Overseas Travel

Do a trip report here....go to another city and want to relate it to what KC is doing right or could do better? Give us a summary in here.
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cknab1
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Overseas Travel

Postby cknab1 » Fri Jan 08, 2010 2:30 pm

A lot of people on the forum do overseas travel and I really like to hear about different locations.  My wife and I are leaving Jan. 16th for a trip thru Southeast Asia.  We are traveling to Kuala Lumpur then down through the Malaysia peninsula, over to the island of Borneo, then up to Thailand for a few days.  Then overland into Cambodia starting at Siem Reap, down to Phnom Penh, over to Sihanoukville on the coast, back to Thailand at the island of Koh Chang, then Bangkok and back home.  We should be back in the US Feb. 10th.  I?ve been to Thailand numerous times and this will be my third trip to Cambodia.  Haven?t been to Malaysia so if anyone has helpful hints that would be great.  My daughters did tell me that Catherine Zeta-Jones won?t be at the Petronas towers so that?s a bummer.  I?m looking forward to the temperature change.
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Re: Overseas Travel

Postby DaveKCMO » Fri Jan 08, 2010 2:57 pm

i have zero interest in traveling to southeast asia, so i'm curious what's the big draw for you?

we are planning a western europe sampler for early september... london, paris, barcelona. first time on that continent.

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Re: Overseas Travel

Postby cknab1 » Fri Jan 08, 2010 3:40 pm

I just love the friendly people and culture.  The beautiful scenery,Angkor Wat and all the old ruins, the food, the weather and it is so inexpensive once you get there.  We do a lot of hiking, kayaking and National Park kind of stuff.  We like getting out in the country and meeting people and learning the history.  I had spent some time in Southeast Asia in 1970 though 72 and though I would never go back to Vietnam for some reason, I really enjoy the other countries.  Also the wife and I have our own little private charity and we have installed 25 family wells, one large village well and have helped three land mine victims start their own business.  So we get a lot of satisfaction from that.

We plan on during more of Europe after I retire.  We went to Ireland about 4 years ago and that was a great trip.  Right now it just seems like we should do this while we are young enough to enjoy it.  Young being a relative term.  It just seems like we can do Europe when we are older.
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Re: Overseas Travel

Postby rmloft » Fri Jan 08, 2010 4:11 pm

Love S.E. Asia - some of the friendliest people I've met and great food. Depends on how much time you have in Malaysia - I spent a month there some years ago and enjoyed Penang, Cameron Highlands where the Brits used to go in the Summer to escape the heat. If you're only going South from KL I'd definitely suggest stopping off in Melacca (Melaka) on the S.W. coast. The city center is a UNESCO world heritage site and was a major trading port back in the days when Portugal controlled this part of the world.
In KL itself the Botanical is worth a visit if you like a little bit of quiet meandering and the opposite end of the spectrum is Chinatown at night - buzzing and greats smells and sounds. Watch your wallet (same as everywhere) and I ate from the roadside hawker stands where evertything is cooked in fat or boiling water so seems to kill most nasties!
There's also plenty of great colonial architecture in the center of KL so take a tour.

Enjoy

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Re: Overseas Travel

Postby supastudio » Fri Jan 08, 2010 4:36 pm

Question:

How do you deal with the language barrier? (If there is one)
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Re: Overseas Travel

Postby cknab1 » Fri Jan 08, 2010 4:49 pm

rmloft
Thanks for the tips.  We do plan on spending a couple days in Malacca after KL.  We will certainly take in the Botanical garden and they is nothing like eating off street carts.  Malacca seems like a great stop and an excellent place to continue working with my D90.  We are also stopping in Kuching and spending a couple nights in Batang Ai before heading up to Thailand.

