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SE Asia vacation - where to go?

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by dtmt, Apr 7, 2008.

  1. dtmt

    dtmt Well-Known Member

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    I'm thinking of taking a trip somewhere in Southeast Asia for 4-5 days. Mainly just want to relax, enjoy the beach and fresh seafood/local cuisine. It doesn't need to be the most exciting place, but I'd like somewhere were there's at least something to do/see outside of the hotel. (I'm not a fan of the typical American-style resort in Mexico or whatever where you're basically confined to the hotel grounds)

    Right now the places I'm considering are:
    Guam
    Saipan
    Thailand
    Bali

    For some reason I get the impression that Guam and Saipan might not be as nice, but since they're a bit cheaper I'm considering them as well.

    Any thoughts/experiences/suggestions?
     
  2. Matt

    Matt Well-Known Member

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    Obviously I have a bias toward Vietnam, but objectively, Thailand has everything and is a pretty easy trip for just a few days....
     
  3. johnapril

    johnapril Well-Known Member

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    Please consider taking a bit longer vacation, as the places you want to visit may not be as easy to fire in and out of on a tight schedule, and you risk basically throwing out any of the relaxing advantages of the destinations. I'd suggest no less than 2 weeks for either Thailand or Indonesia. Bail is an easy destination as you can fly into Denpasar and be on the beach less than 15 minutes after you step out of the airport. Thailand requires more of a trek south of Bangkok, so you might try to arrange an onward flight and never step out at Bangkok.

    My ideal chill out spot in SEA is Luang Prabang, in northern Laos along the Mekong. If you need a guesthouse recommendation for the town, just ask for Viradesa. He's a good man.
     
  4. dtmt

    dtmt Well-Known Member

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    Has anyone been to Guam? I think it is my top choice right now -- I'm having a hard time finding decent deals for places like Thailand since it seems to be a busy season for travel.

    Please consider taking a bit longer vacation, as the places you want to visit may not be as easy to fire in and out of on a tight schedule, and you risk basically throwing out any of the relaxing advantages of the destinations. I'd suggest no less than 2 weeks for either Thailand or Indonesia.
    Well, I live in Tokyo so it's a pretty easy/short trip to most places in SE Asia.
     
  5. Bic Pentameter

    Bic Pentameter Well-Known Member

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    Has anyone been to Guam? I think it is my top choice right now -- I'm having a hard time finding decent deals for places like Thailand since it seems to be a busy season for travel.


    Well, I live in Tokyo so it's a pretty easy/short trip to most places in SE Asia.


    I lived on Guam for 4 years in the late '70`s, then took a trip back as an adult. It was not too impressive in comparison to Samoa. Member "watchingdetails" currently lives on Guam.

    Bic
     
  6. aleksandr

    aleksandr Well-Known Member

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    Technically Guam and Saipan aren't even in SE Asia but...

    Anyhow, if you (or anyone else on SF for that matter) happen to visit Singapore or pass through on transit, I'd be happy to entertain you for a bit. Not much to see, but LOTS to eat.
     
  7. dizzhizz

    dizzhizz Well-Known Member

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    Definitely cross out Guam and Saipan from that list. I was there two years ago and I vowed never to go back.
     
  8. Orsini

    Orsini Well-Known Member

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    Definitely cross out Guam and Saipan from that list. I was there two years ago and I vowed never to go back.
    Can you tell us more about that?
     
  9. Karo

    Karo Well-Known Member

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    I'm heading over to Thailand next week. Phuket for 3 nights and bangkok for another 3 nights. So one week thailand trip including tickets, hotel + breakfast cost me $600usd.
     
  10. dtmt

    dtmt Well-Known Member

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    I'm heading over to Thailand next week. Phuket for 3 nights and bangkok for another 3 nights. So one week thailand trip including tickets, hotel + breakfast cost me $600usd.

    The problem for me is that I'll be coming from Japan during the "Golden Week" holiday, so prices/availability are much, much worse.
     
  11. johnapril

    johnapril Well-Known Member

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    Has anyone been to Guam? I think it is my top choice right now -- I'm having a hard time finding decent deals for places like Thailand since it seems to be a busy season for travel.


    Well, I live in Tokyo so it's a pretty easy/short trip to most places in SE Asia.


    Lucky bastard.
     
  12. Matt

    Matt Well-Known Member

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    how about Boracay in the Phillipines?

    or if you can get to Malaysia, gorgeous beaches around Redang and Perhentian.

    Failing that, fly to Singapore and do a weekend package trip to Rawa (in Malaysia, but closer to Singapore than KL). Rawa is stunning....

    Personally I am going to Con Dao again in a month, which is my favorite Vietnam chillspot.
     
  13. lefty

    lefty Well-Known Member

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    I'm off to Bali next week, so, ummm... don't go there. Nothing available.

    I would consider the recommendation to hit Laos. I haven't been, but I hear it's relatively unspoiled and probably pretty cheap. Thailand absolutely, if you've never been.

    alexsandr, there used to be a seafood restaurant along the road from the airport to downtown Singapore with a huge sign that read, "If it swims, we got it." Always thought that summed up the cuisine pretty well. I'll be passing through for about three hours and would love to load up on some of my favourite dishes. Anything close to the airport (or even at the airport) you can recommend?

    lefty
     
  14. Matt

    Matt Well-Known Member

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    Giant in East Coast Park?
     
  15. Alter

    Alter Well-Known Member

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    The problem for me is that I'll be coming from Japan during the "Golden Week" holiday, so prices/availability are much, much worse.

    Guam or Saipan during Golden Week will basically feel like you are still in Tokyo.
     
  16. lefty

    lefty Well-Known Member

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    Giant in East Coast Park?

