Waylander

Family Trip to the Far East Planning Help?

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Looking ahead, NEXT summer (2018 after Elder Miss W's GCSs) I'm looking to arrange a 3 week trip the far east.

Only time we can do that then will be summer holidays ie July/August which I am guessing won't be ideal due to heat and thunderstorms but it is what it is.

Also have to contend with having a 4 year old with us (16 hour flights will not be fun in that regard!)

So - want to try to do as much as we can to make this memorable so possibly max 5 days in any location?

I was thinking Penang first; somewhere in Thailand as a back to mainly beach-relax and island hop trips?

All advice appreciated on things we should look to incorporate. I fear it will be bloody expensive!

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In for another Waylander fact finding thread. 

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Posted (edited)

1 hour ago, Waylander said:

Only time we can do that then will be summer holidays ie July/August which I am guessing won't be ideal due to heat and thunderstorms but it is what it is.

I was thinking Penang first; somewhere in Thailand as a back to mainly beach-relax and island hop trips?

All advice appreciated on things we should look to incorporate. I fear it will be bloody expensive!

 
 

It's actually the cheapest time of the year to go as the weather is so appalling, especially in Thailand.

If Penang is your ultimate destination I'd consider a stopover (either Cathay Pacific to Hong Kong/Singapore Air to well, Singapore/ Etihad to Abu Dhabi) on the way as it's a tricky place (long flights) to reach from Manchester. 

Somewhere like HK with a trip to Macau and Lai Chi Wo Village (eco-tourism) would make a good contrast to the beaches of Thailand/Malaysia.

If you want to go a little more off the beaten track (away from mass tourism) then apparently the Trang Islands in Thailand is the happening place.

Edited by Andy_Bangle
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What he said. (Bangle)

Anything you want to know about Thailand. Ask away. Been to most Islands / Places there. Just don't end up taking your kids to Patong!!

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re Penang: Not so much "ultimate destination" but certainly 1 I definitely want to visit as I score to settle with it. Was meant to go there on honeymoon and long story short it got pulled very late so we've never been.

Went with wife to KL a few years back for the F1 but nowhere else.

Yes I was thinking making a stopover for the flight - wife has friends who have moved to Dubai so that was an option although I worried it would just make the whole thing even longer.

Hong Kong would be great but forgive my ignorance isn't that even further east than Thailand or Malaysia etc? If so how can I use it as a stopover?

 

Sadly off the beaten track is very unlikely with my wife and at least of the kids who need the comforts. I REALLY want to visit the Taman Negara for example but they don't like the idea of jungle lodges....

So - for a more "comfort" orientated stay where in Thailand would you recommend to visit? Which islands S3 would be good to explore with the kids?

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Without a shadow of a doubt IMO.

Koh Samui or Koh Phanang if you want a laid back beach holiday and kid friendly, though Phanang is where the monthly moon party is held and invaded by the crazy party goers. Avoid this time and its pretty laid back and a relaxing place.

Samui is beautiful and pretty laid back depending on where on the Island you stay. When we went, we just hired mopeds at about £5 a day to visit every area of the Island since it was only 70km round the whole Island. Yes I know not conducive for kids but you could hire a car which is also cheap as chips. Same applies to Phanang. Just dont hire from the airport if you dont want to be financially raped. Many places provide this service inland though they might take your passport as security for return of the vehicle. Taxis are also more expensive than in any other place you go such as Bangkok. Also be wary of the weather in Samui. Its on the Eastern side of the country so will differ vastly from Islands on the West.

There are other places inland of Thailand I could recommend but you wont get your relaxing beach holiday out of this.

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37 minutes ago, Waylander said:

re Penang:

Hong Kong would be great but forgive my ignorance isn't that even further east than Thailand or Malaysia etc? If so how can I use it as a stopover?

 

Penang from Manchester is either one or two changes and takes from 20hr.

HKG is a direct isn't a direct flight from MAN but takes 16hr due to better connections. From LON its a 12hr flight.

Boring but true, they are similar distances (3miles differences) from MAN due to the curvature of earth. 

I'll leave the island hoping to S3B but once you've worked out where you want to go I'll gladly draft you a flight plan, at least see if the routeing is viable +++

 

flight_miles.jpeg

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14 minutes ago, S3Bangs said:

Just don't hire from the airport if you don't want to be financially raped.

