Travel Advice for Asia

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by iMacZealot, Apr 13, 2008.

  1. iMacZealot macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2005
    #1
    I'm returning to Asia for the second time in May/June. I can't wait.

    I'm going to:

    >Hong Kong (2-3 days). I've never been. My girlfriend said there's nothing to do there except eat and shop. Is that so?
    >Singapore (2-3 days). I've been before, and it's a lot of fun. I can't wait to go back to the Botanic gardens again. It was just gorgeous, and the memory card on my camera somehow got erased, so I need to retake all those lost photos!
    >Jakarta (2-3 days). Never been. I haven't a clue what's there. I hear it feels very eastern. What should I do?
    >I have 2-3 days of nothing planned, and we'd like to go somewhere different. I'm thinking about either going to Bali, Bangkok, Thiruvananthapuram (I remember the name caught my eye in an airline magazine, and it looked pretty :p), Saigon, or any other suggestions?
    >7-10 days in Japan. We're going to start out in Tokyo, which sounds like a lot of fun. My dad wants to get a JR pass so we can see other places as well.

    What's there to do in all of these places? What should I see? Where should I go between Jakarta and Japan?

    Thanks.
     
  2. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #2
    I haven't been to Jakarta, but I've been to some of places 3 or 4 times.

    Abstract = spoiled. ;) (note that I did go to these places over a span of like 15 years, so it's not like I just went nuts and spent all my money in one go....)


    Um.....anyway, if I had more time, I'd give you the low-down, but I'll have to reply in the morning. This one is too involving, and it's 1:39 AM. :eek:
     
  3. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    #3
    I've heard Hong Kong is similar to Singapore (I've been to Singapore, not Hong Kong, yet), I'm not sure its worth seeing both.

    Bangkok is OK, but really 1-2 days is plenty to see everything in the city itself.

    EDIT: To get around the region cheaply and safely by plane, look at http://www.tigerairways.com and http://www.airasia.com.
     
  4. adroit macrumors 6502

    adroit

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    #4
    :eek: I could spend 1-2 days in the Teak Palace alone. The Palace of the Emerald Buddha, the malls, china town the markets, THE FOOD! I'm not even going to mention how much time one could spend at Chatuchak Market!!!

    I was there for about a week and a half and barely scratched the surface. My advice would be to take those extra 2-3 days and expand one of your visits to a meaningful length. :)
     
  5. Much Ado macrumors 68000

    Much Ado

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    #5
    It's less of a shopping mall than Singapore, there's plenty to do. Good idea to go there first, as it gets really hot later into the Summer.

    Remember to eat as the locals do. No McDonalds or anything like that.

    I envy you going to Japan. Always wanted to go.
     
  6. Macky-Mac macrumors 68030

    Macky-Mac

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    #6
    this may be an indication that you need to find a different girlfriend......:rolleyes:

    What kind of things do you like to do anyway? Are you a "wander around and explore" type of person ? How about outdoors/nature experience? Or do you prefer going to well identified attractions, museums and monuments? Or what?

    (What did you end up doing for your flights? Did you find some sort of travel pass?)
     
  7. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    #7
    There are good cheap airlines (that I linked in my last post) in South East Asia (not Japan though) and they generally seem to charge about US$60/flight, so it shouldn't be too much of an issue.
     
  8. ravenvii macrumors 604

    ravenvii

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    #8
    Be careful in Bangkok... some of them women might be nice to look at... but chances they are men.

    ;)
     
  9. aerove macrumors 6502

    aerove

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    #9
    Thiruvananthapuram is in India.. so guess u ll need more than two days to see that place. if possible try visiting Kerala thats the state .. its got places like munnar , kumarakoam etc REAL beautiful places , with the backwaters and all that jazz. :D

    The official govt tourism site is http://www.keralatourism.org/ .. check it out u mite like it..

    i've posted pics of my last trip ther.. check them out... u ll get an idea..
    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=440679 :apple::)
     
  10. benmrii macrumors 65816

    benmrii

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    #10
    What more do you need to know beyond the Apple Stores in Japan?

    Just kidding... though I've been to the one in Fukuoka. Yay me.
     
  11. adk macrumors 68000

    adk

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    #11
    Be sure you're going to travel quite a bit before buying a JR pass. It's really only a good deal if you travel on it quite a bit. If you plan on taking a long trip like say, Tokyo to Hiroshima and back, you'll end up saving money but if you only end up going to Osaka an Kyoto you'll be better off just buying regular tickets.
     
  12. iMacZealot thread starter macrumors 68020

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    #12
    Thanks for the replies. Instead of quoting, I'll just try and respond to everything.

