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Old 02-20-2014, 06:11 AM
 
Location: Durham, North Carolina
774 posts, read 1,615,283 times
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Just my opinion, but there's no, "One size fits all."

It's good to "Know" for yourself. Travel is funny, because life is an "Odyssey."
A couple of clinches come to mind:

Quote:
"Americans spend over 4 billion dollars a year traveling the world, looking for people who'll love us, yet we refuse to speak to the neighbor who lives right next door."
Quote:
"Wherever I go, I take myself with me."
I consider today's "Asia" kind of like California. It's a victim of its own success.
I was stationed in Southeast for two tours in Thailand back in the early 70s. It was a wonderful and unique experience. I retired last year and returned ... and found the change horrible.

Everything is packaged. You can have the:
  1. "Experience A" ... Healthy Spa/Hill Trek Experience
  2. Or "Experience B" ... the disgusting, depressing to watch, Sexpat Experience
  3. Or "Experience C" ... the Food Experience

The adventure in that very "Developing Country" is gone.
Corporations have ruined it. Not just Western corporations, but the world's mafias have set up shop throughout Asia. (Esp. Thailand) The Chinese and Indian Marriage industry has made a huge impact in convincing once beautiful women (and now the men too) that their dark, exotic looks are ugly. Big business. So you go to Starbucks one morning, and you're stunned by the guy who hands you the coffee because he looks like a sick zombie ... and then you realize that it's just because he's slathered his face with this whitish goop. "Thank you!"

Japan is lovely but I don't see how you think you're going to save any money anywhere in Asia on buying cameras or "high tech" gadgets. Even shoes cost more there, and like most places, you'll be paying tourist prices.

Why even bother with some of those places anymore?
Singapore? Expensive as heck and what if you forget not to spit after you cough up something?

The WORLD feels like it's in a "Mini-Dark Ages" right now.
Everything is corrupted. Once pristine sands are dingy brown from polluted waters filled with raw sewage. And dog .. do you enjoy eating dog?
The odds are great that at some point, if you'll be eating a domestic pet (cat or dog) in Korea and throughout Asia and the Austronesian Islands (Malaysia, East Timor, the Philippines, Indonesia, Brunei, Micronesia) Southeast Asian countries like Cambodia, Burma (poor Burma!), and Laos.

Why is even the spiritual aspect of a time or place important?
Well, it's not if you're going over there to have sex with someone's child, but if the spirit of a place has been corrupted, then smiles turn to frowns and you end up saying, "I could have stayed home and got this... much cheaper." Buddhism has been corrupted by the State almost as bad as Christianity and Islam has. "Money and control of the hearts and minds."

When people feel exploited and cheated, they aren't going to be happy campers. This is the Information Age and everyone knows where the pressure comes from. Mis-information or good information ... they're still .. full of it. Who wouldn't want to see Java? Well, it's no good if the generals are predatory and the religious leaders are spouting hateful ignorance, and people are fed up with the idea that your country feels its wonderful to blow up innocent women and children who live in lands close to their heart.

It's all so predatory.
Brazil and the beautiful people of South America could be WONDERFUL to visit ... if not for the unchecked greed, racism, and mean-spiritedness rampant throughout the world.
The "Holy Land" is a war zone.
In Asia, anti-American sentiment and jealousy is seething beneath the surface. They'll pander to you, but beware of what lurks in the shadows.
The Philippines?? There's been a brain-drain and criminality is a concern.
Eastern Europe? Better do your homework.

It's actually a good time to see Africa.
The world's powers are engaged in the biggest land grab in history. It too will change soon.
There are peaceful places that are unique ... Tanzania, Ghana, and even Ethiopia is worth your money. But in all Developing and Third World Countries you have to do your homework. The packaging will change it for better and worst.

India?
India is like the Big Leagues of travel. There's soooooo much.. of everything. You're going to get sick. Just prepare for it. But it's an otherworldly, not for the faint of heart experience. The highest highs and the lowest of the lows.

I think travel is great.
It makes you wiser and gives you a bigger perspective on the human condition.
Whatever you find--you've personally experienced! You haven't sat on a couch and watched a reality show.
Two-week vacations will provide you with seeing the best a place has the offer. Longer stays show you much more depth and darkness. (... and sadly, by now, there's been many of your countrymen who've arrived before you and many of them have acted badly.. and continue to do so... strutting around like Kings of the Manor when you can see they belong in a trailer park.)

I think it all depends on what you're looking for and what your ... "personal psychology" needs to experience next ... because wherever you go... you'll find just that.

Last edited by veganwriter; 02-20-2014 at 06:19 AM..
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Old 02-20-2014, 08:29 AM
 
Location: Melbourne, Australia
9,781 posts, read 16,244,676 times
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^ Interesting observations veganwriter. You're right that the steep increase of tourism to Thailand and other parts of Asia has led to an often packaged feel, although I believe it's still possible to escape that. Many who visit Thailand might go to the same spots, depending on their interests. You have Phuket, Koh Samui etc packed to the brim, and of course Pattaya, Bangkok and Patong for those into that, as well as Chiang Mai up north, but there are still lots of places with not so many foreign tourists. And remember people just go about their daily lives like anywhere else. Goes without saying but most Thai women are not prostitutes, and what you see in the redlight districts does not represent Thailand or Thai societies anymore than in any other country.