Supastudio
As far as the language, I wish I knew more but I can get by in Thailand and learning a little Khmer.  it seems most places you meet enough english speaking people to get by.  At least so far i have been lucky enough.  I'll just have to take my chances in Malaysia.
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Re: Overseas Travel

Postby IraGlacialis » Fri Jan 08, 2010 11:12 pm

Since you are going during the wintertime, it should be the dry season over there, ensuring that when you go to the beach, the water should be extra clear.
supastudio wrote:How do you deal with the language barrier? (If there is one)
In the case of Thailand, if you are going to be in Bangkok or other high profile areas (as well as new areas), most places will have people who can speak English. Of course, it is good to learn the basics (sawadee ka (hello/goodbye), kapkun ka (thank-you), ka (yes), mai (no), neung (1), song (2), sam (3), etc...)
That being said, it is still highly recommended that you have a Thai person with you. You will be able to enjoy the place more when you go off the beaten path. Mostly what I am talking about is food. The best food you can get are ones from the portable sidewalk stalls; the great thing being that you get a good portion for a cheap price (usually 30 baht, which is equal/just less than a dollar). You can get other good stuff on the cheap for good quality when going to areas tourists tend not to go to.
Also, having a Thai person around is good protection against being scammed.

Also, these etiquette tips can go a long way (cknab1: I trust you already know them if you have been there before): taking off shoes when in going in someplace (if you aren't sure, situational awareness is very helpful), don't point the soles of your feet to anybody, don't touch anybody on the top of the head, don't use your left hand for social tasks, oh and show deference to the monarchy. Thais are forgiving because foreigners wouldn't know any better, but showing that you are aware of etiquette can earn quite a bit of respect.

Oh yeah, if you are taking the bus in Thailand DON'T TAKE THE BUS WITH AN ORANGE STRIPE ON THE SIDE (second class). If you do, you will pay twice as much for twice the time. Take the blue one with just a white stripe (first class).
Last edited by IraGlacialis on Sat Jan 09, 2010 8:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Overseas Travel

Postby cknab1 » Sat Jan 09, 2010 11:50 am

Thanks for the added tips.  I've spent maybe a total of 2 1/2 years in Thailand, so I feel very comfortable by myself and can get by with the language.  Since I'm a guy I would say Kop, rather than Ka.  And I too cringe when I see a farang touch a person on top of their head or make other unacceptable moves.  In the movie Gran Torino I explained to some friends with us why the family reacted the way they did when Eastwood rubbed the child's head.
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Re: Overseas Travel

Postby grovester » Sat Jan 09, 2010 2:58 pm

Ha!  Haven't heard the word farang in 35 years!  And just realized I can still count to 10 in Thai :shock:

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Re: Overseas Travel

Postby cknab1 » Sun Mar 28, 2010 1:23 pm

Well, we had a great trip and have been back for a month or so.  If you would like to see some pic's follow this link.  

http://picasaweb.google.com/Conrad.Knab ... aTrip2010#

And if you want to read about our trip you can go here and pull down the blog tab.  It is mainly emails that we sent back to our children and friends.

http://cambodia3.shutterfly.com/
Last edited by cknab1 on Mon Mar 29, 2010 12:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Overseas Travel

Postby grovester » Sun Mar 28, 2010 2:51 pm

Wow, you guys really travel well.  Hope to make it back to that area some day.  Thanks for the inspiration.

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Re: Overseas Travel

Postby mlind » Mon Mar 29, 2010 11:31 am

Well, it's not so far away, but I travel to Oaxaca Mexico every December to see my grandchildren.  It's a wonderful Spanish colonial city with so much to see and there are two pre-Columbian ruins nearby - Mitla & Monte Alban.  Friendly people, good food.  The first time I went there, it was spur of the moment and I had no idea what to expect.  I was pleasantly surprised. And, if you feel the urge, you can travel to the Pacific coast to swim, surf, etc.

The drug problems don't extend that far south.

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Re: Overseas Travel

Postby IraGlacialis » Mon Mar 29, 2010 9:45 pm

Great photos. I really like to visit the Khmer ruins of Angkor sometime. How much of an issue was it going across the border between Thailand and Cambodia?
I know the Pheah Vihear temple is a source of great controversy between the two nations.

Of coincidental note are the pictures of the tribal dance. Earlier this month, my school had an international students' day, and one of the performances that the Malaysian student org did was dance along those lines (complete with large feather (pheasant I think) headdress).

