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Where to go this winter - SE Asia or South Pacific?

Where to go this winter - SE Asia or South Pacific?

Nov 29th, 2007, 08:22 AM
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Where to go this winter - SE Asia or South Pacific?

I'm trying to plan a vacation for myself, my wife, our infant son, and my elderly mother in the next month or so. My mother will be flying in from the US, so I don't want her to have to suffer many layovers to a very remote destination. The flight from NYC to Asia is already long enough for someone her age.

The deal is flight times can't be longer than 6 hours from China (Shanghai) to a destination with no chance of infection diseases like malaria, etc (since our son can't take malaria pills yet).

So where should we do it? I've been to Thailand so many times, and although that might be the best solution, I'd really prefer to go somewhere else. The conditions in Vietnam might be a little rough for my mother, but then my experience there was more of a backpacking style trip. Philippines? Micronesia? Marshall Islands? Others? I'd love your input.

baaj is offline  
Nov 29th, 2007, 08:29 AM
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cruisinred is offline  
Nov 29th, 2007, 08:49 AM
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I am going to suggest Bali...for a few reasons:

-Mom can take the Singapore Air non-stop from NYC flight....much, much better than normal coach and quick/easy connection from Singapore to Bali (I shudder to think what the flight connections might be like to go from NYC to Micronesia)

- You'll be able to rent a great villa, in almost any price range. A villa would enable you each have a bedroom, and the villa will also have a staff available to help with the baby....great to have access to a kitchen when traveling with kids

- no malaria meds needed
cruisinred is offline  
Nov 29th, 2007, 09:09 AM
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baaj -- are you in Shanghai now? I was calling you for the NYC 12/26/07 GTG. Missed you at the Shanghai 11/2/07 GTG. And congrats on the new baby!

Would you consider Sanya in Hainan Island, China?
Shanghainese is offline  
Nov 29th, 2007, 09:18 AM
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langkawi island in malaysia

luang prabang laos
rhkkmk is offline  
Nov 29th, 2007, 09:41 AM
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Bali. Happy Travels!
Guenmai is offline  
Nov 29th, 2007, 11:19 AM
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I always thought Bali was just a place where Aussies go to party - I'll have to check it out.

Shanghainese, I'm not in Shanghai now, but it's possible that I might be there for a few days around the GTG time. Once I pin down this trip, I'll have a better idea of where I'll be when. Shanghai would certainly be a fun place for a GTG. Where do you generally go to meet?
baaj is offline  
Nov 29th, 2007, 11:27 AM
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Luang Prabang is malarial risk.

Bali is a good option. Aussies goe to Kuta beach to party - avoid Kuta!
Kathie is offline  
Nov 29th, 2007, 11:41 AM
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baaj -- I am not in Shanghai either, will be in Manhattan 12/26. The GTG is lunch at Our Place Shanghai Tea Garden at 144 E. 55 th Street, please click on my name for the thread.

I won't be going to Shanghai till next year. Again click on my name and see the 11/2 GTG, it was at Lost Heaven Yunan Restaurant at 38 Gao You Lu in the old french concession, fabulous, 2 blocks from where nagiffag works.

Please let me know if you'd like some nice Shanghai restuarants recommendations that haven't shown up on Fodor's, I was there late Oct/early Nov, not planning on doing a TR but could offer some notes.
Shanghainese is offline  
Nov 29th, 2007, 12:07 PM
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Go to Ubud or the Ubud area and then you'll be away from all of that partying and rowdiness. I never went to Kuta...stayed totally clear of it. Happy Travels!
Guenmai is offline  
Nov 29th, 2007, 05:33 PM
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I think Bali is a very good suggestion, you need to do a little reading it up on the island if your last impression is that it is all Aussie backpackers. There are lots of luxury hotels and villas, not least of which is a Bulgari hotel and of course the Amans who basically started the boutique small luxury hotel craze. Renting a villa there is a great idea. Most come with cooks, drivers, etc. Makes for a wonderful vacation. December is excellent there weather-wise, virtually no rain. A very friendly and rich culture with opportunities to see dances, art, temples, etc. Flight time would be about what you want.

Phuket of course is great in December, not sure of flight time from Shanghai, may be OK. But if you have been there enough I can understand that you may want to try somewhere else.

