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Old 02-22-2010, 02:33 AM
 
Location: SWUS
5,421 posts, read 7,886,283 times
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Hi,

I'm going on a ~3 week tour of Southeast Asia in May, with about 6 days each in Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam.

I may also stick around in Thailand for a bit after the "official" tour is over. Any suggestions for what to do there?

There are a few things that I want to do:
1. Go to a Buddhist temple and do penitance (I believe that this is common in the temples, one goes around with a small booklet of gold leaf, re-applying it to depictions of Buddha as necessary), receiving a blessing from a monk, and perhaps get a religious tattoo (as a memento, this would be the WORLD to me)

2.Eat. And eat. And eat and eat and eat and eat. I would like suggestions for foods to try (and while I may find it interesting to see, no, I don't want to eat really funky foods containing organs or blood or bile or whatever, though I am sure most of those are just stereotypes or misconceptions)

3. Take several GB worth of pictures. What are good things to take pictures of in that part of the world?


I am open to any and all suggestions, if anyone has been there I really would like to know what is going to be available for me to do in my free time, after the "official" tourist-y things are over.

I don't plan on being "American" while I am over there, namely, this means that before I leave I am going to teach myself a crash-course in general Asian etiquette. Greetings, manners, odd customs like removing the shoes inside certain places, etc.


Does anyone have any experiences they would like to relate, foods to eat, beverages to try (don't worry, I have a near-iron stomach), things to avoid doing, etc etc etc? I would really like input so I can make this trip as enjoyable as possible for myself and the people I am going with.



ALSO, please include something YOU would bring back as a souvenir. I was thinking maybe a small Buddha statue to keep on my computer desk in my dorm? Input there?
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Old 02-22-2010, 09:04 AM
 
1,269 posts, read 3,415,317 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JordanJP View Post
I don't plan on being "American" while I am over there, namely, this means that before I leave I am going to teach myself a crash-course in general Asian etiquette. Greetings, manners, odd customs like removing the shoes inside certain places, etc.

Does anyone have any experiences they would like to relate, foods to eat, beverages to try (don't worry, I have a near-iron stomach), things to avoid doing, etc etc etc? I would really like input so I can make this trip as enjoyable as possible for myself and the people I am going with.

ALSO, please include something YOU would bring back as a souvenir. I was thinking maybe a small Buddha statue to keep on my computer desk in my dorm? Input there?
Have a good one and when you get back update us on the current situation there.

Thailand - do not say anything and show any disrespectful to Thai King & family.

Food - friends' recent experience. they loved seafood. in one small town whole family of 7 were taken to the local hospital. Fortunately the bill was not too expensive. after discharged they continued feasting.

Thai and Cambodia - you can buy Buddha statues carved on fragrant wood. I bought one but wasn't able to hand carry home without the proper papers (phytosanitry ???). So I had it shipped by a Bangkok agent.
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Old 02-22-2010, 07:46 PM
 
Location: SWUS
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Thanks. Any more suggestions? Could a mod maybe move this topic to the Travel forum?
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Old 02-22-2010, 09:22 PM
 
Location: Tucson/Nogales
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The climate, expected weather is my first, primary concern when I travel.

If you're accustomed to high heat and potentially crippling humidity, then you'll have an enjoyable trip.

Nothing worse than traveling somewhere, despite all the great attractions, and you're miserable because of the weather.

Being a desert creature accustomed to very low humidity levels, I'd go crashing to the sidewalk my first day there. My last trip over there, I ended up spending the majority of my time in an air-conditioned hotel room reading books and lounging by the pool.
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Old 02-22-2010, 09:54 PM
 
Location: SWUS
5,421 posts, read 7,886,283 times
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I can adapt to high heat and humidity, with enough water and aspirin. I'm not so sure about the people I'm going with, though.

I'd really like to hear more about places to visit, things to do, foods to eat, and interesting cultural facts about the region I am visiting.

Am I correct in understanding that many people there are very friendly to Americans, even if it's only in pursuit of the dollar?
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Old 02-23-2010, 12:06 AM
 
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Wear cool light cotton, long sleeves and pants on field trips (eg. Angkor Wat) to protect from mosquito bites.
Inexpensive sneakers preferable than heavy thick expensive types, because the latter make your feet sweat.

Fruits: look up wikipedia for the photos and descriptions of
- purple mangosteen (packed with antioxidants)
- durian (yr hotel pastry shop may have durian mousse cake with less pungent taste & smell of this fruit)
- rambutan
- lychee
- star fruit (url address: thaifood.about.com/od/introtothaicooking/ss/starfruithowto.htm)
- langsat
- dragon fruit (red meat and white meat varieties)
- jackfruit (it's huge and contains lots of edible flesh and seeds; fruit vendors sell deseeded flesh on a stick; jackfruit fritters; chips)
- young coconut juice to quench thirst

Don't go out of your way to look for it, but if you see "Royce" chocolates you may want to try some. It's not too sweet, not too creamy as preferred by the locals. The sales clerk will pack them in dry ice or they'll melt.
url address: www.e-royce.sg/outlets_thai.html

Thai, both the Muslims and Buddhists, are very friendly.
When hand things over to someone (cash, paper etc), use only your right hand.