    We're going out of our way to spend an extra two days on vacation in Hong Kong before Singapore. I've heard the same about Hong Kong and it being like Singapore, but more in the sense of Singapore being a lesser Hong Kong. I have the assumption that there's more to do there than Singapore, since you always hear about HK and not S'pore. I also got tired of S'pore after a few days, because after seeing the Botanic Gardens, shopping, going to the Quays, shopping, lunch at the Raffles Hotel, and more shopping, there's not much else to do. I spent more time there last time I went than I will this time, though, and two days in Singapore should be perfect for that.

    By doing HK at the beginning of the trip, that frees up 2-3 days between Jakarta and Japan. It sounds like India or Nepal may be a little too ambitious. What's Thailand all about? I went to Cambodia last time and saw the temples of Angkor and was blown away, but I don't think I have enough time to do something like that again. Bali? I hear it's gorgeous, and it wouldn't be too hard to get to from Jakarta. How about Brunei? or Ho Chi Minh?

    As for Japan, all I know is that I'm spending roughly a week there (give or take), and starting in Tokyo. I'll have more details Monday. I can't wait to go. Thanks for the JR pass info, adk.
    (I also didn't realise there were that many Apple stores in Japan!)

    Macky-Mac, I just decided to have my travel agent do it all. She did my other Asian trip, and she found some great deals for us that time. Somehow, this time, she arranged a business class upgrade on United on both flights to and from Asia for only $200 roundtrip per person. We haven't figured out the flights yet hopping around Asia, but we'll probably use whatever Star Alliance member we can to rack up the mileage. We flew Silkair to Cambodia and really liked it, so we may fly them again during that free period.

    As for what kind of tourist I am, I'm not. I like to see all the major sites, but usually on my own, and I like to see more than the average tourist sees.
     
  13. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #13
    It's kind of true, though. It's really a consumer's city. In fact, if you want to buy something, you can probably find it in Hong Kong. They really do sell everything.....every brand.

    Don't compare Singapore to HK. HK kills Singapore. I thought Singapore was quite a boring city, and the only thing Singapore has that HK doesn't is close proximity to Malaysia and Thailand. :eek: Also, the food in Singapore isn't nearly as good as it is in HK. There's stuff to do in HK, but these are things you could get done in 5 days, max. A 3 day trip would keep you satisfied, although you may wish you had stayed longer. Go to Lan Tau Island and see that big bronze Buddha statue. The newest Disney Park is on that island as well, but why bother. Go to Ocean Park, Victoria Peak, and take a night cruise along the water and watch the daily lights show. It's the only one in the world, and HK has the most beautiful skyline in the world, so a boat is the best place to see it. ;)

    Singapore has.......I don't know. Try to Night Safari at the zoo. It's quite good. I've only been to Singapore once, and I don't feel that I need to go back.

    Bali isn't some tropical paradise, as far as Australians can tell. Well, it's a nice place, but it's sort of the "Cancun of Asia"........vacation hotspot for "Westerners" to drink, go clubbing, and basically ruin the place. Cancun is still nice, but I don't want to go. Puerto Vallarta was enough, and not nearly as bad as Cancun.

    Japan is beautiful. Where you should go depends on what you want to see. From Tokyo, go to Kamakura, which is in the Kanagawa Prefecture (just 1 hour southwest of Tokyo). Also make a trip to Fujinomiya. You can see Mt. Fuji VERY clearly from here. It's where mountain climbers and hikers start their ascent to the top of Mt. Fuji. Just take a bus half-way up and visit a few places. Although there doesn't seem to be anything great about Fujinomiya, go there anyway. :p I've included a photo of Shiraito Falls + Otodome Falls. It's just one of the many places and activities you can do/see there. I forget which one of the waterfalls this is. :eek:
    Kyoto is also highly recommended. Same goes for Nara, which is right near Kyoto and Osaka. You don't NEED to see Osaka, but you can. Go to Kobe and have the Kobe beef. Best $70 USD steak you'll ever eat. I ate it with chopsticks......no knife or fork. ;) You have a week, so I doubt you can make it to Hiroshima, but that's another good place to go.

    Bangkok is a 5 day trip. It really depends on what type of person you are, and what you want to see. You could be there for longer, or shorter if you don't care about seeing 2 palaces and 4 markets because you think the markets all start looking the same after awhile. Hey, I can't blame you. I'm kind of the same way. I don't care much for wandering the markets. The palaces are beautiful. There's little gems built into the walls and columns all over the palace. It's incredibly beautiful to see.
     