The Marshall Islands and Micronesia are quite a pain to get to, esp from Shanghai, you are going to require several plane changes and more than likely a boat trip at some point. I don't know if you have looked at a map, but these archipelagos are about 10,000 miles east of the PRC. I also think this area has a wet season in the winter months, much like Hawaii and other parts of the Pacific, take a look at weather websites. Moreover, you will not find good quality hotels there. A place like Guam, which is the closest of these series of islands (and is 7 hours from Shanghai) and is significantly west of the Marshall Islands or Micronesia, is basically crappy hotels for package tours from Japan (the Marriott is a disgrace to the chain), and the little I have seen of the rest (like Yap) is a lot of shacks on the beach for divers, perfectly fine if you are there for diving, but I don't think this is what you have in mind unless your mother is an avid scuba diver. They may also be malerial, I have not checked on that.

The Philippines is unfortunately in much of the same class, with some very lovely beach areas, not a lot of great hotels, they just don't get the tourists yet. There is an Aman which is very beautiful, that is something you could consider. I could suggest a place called El Nido in Palawan, which has two hotels, but they won't be like 5 star luxury hotels, I don't know what you are looking for. Travel there involves a flight to Manila, then a light plane trip of about an hour, then a boat trip of about 45 minutes. http://www.elnidoresorts.com/. It's very beautiful, but there is nothing else at all to do there but swim, snorkel, etc. No shops, no village. I don't know if this would interest your mother. I would also check the maleria risk issues in the Philippines, although on remote islands your risk is probably low.

The Maldives are sublime in December, probably just outside your flight range, they are 4 hours from Singapore and KL (plus then a boat road or light plan ride to the hotel you choose), but worth the trip (your mother could come the other way via Europe and/or Dubai). Lots of good hotels in the high and mid-range. Again, nothing to do in terms of a village or shopping once you are at a resort.

I am not a huge fan of places on the west coast of Malaysia like Langkawi, but there are some good hotels there like the Datai, and you can probably fly there rather easily. The weather is good in December on that side of Malaysia.

Vietnam beach areas are another consideration, there are some decent beach resorts there, you could look at the Six Senses chain (http://www.sixsenses.com/). Again, not sure about the maleria risk issue. Check the cdc.org website.

You might consider Singapore, it can be a little rainy in December, but you could do and see a lot in the city (excellent zoo, bird park, orchid park, etc). You can stay at a hotel with a big pool or even out on Sentosa with a little beach if you feel you have to have a beach. It's hot enough to feel like a beach vacation and your mother may enjoy being in this interesting city. Clean air (for a change from Shanghai), good restaurants, etc. You may enjoy the change yourself.

Finally, while not a beach vacation, I have to throw in a good word for Hong Kong. Weather is great now, sunny, dry and temps in the low 70s, cool at night. The air pollution is not great, I will admit, but better than Shanghai. Lots to see and do here, including Hong Kong Disney and Ocean Park. An easy non-stop flight from Newark on Continental.

Cicerone is offline  
Nov 29th, 2007, 06:21 PM
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This Aussie went to Bali and by choice didn't set foot in Kuta. It's easy to avoid. Ubud makes an excellent base, and you can hire a guide to allow you to explore the island. If you want some beach time, Sanur is pleasant and relaxed. Accommodation, meals, transport and guide prices are all very reasonable and the Balinese people are unbeatable hosts.

Neil_Oz is offline  
Nov 30th, 2007, 07:13 AM
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Thanks all for the insight, and opening my eyes to Bali as a potential destination!

I'll do some serious research this weekend to drill down on my options somewhat and post back here to hopefully pick your collective brains some more.
baaj is offline  
Nov 30th, 2007, 10:11 AM
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You can come to Bangkok as first destination and continue to Singapore for one or two night and continue to Bali. I think it would be great trip for you in different of things. It will worth from long-haul.
nuttakorn_r is offline  
Dec 4th, 2007, 05:35 PM
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Bali is really magical and it is easy to avoid the party/beach parts of the island. It is extremely busy in December however and will probably be more so this year with the UN Climate Change Convention this week and next and people staying on afterwards -- it is always popular over the holidays.
jenskar2 is offline  
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