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Far East itineraries

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We're trying to figure out whether we want to go on the Northern or Southern route but are having a hard time trying to compare them. Can anyone provide pros/cons to each? I think what it may come down to is which route has the best diving. I don't think we'd be disappointed in either, so I may just pick one by flipping a coin and tell my researching side to shut up :)

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I'm just beginning to plan this trip for Nov. 2008 and have the same question. I've been to Thailand, but only Bangkok and Chiang Mai. And I've been to Penang. Other than that, these ports/islands would all be new. Is this the rainy season over there?

 

Susie

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Hello, I've already booked my Star Clipper cruise for northern route.

I cannot give you good reasons about the route, as I've never been in Thailand or Malaysia, I needed to choose the route to suite my best available dates, but after to search information in the net I think both are very similars. We are not divers but we love snorkeling.

I would suggest http://www.sawadee.com/ were you can find lot of information.

 

For Susie I can tell you (after reading the guides) from november to april it looks to be the right season to visit Andaman sea, as it is dry season.

 

I've also write my own post trying to find more information about the shore excursions and how Star Clipper manages the itineray.

I Hope to be lucky!!

 

CHEERS

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Hi. We took the Star Flyer in late Dec/early January last year and had perfect weather the minute we left Singapore (It rained there for 3 days straight before we boarded the ship on Dec 26th) The rest of the cruise was sunny and warm. Perfect!

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Chicagogirl:

Didd the islands you stopped at have towns, temples, things to see and do? Or were they uninhabited and only beaches. I don't want to spend all that money on a cruise that only goes to beaches. I want to see the Thai culture and people, experience life outside off Bangkok.

 

Please tell us more about the cruise itself and the stops you made.

 

Susie

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We went on the holiday sailing so I think it was a special itinerary (not north or south and 12 days) There was plenty to see and do, not just beaches. What are the ports you are considering?

 

My favorite port on our cruise was probably Panang. We stook a ship's tour which was great and we saw Buddhist Temples, the wet market, took a trishaw tour, and ended up at the Eastern Oriental Hotel for lunch. I was not as impressed with Malaca which was kind of dirty though I know full of history. Langkawi was nice, too. We did a tour there and saw lots of scenery, temples, etc. I believe that is the port where we took an aerial tram ride and had gorgeous views of the entire island.

 

The most beautiful water was in Ko Phi Phi where the tsunami hit. Some of it has been rebuilt. There were many remnants of the tsunami most places in Thailand which was very moving. One island whose name I don't recall had a memorial made of many wrecked boats. You can imagine all the lives that were lost.

 

We did enjoy some of the beachy stops because that's where you get to use all of the water "toys" from the ship and the snorkeling was really great.

 

I was least impressed by Phuket. It seemed like any other commercialized resort town to me. I admit though, that we only spent one day and may have missed the "good parts" that you hear everyone talk about.

 

That's all I can remember off the top of my head and I don't have my notes with me now. It was a really great trip though and I highly recommend it.

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Chicagogirl:

I'm listing the ports involved with the 2 choices of sailings next November 2008. You probably went to some of them. I'd like your opinion.

 

Northbound: Surin Islands, Similan Islands, Hin Daeng/KO Rok Nok, Langkawai, Phi Phi Islands, Phang Nga/Ko Khai Nok.

Southbound: Batong group, Penang, Ko Lipe, Ko Khai Nok, Phang Nga/ko Hong, Similan Islands.

 

I won't book a cruise until I can get frequent flier seats to fly there, at least as far as Bangkok and possibly all the way to Phuket. Did you spend any time in Phuket, before or after your cruise? Did you find a decent hotel that you would recommend?

 

Keep in touch, Susie

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Hi Susie,

 

We did not stay in Phuket so I can't help you there.

 

We did not go to all of the places you are considering and there are some good ones on each itinerary. We really liked Panang so I would probably go with that one. Batong group rock formations were awe inspiring.

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Hello Sussie and Chicagogal, I hope you are fine.

 

What a nice sorprise, I'm so busy lately that I didn't see your posts here on my last visit:o. It has been very nice to read your information from the Far East, thank you very much Chicagogal.

 

I think your route was more similar to the actual SINGAPORE-PHUKET.

for my northem route, unfortunatelly I'll don't visit Penang and/or Malacca, the only stop in Malaysia will be on LANGKAWI, that's why I would like to know a bit more about this:

Langkawi was nice, too. We did a tour there and saw lots of scenery, temples, etc. I believe that is the port where we took an aerial tram ride and had gorgeous views of the entire island.

I'm specially interested to know any other information about the aerial excursion if you could remember.