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  14. Darran macrumors member

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    Singapore
    #14
    I haven't actually been to HK but I know for sure it is a lot more fun there than here. The good thing most foreigners say about Singapore is its security (just google it) and cleanliness. The crime rate is extremely low (0.695%). I agree with them too. For good food, more often than not, you need to travel to specific places to really taste the nicer ones. I have a feeling you have tasted the nicer ones.

    Night Safari is rather old, I can't remember the last time I went there. There are a couple of places to try out, Sentosa (they are in the midst of renovating but most places are functional), the new Ferris wheel (haven't gone there though), Escape theme park (if you are looking for an amusement park), Clarke Quay (where all the clubs are located). Free feel to PM if you need more info.

    In short, Singapore is just going on a major scale developing, so many things are ongoing. Our stadium, the new casino resort ... etc and on top of that, the F1 grand prix would be held here, I can't wait for that.
     
  15. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #15
    Oh, Singapore definitely has potential. The food also isn't as bad as I said, really. I went to all the decent places to eat, since I have a large number of relatives/half-relatives that live there. However, when I was by myself, I don't think the food was very good, particularly the Chinese food. I was surprised to say the least.

    Also, they have night markets where you can eat a lot of food from outdoor stalls, right? Those are usually quite good.

    And the Night Safari is only old for Singaporeans. ;)
     
  16. Darran macrumors member

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    Singapore
    #16
    The night markets are decent, the good tasting ones are spread all over Singapore - the ones where you got to queue 30 minutes to an hour for it and it is dirt cheap. With that being said, I wonder which places do you go to eat at those night outdoor stalls, we don't have much of that widely available anymore.
     
  17. Macky-Mac macrumors 68030

    Macky-Mac

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    #17
    oh I don't have anything against shopping......but if somebody goes to HK and can't find anything besides shopping......well, that doesn't say much for them
     
  18. themadchemist macrumors 68030

    themadchemist

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    #18
    If you're thinking about a short trip to South India (as it sounds), you might also consider:

    -Chennai...an interesting city with easy access to a fantastic historical site at Mahabalipuram.
    -Kanniyakumari...Where the Bay of Bengal, Indian Ocean, and Arabian Sea meet. I've always wanted to go and have not been able to--weather precluded me last time I was in the area.
    -Bandipur National Park...AWESOME. One of the best places I've ever been; you see tons of wildlife; I saw hundreds of wild deer, a wild elephant, and a panther...All from up close in a pretty natural environment. I would recommend renting one of the cottages there, if you can swing it. I don't know the cost.
    -Madurai...A beautiful, ancient temple town, with wonderful architecture.
    -Bangalore...A fantastic city, and just a few hours from Mysore, which housed the famed Mysore Palace and several other interesting historical sites.
    -Tirupati...A little further North but not as far West (so it might end up being a similar length flight). Home to one of the largest temples in India and one of the most visited religious sites in the world (~100,000 visitors per DAY): The Lord Venkateshwara Temple. It's built on seven hills--absolutely massive and some spectacular architecture.
    -Hyderabad...Loaded with historical sites, including the Gol Conda fort, the Char Minar towers, and more, with a Mughal influence (since Hyderabad was ruled by the Nizam for hundreds of years).

    You could also consider visiting Sri Lanka. I hear Colombo is great and that all the coastal areas are breathtaking, as long as you don't find yourself on the wrong side of the national highway.
     
  19. iMacZealot thread starter macrumors 68020

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    #19
    I've been without a computer for twenty-four hours, and it's hard to write a long forum post on my iPhone. I'm using my G3 right now, if you can count that as a computer. :p

    We will do one of these itineraries:

    Denver > Singapore (2 days) > Jakarta (2-3 days) > Hong Kong (2-3 days) > Japan (6-8 days) > Denver = 12-16 days

    Denver > Hong Kong (2-3 days) > Singapore (2 days) > Jakarta (2-3 days) > Somewhere else (2-3 days) > Japan (6-8 days) > Denver = 14-19 days

    Denver > Manila (2-3 days) > Singapore (2 days) > Jakarta (2-3 days) > Hong Kong (2-3 days) > Japan (6-8 days) > Denver = 14-19 days

    Denver > Seoul (2-3 days) > Manila/Somewhere else (2-3 days) > Singapore (2 days) > Jakarta (2-3 days) > Hong Kong (2-3 days) > Japan (6-8 days) > Denver = 16-21 days

    We will probably do one of the first two. Seeing Hong Kong and somewhere else would be nice, but we need to see if we can afford another two or three days out of the office. If we can go somewhere else, where?
    >Bali: always sounded exotic, close to Jakarta, but is it really as touristy as Abstract makes it out to be? Plus, if we've seen Jakarta, does that mean we've seen Bali?
    >India: too far, not enough time, unfortunately.
    >Brunei: maybe? I don't really know much about it.
    >Kuala Lumpur: went there two years ago, and found it to be a place you only need to go to once.
    >Bangkok: quite a possibility. Easy to get to, lots to do, though is it too much for 2-3 days?
    >Ho Chi Minh: also, quite possible, though is it too much for 2-3 days?
    >any other suggestions???