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Re: Overseas Travel

Postby cknab1 » Tue Mar 30, 2010 8:41 am

Crossing the border when you fly is pretty easy as you might expect, but crossing overland at Poipet was a major hassle.  As soon as our van stopped we where surrounded by people wanting to help us get our visa.  They were all very aggressive.  I picked out one guy that seemed more reasonable and let him help us.  We paid a little more then if we had just went to the visa office but at that point there was no way to know where the office was and so many people around you that you could hardly catch your breath.  So I paid $26 per visa rather then $20, so no big deal, at that point we just wanted to get it done.  But after we got our visa, cabbies started to follow us to passport control and waited on the far side wanting to give us a ride to Siem Reap.  I?ve read so much about how big a scam that is I knew not to get in any of their cabs.  It seems they always break down about halfway and you have to spend a night in Sissypon at a guest house of their choosing.  Even though I told one guy time and time again we had a ride he kept chatting us up.  I was a little early so my Cambodian friend wasn't there yet.  The cabbie wanted his number so he could call my friend, said the police wouldn?t let him in the traffic if he wasn?t a registered cab, etc. just non stop talking.  But I kept smiling and we grabbed a couple of beers and soon enough my friend showed up.  The whole process was a nerve racking to say the least.  I?ll be better prepared next time.  We also had to fill out a form saying we did not have H1N1, a couple we talked to later had to pay $1 to be checked by a ?doctor?.  But what are you going to do.  It?s only a dollar and you need the visa.  The whole thing was quite the experience.
I'll have what the gentleman on the floor is having.

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Re: Overseas Travel

Postby Zorobabel » Tue Aug 31, 2010 8:54 pm

Wonderful pictures. Of all the places I have visited in the world, Southeast Asia is my favorite. I've been to most of the major SE Asian countries; I lived in Jakarta for two years, and I'm moving back this October. For those who haven't gone, you just have to visit the region and see for yourself. The people are incredibly friendly, and the natural scenery is amazing. On the island of Java, for instance, you've got about a dozen wonderful cone-shaped volcanoes that rise practically from sea level, the highest reaching 12,000 feet. The countryside is covered in rich rice paddies and dense tropical growth. And there are countless beaches along the coast. There are 13,000 islands in Indonesia, 6,000 of which are permanently inhabited, so I've got plenty of exploring to do.

I still haven't visited Angkor Wat, but I'm definitely going to get around to it.

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Re: Overseas Travel

Postby DaveKCMO » Wed Sep 01, 2010 10:54 am

leaving for paris and barcelona today!

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Re: Overseas Travel

Postby LenexatoKCMO » Wed Sep 01, 2010 10:58 am

DaveKCMO wrote:leaving for paris and barcelona today!


Au Revoir. 

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Re: Overseas Travel

Postby mlind » Wed Sep 01, 2010 12:43 pm

I recently read an article that said European ATM cards now have a special chip in them.  American ATM's don't, often US travelers can't use them at ATM machines  I asked an Austrian friend about this and he said that you can go into a bank to get money.

Has anyone run into this? 

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Re: Overseas Travel

Postby dangerboy » Wed Sep 01, 2010 12:45 pm

Not just ATM cards, also regular credit cards, too.

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Re: Overseas Travel

Postby LenexatoKCMO » Wed Sep 01, 2010 12:53 pm

mlind wrote:I recently read an article that said European ATM cards now have a special chip in them.  American ATM's don't, often US travelers can't use them at ATM machines  I asked an Austrian friend about this and he said that you can go into a bank to get money.

Has anyone run into this? 


The rest of the world is adopting an improved and more secure format for credit and debit cards - it replaces the magnetic strip with a microchip.  The American banks and retailers are resisting because they don't want to pay the expense of upgrading the POSs.  The upshot is that Americans increasingly take it up the ass in inconvenience when the travel abroad.  No American banks are issuing the new cards so if you want one you will have to open an account at a foreign bank.  Apparently American cards still often work in the euro readers but the clerks and waiters often don't know this and don't know how to make it work. 

Make sure to let your bank know just how inconvenient you find it that they refuse to support their customer's travel needs.  I think there is hope on the horizon - wal mart has apparently agreed to add the new readers. 


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