 

Think the same goes for the money changers (on arrival) at the airport?

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2 hours ago, S3Bangs said:

Without a shadow of a doubt IMO.

Koh Samui or Koh Phanang if you want a laid back beach holiday and kid friendly, though Phanang is where the monthly moon party is held and invaded by the crazy party goers. Avoid this time and its pretty laid back and a relaxing place.

Samui is beautiful and pretty laid back depending on where on the Island you stay. When we went, we just hired mopeds at about £5 a day to visit every area of the Island since it was only 70km round the whole Island. Yes I know not conducive for kids but you could hire a car which is also cheap as chips. Same applies to Phanang. Just dont hire from the airport if you dont want to be financially raped. Many places provide this service inland though they might take your passport as security for return of the vehicle. Taxis are also more expensive than in any other place you go such as Bangkok. Also be wary of the weather in Samui. Its on the Eastern side of the country so will differ vastly from Islands on the West.

There are other places inland of Thailand I could recommend but you wont get your relaxing beach holiday out of this.

Samui sounds beautiful and the mopeds fun!

As you both say though I'll have to try to plan around the weather as much as feasible

Are there any beaches with long shallows so Littlest W can wade?

Please do suggest inland places too - just a beach holiday would drive me crazy and we fully except to take in the beautiful architecture, temples, greenery etc etc as well

For example the floating markets sounds like a "need to experience it once" thingy

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1 hour ago, Andy_Bangle said:

Penang from Manchester is either one or two changes and takes from 20hr.

HKG is a direct isn't a direct flight from MAN but takes 16hr due to better connections. From LON its a 12hr flight.

Boring but true, they are similar distances (3miles differences) from MAN due to the curvature of earth. 

I'll leave the island hoping to S3B but once you've worked out where you want to go I'll gladly draft you a flight plan, at least see if the routeing is viable +++

 

flight_miles.jpeg

Aha!

Cool I'd love to see HK! Cost might be the final tailorer of the itinerary from country to country though I guess.

When we went to KL we did Lufthansa and the 16 hours NS was a killer especially on the way back on a cramped code share

My sister has been to Thailand a couple of times and they always fly emirates and have a Dubai break for the same reasons you mentioned (mind you they not also forking out for 3 more tickets like me....) +++ 

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Posted (edited)

 

Because I like playing around with stuff, I've knocked up 3 itineraries based on this summer's fares. It gives you some ideas of prices.

waylander1.jpeg

Waylander2.jpeg

Waylander3.jpeg

Edited by Andy_Bangle
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wow nice - thanks!

Was speaking to my BiL.

He suggested rather than doing it as a round robin to get a return flight from Manchester (or LHR) to KL and use that as the hub from where we get onward return flights to any destination as those short-hops work out cheap; then get the flight home back from KL at the end.

That price differential with Emirates is montrous but any 1 break route wil have to be the way as no chance we can do 12 hours with the nipper.

So far I'm thinking Penang, Bangkok, Phuket, possibly Indonesia

He mentioned river cruises, boat market, elephant tour up the hills, and a mad all day Island hopping boat trip in Thailand

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If you do end up deciding to visit HK, I've been several times and Mrs T's sister lives there (Park Island) so any questions I can't answer I'll gladly put to her, it's a fascinating place, real mixture of traditional East meets modern West, with a dollop of colonialism for good luck.

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7 hours ago, Waylander said:

He suggested rather than doing it as a round robin to get a return flight from Manchester (or LHR) to KL and use that as the hub from where we get onward return flights to any destination as those short-hops work out cheap; then get the flight home back from KL at the end.

 

Curve ball: If you base yourself in KL you could take the train to Penang (4hours on the ETS, £15 Plantuim service) or even braver Singapore (6-7 hours, costs £15 in first class).

http://www.seat61.com/Malaysia.htm#Singapore_-_Kuala_Lumpur_-_Penang_-_Bangkok

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That sounds cool Andy - although I figured we would be Penang for a few days so daily train might be a PITA but taking the Platinum service instead of flying would be great.

I also figured as we going to Thailand I might be better off (and cheaper) splurging on a great beach resort there instead of the more expensive boutique stuff of Langkawi

Don't know why but Singapore just isn't appealing to me at all.

Thanks Tipex - as this is still very much "find out stuff to do" I would appreciate some insight into what a family with kids ranged from 16-3 might enjoy there.

