How unrealistic is a tour of multiple countries in Asia in two weeks?
June 25, 2016 10:06 PM   Subscribe

We're hashing out honeymoon plans. I've never been anywhere in Asia and he has been to Japan and the Philippines but hasn't really had time to fully enjoy his trips. He likes Japan and would like to see more of it. I am interested in squeezing as much of east Asia as possible into one trip, because I probably won't have the time/energy/money to plan a second trip anytime soon. Please talk me out of this if it's crazy?

To clarify, by "Asia" I basically mean Japan, China, Taiwan, Vietnam, and Thailand. (Or at least these are the countries foremost in my mind, I am open to others.) I realize east Asia is huge and I am probably crazy. My parents suggested a cruise. How common/available are multi-country cruises in East Asia and how much can we realistically see in two weeks? This will be in June of 2017, if the season makes a difference. Do you realistically have to choose a more narrow scope E.G. "Southeast Asia" (or even narrower) and if so, how do I choose?
posted by quincunx to Travel & Transportation (26 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I know you know East Asia is huge, but I wonder if an analogy might help. (not to scale)

Would you visit Quebec, NYC, Disneyworld, Denali, and Honolulu all in one two-week trip? If so, go for it.
posted by aniola at 10:32 PM on June 25, 2016 [18 favorites]

First, congratulations! And next - in my opinion, you are being pretty aggressive in your plans.

I've done a lot of travel, and going from hotel to hotel is a bit of a pain. You need to pack-up, checkout, and then get situated in a new hotel. Plus you will spend a larger chunk of your honeymoon in airports, which aren't the most fun. You'll also spend additional time going through customs.

For a 2 week trip, 3 or 4 places would be the most I would recommend. I think that Japan and Vietnam are both great places to go, but that does depend on what kind of activities/sites you wish to see. Halong Bay in Northern Vietnam is beautiful. One thing about Vietnam - if you go anywhere outside the city, the traffic moves really slow (like 40mph tops on the highway!), so even though it is a small country it takes a long time to get around.

I've gone to Hong Kong, and you can do day trips to Macau and Shenzhen China if you wish, so that could hit the China part of your trip.

Anyway, have a great time!
posted by coberh at 10:32 PM on June 25, 2016 [3 favorites]

On my honeymoon, I spent 5 days in Hawaii and 7 in Japan (3 different spots).
If direct flights work, I'd do similar
posted by sandmanwv at 10:34 PM on June 25, 2016

I've been to both Japan and Vietnam. You could do this dude. At least, China, Japan, Taiwan, Korea; or Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Southern China - if you wanted, but it really comes down to your individual travel style.

I hope this doesn't sound too derisory, it's not my intention, but if you want like "Forbidden Palace on the left, Chu Chi tunnels on the right", and only go where millions of other tourists go, and only stay there for like a couple of hours, sure. In my personal opinion, this is reducing travel to an exotic theme park with a "China" ride, and a "Hong Kong" ride, etc. which is generally not the kind of travel I most prefer. There will be no exploration, no "discoveries", really very little time to even develop a preference, and further this kind of travel necessitates a lot of transit time.

There aren't a tonne of cruises in this area, at least not multi-country cruises like it sounds like you're thinking of. You can take in-country cruises, eg Mekong Delta, but that's a different kettle of fish. Cruise holidays are fun, but the countries you stop over in, that's like, a day in port you know? You're not actually seeing anything at all.

I can't help thinking you're grossly underestimating the size of Asia and the diversity of the countries therein. If someone wanted to cover all of the Americas, north and south in two weeks, would you recommend it? I spent 3 and a half weeks in Japan, never left the main island, and barely scratched the surface. Spent the same amount of time in Vietnam and had a similar experience. There will be plenty, plenty to do and see in one country, I promise.

I dunno, would you rather have a ten course degustation at one great restaurant, or spend the night trying the entree at ten difference restaurants, going all over the city? For me it's the latter, but no one can decide what you prefer. You will spend a lot of time in transit if you try to do more than 3 countries, that's for sure.

Best of luck with whatever you decide,
posted by smoke at 10:37 PM on June 25, 2016 [7 favorites]

I'd go with one week minimum per country. If you push it beyond that you'll spend most of your honeymoon in transit and being tired from being in transit. It's worth contemplating what you think you will be gaining by spending two days each in 7 countries versus 7 days in two countries.
posted by MillMan at 10:37 PM on June 25, 2016 [2 favorites]

I don't know anything about cruises. That said, I've visited most of the places you're considering (except Vietnam) and yes, you are being totally crazy. OMG seriously.

