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Mega Asia Trip 2009: Much Help Needed!  
User currently offlineLVZXV From Gabon, joined Mar 2004, 2041 posts, RR: 36
Posted (6 years 3 months 3 weeks 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 5529 times:

A S I A ’ 0 9

Greetings and salutations!

I’m starting here what could go on to become a lengthy thread in which I would appreciate as much advice and feedback from those able to help me as possible:

I am planning my first serious trip to Asia next year (since Turkey hardly counts…) and all I really have is a faint outline for it and not really much of an idea of if it is a good idea or not. I require input on times of year, where to go, where to avoid (i.e. Serious tourist traps), how long for ideally, and of course, being an aviation forum, airlines that you do and do not recommend. Here goes:

LHR-ALA

-Air Astana OK?
-How long in Almaty?
-Almaty close to any other place of interest in Kazakhstan?

ALA-URC

-China Southern?
-How long in Urumqi?
-Urumqi a nice introduction to China?

URC-ICN

-Korean Air?
-How long in Seoul?
-Is Seoul expensive?
-Worth moving around S. Korea a bit?

ICN-PVG

-Asiana? China Eastern? Hainan?
-3 days OK in Shanghai?
-Shanghai significantly less polluted than Beijing?

PVG-HKG

-Cathay Pacific?
-5 days too much in Hong Kong?
-How expensive it is these days?

HKG-HAN

-Vietnam Airlines?
-What to do/how long in Hanoi?
-Dien Bien Phu or other parts of the North worth a visit?
-Vietnam expensive?

HAN-VTE

-Vietnam Airlines or Lao Airlines?
-Good route? Or better to fly to Luang Prabang?
-Once in Laos, worth staying in Vientiane or moving around?

VTE-PNH

-Vietnam Airlines or Lao?
-Again, Phnom Penh best landing point in Cambodia? Or something closer to Angkor Wat or Siem Reap?

PNH-SGN

-Vietnam Airlines?
-Always been intrigued by this city. Deceptively so?
-Side trips in the south worthwhile?

SGN-BWN

-Royal Brunei?
-Know so little about Brunei and so few people who have gone. Is it worth it? Expensive? How many days?

BWN-KUL

-Malaysian?
-Would like to see a bit of this city, though don’t know much else about Malaysia. All pointers welcome!

KUL-SIN

-JAL?
-I’d imagine Singapore to be a little pricey, and in my mind thought it would not be a bad finishing point to the trip.

SIN-LHR

-Why not—Singapore A380?

Like I said, the above itinerary I have drafted out of the depths of my ignorance and imagination. As I would be planning to start this trip in either July or August ’09, it is a bit soon to go checking fares on the respective airline websites so any of you who have flown these routes might have a better idea of ticket prices (or tips on how to lower them). As all flights are one-way, I’m quite tempted by the idea of trying as many different airlines as possible, but again, if this is a bad idea and some airlines offer “passes” I could reconsider.

Likewise, if certain routes are all the more spectacular along the ground, then I could also bear that in mind. Not much of an expert of distances or road conditions in East Asia, and ideally I would not like to be travelling for more than a total of 6 weeks.

I am seriously grateful for any help/advice I receive on this and hopefully by the time the thread closes I can have a pretty serious trip planned!

Best regards,

ZXV


How do you say "12 months" in Estonian?
28 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineWILCO737 From Greenland, joined Jun 2004, 9119 posts, RR: 76
Reply 1, posted (6 years 3 months 3 weeks 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 5523 times:
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Quoting LVZXV (Thread starter):
LHR-ALA

-Air Astana OK?
-How long in Almaty?
-Almaty close to any other place of interest in Kazakhstan?

Been to ALA several times, but never on Air Astana. The city is ok, several things to do and to see, but not my favorite city. I'd say a day or two  Wink

Quoting LVZXV (Thread starter):
ICN-PVG

-Asiana? China Eastern? Hainan?
-3 days OK in Shanghai?
-Shanghai significantly less polluted than Beijing?

I think I would go Asiana. Don't know why, but I'd chose them. 3 days is OK for Shanghai. Lots to see but you can do the most important things in 3 days there. Never been to Beijing, but Shanghai can be pretty polluted but I have seen some clearer days as well.

Quoting LVZXV (Thread starter):
PVG-HKG

-Cathay Pacific?
-5 days too much in Hong Kong?
-How expensive it is these days?

CX for sure! 5 days sounds good! SOOO much to do in Hong Kong. I really like this place and it is not too expensive. I always enjoy Hong Kong, great city.

