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Old 10-05-2012, 09:30 AM
 
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Thanks Trimac20, ccm123, sideman and Marylou! Your suggestions help tremendously! This is my first time to Asia. I'm lucky in Hong Kong as I have my friends apartment couch to crash on to save on hotel costs. I don't know how long it will take to get a Visa, I plan to leave in less than a month, not sure that gives me enough time.

The only countries I need a Visa for mentioned are Vietnam and mainland China right? I don't need a Visa for South Korea, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Bali right? I will have to make a tough decision on where to go! I think it's between Japan and Vietnam. Possibly Bali or Malaysia. I ONLY want to go to the NON touristy parts of Bali though. I really dislike heavily touristy areas.

I would think about the Phillipines but I have heard that traveling alone as a non-Filipino can be dangerous. I have a lot of Filipino friends in the U.S. and they have told me I have to watch out there and that they wouldn't go without a local with me. In my 20's I used to be more adventurous in travel, but now I just don't want the hassle of always watching my back and worrying about being robbed or ripped off all the time.

I was just in Montreal Quebec which I LOVED (awesome fall colors, stylish urban vibe, and French cuisine!). But I stayed away from the more touristy areas like Old Montreal because it is so touristy...even though the 1600's and 1700's architecture in Old Montreal is so beautiful, the tourists & tee shirt shops make it less fun for me. I like to be in areas with locals not tourists.
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Old 10-05-2012, 10:44 AM
 
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hey CTR88,

if you like you can check on fb on my recent pics from Bali. (Marion Hamade)
They are only a fraction of the pics I made so far, but really speak for themselves.

Visa for you as a US citizen I cannot imagine is required, but best check via embassy. As a german I am able to obtain visa upon arrival 25USD, departure fee is again 12USD.

Let me know should you want to go to Bali, I can absolutely recomment on where to go, advise you the best taxi driver (good english speaker), hidden waterfalls for a nice swim, possibly arrange visiting a ceremony even. Guaranteed no tourists!

One day I will see Canada, too, currently my sis is lingering about, awaiting to migrate to there. Once that is the case I will head that way on a frequent basis....unless I cannot stop going to Asia, currently specifically Bali that is ;-) Looking at rates for houses at the moment, this place is magnetic!!

Btw: Malaysia is also very very nice, arrival at KUL and then travel by bus to i.e. Pulau Tioman, snorkeling (ok, yes, corse you get SOME tourists there this time a year, but outside the big holiday seasons mainly Asians, going on weekend trips or so).
Flight to SIN is also possible, from there you can cross the checkpoint in the North to get into Malaysia, again go by bus, very cheap and comfy, with airco. PLaces of iterest and not touristy:

Pulau Tioman - Luxerious resort Berjaya Tioman, 3D2N around 120USD.
Budget: Salang Beach.

Kuala Lumpur has nice places for accommodation, check airbnb.com.

Singapore itself is more expensive, full of tourists and full of skyscapers...don't think you want to do that to yourself, plus you already get that in Hongkong anyways :-)

Have fun planning!
Regards from Germany
MaryLou
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Old 10-05-2012, 11:05 AM
 
Location: San Francisco, California
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traveling to the "touristy" areas would probably be safer than going to remote areas not many tourists go, unless you have a trusted guide to go with you
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Old 10-05-2012, 07:55 PM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
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Considering you'll be in HK, another option would be East Malaysia, the northern part of Borneo. IMO there's a lot more to see than in Bali, especially if you like wildlife/nature. Good to see it before it's gone too . It's got amazing mountains, caves, beaches, coral reefs, and you can see rare creatures like orang utans in the wild. There's also the local tribal culture. Kuching or KK are pretty nice cities, not too big. Then again a week is a short time. You could base yourself in KK or Kuching.
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Old 10-05-2012, 09:56 PM
 
Location: US Empire, Pac NW
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If you're going to Japan, there's a few things to keep in mind. First is to check prices in all the major cities' restaurants. Some upscale places may look pedestrian at first, but their snacks can empty your wallet. This is the case in Tokyo mainly, and thankfully they're few and far between.

Another good thing about Japan is the main train stations, terminals, many buses, streets, etc have English on them. Even many highway signs have English. So, in terms of being friendly to tourists, Japan typically has something for you, though bringing a phrasebook is a good idea and don't expect many people to be versed in English.

Kyoto is one of the ancient capitols, and Nara is the other. Nara is closeby, so seeing both of them wouldn't be a problem. You'd start your vacation by taking some time in Tokyo, just to take in the sights, check out the Imperial garden, and see some of the modern city. I'm not too terribly impressed with modern Tokyo because I grew up in big, dirty, bustling, happening city. Though I am impressed with some of the city history. It runs the gamut from before it was the capitol to the Edo period, industrial revolution, and turn of the 20th century, to the "miracle" of the postwar reconstruction. I'd spend a couple days going to some fo the city shrines and just getting lost in the city, then head over to Kyoto by bullet train.

One place you should check out besides Kyoto would be Hakone, they have awesome hot springs around there, and there's one place in particular you should go, Yunnessun. They have all kinds of different baths; green tea, Dead sea equivalent salinity, a Turkish bath, wine, mud, etc. Google it, it should be there.

Unless you want to see the atomic bomb sites, I would say you could skip Hiroshima and Nagasaki. And if you do go to Hiroshima's atomic bomb site, do NOT go to the second floor of the museum unless you have a cast iron stomach and nerves of steel and don't get nightmares easily.

One place that I want to go to next is to the city of Hakodate. In Hakodate, there was extensive trade after the government opened up to the west in the 1850s. If that's too far out of your way, and I wouldn't blame you, I would visit Dejima, the only port with which Japan had contact with the West for over 200 years during the isolation period (they traded with the Dutch).
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Old 10-06-2012, 11:06 PM
 
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Trimac....East Malaysia, the northern part of Borneo sounds interesting I'll have to look into that. Thanks all for comments. It's a hard decision where to go, wish I had more time.
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Old 10-07-2012, 04:24 AM
 
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Hello ctr, trimac in fact this may be a good idea. Myself I have never visited East MY yet, but always intended to. Should you decide so ctr, don't forget to post how you experienced it after :-)
Have a wonderful holiday anyways.
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Old 10-07-2012, 10:02 PM
 
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Has anyone been to Sri Lanka? Thoughts? They are supposed to have some really nice beaches. Seems off the beaten track too.
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Old 10-09-2012, 11:39 PM
 
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I plan to go on my trip the either in a week, so last part of October or first 2 weeks in November. Seems like from the guidebooks I'm reading that is a transition period where it can still be the rainy period in west coast of southern Thailand & Malaysia. Is this correct? Is second half of October and first half of Nov an OK time to go whether wise?
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Old 10-10-2012, 06:06 AM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ctr88 View Post
I plan to go on my trip the either in a week, so last part of October or first 2 weeks in November. Seems like from the guidebooks I'm reading that is a transition period where it can still be the rainy period in west coast of southern Thailand & Malaysia. Is this correct? Is second half of October and first half of Nov an OK time to go whether wise?
I believe October-November is the beginning of the other 'monsoon season' (somewhat different to the better known Asian Monsoon), forgot which direction it is, in those areas you mention. I went to Vietnam in late November last year thinking it'd be the dry season (based on Hanoi) but it's the wet season in Central VN so it was pouring a lot of the time. Northern Vietnam will be pretty dry at that time though.
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