You are going to be a super-inefficient traveler in Asia because you don't speak any of the local languages and can't read or pronounce logograms, and because everything --taxis, restaurants, street signs, shops, traffic-- is going to be different from what you're used to. My usual rule of thumb in those circumstances is that it will take me 4x longer to do anything than it would at home, plus I assume I will make tons of mistakes, like missing flights or going to the wrong hotel. So seriously, don't try to do too much: you'll just spend your trip stressed out and panicking.

I recommend you pick one or two cities (not countries) max. Like Bangkok with a stopover in Hong Kong on the way, or Tokyo with a side trip to Kyoto. This site can help you figure out what'd be cheap.

Even if you never end up going back to Asia, I think you'd probably be happier with clear, lovely memories of a few places, rather than the whole thing being a blur of airports and lineups and tickets and arguments. Good luck :)
posted by Susan PG at 10:40 PM on June 25, 2016 [3 favorites]

I think this could work if you chose countries judiciously. For example, I bet you could do Hong Kong, Singapore, and South Korea in one trip. And maybe even Taiwan? (No idea if there are complications trying to visit both China and Taiwan in one trip.) Vietnam, Thailand, and a third Southeast Asian country (Laos, Malaysia, Indonesia, maybe Myanmar if you're adventurous) is a popular trip.

I could also see a dual-country trip working out, like northern China and into Mongolia (or Tibet if you're willing to jump through whatever hoops China requires these days), or Japan and Korea.

I don't think this would work if you framed it as See As Much Of Asia As Possible, though. Like you probably couldn't do Tokyo, Shanghai, and Bangkok. Lumping in whole countries ("We'd like to see China, Japan, and Korea") won't do at all.
posted by Sara C. at 10:45 PM on June 25, 2016

You'd end up putting a big chunk of the time and money for your into transit, it really doesn't sound that fun. Also, I don't know if you've ever experienced the kind of jetlag you'll be facing, it can be pretty intense, even if you're leaving from the west coast. I'd really recommend limiting yourself to two major locations. Like maybe Tokyo + Beijing, or Hong Kong + Bangkok, or if you want to really press, do something like fly into Hanoi and fly home out of Saigon.
posted by skewed at 11:19 PM on June 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

No idea if there are complications trying to visit both China and Taiwan in one trip

There are none! Well, obviously, you have to get a visa for China, but there's nothing special about going to Taiwan on the same trip. (If you are asking this question, you are not in the very small group of people that would actually run into real issues, AKA you are not a Taiwanese elected politician, diplomatic official, etc.)

To build on aniola's example, you have mentioned Japan, Taiwan, China, Thailand and Vietnam. Some distance comparisons:

Tokyo to Beijing = Washington DC to Austin
Beijing to Shanghai = Austin to Kansas City
Shanghai to Taipei = Kansas City to Chicago
Taipei to Bangkok = Chicago to Las Vegas
Bangkok to Ho Chi Minh City = Las Vegas to San Francisco
(and Tokyo to Bangkok is farther than LAX to JFK)

So, in two weeks, if you were to hit just the big city highlights on a surface level, that would be the equivalent of spending two weeks traveling between Washington DC, Austin, Kansas City, Chicago, Las Vegas and San Francisco AND changing money, going through immigration and customs, and getting used to a different language in 5 of those 6 cities, I don't know about you but you'd have to pay me a ton of money to sign up for this trip.

To move beyond the analogy, I have actually traveled in all of those places except Vietnam. Cruises are not a realistic option in this part of the world. (Unlike in the Caribbean or the Mediterranean, there are very real and aggressive political disputes over sovereignty of the South China Sea. Cruises do exist, but you're not going to find one that takes you to all five of those countries.) It looks like you are in Austin, so you are used to hot weather, but June will be very hot and muggy in all those places and will be the rainy season in Thailand.

I will say that I think that Metafilter tends to err on the side of less-is-more when traveling, which I think is a valuable attitude, but I think can sometimes be exaggerated here. If you are gung ho about wanting to see a lot of places, which is an urge I understand, I think two weeks would lend itself to three major destinations in two countries.