Quoting LVZXV (Thread starter):
KUL-SIN

-JAL?
-I’d imagine Singapore to be a little pricey, and in my mind thought it would not be a bad finishing point to the trip.

Singapore is awesome. I like this place a lot as well. Don't forget your umbrella  Wink Lots to see lots to do lots to shop there Big grin

Quoting LVZXV (Thread starter):
SIN-LHR

-Why not—Singapore A380?

 faint  without me (not a big fan of the 380 here)

Have a good trip.

WILCO737 (MD11F)
 airplane 



It it's not Boeing, I am not going.
User currently offlineNavymmw From United States of America, joined Jun 2007, 257 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (6 years 3 months 3 weeks 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 5501 times:



Quoting LVZXV (Thread starter):
Shanghai significantly less polluted than Beijing?

I wouldent say signifcantly but it is noticbly less polluted then Beijing.


User currently offlineLVZXV From Gabon, joined Mar 2004, 2041 posts, RR: 36
Reply 3, posted (6 years 3 months 3 weeks 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 5460 times:

Many thanks Wilco for your prompt answer!

Quoting WILCO737 (Reply 1):
faint without me (not a big fan of the 380 here)

Me neither, though hopefully after one flight I can then vote with my feet and judge it on firmer grounds.

Anyone else willing to fill-in for the rest of the trip? Vietnam I've heard particularly mixed reports over, i.e. some love it and some hate it.

Off to Germany (nr. MUC) in a couple of hours but keep the replies coming in!

Best regards,

ZXV



How do you say "12 months" in Estonian?
User currently offlineSwiftski From Australia, joined Dec 2006, 2701 posts, RR: 2
Reply 4, posted (6 years 3 months 3 weeks 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 5458 times:

Hi there. I have some input for the areas that I know well.

Quoting LVZXV (Thread starter):
ICN-PVG

-Asiana? China Eastern? Hainan?
-3 days OK in Shanghai?
-Shanghai significantly less polluted than Beijing?

3 days is fine for Shanghai, as long as you don't mind long days. There is lots to see very early in the mornings and late at night. The polution can make the city look spectacular early in the mornings. I will link to a couple of my Shanghai galleries over the weekend (they are offline at the moment)

PVG-HKG

-Cathay Pacific?
-5 days too much in Hong Kong?
-How expensive it is these days?

The route is an expensive one. Expect to pay €200-€300 for a return. Usual rules for a single; it won't just be half the price.

5 days is a good amount of time in HKG.

Quoting WILCO737 (Reply 1):
CX for sure!

Actually, CX operate very few flights a week. The 16 daily flights on KA are a better bet, on either a 330 or 320. Still, they codeshare with CX of course, so you can book through either.

Quoting LVZXV (Thread starter):
PNH-SGN

-Vietnam Airlines?
-Always been intrigued by this city. Deceptively so?
-Side trips in the south worthwhile?

Take some trips to the Mekong Delta (spelling) ... it's stunning.

As with PVG, I'll post some pics over the weekend if you wish.


User currently offlineBNEFlyer From Australia, joined Oct 2006, 232 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (6 years 3 months 3 weeks 5 days ago) and read 5444 times:
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Sounds like a great trip!

I leave for Vietnam tomorrow (SGN to HAN and a few cities in between!). Happy to let you know what they're like when I get back.

Never been to PNH but been to REP. Great town and country, lovely people.
If you want to go to Angkor Wat and are short on time then you'd need to fly straight to REP. If you have time, why not go into PNH then get to REP overland?

Just remember that Vietnam and Cambodia (and perhaps Laos) use US$ almost more than their respective currencies.

Haven't been to BWN but know that it's not the cheapest place in the region. It has one of the highest GDP's in the world thanks to oil production and a small population.

Not that it may be important, but Brunei is a dry country. Unlike other Islamic nations there is no alcohol whatsoever in Brunei.

I didn't like KUL that much. To me it was definitely Singapore's poorer cousin. Have you considered BKK? In my opinion that is an amazing city!

SIN is a fantastic city, and you're right, it would be a nice finising point to the trip. Most probably one of the cleanest, modern and westernised cities on your itinerary!

Hope that helps a bit. If you need anymore specific info on Singapore, REP or Vietnam i'm happy to help where I can!

Nick.


User currently offlineAllrite From Australia, joined Aug 2007, 2239 posts, RR: 5
Reply 6, posted (6 years 3 months 3 weeks 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 5422 times:

Some thoughts:

Beijing is a much more interesting cultural experience than Shanghai, there is so much to see (and if you are up to it I thoroughly recommend the Jinshanling-Simitai walk on the Great Wall).