Places of interests: If we know what your tour covers, it'll be easier.

Last edited by dougie86; 02-23-2010 at 12:49 AM.. Reason: add ons in red ink
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Old 02-23-2010, 12:20 AM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
22,527 posts, read 39,903,732 times
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You will be very welcomed, especially if you have red hair (my 5 yr old son with curly red hair was the hit of the temples, subways, parks). Monks would run up and pick him up and spin around rubbing his hair (what was left of it... after 6 months touring / living in SE Asia).

Go trekking in NW Thailand, (very cheap, very rustic, very unique, very fun) While traveling do 10 % tourist and 90% local (good luck reading the street signs in Thailand).

Plenty of good food. I would do Malaysia, Indonesia, and top off the trip with a few days in Singapore to re-acclimate to English language via Sing-lish . (Botanical Gardens are nice to visit in all areas) Food is superb, if you stay away from the 'tourist' centers and restaurants. Eat like the locals, in food courts by their flats. Sit with them at tables and have a blast.
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Old 02-23-2010, 06:27 AM
 
Location: Victoria TX
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Go birdwatching. There is a fascinating world of birds out there, easy to see. Get a field identification guide to the birds of Thailand, and a $50 pair of binoculars. Take the tours to the rural temple sites, and spend your time birdwatching away from the crowds.

It'll take you a few days of practice at home, watching the birds around your house and looking them up in an American field guide book. Nearly all the birds of Asia are completely different species from those you are familiar with in America.

It's quite safe in Asia to wander off the beaten track by yourself, Asians are friendly and not suspicious, and they are not fussy about private property the way Americans are.
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Old 02-23-2010, 07:09 AM
 
Location: Living near our Nation's Capitol since 2010
2,177 posts, read 2,914,372 times
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Oh how I envy you your trip! I went to SE Asia for a month last Oct and it was the trip of a life time. The people are so friendly, respectful and beautiful.

The temples in Bangkok are simply amazing. There are over 26,000 wats (temples) in Bangkok alone. Definitely go see Wat Pho...the sleeping Buddha (some call it the reclining Buddha) It s amazing and beautiful. Be sure ....ABSOLUTELY sure..to remove your shoes before entering any temple. The Grand Palace is amazing, beautiful and a must to see. Go EARLY before it gets mobbed.

Also, do ride the tuk-tuks there. They are incredibly cheap and fun altho not comfortable. The drivers are usually very friendly and will try to speak to you in English.

The food there is outstanding and inexpensive. We avoided the tourist areas and ate in local neighborhood restaurants. Our dinners in Thailand were usually around $5.00 and they were out of this world.

We went for massage several times during our stay in Bangkok. Thai massage, foot massage, is outstanding and ridiculously inexpensive. An hour massage was around $8.00 and it was heaven. Be sure to try it.

Do avoid the areas of the city where the sex trade is active. Ask at your hotel what areas to avoid. The sex trade in Thailand is still a problem. Even at the airport, you will see throngs of men (usually European or American) who have come for that. Some will even compare experiences while sitting waiting for a plane....it was all I could do not to go off on them right then and there.

If you go out into the country from Bangkok, be aware that it may be very hot and humid. Dress accordingly and bring bottled water.

I hope you have a wonderful trip. Take lots of pictures. You will want to revisit them often when you return. Its a magical place! Bon Voyage!
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Old 02-23-2010, 09:01 AM
 
Location: SWUS
5,421 posts, read 7,886,283 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StealthRabbit View Post
You will be very welcomed, especially if you have red hair (my 5 yr old son with curly red hair was the hit of the temples, subways, parks). Monks would run up and pick him up and spin around rubbing his hair (what was left of it... after 6 months touring / living in SE Asia).

Go trekking in NW Thailand, (very cheap, very rustic, very unique, very fun) While traveling do 10 % tourist and 90% local (good luck reading the street signs in Thailand).

Plenty of good food. I would do Malaysia, Indonesia, and top off the trip with a few days in Singapore to re-acclimate to English language via Sing-lish . (Botanical Gardens are nice to visit in all areas) Food is superb, if you stay away from the 'tourist' centers and restaurants. Eat like the locals, in food courts by their flats. Sit with them at tables and have a blast.
You know, it's funny that you mention the red hair thing, because I am a redhead. Not like auburn "ginger" red, but halfway in betwee light red and blond. Also covered in freckles.
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