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Old 10-31-2015, 08:37 AM   #2441
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Thinking about Vietnam in early Feb or late March as the first or last stop on an Asian trip. Anyone been there?


Concerned about the cool weather in Feb. Tentative plan to fly to Hanoi, then make our way south. Failing that, start in Thailand and work north to Vietnam in March. Hope to spend two weeks in this country.
I have a friend who has been there and loved it. Someday I would like to go to Vietnam with a side trip to Angor Wat.

I'm planning to go to Myanmar and Bangkok in February. Where else are you going in Asia?
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Old 10-31-2015, 09:48 AM   #2442
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At the early planning stages now. Toss up between Asia and a few months in Puerto Vallarta.


We have spent part of the last two winters in Thailand. Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Ko Samui, Khao Lak, Ko Lippe, ets.. island hopping down the coast to Malaysia. We cannot leave until Feb this time so we are thinking of up to two weeks in Viet Nam, three weeks in Thailand,
and perhaps some time in Myanmar. It may depend on where we fly into. If we get a great flight to HK or China, and can get a low cost follow on flight with Air Asia, Nok, etc. we may change our plans slightly to take advantage of this.
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Old 10-31-2015, 12:10 PM   #2443
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At the early planning stages now. Toss up between Asia and a few months in Puerto Vallarta.


We have spent part of the last two winters in Thailand. Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Ko Samui, Khao Lak, Ko Lippe, ets.. island hopping down the coast to Malaysia. We cannot leave until Feb this time so we are thinking of up to two weeks in Viet Nam, three weeks in Thailand,
and perhaps some time in Myanmar. It may depend on where we fly into. If we get a great flight to HK or China, and can get a low cost follow on flight with Air Asia, Nok, etc. we may change our plans slightly to take advantage of this.
I'm traveling from San Francisco to BKK and I'm seeing flights starting at $639 which looks a whole lot better than the BKK flight at $1500 I took to BKK last July. After that Air Asia flights are pretty cheap to/from Myanmar.
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Old 10-31-2015, 12:44 PM   #2444
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I know the weather is temperate there but wet.

When are the driest periods there?

Thinking more of Bali though.
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Old 10-31-2015, 12:58 PM   #2445
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I know the weather is temperate there but wet.

When are the driest periods there?

Thinking more of Bali though.
I think the high season in Southeast Asia is October - February. Cooler & drier. Though even in June/July of this year I didn't encounter any significant rain in Bangkok.

Bali is nice. Went there 20 yrs ago. Our choice was to avoid the touristy beaches. We stayed in Ubud.
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Old 11-01-2015, 12:58 PM   #2446
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Flights to BKK have increased over the past two years. Last year we did Calgary-BKK for $1029 on United/ANA. Two years prior it was $749. This year it currently looks like $1200ish but it is early days yet. That $749 fare was booked in early Jan, two weeks prior to departure. I expect an increase because the CAD$ has dropped so sharply. Fares noted are in CAD. M

We have had great success with NOK and Air Asia. Last Feb we did a nine hour flight on Air Asia from Kuala Lumur to Gold Coast, Australia. My spouse broke her back in KL...The Air Asia staff gave her three seats in a row so that she rest comfortably. Great service. Fare was $249 CAD!

BKK-Chiangmai Mai, and Chiang Mai-Phuket flights were $50 and $60 respectively.
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Old 11-03-2015, 10:28 AM   #2447
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DW said we had some timeshare credit deposited with RCI, the timeshare exchange, that would expire in a couple of months. So, last night she looked online and saw that there were a couple of units available in Maui in a couple of weeks. While we were debating, one was booked and only one unit was left. Thus, the scramble to check airfares before we reserved the unit.

So, just on the spur of the moment, we find ourselves headed to Maui in less than 2 weeks. We were there 26 years ago, and did not have enough time to drive to Hana. This time we will.
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Old 11-03-2015, 11:39 AM   #2448
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At the early planning stages now. Toss up between Asia and a few months in Puerto Vallarta.