I've only done two transits of Seoul, one overnight. I quite liked the city and had a lot of fun at the Dongdaemun markets late at night, just wandering around. See the Korean National Tourist Organisation website for more info. Their brochures are very detailed.

Singapore is a very modern and convenient city with good food. It's good for place for a mental break from "Asianess", though I find it a bit artificial and soulless in comparison to other parts of Asia.

Kuala Lumpur is more chaotic than Singapore, but if you are prepared to rough it a bit at hawker stalls then the food is better (I claim Malaysian food is the best in SE Asia, but then I'm biased) and the modern architecture spectacular. You can get surprisingly cheap 5 star accommodation in KL. If you go, make certain you visit Melaka and try some nonya cuisine.

I agree with an earlier poster about Bangkok and Thailand. There is so much to see!

Hong Kong is another place that's good for a "western" break while still retaining its own culture. There a surprising amount to do, but 5 days is plenty.

My favourite country in Asia is Japan - it's probably much cheaper than you think and there are an infinite number of things to see (and buy).

You might find my travel blogs and photos a useful resource:

Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore (more Singapore, Seoul and Europe to be added eventually)
China, Hong Kong, Japan
Photos



Applying insanity to normality
User currently offlinePlymSpotter From Spain, joined Jun 2004, 11722 posts, RR: 60
Reply 7, posted (6 years 3 months 3 weeks 4 days ago) and read 5418 times:



Quoting LVZXV (Thread starter):
LHR-ALA

-Air Astana OK?
-How long in Almaty?
-Almaty close to any other place of interest in Kazakhstan?

You could take an internal flight with Air Astana on most of their fleet, I think they operate everything between Almaty and Astana, and then there is SCAT who fly Yak42D and An24's internally and to other cities in neighbouring countries; Dushanbe (+Tajikistan as a whole) is supposed to be amazing, but really you'd need a week at least to see it.


Dan  Smile



...love is just a camouflage for what resembles rage again...
User currently offlineLVZXV From Gabon, joined Mar 2004, 2041 posts, RR: 36
Reply 8, posted (6 years 3 months 3 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 5335 times:

OK, I see there is progress!

Quoting Swiftski (Reply 4):
The route is an expensive one. Expect to pay €200-€300 for a return. Usual rules for a single; it won't just be half the price.

Point taken, but return trips I think would slow me down quite a lot. And plus, supposing a single is 60% of the return fare (assuming it's not in Y fare a single in this can exceed certain return ones), I am still paying 40% less than a round trip, no?

Quoting Swiftski (Reply 4):
5 days is a good amount of time in HKG.

OK.

Quoting Swiftski (Reply 4):
Actually, CX operate very few flights a week. The 16 daily flights on KA are a better bet, on either a 330 or 320. Still, they codeshare with CX of course, so you can book through either.

I noticed this on the CX website. I would love to try the CX product, but if my dates really do not end-up matching, I'd have no problem flying on Dragonair.

Quoting Swiftski (Reply 4):
As with PVG, I'll post some pics over the weekend if you wish.

Would very much appreciate that, whenever you have the time.

Quoting BNEFlyer (Reply 5):
I leave for Vietnam tomorrow (SGN to HAN and a few cities in between!). Happy to let you know what they're like when I get back.

That would be great!

Quoting BNEFlyer (Reply 5):
Haven't been to BWN but know that it's not the cheapest place in the region. It has one of the highest GDP's in the world thanks to oil production and a small population.

Not that it may be important, but Brunei is a dry country. Unlike other Islamic nations there is no alcohol whatsoever in Brunei.

That much I imagined, but I was thinking of maybe 3-4 days in the country. No idea when I would next be travelling out to SE Asia, so while I'm there...

Quoting BNEFlyer (Reply 5):
I didn't like KUL that much. To me it was definitely Singapore's poorer cousin. Have you considered BKK? In my opinion that is an amazing city!

Good to know. BKK--as with Thailand in general--I was initially trying to avoid as it sounds like too much of a tourist trap, but if it is really worth visiting then I may reconsider.

Quoting Allrite (Reply 6):
Beijing is a much more interesting cultural experience than Shanghai, there is so much to see (and if you are up to it I thoroughly recommend the Jinshanling-Simitai walk on the Great Wall).

Again, I'll take note of this. Would you recommend Beijing over Shanghai or in addition to?

Quoting Allrite (Reply 6):
My favourite country in Asia is Japan - it's probably much cheaper than you think and there are an infinite number of things to see (and buy).

