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Shellyinokinawa Aug 21st, 2006 09:10 PM

Where to go next??
We are trying to figure out our next and probably last big trip while we are stationed over here in Japan. We are a family of 4, us a 4 year old and a 4 month old. We've been to Thailand(Northern and Bangkok), China (Beijing, Shanghai and Xian), Australia (Sydney to Melbourne). We're planning some quick trips to Korea and Singapore but are wondering where to head for a longer (10ish day) vacation. Anybody have any suggestions on where to go next? We've been considering hitting a different section of Australia, Vietnam.....Where would you go??
Thanks for the suggestions!

mrwunrfl Aug 21st, 2006 10:04 PM

I would go to Japan, to the main islands up north. Or to Bali. But, I am not a family of four.

Cicerone Aug 21st, 2006 10:29 PM

What time of year is the trip? Makes a big difference, e.g. monsoon patterns, temps.

Shellyinokinawa Aug 21st, 2006 10:43 PM

Bali would be amazing, but because of restrictions put on us (being part of the military), we can't go there. The trip could be anywhere from January through June.

Cicerone Aug 22nd, 2006 12:25 AM

Well those are good months in most places. I am kinda assuming you DON'T really want a beach/palm tree situation because you live in Okinawa. If you do, let me know and I will broaden my reccos.

New Zealand - great scenery, especially the South Island. Mountains, glaciers, fiords, beautiful coastline, sheep (good wine). Lots of outdoor activities like Australia, but the scenery is quite different from the parts of Australia you have been to. If the 4 year old has seen any of the "Lord of the Rings" Trilogy I am sure he/she would love to go. Not sure the 4 month old wants to take that long a flight, but if he/she flew to Australia, I guess it would work. As it is even further from the US, you may never get another chance to be so "close" to it. Would be the end of Summer to Fall leading into Winter during your time frame, so you might be able to time it to ski in the Queenstown area if you wanted, or aim for Fall when you could walk parts of the Milford Track. Go to for info on this and all the places you are considering.

Malaysia either the mainland or the island of Kalimantan. You could do rainforests, headhunters, orang-utans and other wildlife and some beaches (just for a little relaxation). Taman Negara national park on the mainland or the Mt. Kinabalu area on Kalimantan/Borneo would be great for wildlife. (The 4 year old could not do the climb up Kinabalu IMO.) You could also combine this with cool highland tea plantation areas east/north of Kuala Lumpur like Fraisers Hill or Genting Highlands where you can pick tea and strawberries, there are also good walks in this area. With 10 days you could conceivably drive from Singapore up the west coast, stop in Malacca, go up to the highlands, stop in Penang and go to Taman Negara (although this could be more driving than you ant, you would have to plan it out, hopefully someone in Malaysia will post with accurate drive time estimates).

Kathie Aug 22nd, 2006 06:44 AM

Malaysia has lots to offer. The caution is that some of the most interesting places do have malarial risk - the inland areas of Malaysian Borneo and even the Cameron Highlands. That said, you could do a lovely trip to the coastal areas of peninsular Malaysia, historic towms like Meleka and Georgetown (Penang) and you could visit Kuala Lampur. If you opt for Malaysian Borneo, let me recommend that you spend some time in Kuching and the surrounding areas.

Guenmai Aug 22nd, 2006 06:47 AM

My vote goes for the south island of New Zealand. Plus, NZ is VERY family friendly. Happy Travels!

Dothilua Aug 22nd, 2006 11:56 PM

Vietnam is a beautiful country.Coming here, you can Along with fine tropical weather, spectacular natural scenery and historic sites, Vietnam's greatest resource is its friendly, welcoming people. Long closed to the outside world, Vietnam retains a charming innocence that more touristy regions lack. And the Vietnamese people and their smile will remain in your memory long after you depart.
Traveling to Vietnam is fastest and cheapest.
Welcome you to our country.

mjs Aug 23rd, 2006 12:32 AM

Another vote for New Zealand, although Vietnam, Bali and Malaysia would also be interesting. Okinawa is however somewhat tropical so NZ might be a nice change. Stationed at Kadena? Might also consider Hong Kong for a city trip but 10 days may be alittle much. Also should consider mainland Japan as it would be quite different than Okinawa. Can stay at the Sanno in Tokyo to keep your expenses down.

claran Aug 23rd, 2006 02:08 AM

Since you will be going to Singapore, i think going up north to Menisular Malaysia would be a very good idea. As some already suggested Melaka which is a small town full of historical places. You can't really expect to see big shopping mall or sky scapper over there. It is a peaceful little town. The food there is very nice, you should try the rice ball with chicken and the "Satey Celup" - meat that is pierce on a stick and cooked with a very special type of saurce. Something llike steamboat.

Since you have kids with you, i think it is good to go some places that is relaxing. I am thinking of either Genting Highland or Cameron Highland would be a good place for family hang out. For Genting Highland is is an entertainment city where there is amusement park - both indoor and outdoor, water park and even a casino for you guys to try some luck.

For Cameron Highland, it is more on nature atmosphere where there is vegetable farm, tea farm, cactus garden, rose garden and a lot more. There will be night market and you should tried some if the foods there. It is really delicious.

Hope my suggestion help. =)

Shellyinokinawa Aug 25th, 2006 08:15 PM

Thanks for all the information! We will have to do more research and I will probably come back with more questions!

moody2 Aug 25th, 2006 10:31 PM

Vietnam. Never been there - but was doing research - till idea was shelved.
Can start from either Hanoi to Ho Chi Min; or the other way. Travel by domestic air & train.
Visit Hoi An & Hue, My-Son. Read the reunification train passes thru very scenic places from Danang to Hue. Have silk pieces tailored at Hoi An.
There are nice beach resorts too.

NZ is a/o place I wld love to go to. But if U R from a ctry that has winters & countryside & farms (I'm not) than Vietnam may B more unique?

TravelTwiddle Aug 27th, 2006 07:17 PM

Shelly, with 4 month old baby, and if you are considering Malaysia, you should base your holiday in Ipoh. The city is just a short drive to all "must sees" in the west coast. You can make day trips and do not have to pack/unpack as often. Here are some suggestions and driving times;

- 1 hr to Cameron Highlands, via Simpang Pulai's new highway.
- 1 hr to Lumut's jetty where you can catch a ferry ride to Pangkor Island for some beach time.
- 1.5hr to Penang for history and multi-culturalism stuffs.
- 40 mins to Taiping for lake garden, zoo, colonial historical sites, museums and great local food.
- 50 mins to Matang mangrove forest, the world's oldest mangrove forest park.
- 20 mins to Gua Tempurung, for limestone cavern exploration. The place has easy going, proper and secure steel steps for children and families.
- 25 mins to Ulu Geroh rainforest. The only place one can see the giant Rafflesia flower besides going all the way to Sabah, Borneo. Your kids would love the Rajah Brooke Birdwing butterfly colonies found along the river.

So, there you are. These places could easily eat up your 10 days. For "just in case", there are 5 private specialist hospitals in Ipoh, 16 child specialist clinics and they are all within near range from city hotels. For a nice 4 star hotel, the rate is about USD 70.00 per night, comes with breakfast. Budget hotels go for USD 20-30 per night. Most Ipohites speak English and the city is populated by Chinese.

Hppy travels!

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