So I booked a dream Oriental Express
train trip as a late birthday present to myself. I'll be going from March 3-7, 2011. I plan to spend 4-5 days before and after exploring the surrounding areas/cities/countries.
I'll be in Singapore, then traveling through Malaysia and ending up in Bangkok in Thailand. I have 2 nights in Bangkok after the train trip. Depending on the type of activities to do, I could stay one or two more days in Bangkok and do some day trips, before heading off somewhere else. Or I can head off to one or two places right after the two nights in Bangkok. Below are some of the places not too far from Bangkok that are possibilities. If you could look at the websites and the local attractions to let me know what else there is to do in the area that would be greatly appreciated. Of course, there are lots of other possibilities too, but the biggest factor is I'll need to decide where I'm flying to and back from this week (hopefully today). For travel within SE Asia, I l need to book the hotels ASAP, but the airfare can probably be done much later as there local airlines for flights within Thailand or to neighboring countries.
This is the high end Marriott on Phuket, which is a big tourist island in the south of Thailand
This is a Four Seasons resort in Samui, which is a small tourist spot also south of Bangkog, but only a 1/2 hr flight
These two are Four Seasons resorts in Bali, Indonesia. Definitely longer distance, but of course one of those places everyone should visit at least once...
On the ocean: http://www.fourseasons.com/jimbaranbay/
On the river: http://www.fourseasons.com/sayan/
What I'm looking to get out of this trip is to see how various cultures are and how people live in a part of the world I have not been to before. I'm interested in spirituality, food, life, nature, music & shopping. Part of the inspiration for this trip are the movies Baraka and Koyaanisqatsi. If you've seen either, you'll understand my motivation better.
Here are some photos from the orient express I'm doing Super Vixen Roller Coaster ~ Hop On and Hold On!
I'd love to hear your feedback on these various places and things to do from those familiar. I'm not familiar with the laws or cultures, so pointers on that will be helpful too. Things such as how to pack for 2 weeks traveling through SE ASIA in March by train and plane, what's appropriate behavior/dress and what's not, what's legal in CA, and not in any of these countries I'm going to would be most appreciated. If I recall correctly isn't chewing gum illegal in Singapore?
The last hotel link, Bali at Sayan, seems to have the most 'other recreation' options (Balinese farming experience and Tri Hita Karana experience) through their resort. I'm presently leaning towards it since I don't know the area. Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan - Other recreation
I would like to see this in real life though (first link).
Of course if any members are out in any of the areas I'm in, I'd love to meet from some tea.