Japan definitely intrigues me, but maybe to the point of doing it in an entirely separate trip or combined with Mongolia. All of Asia is new to me and thus I don't think I should visit all of it in one fell swoop.

Quoting PlymSpotter (Reply 7):
You could take an internal flight with Air Astana on most of their fleet, I think they operate everything between Almaty and Astana, and then there is SCAT who fly Yak42D and An24's internally and to other cities in neighbouring countries; Dushanbe (+Tajikistan as a whole) is supposed to be amazing, but really you'd need a week at least to see it.

Astana I may consider (to compare and contrast to Almaty, since I hear they are very different), but the neighbouring CIS republics I would prefer to visit in a separate trip.

Once again, thank you all very much for your help!

On an aviation note, can anyone vouch for Vietnam Airlines and Lao Airlines being OK/recommendable/best avoided?

Best regards,

ZXV



How do you say "12 months" in Estonian?
User currently offlineAllrite From Australia, joined Aug 2007, 2239 posts, RR: 5
Reply 9, posted (6 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 5318 times:



Quoting LVZXV (Reply 8):
Good to know. BKK--as with Thailand in general--I was initially trying to avoid as it sounds like too much of a tourist trap, but if it is really worth visiting then I may reconsider.

I have limited experience with Thailand, but I think the tourist trap experience is up to you. If you want to hang out with all the western tourists you can, but you also have the choice to experience local life if you want. I generally hate over touristed areas and guided tours but we enjoyed those we did in BKK as well as just wandering around through temples and other locations by ourselves. And I must recommend the Mahachai Shortline.

Quoting LVZXV (Reply 8):
Again, I'll take note of this. Would you recommend Beijing over Shanghai or in addition to?

I found Shanghai had few genuine sights (would have liked to visit nearby Suzhou and see the gardens, however), but that it was a reasonably "comfortable" city by western standards and the skyline is quite spectacular at night. This may not be a factor for you - but when we got to Shanghai we were a bit Chinaed out. It can be a frustrating place to get around independently - but you might encounter this in Central Asia anyway.

Beijing has probably improved even further with the Olympics for easy western access, but it has a lot of really worthwhile sights - the types of sights you won't see elsewhere in the world. We had four days there and it wasn't enough. You don't need to join tours either, though you may want to hire a driver to take you to a more distant part of the Great Wall.



Applying insanity to normality
User currently offlineGabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3372 posts, RR: 12
Reply 10, posted (6 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 5313 times:



Quoting LVZXV (Thread starter):
LHR-ALA

-Air Astana OK?
-How long in Almaty?
-Almaty close to any other place of interest in Kazakhstan?

Almaty is really nice, but quite expensive. Go to the Kyrgyz Republic (not Kyrgyzstan as everyone calls it), which is an hour away from Almaty. Relly nice there, and cheap.

Quoting LVZXV (Thread starter):
ALA-URC

-China Southern?
-How long in Urumqi?
-Urumqi a nice introduction to China?

Check out my trip report for this one:
http://www.airliners.net/aviation-forums/trip_reports/read.main/89179/

CZ on this route are a rip-off, but has no competitors. Flying is the best way between the two cities, unless you like the train. Urumqi is ok - spend a few days in Turpan (3 hours away). Lots of other places to explore in Xinjiang.

Quoting LVZXV (Thread starter):
ICN-PVG

-Asiana? China Eastern? Hainan?
-3 days OK in Shanghai?
-Shanghai significantly less polluted than Beijing?

I flew PUS-PVG last year (http://www.airliners.net/aviation-forums/trip_reports/read.main/116581/). The flight was excellent. Asiana are really good. I imagine the ICN-PVG flights are similar to PUS-PVG except for tha aircraft type (larger on the ICN leg). Shanghai is less polluted than BJ, but BJ has so much more to do there (a week is great for BJ, 2/3 days for SH). Lots of other interesting places to see on the way. XIan, Nanjing, Suzhou, Hangzhou, Qingdao, 3 Gorges etc).

Quoting LVZXV (Thread starter):

PVG-HKG

-Cathay Pacific?
-5 days too much in Hong Kong?
-How expensive it is these days?

It's cheaper to fly into Shenzhen (SZX) than HKG. SZX is connected with downtown Hong Kong by bus and ferry. There are far more flights on the SHA-SZX route than PVG-HKG. If you go to HK, spend a couple of nights on Lantau Island (try the Silvermine Bay Hotel). CHeaper than staying in central HK, but with good transport links to the city. HK isn;t too expensive, but is more than China.

