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Old 01-30-2006, 10:16 PM   #1
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Well, I am wrapping up my one year stint in Japan and I wanna get some Asian Travel in before I go because I don't know when I will be back in this part of the earth again (that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it)

I'm looking at May 3 to 23 ish starting in China then to Cambodia then Thailand. In China I wanna do all the typical (Wall, Tiananmen, Forbidden City, Summer Palace, Shanghai, Hong Kong). In Cambodia I wanna at least see the Phuket temples and in Thailand I wanna kick it off with some beach and scuba ness. Then fly back to Narita in Tokyo to take my already paid for ticket home to canada

Here's the problems.

I speak only french, english and bad Japanese.. is this a problem?

I have no idea how to get from one country to another

I have no idea what else to see

I don't know what types of food to try (Tom Yun Kun.. thats it)

I have no certification for scuba diving and dont know where to find a resort that will teach me the basics and take me out to look at pretty fishies

I know nothing of disease, warnings, wars, guerilla, dangers, need to knows, need to packs, need to buys for any of these countries.

If you can advise me or send me to a great comprehensive travel guide for me to do my own research I will forever be in your travel debt.

I'm also torn as to which guide I should get. The Discovery Channel ones (although high colour) are not precise enough, I got lost in Kyoto because of Lonely Planet (and my bad Japanese) and I've never tried Frommers.

Domo Arigato Gozaimasu in advance for your help.
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Old 01-31-2006, 02:52 AM   #2
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ok first i think 3 weeks is not alot of time for all 3 countries but i spose it could be done..


well i only speak english and was fine in vietnam and cambodia...it can get frusrating at times.. you should be fine..

transport should be easy between countries, ya can get on the back of trucks, take the bus or a mini bus, find a private driver or a taxi all are very cheap a private driver or taxi will obviosly be a bit more expensive but if you organise to fit 4-5 more ppl in the car that would lower the price... it would be uncomfortable but. theyll take you to the border and then there will be the same modes of transport on the other side waiting to rush at you to take you where you want to go . also allow sufficient time at the borders... there a pain in the ass and frustrating, to speed up your immigration crap slip a few $ notes in ya passport the immigration dudes will see it and will do it before everyone elses (thats if theres a massive line.. they take a heap of them at a time ) if not give them a few ciggarettes as a good gesture, familurise yourself with some of the scams that go on by the border officials to make sure you dont waiste ya money on somthin that is bullshit.. if you take a bus that is organised by the hostel itll most likely meet you on the other side or there will be a connecting one thatll take you wherever..

my main reason in going to cambodia was to see ankor wat, once i saw that nothing else could compare.. but im not big on temples

foods i cant really remember.. cept for deep fied triancheler

in cambodia its fairly safe it can be over exaggerated at times just dont do the obvious and stray of the main paths as parts are still heavily mind also try avoid goin out on your own at night.. in thailand stay away from the deep south near the malaysian border as there are insurgents fighting the government who carry out bombings and other war stuff .. youll prolly need to drink bottled water most of the time.. consult your gp about wat vaccinations you should get

thats all i can think of for now

enjoy
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Old 01-31-2006, 03:54 AM   #3
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If you're in a hurry to squeeze a bunch in, you can use air travel, to a degree. There are flights from Bangkok to Siem Reap, Cambodia (which is right there at Angkor Wat). So, you could fly from Japan to China, see what you want there, then fly to Bangkok, Thailand. Do your sightseeing around the country (I recommend Ayyuthaya, if you like atmospheric ruined temples), ending back in Bangkok. Then, top the trip off with a 2-3 day excursion to Angkor Wat in Cambodia. I arranged a package with airfare, hotel and guide (rules are you MUST have one in the ruins) from a Bangkok travel agency via the internet.

Angkor Wat would be a fitting climax to your 3 weeks in Asia/SE Asia...

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Old 01-31-2006, 12:00 PM   #4
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Flying is definately an option for getting around. You can fly from Hong Kong to Bangkok for between $225 and $280USD.

From Bangkok, you can then hit up Cambodia at your leisure. You can fly to Siem Reap for relatively cheap. Check out Air Asia or Bangkok Airways for that.

Lastly, you can also fly United Airlines direct from Bangkok to Narita for your return home flight. I am sure there are other Airline options, but I have flown that one myself.

As for what to see, that is a tough one. What do you like? Temples? Markets? Beaches? Trekking? All of that is certainly available in Thailand.

As for Scuba, in Thailand on the coast/islands there are literally hundreds of dive shops that will teach you SCUBA and take you diving. It will probably cost you a couple of hundred USD. May take a few days to a week, depending on the intensity of the course. I would stay away from smaller, shady operations - go with the bigger companies. I have been diving with two companies on the island of Phuket in Thailand. One was called Dive Asia and the other Sea Bees Diving. I recommend them both. You can check them out on the web. Good luck.
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Old 01-31-2006, 12:56 PM   #5
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Question

Quote:
Originally posted by Calliopaeia@Jan 30 2006, 11:16 PM
I'm looking at May 3 to 23 ish starting in China then to Cambodia then Thailand.* In China I wanna do all the typical (Wall, Tiananmen, Forbidden City, Summer Palace, Shanghai, Hong Kong).
[snapback]100679[/snapback]
Actually, I see a big problem with your timetable there.