We have spent part of the last two winters in Thailand. Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Ko Samui, Khao Lak, Ko Lippe, ets.. island hopping down the coast to Malaysia. We cannot leave until Feb this time so we are thinking of up to two weeks in Viet Nam, three weeks in Thailand,
and perhaps some time in Myanmar. It may depend on where we fly into. If we get a great flight to HK or China, and can get a low cost follow on flight with Air Asia, Nok, etc. we may change our plans slightly to take advantage of this.
What are your favorite things to do in these Asian cities? Tour books you or others recommend? We use Rick Steve's for Europe, any equivalent for Asia?
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Old 11-03-2015, 02:40 PM   #2449
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DW said we had some timeshare credit deposited with RCI, the timeshare exchange, that would expire in a couple of months. So, last night she looked online and saw that there were a couple of units available in Maui in a couple of weeks. While we were debating, one was booked and only one unit was left. Thus, the scramble to check airfares before we reserved the unit.

So, just on the spur of the moment, we find ourselves headed to Maui in less than 2 weeks. We were there 26 years ago, and did not have enough time to drive to Hana. This time we will.
Good for you! I love Maui. This spur of the moment trip was brought to you by ER.
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Old 11-03-2015, 02:47 PM   #2450
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We use various tour books. Just got Lonely Planet Vietnam and we use Rough Guide for Thailand's beaches and islands.
Also got Moon's Puerto Vallarta.

We generally get a slew of them from the library and then buy the one that suits us. We have used Rick Steves for Europe but we were somewhat disappointed in his Greece books. We usually take a look at the Froomers site as well.
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Old 11-04-2015, 08:35 AM   #2451
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Moon's Puerto Vallarta.

We have used Rick Steves for Europe
PV is pretty dynamic with lots of changes in dining choices and hotels/condos. Xitomate has closed. De Santos has moved. Teatro Limon has relocated. Beck's Best is the most current source.

For Italy, Steves does not cover the south. We had to get Fodors on our last trip to Siciliy.
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Old 11-04-2015, 08:56 AM   #2452
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Good for you! I love Maui. This spur of the moment trip was brought to you by ER.
Thanks. Most of our travel has been this way, even before we retired. My wife would surf the Web and called out to me a good airfare that she found, and I would say "Why not?".

So, we will have been to each island twice, except for Kauai where we have visited only once. I have always wanted to return to Maui, and this worked out just right. The flight will be non-stop too, from our home airport.

Before we happened to spot the timeshare in Maui opening up just two weeks in advance, we saw some units available in New Mexico, and thought about booking one just to use the timeshare credit before it expires. But I was not thrilled about it, as the environment would not be too different than at my 2nd home in the high country.
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Old 11-04-2015, 01:11 PM   #2453
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Punta Cana winter weather getaway in February is already bought and paid for, and now I'm starting to put together a plan for Europe in August/September. DW and I traveled there for 2 weeks for our honeymoon, and enjoyed it enough to vow we'd do a trip like that every 5 years. That was 23 frugal years ago and we have only had one trip since that was close to that, time to live it up a little.
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Old 11-04-2015, 01:28 PM   #2454
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Heading to Cancun with DW and two sons (20 and 17) for a week starting December 24th. This will be our 4th visit as a family - has become a nice family trip destination. We did the Club Med there twice and have done the Fiesta Americana Condesa twice.
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Old 11-04-2015, 02:08 PM   #2455
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Headed to Europe for a week to visit family. This the longest stretch (4 years) I haven't been back since I was a teenager. Should be a lot of fun.
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Old 11-04-2015, 02:20 PM   #2456
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Heading to Cancun with DW and two sons (20 and 17) for a week starting December 24th. This will be our 4th visit as a family - has become a nice family trip destination. We did the Club Med there twice and have done the Fiesta Americana Condesa twice.
This is my dream Christmas--we took kids to Cozumel two or three times when they were a little younger and have wonderful memories as I know you must! Maybe will have to consider an extended family trip for next Christmas....
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Old 11-10-2015, 08:04 AM   #2457
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2016 Big Rocks

Just booked our pre-trip accommodations for a dream-trip to Europe this coming spring.

We start with a full week in Amsterdam on our own, during which we'll see all the sights in Amsterdam, visit the Tulip Festival, day trip to Delft and Haarlem, and take a bicycle tour of the countryside. We then join up with our tour group for a five week river cruise that starts in Amsterdam, then onto Germany, Austria, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria and finally Romania.

This has been on our bucket list for years!

Also booked for 2016 is a fall tour to Portugal and Spain, with a day trip by ferry to Morocco. The tour is three weeks in all, ending in Barcelona, after which we'll stay on another week to enjoy Barcelona on our own before flying home.