Angkor Wat is AMAZING. Phom Penh is a really nice city.

Quoting LVZXV (Thread starter):
SGN-BWN

-Royal Brunei?
-Know so little about Brunei and so few people who have gone. Is it worth it? Expensive? How many days?

Brunei itself is a bit boring. If you do go, book yourself onto a tour iorganised by the tourist office. They had some quite good day trips into the jungle etc. You should extend ur trip into Malaysian Borneo seeing as you'd almost be there.

KL is a nice city, very modern, not too expensive. Singapore is sinilar, but perhaps too ordered and well planned - it's nice if you find the rest of Asia too hectic though. SIA, MAS and JAL all do very good value o/e premium fares. MAS has the best lounge in KL, but it's always nice to say that you've bought a full fare First class ticket (about GBP 100) on Singapore Airlines! JAL is quite a cool choice though. Service on the route is very limited though as the flight is often barely 30 minutes.

Quoting LVZXV (Thread starter):
SIN-LHR

-Why not—Singapore A380?

This is probably the BEST option from anywhere in the world to Europe in Economy class.
http://www.airliners.net/aviation-fo...ums/trip_reports/read.main/131136/

PM me if you have any more questions. If you're interested in other domestic CHinese trips, have a look here:
http://www.airliners.net/aviation-fo...ums/trip_reports/read.main/130892/

Instead of going URC-ICN-PVG or PEK, perhaps it'd be cheaper (at least from the visa perspective as you'll need a double entry CHinese visa), you could do URC-PEK-SHA/PVG-ICN-HKG. Good luck!



http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights:LCY-ARN-AMS-LGW,STN-OTP-AMS-YUL,YQB-JFK-LAX-DUS-STN,LGW-DXB-BKK-HKG-
User currently offlineNorthstarBoy From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 1876 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (6 years 3 months 2 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 5233 times:
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Sounds like an amazing trip, the only suggestion i'd make is, unless you're planning to get a multiple entry visa for China, I'd go ALA-URC-PVG then Icn, otherwise you might be denied entry trying to get back into China, as most visas only allow for a single entry. You'll also want to check the visa requirements for Vietnam and Cambodia, other than that, enjoy your trip.


Why are people so against low yields?! If lower yields means more people can travel abroad, i'm all for it
User currently offlineCoolfish1103 From United States of America, joined Feb 2008, 405 posts, RR: 1
Reply 12, posted (6 years 3 months 2 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 5222 times:

I would skip some places and add other places. How can this be a mega trip if Japan isn't included in the trip?!

LHR-ALA (British Airways)
ALA-PEK (Air Astana? I wonder if they fly this route?)
PEK-PVG (Hainan Airline)
PVG-ICN (Asiana Airline)
ICN-CTS (Korean Air, All Nippon Airways or Japan Airlines)
CTS-NRT (All Nippon Airways or Japan Airlines' subsidiaries) ...can also take shinkansen to Kansai area
NRT-TPE (All Nippon Airways, China Airlines, EVA Airways or Japan Airlines)
TPE-HKG (China Airlines or EVA Airways) ...can also take ferry to Macau
HKG-HAN (Cathay Pacific)
HAN-VTE (Vietnam Airlines)
VTE-SGN (Vietnam Airlines)
SGN-BWN (Royal Brunei)
BWN-PEN (Royal Brunei)
PEN-KUL (Cathay Pacific)
KUL-CGK (Malaysia Airlines)
CGK-DPS (Garuda Indonesia)
DPS-SIN (Singapore Airlines)
SIN-LHR (Singapore Airlines)

A great variety mix of airlines and destinations!
It may be too long of a vacation, though... a shorter version would be like...

LHR-ALA (British Airways)
ALA-PVG (Air Astana? I wonder if they fly this route?)
PVG-ICN (Asiana Airline)
ICN-NRT (Korean Air, All Nippon Airways, or Japan Airlines)
NRT-TPE (All Nippon Airways, China Airlines, EVA Airways, or Japan Airlines)
TPE-HKG (China Airlines or EVA Airways) ...can also take ferry to Macau
HKG-SGN (Cathay Pacific)
SGN-VTE (Vietnam Airlines)
VTE-BWN (Laos Airlines)
BWN-PEN (Royal Brunei)
PEN-KUL (Cathay Pacific)
KUL-CGK (Malaysia Airlines)
CGK-SIN (Garuda Indonesia)
SIN-LHR (Singapore Airlines)


User currently offlineVN777 From Vietnam, joined Nov 2007, 53 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (6 years 3 months 2 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 5221 times:



Quoting LVZXV (Thread starter):
HKG-HAN

-Vietnam Airlines?
-What to do/how long in Hanoi?
-Dien Bien Phu or other parts of the North worth a visit?
-Vietnam expensive?