    Oh, and when going to Hong Kong, would it be in our interest to go to mainland China, such as Guangzhou?
     
  20. aerove macrumors 6502

    aerove

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    #20
    well .. plannin for india u cant cover it in a single trip :D ..

    and well anyone commin to hyderabad.. do lemme know! cause i live there:cool: the one place u cannot miss out is kerala.. ! :rolleyes: DO trust me on this.. all of kanyakumari and other places come wayyyy back :)

    it took me a total of 5 trips around the country and still have the royal state of rajasthan left out to visit.. unfortunately no time.. m movin to South Carolina in july/august:(
     
  21. aerove macrumors 6502

    aerove

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    #21

    u seem to kno a lot abt south india :cool::)
     
  22. iMacZealot thread starter macrumors 68020

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    #22
    We've finalised our itinerary.

    Singapore - 3 nights
    Jakarta - 2 nights
    Hong Kong - 3 nights
    Osaka - 1 night
    Kyoto - 1 night
    Tokyo - 2 nights (three days)

    We would've liked to have gone longer, but that's about all we can do. I've always wanted to go to Hong Kong, so we decided to go there.

    In Singapore, we're going to go back to the Botanic Gardens. I loved that place. They have so many orchids and a preserve of the original rainforest of the island. It was definitely the place I enjoyed seeing the most in Singapore. We'll also probably go to Boat Quay and Clarke Quay, the Raffles Hotel, and, of course, shopping. I'd like to go to the zoo again as well, since that is the most impressive zoo I've probably seen, but it's hard to get up to the north side of the island.

    I have no idea what we're doing in Jakarta. Our travel agent will probably figure something out for us to do for the first day, then we'll probably do our own thing from there. We'll probably do the same thing for Hong Kong and Japan.
     
  23. Gasu E. macrumors 68040

    Gasu E.

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    #23
    Good choices. I've always liked HK a lot-- it's fun and has "atmosphere"-- a unique fusion of East and West. Kyoto is a must-- it's the only remaining city still heavily in the style of old Japan-- so that's good too. As a previous person said, Nara is more interesting than Osaka-- they are pretty near each other, and you might be able to take a day trip to Nara from Osaka without changing your hotel. It's a choice as to whether you want to see ancient temples and shrines (Nara) or a modern city (Osaka).
     
  24. iMacZealot thread starter macrumors 68020

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    #24
    I will have to look into Nara. We're only spending a day in Osaka, and we already have business things going on that day, so it may be hard to get out there, but I'll look into it.

    I hope three days is enough in Tokyo. We would've spent more time there, but if we did, we'd have to leave on Friday the 13th. :eek::p
     
  25. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #25
    3 days isn't enough to really see Tokyo, but it's good enough.

    I feel you made your mistake with Osaka. Sure it's a big city, but Nara is a better place to visit. There is NOTHING to see in Osaka (except Universal Studios Osaka, and the airport).

    Actually, if I were you, I'd rather spend 2 days in Kyoto, and 0 days in Osaka and Nara. How about 2 days in Tokyo, and 2 days in Kyoto, and 1 day in Osaka. If you could have stayed 2 days in Singapore and more time in Kyoto, it would have been better. Then you wouldn't have to give up any time in Tokyo, but still spend 2 days in Kyoto. Kyoto is far better value than Singapore (in terms of the quality of time).

    Anyway, Osaka and Kyoto are like 20-30 minutes apart, no? Getting to Kyoto is not exactly a huge obstacle.



    If you want to go shopping in Osaka, go to a place called "Amerika-mura" (America Village). That's the part of Osaka that tries to be American, and sell American food, American brands, a baseball cap store, and dumb things like that. They just love America and have this false image of the place. You can tell once you get to America-mura. :p There's even an American Apparel there.

    Going to Osaka resulted in one GREAT thing......the purchase of this hat. My head is quite big, and very few hats fit my head. Imagine my surprise when I found one that fit my head, and it was a hat probably intended for children, from Universal Studios. Oh, and I love the design. ;)
     

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