For example, you could do Beijing, Shanghai and Taipei; or Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Hanoi OR Ho Chi Minh City; or Tokyo, Kyoto and Beijing; or Hong Kong, Taipei, and Ho Chi Minh City, etc. (In all cases I am assuming day trips/excursions from these cities.) This would still be a somewhat aggressive schedule when you keep in mind the long travel times to Asia, but I think adding more than this and you will start to feel like you are traveling all the time.
posted by andrewesque at 11:36 PM on June 25, 2016 [8 favorites]

Is this the kind of itinerary you're planning?

Day 1: Fly into Tokyo, battle jet lag (this assumes that you are factoring the day you'll lose here if you're coming from the Americas).
Day 2: See some of Tokyo
Day 3: Fly to Beijing, have dinner there.
Days 4/5: See stuff in Beijing
Day 6: Fly to Taipei
Day 7: See stuff in Taipei.
Day 8/9/: Fly to Saigon
Day 10/11: See stuff in Saigon
Day 12: Fly to Bangkok
Day 13: See stuff in Bangkok
Day 14: Get ready to go home, probably fly at night

Two things strike me about this:

1. 6 days (almost half!) of your trip are spent with at least half the day taken up with getting to the airport, flying, getting into the next city from the airport. That sounds like a terrible way to spend any vacation, much less your honeymoon!
2. With an itinerary like this, you'll only be able to see basically one city per country (no beaches or mountain shrines, unless it's part of a day-trip tour), and in those cities, you'll only be seeing the most popular touristy things.

My suggestion is pretty much the opposite of your plan, so take that as you may, but I would heartily recommend picking one of these countries and spending your whole time there. Split it up so you can see different parts of the country (or do two countries). For instance, you could pick Thailand and spend a few days in Bangkok, eating lots of amazing food, seeing temples, shopping in markets, then head to one of the towns in the mountains of the north, trek to a village, then fly down to the islands, and spend the rest of the trip in a bungalow on the beach. Maybe take SCUBA lessons if you're not ones to just lie around on the beach, or go on waterfall hikes or rent a scooter.

Have a great honemoon!
posted by lunasol at 11:44 PM on June 25, 2016 [10 favorites]

Hm okay I have given this a little more thought for you. Here's some stuff off-the-cuff that may be helpful context. Probably some is a little wrong because I'm going from memory, but hopefully mostly it's right.

In June it will be pretty hot and humid in most of the region you're considering. Consider that when you're packing/planning. Women in places like Japan or Taiwan will be mostly covered (i.e. not much bare skin) and may carry parasols to keep off the sun. I remember being in Japan in August and everybody carried around small cloths, like handkerchiefs, to keep themselves mopped up. In some places (e.g., Hong Kong, Bangkok, Taipei) night markets are popular, in part because it's so uncomfortable during the day.

You should think about what kind of focus you want your holiday to have. If you're interested in beaches and gorgeous natural environments you might really enjoy southern Thailand and/or Vietnam. If you like modern cities, gadgetry and fashion, that argues for Tokyo, Hong Kong and/or Seoul. You can visit temples pretty much anywhere but the ones in Bangkok and Kyoto are particularly great. If you want a package holiday or resort type experience look into the islands in southern Thailand: Ko Samui, Ko Pha-Ngan and Ko Tao.

Think a little too about your comfort level with unfamiliar foods, especially bearing in mind that you won't speak the local languages. There will be terrific food everywhere. But if you are not adventurous food-wise, you might want to bias towards richer countries and/or regions that are used to lots of tourists, because the food may be more challenging for you in off-the-beaten-path type places like Cambodia or parts of China. I'm thinking of stuff like chicken feet, fried crickets, snake, and sea slugs.

Consider your finances as well. Less-wealthy countries like Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Burma will be considerably cheaper than richer ones. (I spent about $10/day in Cambodia, Laos and Thailand, compared with $200+/day in Japan.) But, the poorer countries will have worse sanitation standards and much worse air quality in the cities: that's worth considering if you're sensitive to that kind of thing. They are also much slower and harder to move around in, especially in the rural areas.

If you are not a big city person make sure your trip includes some peaceful places: the major Asian cities are much bigger and denser and more stimulating than anything in North America, and you may find them exhausting after a while. Japan is great that way: its cities are dizzying, but they also have lots of parks and green spaces.

Hope this helps :)
posted by Susan PG at 11:51 PM on June 25, 2016 [3 favorites]

Consider your finances as well. Less-wealthy countries like Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Burma will be considerably cheaper than richer ones [...] But, the poorer countries will have worse sanitation standards and much worse air quality in the cities: that's worth considering if you're sensitive to that kind of thing. They are also much slower and harder to move around in, especially in the rural areas.