VN, Hong Kong airlines and soon Dragonair fly between HKG and HAN. At this moment tickets are very expensive 500USD++. Besides price there is no reason not to fly VN.

HAN is a beautiful, ugly, crowded, amazing and unique city.
Old quarter, Temple of literature, Mausoleum, War museum(s), Hoan Kiem lake, Long Bien bridge and some nice pagoda's. 2 days should be enough to visit most of them.

In the area you should take a boat trip in Ha Long bay. Cheap tours are very easy to book at travelagents in Hanoi. For a luxury 2 day cruise, google Emeraud.

You can make Vietnam as expensive as you want. If you stay away from the 5star hotels Vietnam is quite cheap although the inflation is 30% this year!



Quoting LVZXV (Thread starter):
PNH-SGN

-Vietnam Airlines?
-Always been intrigued by this city. Deceptively so?
-Side trips in the south worthwhile?

VN should be fine.
IMHO: SGN is just a big, crowded city in Asia, not special if you have seen Hanoi. Sightseeing can be done in half a day(without traffic jams). The service in restaurants, hotels and cafes is much better then in HAN.
Consider a trip to the Mekong delta if you are in SGN.


User currently offlineCoal From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 2136 posts, RR: 10
Reply 14, posted (6 years 3 months 2 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 5213 times:



Quoting LVZXV (Reply 8):
That much I imagined, but I was thinking of maybe 3-4 days in the country. No idea when I would next be travelling out to SE Asia, so while I'm there...

Don't just go to Brunei to add the country to the list. Instead, go to Kota Kinabalu, in Malaysian Borneo, where you can scale the tallest mountain in SE Asia (Mt Kinabalu, 4,095m ASL) and bask in the sun on some of the nicest and least touristic beaches in SE Asia, on the islands of Sapi and Mamutik, just off Kota Kinabalu.

If you do decide to trek up to Low's Peak on Mt Kinabalu, do make sure you're in a bit of shape. It's an easy climb, just imagine going up a 8.5km flight of steep stairs.

Cheers
Coal



Nxt Flts: SQ SYD-SIN-DEL-SIN-SYD | VA SYD-DPS-SYD
User currently offlineLVZXV From Gabon, joined Mar 2004, 2041 posts, RR: 36
Reply 15, posted (6 years 3 months 2 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 5191 times:

Fantastic feedback/advice/tips from everyone; keep it coming!

Indeed, I'm trying to self-impose a total duration limit of about 6 weeks for the entire trip, for reasons of $$$$, time-off and to avoid saturation/getting "Asiad out" as well as ensuring that I will want to come back for more.

I have another question to which I cannot seem to find an answer: As a dual passport holder (UK and Argentine), in any of the following countries would my life be made somewhat easier (ie. no VISA or better reception) by travelling on the Argentine?:

-Kazakhstan
-Kyrgyz Rep.
-China
-South Korea
-Vietnam
-Laos
-Cambodia
-Thailand
-Malaysia
-Brunei
-Indonesia
-Singapore

...and also if there are particular stamps that any of said contries' authorities don't like to see...

Best regards,

ZXV



How do you say "12 months" in Estonian?
User currently offlineAllrite From Australia, joined Aug 2007, 2239 posts, RR: 5
Reply 16, posted (6 years 3 months 2 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 5190 times:



Quoting LVZXV (Reply 15):
I have another question to which I cannot seem to find an answer: As a dual passport holder (UK and Argentine), in any of the following countries would my life be made somewhat easier (ie. no VISA or better reception) by travelling on the Argentine?:
...
...and also if there are particular stamps that any of said contries' authorities don't like to see...

I'm sure the authorities in Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore are quite familiar with UK passports.  Smile The one country that Malaysians are banned from visiting is Israel (used to be China as well over a decade a go, but this is NOT a problem now). Brunei and Indonesia are also Muslim majority countries.

Very envious of your trip!