Chinese Labor Day is the rare one week holiday that everyone in China gets off. It starts May 1, and all travel/tourist sites will thus be jam-PACKED for the next week as that is when Chinese themselves all take their vacations! So, if you start off on in China on May 3, you will be smack-dab in the middle of this national bumrush! You might want to rearrange your schedule to avoid this period, if at all possible!
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Old 01-31-2006, 01:30 PM   #6
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I got Certified in the states to go Scuba Diving. It has been my experience that places outside of the US have generally very poor equipment (regulators, BCD's, wetsuits etc.).

If you want to do it find a place that is good. Dont settle. Also, if your not feeling comfortable at anytime during the training process just tell your instructors and they will help you.

Getting certified will take a couple days though, unless you just plan on diving this once because then you can just do the "beginning to dive" or something like that where you have a couple hour class and then they take you under for a while. Its faaaar more worth it just to get certified though.
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Old 02-01-2006, 04:08 PM   #7
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Quote:
It has been my experience that places outside of the US have generally very poor equipment (regulators, BCD's, wetsuits etc.).
This has not been my experience. The equipment supplied by the two dive companies in Thailand I mentioned above was just fine - all top name brand equipment in good working order. It all depends on the dive company you go with. If you pick some local guy who has his own little crappy boat that fits two people and drags out 20 year old equipment, yeah, you should take a pass. The bigger companies that have been around for awhile generally have their shit together.
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Old 02-01-2006, 05:54 PM   #8
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I have only been diving in Central America before so Thailand could be fine I suppose. Central America on the other hand...
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Old 02-01-2006, 06:49 PM   #9
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Look into going to Huangshan, or pronounced "wong-san" in Cantonese. It's a beautiful series of mountains, they have an inn at the top. Bamboo forests carpet the entire place and i know that Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon was filmed there.

Here's a good link:
http://www.travelchinaguide.com/cityguides...gshan/index.htm

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Old 02-04-2006, 09:16 AM   #10
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WOW Guys thanks sooooo much!! Thanks for the tip about Chinese Labour Day.. I know in Japan they have Golden Week (which is a big vacation) in April.. so I might wanna change my plans around.

As for the sights, what I have been most interested in while here in Japan is the typical tourist stuff.. Im kinda all "templed" out from being to Kyoto, Kamakura, Asakusa and Nikko (grand total of about 1700 temples in those three areas combined I AM NOT KIDDING) but I do want to see temples of a different fashion.. not like the Japanese ones (like Angkor Wat) and carvings... .Im actually a Classical Archaeology/Anthropology Major so I really dig that stuff..

I find I am also interested in stuff with deep meaning.. I want to climb Tai Shan (mountain rumoured to extend your life to 100 if climbed and featured in a song by one of Canada's best bands).. but I have no idea where it is and if it is geographically possible to fit so much in such a little time.

And... Im a really big wimp. Japan was my first out-of-North-America-experience so I am not sure I will deal well with situations like over-zealous customs officials.. I almost cried when the customs guy in Japan demanded to know the address of the hotel I was staying in for one night.

As for the Scuba diving.. I was hoping to do it last as a kinda relaxing thing.. so please forgive my ignorance but exactly how big of a crowd are we talking about in China during their Labour week? Like I used to work in Shibuya which is home to the worlds busiest pedestrian intersection seeing over 4 million pairs of feet per day so I am quite accustomed to crowds, but I know China has 1 billion people etc... Is it like Tokyo Imperial Palace on the Emperor's Birthday (one of two times a year it is open to the public) or bigger?

Again... a million thank yous for all your ideas they are immensely helpful. If I ever encounter you during my travels I will by you all a beer (or substituted beverage of choice)
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Old 02-23-2006, 12:10 PM   #11
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So I will be in Shanghai from May 1st to July 1st...so if you would like to get up for a drink and some dim sum then let me know...
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Old 02-23-2006, 12:14 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by Calliopaeia@Feb 4 2006, 10:16 AM
WOW Guys thanks sooooo much!!* Thanks for the tip about Chinese Labour Day.. I know in Japan they have Golden Week (which is a big vacation) in April..
[snapback]101283[/snapback]
Yes, aka "Golden Week." Avoid it like the Plague.

Interesting Adam - what will you be doing there? I'm still undecided on Beijing or Shanghai - for 1 month of schooling. I think Beijing may have better unis, but has worse air pollution...
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Old 02-23-2006, 12:49 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by voyd@Feb 23 2006, 02:14 PM
Yes, aka "Golden Week."* Avoid it like the Plague.

Interesting Adam - what will you be doing there?* I'm still undecided on Beijing or Shanghai - for 1 month of schooling.* I think Beijing may have better unis, but has worse air pollution...
[snapback]103997[/snapback]

Wo qu xue zhongwen....

just going to be trying to learn Mandarin...the program I chose is bbabroad.com

I had the same debate between Shanghai and Beijing but I finally decided that Shanghai would be a little bit more pleasant to live in for 2 monthes...although I am typically more drawn to as authentic of an experience as possible...
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Old 02-23-2006, 05:30 PM   #14
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^ Interesting, the M-F, 4 hr/day program at Shanghai Normal University?

Here's a funny, cynical Westerner's look at the frustrations of learning zhongwen...
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Old 02-24-2006, 01:49 PM   #15
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That is a pretty funny article, Voyd....and Yes, I am doing the M-F 4hr/day Language School in Shanghai...what about you? when and where and what will you be doing in your month of study in China??? Oh, and how much do nin shou zhongwen now?
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