Hello all. I know we've been a little back and forth on our one "big" trip. We toyed around with the idea of the Phillipines, Indonesia, and Australia/New Zealand. After much research and many conversations including the phrases "oh my gosh, we can go there for HOW little?" and "let's just make a decision already", we have once again come back to the original plan of Southeast Asia! What it really came down to was that this was our first choice. All of those other options are still definitely on our constantly increasing wishlist.
Hotels have been booked (refundable, of course), visas obtained, and air travel is standby.
3 days in Bangkok, Thailand
4 days relaxing in paradise aka Koh Samui, Thailand
2 days in Hanoi, Vietnam
2 days cruising in Ha Long Bay, Vietnam
3 days in Siem Reap, Cambodia
2 days of travel (really 3 due to time differences)
= 16 days in SE Asia!
People who are used to traveling in Europe and the Caribbean, beware! Visas are a pretty common thing for most other countries. The application process to obtain a visa for Vietnam is crazy. Either you go to a city with a consulate (Houston has one) between 9am-12pm Monday - Friday (so that's out), mail your passports, money order, and form to the consulate (I've heard horror stories of passports getting lost), or get your hotel to provide you with a Visa on Arrival for the "small" fee of $25/person. That doesn't include the stamping fee of $45/person. The whole ordeal probably took about 3 weeks to obtain.
By contrast, Cambodia's application is online and costs $23/person. We got our visas in 2 days. Thailand doesn't require a visa for tourist travel less than 30 days. Call me goofy, but I always ALWAYS check country information (http://travel.state.gov/) before traveling anywhere outside of the US. We might have been in big trouble otherwise!
Other than that, I've really enjoyed the planning process. We're even getting to knock off 2 items from our bucket list. We're in San Francisco right now, hoping to catch an early morning flight. On one hand, I'm getting crazy excited...on the other, I'm preparing myself for the realistic possibility that we might get there a day or two late. I don't think I will really allow myself to get excited until we're on that second flight to Bangkok.
Well, wish us luck, and hopefully we'll see you in 2 1/2 weeks USA!