completing our trip report. Our first challenge, and realization, was that this would not be our last trip to that area and we could not do it all.
virginiafish is offline  
Mar 17th, 2013, 12:21 AM
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Given your stated interests and your desire to include Saigon, I would simply stay in Vietnam. 2 - 3 weeks is a decent amount of time and will give you the opportunity to explore the country without rushing. I love the north of the country, the scenery is magnificent and the people welcoming and friendly. If possible fly into HCMC and out of Hanoi or vice versa. You could easily spend a week in and around Hanoi and not get bored.

Kathie's point about staying in places for 4 nights is well made moving form place to place daily is a bit wearing after a while and does detract from your overall experience. November is high season and a good time to travel weather wise in most of SE Asia but major sites like Luang Prabang and Angkor Wat do get very busy and, in my opinion, does detract from the experience.
crellston is offline  
Mar 17th, 2013, 06:42 AM
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we are in our late 60's and have been frequent SEA visitors for more than a decade...

BKK happens to be our favorite place in all the world and the easiest place to travel in SEA, imo..

but given your interest in VN, i would consider a trip for 2-3 weeks that takes you from N to S or the other way in VN...

i loved hanoi and liked HCMC, but we loved hoi an too and would have loved hue had the weather allowed us to get there, which it did not.

i would enlist tonkin travel in hanoi to assist me with some of the details. they are fantastic.

i would save thailand, laos and cambodia for my next trip..
rhkkmk is offline  
Mar 17th, 2013, 06:43 AM
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and there will be a next trip
rhkkmk is offline  
Mar 17th, 2013, 10:32 AM
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I agree with the others -- see VN. Two - 3 weeks would make a nice trip going from North to South or vice versa. In addition to the places mentioned above I would look into an overnight on Halong Bay. Mai Chau is a few hours outside Hanoi and makes a nice visit away from the usual tourist stops.
Also agree to check with Tonkin Travel if you are inclined to use a TA - its easy to plan on your own if you choose, but Tonkin is great.
yestravel is offline  
Mar 18th, 2013, 04:12 AM
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I wouldn't restrict myself to Vietnam, unless that's your main focus. The highlights of our recent trip were the temples of Angkor in Cambodia and Luang Prabang in Laos, though we enjoyed Vietnam.
Marija is offline  
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