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I meant you take the train to Penang and stay a few days, not a day trip +++ Then you could either fly back or train it back.

The flight only takes an hour but when you factor in travelling out to KUL, having to check-in a couple of hours before the flight and the cost difference, the train seems great value. Plus it has more space for the kids, a pretty good view and you arrive in Penang via ferry. 

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Sounds Brilliant Andy will definitely add that to the mix

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Posted (edited)

1 hour ago, Waylander said:

I would appreciate some insight into what a family with kids ranged from 16-3 might enjoy there.

 

Well there is the biggie, Disney Land.

 

Personally I have found it to be the best Disney park I've been to (US and Paris, not been to the Japanese one yet), it's the newest I think and it shows, Space Mountain is vastly superior to Paris and Florida, as is the Runaway Mine Train.

 

The best thing about the park, though, is the fact it is small, far smaller than the other Disney Parks but still has the main rides, so much less walking and it's a lot quieter too meaning very little queuing, arriving by train is cool and also the most convenient way, you take the underground to the Disney station where you transfer to the Disney Train, this is great for the kids and it pulls in to the big Disney station at the end of the boulevard that leads to the gates.

 

Otherwise there is Ocean Park, I went there about 15 years ago and they had Panda Bears, Dolphins, cable car, theme park rides etc, it was very good, assume it is still much the same.

 

Lots of free to enter parks, Victoria park (also free) has a small zoo in it with Monkeys and stuff, a very large walk through bird cage which is great, ponds with turtles in them, that kind of stuff.

 

Happy Valley racecourse may not be your thing but is a good night out even if you don't place any bets.

 

The kids would love the night markets, haggling is great fun (and expected) and the sheer amount of stuff they'll come away with for pennies will probably require additional suitcases, then there are the electronics/computer arcades, if you can think of it, they sell it.

 

Victoria Peak Tram and the Peak itself is worth a trip, just bear in mind the actual peak is a fair trek uphill from the shopping centre that most people consider to be the peak and the main attraction.

 

Star ferry (off peak when it's quiet) is good fun too for a quick and very cheap trip.

Edited by Tipex
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The floating market is in Bangkok. Daunting and an experience but pretty fun. 

From what I recall, all or most beaches I've been to in Thailand are pretty shallow for a fair bit so will be okay for your 3 year old. I cant remember any being a steep drop from the beach onwards.

If you want to stay inland and for me exciting. Bangkok has so much to offer for touristy type things to do. There's just so much and wont cost you a packet. What we do in Bangkok the few times we've been is get the government run ferry day ticket for about 4 quid that runs through Bangkok along the Chao Praya river and just hop on / hop off at various destinations along the river then discover what each stop has to offer since at most stops there is something fanciable to do. A running commentary is given on the boat so you know beforehand what you can do.

Also, Chiang Mai in the Northern part is another place if you want to see the older parts of Thailand. Flights to most places in Thailand you can buy and are pretty cheap on Air Asia averaging about £30 return to Bangkok as this is where we normally would make our hub, though tickets to Samui can be higher than most other destinations.

If you do decide on any destination, lets know so I can give you a few tips that would make your life a lot easier as with all places, there are quite a few tourist traps that might end up being very expensive if you're caught up in it+++

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ooh this is shaping up nicely gents already.

Many thanks!

I'll have to do a little research into weather re August for the beaches and locations but so far Malaysia (I like the idea of making the kids climb up to the Batu Caves but I don't like the idea of carrying my youngest up!)/Penang, Thailand now the lure of HK all seem fantastic

 

lots of locum work will have to be done to fund it all I think though.....

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So - thinking about it so far I think we will take a flight which stops in the Middle East to break the journey. If I do Emirates we can visit wife's friend otherwise take in 2-3 days one way or t'other in Oman, Qatar or Abu Dhabi

Seems flying to Bangkok is slightly cheaper than KL then HK slightly more expensive than that but all within the same ball park give or take a few hundred; Emirates about £870 (for all 3 destination) with Etihad to Bankok at £640 the cheapest option

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Posted (edited)

As you're planning that far ahead, I'd wait a bit for the sales to take place to reduce your flight prices even a bit further or upgrade. Whichever suits you. Bangle always has a running commentary of when they're due or out anyway:grin:

Edited by S3Bangs
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Oh for sure. That was just indicative to see if the One hub via MIddle East option was even viable for me +++ 

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