Applying insanity to normality
User currently offlineCoal From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 2136 posts, RR: 10
Reply 17, posted (6 years 3 months 2 weeks 1 hour ago) and read 5158 times:



Quoting LVZXV (Reply 15):
-China

Need a visa for both

Quoting LVZXV (Reply 15):
-Vietnam

Need a visa for both

Quoting LVZXV (Reply 15):
-Cambodia

Need a visa on arrival for both

Quoting LVZXV (Reply 15):
-Thailand
-Malaysia

Might need visa for Argentine passport

Quoting LVZXV (Reply 15):
-Indonesia

Visa on arrival for UK passport
Might need visa pre-arrival for Argentina passport

Quoting LVZXV (Reply 15):
avoid saturation/getting "Asiad out" as well as ensuring that I will want to come back for more.

No, man. Once you've come to Asia you'll never want to go back to the West. Believe me!

Cheers
Coal



Nxt Flts: SQ SYD-SIN-DEL-SIN-SYD | VA SYD-DPS-SYD
User currently offlineLVZXV From Gabon, joined Mar 2004, 2041 posts, RR: 36
Reply 18, posted (6 years 3 months 1 week 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 5136 times:

OK, good to have a clearer idea about the VISA situations!

Thinking out loud and pretty loosely, do you think that the following could be a good order to travel?:

1) London-Kazakhstan

2) Kazakhstan-Kyrgyz Rep.

3) Kyrgyz. Rep.-Kazakhstan

4) Kazakhstan-China (West)

5) China (East)-Hong Kong (does this count as "domestic"?)

6) Hong Kong-Vietnam

7) Vietnam (North)-Laos

8) Laos-Thailand

9) Thailand-Cambodia

10) Cambodia-Vietnam (South)

11) Vietnam (South)-Brunei

12) Brunei-Malaysia (Borneo)

13) Malaysia (mainland)-Singapore

14) Singapore-London

(2 entries into Kazakhstan and Vietnam bad idea?)

Those would be the int'l segments, allowing for domestic travel in many of the listed countries (by ground in some cases to soak-up more scenery).

I've added Thailand, deleted South Korea and left Japan and Indonesia out for a future trip (for now). Opinions? Ah, and Taiwan really worthwhile?

Best regards,

ZXV



How do you say "12 months" in Estonian?
User currently offlineBaguy From Australia, joined Mar 2006, 546 posts, RR: 1
Reply 19, posted (6 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 5113 times:



Quoting LVZXV (Reply 18):
I've added Thailand, deleted South Korea and left Japan and Indonesia out for a future trip (for now). Opinions? Ah, and Taiwan really worthwhile?

You cannot go to Asia without going to Japan! I know you have said you'll do it another time. It's my favourite country in the world! So much to see and do everywhere is buzzing and thriving with culture. But areas such as Shinsaibashi in Osaka are thriving with shopping and international brands so - remarkably you don't feel too far away from home!

I have endless good things to say about Japan but otherwise your trip sounds amazing - wish i was coming with you!

Enjoy,

BAguy


User currently offlineCoal From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 2136 posts, RR: 10
Reply 20, posted (6 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 5100 times:



Quoting LVZXV (Reply 18):
5) China (East)-Hong Kong (does this count as "domestic"?)

No

Quoting LVZXV (Reply 18):
7) Vietnam (North)-Laos

8) Laos-Thailand

9) Thailand-Cambodia

10) Cambodia-Vietnam (South)

11) Vietnam (South)-Brunei

I'd rather do HK-Vietnam-Laos-Cambodia-Thailand. It seems a bit of a run around and a waste of money to be going in and out of countries. Not sure if you're planning on doing a luxury, 5-star trip, or rough it out backpacker style. For Vietnam, if you really want to soak in the culture and the people, you can buy a bus ticket for about $20 that is usually good for about a month. The route runs North to South and vice versa, and it gives you the flexibility of getting on and off where you choose.

Quoting LVZXV (Reply 18):
(2 entries into Kazakhstan and Vietnam bad idea?)

Yes. Will probably mean paying twice for visas.

Also keep in mind that flying in and out and within Indochina (Vietnam, Cambodia, etc) can be pricey.

Cheers
Coal



Nxt Flts: SQ SYD-SIN-DEL-SIN-SYD | VA SYD-DPS-SYD
User currently offlineCoal From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 2136 posts, RR: 10
Reply 21, posted (6 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 5098 times:

Just FYI, you should check out the following local LCC websites:
- Air Asia
- Tiger Airways
- Jetstar Asia
- Nok Air
- Bangkok airways

All the airlines mentioned above usually have fairly decent fares. You might want to check out what their routes are like to better plan your trip. You should also check out some of the European and Middle Eastern carriers' tag on flights, which are usually pretty cheap (ie. LH BKK-SGN, LH SIN-CGK, LX BKK-SIN, etc).