Currently this mix of on-our-own and organized touring is working well for us. It gives us just enough of what we appreciate about both forms of travel without overwhelming us with what we don't. (Love the freedom of on-our-own travel, but not necessarily the work involved to do so. Love the fact that tour groups take care of all the details, but also miss the freedom we give up as a result.)
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Old 11-10-2015, 11:57 AM   #2458
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Lots of little ones

Like usual, many smaller trips for now. This weekend will be in Delaware for daughter's volleyball tourney (3rd of 4 for this year). Two nights in an Embassy Suites. Racking up those Hilton Honors points. Sunday I get on a plane for Southern Cal-work/pleasure combo trip. Two full days of work and two half days for 6 days in So Cal? I'll take that any day. More Hilton Honors points on the company dime. Thanksgiving up in PA. 4 hour drive. Two nights in the SIL's guest room. One last volleyball tourney at West Chester, PA-two more nights in a Hilton Property. Christmas for a week in VT at the in laws. Skiing, snowmobiling and sledding.

2016-4 spring volleyball tourney's around the NE. Probably a few work trips out to the west coast. Fall of 2016-Hawaii 11 day cruise with the extended family. Talking about this one for years.

FYI we live on the beach on Chesapeake Bay so May-Sept is like being on vacation almost everyday interrupted by a few hours of work 9 days out of 14. Oh well.
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Old 11-10-2015, 02:41 PM   #2459
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Just booked our pre-trip accommodations for a dream-trip to Europe this coming spring.

We start with a full week in Amsterdam on our own, during which we'll see all the sights in Amsterdam, visit the Tulip Festival, day trip to Delft and Haarlem, and take a bicycle tour of the countryside. We then join up with our tour group for a five week river cruise that starts in Amsterdam, then onto Germany, Austria, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria and finally Romania.

This has been on our bucket list for years!

Also booked for 2016 is a fall tour to Portugal and Spain, with a day trip by ferry to Morocco. The tour is three weeks in all, ending in Barcelona, after which we'll stay on another week to enjoy Barcelona on our own before flying home.

Currently this mix of on-our-own and organized touring is working well for us. It gives us just enough of what we appreciate about both forms of travel without overwhelming us with what we don't. (Love the freedom of on-our-own travel, but not necessarily the work involved to do so. Love the fact that tour groups take care of all the details, but also miss the freedom we give up as a result.)
Your 5 week river cruise trip should be absolutely magnificent. We so far have limited ourselves to ocean cruises due to the cost. We could go for 5 weeks on the Mediterranean or Scandinavian cruise for the price of a Tauck River Cruise for a week. Viking's less expensive, but they start at 2x the cost per week of an ocean cruise. We just returned 9/10 from Scandanavia cruise, and it was great.

We're still young enough to plan and execute a ground tour of our own--without an organized tour. Unfortunately finding travel partners is difficult when we've been just about everywhere in Europe already.
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Old 11-10-2015, 07:50 PM   #2460
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Your 5 week river cruise trip should be absolutely magnificent. We so far have limited ourselves to ocean cruises due to the cost. We could go for 5 weeks on the Mediterranean or Scandinavian cruise for the price of a Tauck River Cruise for a week. Viking's less expensive, but they start at 2x the cost per week of an ocean cruise. We just returned 9/10 from Scandanavia cruise, and it was great.

We're still young enough to plan and execute a ground tour of our own--without an organized tour. Unfortunately finding travel partners is difficult when we've been just about everywhere in Europe already.
We are very excited about the river cruise, particularly since, as you've noted, the cost is such it's unlikely we'll be doing another in the near future.

We did the Baltics cruise in 2010 (what I assume your Scandinavia cruise was?) and loved it. We used Rick Steves 'Scandinavia' book in every port but St Petersburg to do on-our-own touring. Loved the scenic sail ins to Oslo, Stockholm and St Petersburg. So much so I can see doing a repeat of this cruise, something we rarely do.

We go back and forth on the organized tours, but they do allow us to cover a lot of ground, and the volume of historic and cultural information provided is often hard to obtain otherwise. China, as an example, was superb as a tour.

Because I plan out our annual multi month RV trips, down to very small details, I think I see touring abroad as a way to sometimes vacation from vacationing.
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