    Thanks, Matt.

    We're considering a move back to SE Asia in the next year and Vietnam is on the short list. Mind if I send you a few questions?

    lefty
     
  17. Matt

    Matt Well-Known Member

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  18. dtmt

    dtmt Well-Known Member

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    Anyhow, if you (or anyone else on SF for that matter) happen to visit Singapore or pass through on transit, I'd be happy to entertain you for a bit. Not much to see, but LOTS to eat.
    Thanks, I'm sure I'll be able to take you up on that offer someday eventually. I get so many emails from recruiters about positions in Singapore, I'm curious what it's like. Also, let me know if you ever come to Tokyo, I can take you to my favorite places here.


    Personally I am going to Con Dao again in a month, which is my favorite Vietnam chillspot.
    Any other places you recommend in Vietnam? I have never been there, but I will definitely go someday.
     
  19. Matt

    Matt Well-Known Member

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    I live in Saigon, which is a bunch of fun, but buttugly as a tourist city. Hanoi is the opposite. No fun, but a gorgeous tourist city. Sapa in the extreme north is stunning, forumite tiger02 and I did a motorbike trip there from Hanoi, unforgettable. Tom...I wish I knew how to quit you. Halong Bay is pretty amazing, but very heavily touristed these days. Hoi An is on the tourist trail, personally I despise the place. Hue is beautiful. Nha Trang = party central. There's a facebook group devoted to people who have been trashed there and lived to tell the tale. I am a member. Dalat = peaceful little hill place. Mui Ne = peaceful little beach place. Both are OK. Con Dao Island = my favorite chill spot...15 islands, like 2000 people. It's empty. Secluded beaches n all that. Note...there is nothing there. A couple of clean-but-not-fancy hotels (altho a 6* resort opening later this yr apparently), and everything happens at Con.Dao.Speed. You want room service dinner...should think about ordering at around three. I love it, and may buy some land there as an investment. Phu Quoc Island is its more developed cousin. Better resorts/food/service/entertainment options etc to be found there, but Con Dao has nicer beaches and better vibe for doing nothing for a few days. There you go, whole country covered in a single post [​IMG]
     
  20. Suits You Sir!

    Suits You Sir! Well-Known Member

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    Of your choices, I'd go for Thailand. Brilliant place for a beach holiday. Your money goes such a long way. Live like a king at peasant prices!

    We stayed on Phuket but away from the main and rather tacky beach at Patong. It was a handy free bus ride/tuktuk ride into Patong if you wanted entertainment or supplies. Was called Merlin Beach Resort which nestled in it's own secluded cove overlooking a small beach and the Andaman Sea. The resort was a fairly big place but divided into three sections so felt much more intimate. Pools of each wing all interconnected. Fabulous service & beautiful restaurants in the resort. I'd thoroughly recommend it. Not too pricey either. Incidentally it featured heavily in the Tsunami footage 6 months later.... people getting plucked from the water by people on first floor balconies. Sadly we heard it was left with buses and palm trees floating inside the foyer. Thankfully it's since been restored to its former glory.

    Other good places in Thailand? I hear the Banyan Tree there is glorious (and pricey) and Krabi is away from it all but with nice resorts.

    Sadly I find it difficult to say anything good about Bangkok. Enormous sprawl, filthy, congested like you wouldn't believe and horrible hospitality in comparison with the resorts. People laud its cheap shopping. Forget it, unless you're in the habit of buying horrible tat. Okay, so the Grand Palace is quite a sight but incredibly rushed if you go with a guide and the canals are pretty interesting. But all in all the place is a tiring shit-fight and I've vowed never to set foot in the place again.

    And Singapore? I adore the place. Keep going back.

    It gets a bad rap from people saying it's sterile and boring but I find this view very outdated and unfounded nowadays. You won't find a better place to eat; Singapore has it all from cheap and cheerful to exotic and expensive. A real melting-pot of Asian cuisines.

    Everyone fancies a stay at Raffles, but most can't afford it. We opted for the Fullerton on the Singapore River and it was a delight. If you don't know it must be one of the city's grandest old buildings; an imposing building with impressive doric columns - it was once the GPO before becoming a hotel. It's close to everything and the MRT. If you get a room on the good side you get a great view of the city skyline and the Durians; their new opera house. Things to do there? Shop till you drop on Orchard Road, visit the zoo (don't scoff, it's worth the trip and deserves it's famous reputation), hop over to Sentosa on the cable car (fab views) - much is tacky but there are some rewards, check out Chinatown and Little India, and of course.... eat, eat, eat - there's no way you'll run out of restaurants here.

    And whilst there, maybe a hop over to Bintan is an option? We did it (5 days there, 5 days Singapore), and it was a treat. Beaches were surprisingly pretty being so close to Singapore (fast ferry takes one hour) - uncrowded tropical, clean and stunning sand; a real surprise. The island doesn't really have much to do - unless you're big into golf (courses by Gary Player & Greg Norman I believe) - it's just a good break away from the city, kick back and relax round the pool, at the Spa or if you're inclined, some sailing or waterskiing.

    We stayed at the Angsana Resort & Spa on Bintan... pretty place but not really up to much. Service terribly disappointing, as was the food. However, that would all change if you stayed just a minute's walk away at the Banyan Tree, where we often went to eat. If you can afford to stay, go for it, you won't be disappointed. All rooms are secluded villas which have stunning hillside views of the ocean. The staff there are wonderful and the food at their restaurants was divine. Oh, and it's not as pricey as the Banyan Tree in Phuket.

    So, Thailand for relaxing on the cheap is a winner.

    If you want city/beach go for Singapore/Bintan... you get best of both worlds.

    Might give you something to consider. Bon voyage.
     

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