Wednesday, 25 March 2009

decisions! decisions! decisions!

...... so many decisions, trying to decide where to go on a holiday that we are planning in August. Yes, it is still a long way off, but as we had to organise house sitters before even attempting to think about where or when to go or even what to do .... we really do need to plan ahead.

Well we now have our house sitters booked, that was finalised yesterday and they are arriving from the UK on August 19th, so we can take off the following day..... wahooo!!

But where?

That is the question.

First of all though, I really have to say, that John and I are extremely lucky to even have a choice of "where to go", we know we are truly blessed to live and work here in Singapore and of course that allows us access to the many beautiful area's of Asia.

We have already been to Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam, we even considered going further afield, maybe somewhere around the Mediterranean. That was a short lived idea though when it came to the amount of time that we will have available to us.

We are already booked to go to Cambodia next month, so that one is out.

Maybe the Philippines?

yes, worth considering.

Back to the drawing board.

Another idea was to fly home to Melbourne, to visit family and friends ..... that plan lasted until I checked the costs of the flights, I want to know how our house sitter can fly from London to Singapore at a cost of $950.00 for a 13 hour flight, yet for the 7 hour flight to Melbourne (with the same airline) is a whopping $1300.00!

We decided on a flight/hotel combination ...... thinking that would be less hassle and cheaper. No way!

back to the drawing board.

Hhhmmmm........ what about Vietnam again?

ahh, now that has possibilities, as we really enjoyed our time in Saigon last year, maybe we should consider Hanoi this time?

So that is a "possibility" as I am writing this.

If anyone has done the following 'trip', would dearly love to hear from you:

Our idea is to fly to Saigon, stay overnight and take the train next morning going north to Hanoi. The train takes about 10 hours and you can travel either day or night.

On arrival into Hanoi, stay overnight and next morning board one of the many "Junks" that are available for a 3 or 4 days Halong Bay cruise....

Ha Long Bay Vietnam is a UNESCO World Heritage site located in Quảng Ninh province, Vietna. The bay features thousands of limestone karsts and isles in various sizes and shapes.

now these images are not mine, purely here to help with the "decision making" ..... tee hee

and yes, this is one of the many Junks that are available for a few days cruising Halong Bay:
..... and on our arrival back into Hanoi, we then take the train that heads north/west to Sapa, near the border to China.

Staying for at least 3 nights in Sapa.

Behind Sapa, towards Phong Tho is a high pass forming part of the Hoang Lien Mountains that were known to the French as the Tonkinese Alps. This range includes Fansipan, the highest mountain in Vietnam at 3,143m, which to view at dawn could be spectacular.

There is a weekend market in Sapa during which the town fills up with hill tribe people selling their wares. If you want to see these tribes as they "traditionally" live (as opposed to flogging jackets to tourists), either go for a hike or head over to Dien Bien Phu from Sapa.

This stretch has the most traditional people you will see in the whole of Vietnam. It seems that most tourist groups pile into Sapa during the weekend for the market. However, travelers have reported that during the week is a much better time to catch a glimpse of the real Sapa avoiding from a big hassle of tourists.

You can hike in the surrounding area and visit a number of fairly traditional predominantly Mong hill tribe villages. Further afield is the colourful Red Zao, Dzay, Tay and Xa Pho people. A home stay in the Tay village would be unforgettable experience. But I think by this stage we will be running out of time!

These two images are just an example of the Sapa area with the villagers and the terraced rice fields.....

Our idea would then be to take the train back to Hanoi and fly home to Singapore from there.

I think this would be a really special holiday to celebrate our 30th Wedding Anniversary!


Mike said...

Hanoi is a great visit and feels less 'western' than say HCMC... but I think 3-4 days on Halong Bay is a bit excessive. Beautiful place, very serene... but after 1 day/1 night - you will have done all there is to do.

Just my 2 cents.

Great blog!

Leone Fabre said...

Thanx for your comment, very much appreciated. Leone

Oswald Chong said...

For shorter holiday in Malaysia, any thoughts on Cameron Highlands or Genting? You can do it over the weekend.

Been to Korea or Japan? Australia's Perth can be a worthwhile weekend trip? Hainan Island in China? Hong Kong? Taiwan? Mongolia? Nepal? Bhutan? Just some suggestions.....

Oswald Chong said...

"I want to know how our house sitter can fly from London to Singapore at a cost of $950.00 for a 13 hour flight, yet for the 7 hour flight to Melbourne (with the same airline) is a whopping $1300.00!"

I watched a CNBC program on how airline prices their ticket. They start selling cheaper tickets, and then raise the price after 20% fill, and continue to raise their fares until it becomes 80% full, and then start to lower their price etc. So every passenger on the plane pays different prices.

Just an example, I booked an air ticket from Kansas City to Washington D.C. for $266 on the same airlines as my colleague, and he paid $536 for the same flight. I booked just two days before he booked his ticket, and guess what? My other colleague got his ticket for $328, two days after the $536 ticket. We were all sitting on the same plane, and nearby one another.

Leone Fabre said...

Oswald, great suggestions..... thanx!

.... and your comment on the pricing of airline tickets, is spot on. Have recently heard similar.

'tis quite unfair for the traveler.

A friend recently flew from Sing to Darwin (two people) and the TOTAL cost was $280.00 for a package deal. Yet the usual fare is around $600.00 each!

I think these days we have to be more cautious with holidays costs.