 

Apart from it, if you could tell me anything about the snorkelling places:) ... how does Star clipper manage this kind of excursions, are they guided excursions or did you go by your self? did you get some free time for beaches? need I bring my own gear or can I buy it at the ship? how much chance does one have to get a kayak in the star clipper??

I also would like to know if in this route did you get the chance to enjoy some private beach barbaque??

 

Regards to Pang nga bay, on my northem route it will be only a two hours sailing around, I don't know if it was the same on your route, but It seems to me a very short visit for such spectacular seascape?:confused:

so well, if you could explain to me anything about all, it would be really great!!

 

***************************

 

Hi Sussie, how is your searching going? did you decide for any of the routes?

I think the singapore-phuket or phuket-singapore could be more interesting if you are looking for more cultural places, as it stops where there are more things to see... I'm not sure as it will be my first visit to Thailand... :o but I think the places on the northern and southern route are mainly small islands with sea or land natural parks.

What I could discover about my northern is

Surin : small islands where still remains last sea gypsy comunities

Similan: small islands too but one of the best places for a spectacular snorkelling, which I love!

Hin daeng and ko rok: are the best for divers but I still hope to enjoy the places

Langkawi: this could be the most cultural place where I'll stop, but I still don't get any information for shore excursions... I hope to get it next month

PhiPhi islands: as Chicagogal told us, this is mainly for nice beaches and seascapes combining one very touristic island and another uninhabited

Phang nga: I think only a short sailing around, but for sure one of the most spectacular seascapes that must be seen.

 

On the singapore-phuet or vicev. you can also visit penang, malacca and singapore...

 

Finishing the sailing in Phuket I'm also staying in Phuket post cruise for 5 nights. and yes, although it is knowed as a very very touristic place, I still think the island is quite big to offer a bit of everything, from Phuket old town, some cultural places to visit, to natural parks in the north areas, still gypsy comunities in the south area, beaches on the east...

Regards to the hotels to stay, I think that the same as the island on itself you can choose for anything you are looking for, from very expensive hotels, to very cheap ones, but there are also good values.

I really think that aside of Patong beach (the most touristic one) the island have much more to offer.

 

I'm also staying 4 nights pre-cruise in Krabi, which I hope to enjoy a lot too.

Of course, I'll need at least another trip to know a few in the northern area of Thailand, with is really interesting, as well as Bangkok, because I'm flying directly to and from Phuket, but for this time and as this was decided for a sailing trip I'm going mainly to discover the coastal areas and some islands that's why I'm an islands lover ;).

 

I'll be here to know any new from you!!

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Konnichi wa Islands Lover:

 

I have been to Singapore, Malacca, and Pennang before so I'm looking to visit new places. Plus after our cruise we will be going to Cambodia for a week, Phnom Penh and Siem Riep, and it is easier to get there through Bangkok than Singapore. Travellers on the Fodors message boards say the northern route is better than the southern. In my case it will depend on when I get frequent flier tickets that coincide with a cruise as to which sailing I go on. But this trip is a long way off and I have a lot of research to do. I'll look forward to hearing about your cruise Islands Lover.

 

Sayonara, Susie

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Hi Sussie, nice to hear from you,

 

I'm sorry very much Sussie, I have read again your first post and it's truth!! I really did remember you had been in Bangkok and Chiang Mai, but forgot about Penang :o (I'm going to use up this one!)

Fortunatelly I went to search for KONNICHI WA and it just means hello ?¿:D

 

Wow Sussie!! you are almost an expert of the area, even if you are going to stay in Cambodia (what incredible jewel Angkor) what interesting places you know!

I would have like to choose the singapore-phuket or p-s route as these three places (penang, malacca and singapore) looks to me very interesting, but the dates can't suite my own availables... anyway this will be my first trip to Asia so avery place is new for me.

 

Thank you very much for the information Sussie, it's nice to know the northern route is better than the southern, I don't know very well the forums, but hear some about fodors, so I'm going to have a look there if I can find it, thank you!!

 

You are plenty of time for your flights and to have a good reasearch, enjoy it!!

 

I'll keep one eye here for any new;)

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Hi friends, hope you are fine

 

Only a quick view trying to get some new information.

 

CHICACOGAL, if you can read my earlier posts (30th september) I'll be really happy to get any information you could tell me. January is coming!!

 

Thank you.

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I was able to get award seats to fly to Phuket and home from Bangkok so I just booked Star Clipper for Nov. 22, RT Phuket. Islands Lover, I will be awaiting your review of your cruise when you return and I will have a lot of questions for you. We are in cabin 131, cat 4. if you get a chance to see any of the cabins you can give me an idea of the size. I get a 5% discount by putting it on my Am Ex and paying in full up front. I'm happy to be saving $190 that I can spend in Thailand.

 

Sayonara,

Susie san

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