Overall this is probably true, but I want to point out that Thailand is probably the easiest country to travel around that I have visited outside Northern Europe - lots of options at different budget levels (which is pretty much true across the board there). Generally very clean as well. And good air quality outside Bangkok.
posted by lunasol at 11:58 PM on June 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

My daughter just did Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Hong Kong and Beijing in 4 weeks. She got back last week. She loved it, but said it was exhausting. Coming from the east coast of the US and fly Qatar airlines also made her travel longer than necessary. Literally three of her days were spent in the air or at an airport. 72 hours. I think trying to cram all that into two weeks is going to be a tad aggressive depending on your goal. If the goal is just to see these places, sure, run from city to city. It is definitely a viable plan. If it is to explore the area, I would consider picking two or three places to go to.

I think you have to consider your then husband's travel style. If you and he are conflicted between the two of you on this, it will be tension filled which is not the way I would want to start a marriage. But if you two are in sync with your travel style, I think you can make your plan work.

Either way, you will have a great time.
posted by AugustWest at 11:59 PM on June 25, 2016

I lived in Japan for a year, spent a month backpacking, and still didn't see it all. I spent a second month backpacking through China. It was great, but still slower than you're suggesting and ultimately decided even that was too much moving around and wouldn't do it again. All the airports, train stations, queueing, packing, unpacking...blech. I agree with the Disney ride analogy above.

Spend the two weeks in Japan. It is a stunningly beautiful country, the culture is strikingly different to Western, the food is terrific, and you can swing between urban and rural and modern and traditional. Transport is super efficient so getting around within the country is a breeze. Spend a week in Tokyo, and split the other week between a nice ryokan in the country and Kyoto.

After the craziness of a wedding, you really do need the time to rest and reconnect. Lounging in an onsen will be much nicer than jet setting. I'll nth jet lag too. I had I issues flying NYC to Italy. But SFO to Nagoya gave me my first migraine and I threw up (then I was fine) - Ymmv, but still.

If seeing other parts of Asia is really that important you'll find a way.
posted by jrobin276 at 12:06 AM on June 26, 2016 [5 favorites]

We just did our honeymoon to Japan in January. Two weeks to cover the whole country and even that was tiring! Japan is a large place and every city was different! We wished we had more time.

I cannot imagine doing Japan and something else. You will just be spending all your time in airports and trains getting one place to another.
posted by moiraine at 12:18 AM on June 26, 2016

I'm from Southeast Asia, and I've visited all the cities/countries you've mentioned (except Thailand... which is ironically the closest (out of that list) to where I used to live). Some of the city-combinations suggested here are a bit odd/inefficient in terms of traveling time/convenience. andrewesque has the most feasible/practical itinerary suggestions, imo. I think you should consider the distinction between East Asia and Southeast Asia... there is a difference (culturally, geographically...).

There are multi-city/country cruises, but I feel they aren't as nice/cushy as the kind of cruises you'd get in Europe, or the USA, or South America, for example. And I feel you get to see more if you actually stay in the country (rather than staying on a boat).

Maybe you could start by thinking about the kind of holiday you'd like - beach/resort type? urban? Also consider going on day package tours, especially in Vietnam/Thailand (sometimes you get to see much more than you otherwise would + they arrange travel for you).

If language is intimidating, you could start in Singapore (English is the main language there) and work your way upwards to Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. Surrounding Indonesian islands are very nearby as well (e.g. Bali... sort of touristy, but they all speak English and the beaches are nice). (This is all Southeast Asia...) Flights are very cheap within Southeast Asia (see budget airlines like AirAsia, Scoot, Tiger, etc).

If you're doing East Asia, then maybe Japan and South Korea (Seoul is nice, but you could also get out to the more rural areas and/or go to Jeju Island, etc)? Or Japan and Hong Kong/Taiwan if you like cities. I find Taiwan is sort of like a paler Chinese version of Japan though. There is a bigger cultural contrast between Hong Kong and Japan than there is between Taiwan and Japan, for example. Once you guys figure out the kind of honeymoon you want it should be easier to figure out where to go, I think.
posted by aielen at 12:51 AM on June 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

