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15 replies
Asia Choices
MeredithBlueEyes
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Okay, I’m going to be obnoxious and post a really general question. Flights from Tokyo to Bali, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Singapore, Shanghai and Hong Kong are all about the same price. I have one week to travel and I can go in either April or September. None of these choices are really standing out for me. Here are my concerns:

*Is Bali an island paradise where you can see interesting and different things or is it a tourist trap? It sounds like a tourist trap to me, but then again, so many people like it…
*Singapore sounds like it has the potential to be interesting and different, as well as very cheap, but is it really just a big generic city? Same concern for Hong Kong.
*I could imagine KL being a rather generic place as well, but being in the middle of a rather large country, it seems more likely that I could take interesting daytrips or immediately take the train to a more interesting place.
*Bangkok and Shanghai both sound like my best chance to see something I haven’t seen before, but I will probably take a big trip around China/SEA when my teaching contract is up, so I hate to go places that would be really easy for me to reach later.

My goals for this trip are to eat tasty food, see some pretty buildings and go someplace that’s not exactly like a big giant metropolis anywhere else in the world. I’ve read the guidebooks — I just need a little personal opinion for guidance.

Gracias!

sickboy
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If you want Golden Week, consider Seoul will be the cheapest at around 80,000 yen.

My girlfriend and I looked into Denpasar for golden week, it was going to cost 320,000 yen total.

Welcome to Japan, where they jack up every flight for every holiday as much as they can. Not to mention now most booking should be limited. We were making plans 6 weeks ago and just gave up and decided to stay in Saitama.

Honestly, why the assumptions about Bali, Singapore, KL and Hong Kong? Do you really think Asia is that "generic?"

I think with the amount of time you have, better to see something in Japan, because with your short amount of time you won’t find the perfection you seem to be looking for. Go to Hokkaido or Kyushu. Maybe Okinawa.

That seems a better way to spend your vacation.

HomeSkillet
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Go to Hong Kong! I was there for 6 days last November and could have easily stayed longer—I never ran out of interesting things to do. It is not just "another big city;" in fact, it’s one of the most beautiful, lively, and cosmopolitan cities I’ve seen anywhere in the world. I liked HK more than I’ve liked New York, Sydney, Paris, and Rio de Janeiro, just to name a few.

You can easily spend two days exploring the different sections of beautiful Hong Kong Island—one day around "Central" and Victoria Peak, and another day around Stanley and Aberdeen. Another day to see the Tian Tan Buddha and Po Lin monastery on Lantau Island. A fourth day (or even two days) going to Macau. Another day or two visiting Cheng Chau, a smallish island/fishing village that is probably the most authentic "China" experience in all of Hong Kong.

How are you liking Japan?

sickboy
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Id hit Hong Kong in a heartbeat. Seems like one of the most exciting places in the world. I’m not sure if the Twins would enjoy the stalking, but I would!

Tas
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Agree about Japan. If you have the money, go. It is a great place and the people are very nice and extremely polite.

Honkers is one of my favourite big cities (and will be there in a couple of weeks)

KL has a wonderful mix of islamic architecture and the Petronas Towers. Batu Caves is not far away, a couple of good clubs and Malaysian ringit id pegged to the US dollar for those travelling on USD. Things are also quite cheap and well made. KL is a shoppers paradise because the Malays list shopping as one of their past times.

Can’t go past Shanghai except you will need a visa. Great style of buildings new and old (bund). The only commercially operating MagLev train (from Pudong airport). Great 1 or 2 day trips to Suzhou and/or Hangzhou.The chinese RMB is pegged to the USD also!!

Bangkok is great – but get away from Khao San road. Do Klong (canal) trips and see how the real Bankokers live. Day trips to say Kanchanaburi ("Bridge over the River Kwae&quotWink death railway or overnight to some of the islands or Chang Mai.

I also like Singapore but it is very expensive. Some relatively cheap things to do. I am not a fan of zoos, but the Night Safari is very good.

Bali – Sorry, but I am one Aussie who has not been there.

Just a few hopefully positive comments that may help you decide.

sickboy
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Why not South Korea? Only a two hour flight.

charmaine
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Bali- I loved it (I was there after a year in Korea, and a fairly disasterous couple of weeks in mainland China, though). Kuta is tourist central, but outside the city, there are fewer westerners, but still quite a few.

Singapore- What I really liked about Singapore was the diversity. It is, in many ways, a generic big city, but if you explore the neighborhoods (Chinatown, Little India) the uber-Metropolitan feeling fades away.

KL-was only there briefly between Singapore and S. Thailand. This felt more like a sprawling generic city to me than Singapore (which I thought had more of a unique character). But I was only in KL for a couple of days.

Bangkok- a lot of people like it, and there are some interesting sites, but if you’re gonna go to thailand, why limit yourself to Bangkok?

Hong Kong- A lot like Singapore in many ways (Asia meets British Imperalism). Also an incredible city, located in an absolutley amazing area, geographically.

My vote would be Singapore or Hong Kong.

MeredithBlueEyes
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Thanks guys!

Sickboy, I’m not sure why you think I’m making big generalizations about Asia or being particularly demanding — good food and some nice architecture aren’t really outlandish requests. I certainly will go to Seoul sometime, but I am waiting till my Korean-speaking friend gets here.

Charmaine and Homeskillet, you’ve convinced me to put HK at the top of my list. Now I just have to keep my eyes open for cheap tickets…

Thanks for the advice!

HomeSkillet
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That’s great, Meredith. Seriously, you’re gonna love it! Be sure to visit Victoria Peak. I recommend taking the Peak Tram up and walking down.

hope
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I’m in the process of hunting around for flights within Asia now and noticed that it’s fairly cheap to fly around most of Asia, minus Cambodia, Laos and Japan! It’s so expensive to fly out of Tokyo to other Asian/Southeast Asian cities…maybe a better low-cost Japanese carrier will emerge in the next few years.

sickboy
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Would be nice, but I doubt it. Japan seems to be some sick oligopoly of price gouging. Except for booze and cigarettes.

hope, best bet is to get Tokyo included on one of the stop over legs I reckon.

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Yup, that’s what I’m trying to do! I’m getting a Star Alliance ticket with frequent flyer miles so I know there will be restrictions, but maybe I can swing ANA for NRT-Kuala Lumpur bc I’m dying to try them and I’ve heard they’re nice.

sickboy
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Yeah, thats how a lot of people get to Japan. I’ve got a lot of friends doing stop overs so always keeps me busy.

Get on with ANA, it is much better than JAL is. But all Asian airlines (aside from the budget ones) actually do give you alcohol on them.

Lemme know, maybe I’ll hop off to KL with you!

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Hey you should! My cousin lives there, free place to stay, big partier, plus she’s taking me to some islands to go diving.

sickboy
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That is awesome, totally want to check out KL, Ive heard a lot of cool things about it. All depends on the new job and the bloody apartment renting! Ah well, many cards up my sleeve!

drewmeister_sd
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I was in Shanghai last week and have been to Hong Kong. Unless you are specifically interested in stocking up on knock off goods, DVDs, and pearls, I’d go to Hong Kong instead. Although I didn’t ride it, I saw the maglev train go by, and that thing moves! For a US citizen the Chinese visa is $50 for a 1X entrance.