Sure there's a lot of bad stuff in the world, in the first world too...I see you're a vegan so you probably won't be eating any kind of meat or animal product, but to say that you're likely to eat dog in Asia is rather silly. Dog is an expensive meat, and where it's sold you will usually know. It's usually something you have to go after to eat, it's not like they'd save money by substituting something else for dog. Certainly not Malaysia, food in Malaysia is pretty un-exotic or rather not as weird as other parts of Asia.
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Old 02-20-2014, 08:46 AM
 
Location: Gorgeous Scotland
4,123 posts, read 4,748,743 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Postman View Post
^ Interesting observations veganwriter. You're right that the steep increase of tourism to Thailand and other parts of Asia has led to an often packaged feel, although I believe it's still possible to escape that. Many who visit Thailand might go to the same spots, depending on their interests. You have Phuket, Koh Samui etc packed to the brim, and of course Pattaya, Bangkok and Patong for those into that, as well as Chiang Mai up north, but there are still lots of places with not so many foreign tourists. And remember people just go about their daily lives like anywhere else. Goes without saying but most Thai women are not prostitutes, and what you see in the redlight districts does not represent Thailand or Thai societies anymore than in any other country.

Sure there's a lot of bad stuff in the world, in the first world too...I see you're a vegan so you probably won't be eating any kind of meat or animal product, but to say that you're likely to eat dog in Asia is rather silly. Dog is an expensive meat, and where it's sold you will usually know. It's usually something you have to go after to eat, it's not like they'd save money by substituting something else for dog. Certainly not Malaysia, food in Malaysia is pretty un-exotic or rather not as weird as other parts of Asia.
We were just there and will be going back for 2 months next winter. We'll be staying in a small community of holiday homes which are a short walk to a beach. So it will be quiet, but not too quiet. I loved all the temples!
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Old 02-20-2014, 08:52 AM
 
Location: Melbourne, Australia
9,781 posts, read 16,244,676 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ameriscot View Post
We were just there and will be going back for 2 months next winter. We'll be staying in a small community of holiday homes which are a short walk to a beach. So it will be quiet, but not too quiet. I loved all the temples!
Yes even on Koh Samui and Koh Phang Nga you can get away from it, but the Full Moon Party, for instance, just doesn't appeal to it. It's sort of messy hedonism, not my style...

I'm sort of curious to explore both the tribal areas and Isan myself.
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Old 02-20-2014, 12:57 PM
 
Location: NYC
2,806 posts, read 3,041,882 times
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People like the OP and veganwriter, I'm not sure why you don't keep all your travels on Google Earth, especially with your ability to denigrate complicated societies with thousands of years of history into a few ignorant generalizations. Just save your money. I'm sure you can come up with just as many stereotypes in the confines of your own home without having to go experience it in person.
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Old 02-20-2014, 01:24 PM
 
Location: Gorgeous Scotland
4,123 posts, read 4,748,743 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Postman View Post
Yes even on Koh Samui and Koh Phang Nga you can get away from it, but the Full Moon Party, for instance, just doesn't appeal to it. It's sort of messy hedonism, not my style...

I'm sort of curious to explore both the tribal areas and Isan myself.
We're a bit old for the Full Moon Party. We're retired.
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Old 02-20-2014, 02:58 PM
 
Location: Striving for Avalon
1,424 posts, read 2,092,340 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiger Beer View Post
*sigh*

Maybe the best for non-traveled and unadventurous Americans.

For those who really like to travel and want to have interesting experiences, the logic goes opposite, that a rich boring place doesn't offer as much as a 'third world country'.

It really depends on what you want. I think, for yourself, you aren't so interested in travel and experience, and just have a lot of extra money to spend on 'travel', and you seem to be forcing yourself to experience these places. Not sure your motivation. Is it a status thing? You feel you need to see what people are talking about, even though you don't appear to have much interest or enthusiasm for true travel experiences?
Oh God, I hate this mentality...if it's not desperately poor and rural, it's not "real" or "fun". Hong Kong is just as real as Wangda, Tibet or Ghorahi, Nepal.

I've had the privilege to live in two countries which aren't "my own" and visit many more. Every city and village, and every person in them contributes to that story. I don't see the point of trying to declare absolutely that one type is better/more authentic than the other.
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Old 02-20-2014, 04:12 PM
 
201 posts, read 265,049 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Lunatic & A Therapist View Post
Well I should have stated this earlier; I have been to HK and Tokyo. I would assume most would agree these are the two premier cities in Asia. I'm thinking about skipping the rest.
Yes, because visiting some of the most richest/westernized cities in Asia will give you a full, accurate picture of what Asia is about and what it has to offer...

But yeah, as stated earlier, it is your money. To each his own.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Postman View Post
Who told you that? Malaysia doesn't have a high risk of terrorism, never heard of any terrorist attack there.
I believe OP has equated:
Muslim-majority country = high risk of terrorism

I could be wrong though.
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Old 02-20-2014, 05:33 PM
 
Location: Woodbridge, VA
82 posts, read 202,142 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Lunatic & A Therapist View Post
1. No, I do not think Thailand is a third world country. However, I do not think Thailand is developed enough to be first world either.

2. No, Thailamd is not filled with terrorists. Thailand is a place terrorists are targeting for a future bombing. Also, areas where westerners are known to be their targets. This is a proven fact.
Thailand is a first world country

Blue = First world
Red = Second world
Green = Third world
Malaysia is a third world country

Talking about developed countries

They're all third world countries.

Your only options will be Brunei, Singapore, Macau, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan.
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Old 02-20-2014, 07:55 PM
 
Location: Melbourne, Australia
9,781 posts, read 16,244,676 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ameriscot View Post
We're a bit old for the Full Moon Party. We're retired.
Well yeah, not all young people are into that sort of thing either...Not that we don't like to have fun and party now and then, but I just don't like the whole vibe and stuff at the FMP. Lots of foreigners getting stupidly/dangerously drunk and putting themselves in risky situations, acting like idiots, taking a lot of dangerous and suspicious street drugs...

Of course it's not something you have to be bothered about if you're not into it...
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