A pretty good compromise would be to spend about 3-4 days in one city in Japan that your husband hasn't been to, then fly to Bangkok (or possibly Singapore), check that out for a day or two, then do a week either in northern Thailand (mountain/trekking,) southern Thailand (beaches/diving,) or Bali island (beaches/interesting culture,) though I believe June is the rainy season for the north of Thailand. Having lived in China and Taiwan for the past 15 years, I would bluntly say that they're not good honeymoon destinations in the summer.
posted by alidarbac at 1:29 AM on June 26, 2016

Yeah this is crazy nutty and you couldn't pay me enough to do the kind of trip you are suggesting. Just for reference, as an example, Japan is nearly the size of California. With, tons and tons of stuff to do and see. I mean, if your fiancee would be happy just going to Japan, I would highly recommend just doing that. My husband has gone and spent about 2 weeks in Japan and it was not enough time to see more than a little of the smallest island and a couple cities, and he saw very little of all of that. And, in that trip, he didn't even spend a day in Tokyo.

Don't you want time to, you know, honeymoon it up? Being relaxed and having time for sex, to be blunt, on my honeymoon was important to me. You will probably be completely stressed and exhausted if you try for a trip like you suggested, you will barely see anything, it will be a complete blur, and I just don't see how it will be worth it.

And remember - you don't need to see 8000 things for a vacation to be amazing. It's totally okay to pick a couple of places and focus your time there to sightsee, relax, hike, have sex, spend time at nice restaurants, etc., - whatever it is you guys fancy. You don't need to check off all the boxes you have made for yourself for a vacation to be great. Take it from someone who has traveled a lot and has tried to pack everything in - it's just not worth it. Good luck with whatever you decide.
posted by FireFountain at 1:51 AM on June 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

I've been to all of those countries except Taiwan, and I wouldn't try to see any of them in less than two weeks. You could probably do two countries if you had specific interests within then, e.g., if you like the look of the Mekong delta, a great trip is to travel up from Vietnam into Cambodia along the delta. If you had three weeks you could follow it up into Thailand.

I recently did a two week trip in Thailand. I spent four nights in Chiang Mai, including getting out to see some mountain temples, a trip to an elephant sanctuary (one focused on care and conservation, not just on making money at the expense of the elephants), and a day of cookery classes. I missed out on seeing half the town and the local trekking opportunities because I didn't have time. Then we flew to Phuket, got straight on a boat and across to Ko Phi Phi, where we spent three nights (only two full days, right?). We spent a day on a speedboat going around the local sights. It was lovely but massively rushed. We spend a wonderful day relaxing by the pool and wandering around the island. We didn't have time for scuba diving, or taking a slower boat to one of the other local islands, or as much snorkelling as I wanted, or to lie on a beach away from the main pier. The next day we took another boat to Krabi and spent three nights there (again, only two days). On one day we took a boat to Rayleigh beach, watched rockclimbers, swam in the sea and ate some nice food, on the other day we did a river kajaking trip to see ancient cave paintings. We didn't have time to arrange a trip to the beautiful Maya bay, or to go down to Ko Lanta. The next day we flew back to Bangkok and spent three nights there. We spent these days in the city itself seeing temples and walking around. We didn't have time to arrange a trip out to the ancient capital that I wanted to visit, I didn't have time for a proper thai massage, we saw very little of Bangkok.

Of our 14 days, 13 nights in Thailand, we spent 5 days mostly travelling between places and had very little downtime. We missed a load of things I really wanted to see. This was still more efficient than going between countries as we didn't have to worry about changing money, changing languages, changing what dress was acceptable between countries. I think you would seriously short-change yourself if you wanted to go to several countries unless you only wanted to visit their capital cities.
posted by kadia_a at 1:52 AM on June 26, 2016 [4 favorites]

As others have said this trip would give you a real appreciation of a range of airports, customs and immigration processes and ground transportation options, not so much the countries you're proposing to visit. If my employer sent me on a business trip hitting all these spots in two weeks I'd feel really hard done by and that would be despite business class flights, personal driver in each location and good, conveniently located very nice hotels and local colleagues looking after me.

For two weeks of vacation including long haul flights I'd aim for max 2 countries and 3 locations in total. I very happily spent 10 days on Bali, I was in Beijing for work and had a long weekend before the business part and I barely managed to scratch the surface. Unless you literally want to stop at a sight, spend 5 mins taking photos and move on that's a crazy itinerary. And if that is the objective I'd seriously suggest you watch documentaries about the locations (better views in good weather and better access without other tourists spooling the view) and get relevant take out and save your money. Because that'll give you a greater appreciation of these places than the trip you're proposing.
posted by koahiatamadl at 4:03 AM on June 26, 2016 [3 favorites]

I have traveled extensively around Asia and I honestly think you are trying to fit in too much. And I'm not a cruise fan.