Cheers
Coal



Nxt Flts: SQ SYD-SIN-DEL-SIN-SYD | VA SYD-DPS-SYD
User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 26029 posts, RR: 22
Reply 22, posted (6 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 5095 times:



Quoting Gabrielchew (Reply 10):
Go to the Kyrgyz Republic (not Kyrgyzstan as everyone calls it),

While that may be the official name, I think Kyrgyzstan is also acceptable. Otherwise they would probably ask the United Nations to change the name in the official membership list which shows Kyrgyzstan.

It's probably a similar situation to Slovakia. Slovak Republic is the official name but even their government websites have many references to Slovakia.


User currently offlineLVZXV From Gabon, joined Mar 2004, 2041 posts, RR: 36
Reply 23, posted (6 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 5070 times:

OK, following the advice given, I'm trying to eliminate double entries into any country. Thus I'm now thinking:

UK-Kazakhstan-Kyrgyzstan-China-Vietnam-Cambodia-Laos-Thailand-Brunei-Malaysia-Singapore-UK

I've been thinking a lot about Japan but a problem I can see is that since I'd be entering China from the west (from Bishkek, possibly) and leaving it from all the way down in Hong Kong (by which point I would be wanting to head into Vietnam), backtracking all the way north up to Japan doesn't make a huge lot of sense to me... And plus, I find it hard to believe that Japan could merit less than 10 days of my time, and 10 days is almost 1/4 of my planned journey time. Am I wrong in thinking this?

Likewise, South Korea I may end-up removing; will I regret this or not so much to miss?

A couple more queries have entered my head:

1) Do you think a 3-day round-trip from HKG to Hainan is worth it? I see Hong Kong Airlines have some attractive flight times and not outrageous prices to HAK...

2) Lao Airlines seem to have a pretty diverse network not just within Laos but between its neighbouring countries, and it would be nice to fly again in some MA-60s. Is it a reliable, safe and recommendable airline? Expensive?

3) Finally, I'm not entirely familiar with the dry/wet seasons of the parts of Asia I would be visiting. I have some flexibility with dates of the entire 6-week trip itself but not a lot. At the earliest I could leave Europe around 21-07-09 and at the latest be back on 11-09-09; is this a bad time to visit any countries on my list, ie. stifling heat and humidity/frequent torrential rain?

Many thanks!

Best regards,

ZXV



How do you say "12 months" in Estonian?
User currently offlineAirbusA6 From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2005, 2038 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (6 years 3 months 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 4957 times:

Throwing in a few random comments

1) Don't forget surface travel, you won't see much of Asia if all you do if fly around.
2) Don't prebook everything, you may want to change your itinerary when you get there

VTE is a very nice city, but you'll want to visit Luang Prabang as well. Lao airlines fly between the 2. Most westerners go for the ATR72 flights, as the MA60 has a poor safety record with them (though to be fair the MA60s tend to fly to the more primitive parts of what is a poor country). I had to buy those tickets through a travel agent (no e tickets 2 years ago, I don't know if things have changed). VTE was a pleasantly old fashioned airport! If you want to visit BKK from there, the Thai border is a short distance across over the border, from where you can catch an overnight train to BKK.

I found PNH a fairly unpleasant city, and if time is tight, then fly directly to REP as Angkor Watt and the other temples are a real highlight. PG / FT have a good network.

BWN has it's attractions - Brunei has a lot of rainforest, you can organise long house trips from there and it's mosques are spectacular - but Malaysian Borneo is probably more exciting. Check the AK website for a bit of window shopping, as they fly all over the place now. A possible place to visit is MZV (from MYY) both for the amazing Mulu caves and the flight in (some flights by DH6).

KUL-SIN - I'd do this overland, as the buses are comfortable and very frequent.

RE your proposed time of year, Typhoons may be an issue in China/Hong Kong but not further south I believe.



it's the bus to stansted (now renamed national express a4 to ruin my username)
25 LVZXV : Yes, I am going to try and do a mix I think, though more than 12-14 hours in any form of transport is not my cup of tea. And as you suggest, much of
26 AirbusA6 : Apologies, I was getting my Chinese planes confused, the plane I was thinking of was the smaller Y12 (no longer in use). The MA60 has had no safety i
27 Cchan : A couple of things I can fill in: Hong Kong Airlines is the cheapest if you book through an agent such as zuji, and better on time performance than VN
28 LVZXV : With that would you say that the whole side-trip to Borneo is not really worth it? Does 2 nights in BWN and then say 3 nights in Malaysian Borneo not
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