But if you really want to fit a lot in and do want a cruise, I have some friends who took this one, which fits in Hong Kong, Vietnam, Thailand, and Singapore. They loved it. They are also considering doing this one that does China, Japan, and Korea (or maybe Taiwan?). I don't think you will find a cruise that includes both SE Asia and Thailand.
posted by mkuhnell at 4:40 AM on June 26, 2016

My husband and I did 3 cities in China (Hong Kong, Chengdu, and Beijing) in 10 days for our honeymoon. It was a lot of fun to cover very different regions in the country, but it was not relaxing at all, which honestly I would have appreciated after my wedding. I think 4 destinations in 2 weeks is the max I would be comfortable with, and that's running at full speed.
posted by Fig at 6:13 AM on June 26, 2016

There are cruises that go to the places you want to visit, but even in their estimation an itinerary for all those countries would be a 28+ day cruise, probably as a back 2 back combining 2 cruises. Oceania, Seabourn and Azamara all have itineraries that work but they are some of the most expensive cruises around, so it would probably be around $10k a person (unless you're like my mother and books cruises through some mysterious means and could do it for 6).
posted by fiercekitten at 7:43 AM on June 26, 2016

I spent two weeks in Greece with my MIL who knew the language and had family at one of our destinations. We did Athens, Mycronos, Crete and Lefkada which had us flying or boating around the country. It was two to three days in each place. My MIL had been there before, knew the language, and we had family who is native to the country and made great recommendations. The trip was super fast, and no dealing with customs or exchanging money.

I couldn't imagine doing a trip like that without all the extra benefits that we had, and it was absolutely exhausting.
posted by AlexiaSky at 9:07 AM on June 26, 2016

I mean this in the nicest possible way, but yes, your plan is crazy. Not just because your plan will involve more time spent in transit than actually seeing stuff, but because weddings are stressful and you will need some time to relax and recuperate. Scale back your plans, visit fewer places and spend more time in them.

Asia isn't going anywhere, it will still be available to experience next year, or the year after, or in ten years' time.

Congratulations on your impending nuptials!

(And this is a personal peeve of mine - I don't trust travel advice from anyone who talks about 'doing' a country. That's not traveling in my opinion.)
posted by finding.perdita at 12:48 AM on June 27, 2016 [1 favorite]

I think you should do this. But.

1) I would narrow it down to two very different and new-to-you-both places and spend a few days really getting to know each one. The time of year you are going will make it hard to justify certain destinations; Hong Kong, Thailand, coastal China, Vietnam, Taiwan, and most of Japan and Korea in July is miserably hot and humid with frequent torrential downpours and outright typhoons that cause a lot of disruption and destruction - all you want to do is flee into air conditioning! So you need to get out of the humidity zone.

2) On a trip like this, I'd also splurge on business class seats for the long-haul across the Pacific so you can really enjoy the experience and arrive rested; you'll also get a larger luggage allowance so you don't have to panic as much about packing.

Can I propose a sample itinerary that would avoid the worst of the heat and humidity and is probably new to you both?

Fly to Tokyo. Then immediately change planes and fly up to Hokkaido. Five or six days pootling around the countryside. Lavender fields, amazing mountain views, hot springs, stunningly clean air, and some of Japan's best seafood and dairy. You could drive around or take trains on daytrips out from Sapporo/Asahikawa/Hakodate. More here.

And then take a day to fly to Bali. You can depart Sapporo at 7:50 am, change at Narita to a Garuda Indonesia flight straight to Bali and land at Denpasar before 5 pm, which is amazing, if you think about it. If you did this in business class you'd have a fantastically relaxing day of lounging/snoozing/snacking/champagne drinking. And there's only a one-hour time difference!

A week in Bali could be spent lazing by the pool, touring rice patties, watching the sunrise over volcanoes, learning to surf on black sand beaches, taking cooking classes, visiting temples, doing yoga...really, there's enough for a week. Some people like to move around a lot but there's no reason not to base yourself somewhere and do day excursions (or not!). Travelfish is a useful guide.

The last day, head back to the US. Remember that you leave on day 14 and arrive on day 14 thanks to the international date line!
posted by mdonley at 3:46 AM on June 27, 2016 [1 favorite]

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