I am an IT professional. Work is good and it pays for the travel. I move between traveller and tourist.................
You might get to GuiLin by flying cheaply to a hub like Singapore or KL and then using AirAsia to get to GuiLin. If you fly to Hong Kong it might be better to cross the border first and then get a domestic flight. There is often heavy discounting if the last minute flight has empty seats. (If you can cope with the stress!) By train its 14 hours or so with hard or soft and seat or sleeper options. I have travelled in China by train and whilst the cheaper options might sound good....don't do it. The hard options are well crowded. The soft sleepers we travelled on were excellent. We even had Chinese movies on LCD screens on one train. And take food, especially noodles as all trains seem to have hot water supplied. We missed the Li River when we lived in China, so its on our Agenda when we return next. about 10 years ago
I have been to Malaysia a few times and I was a little surprised on my last trip. KL has moved much closer to Singapore in terms of development, sophistication and also cost. (A beer costs au$5 at a 7/11.) But, it is still one of my favourite Asian places. From KL I recommend going to the Genting Highland for a cooler experience and the casino theme park has a skydiving tunnel. 200km/h winds in the vertical tunnel and you're flying. Its cheap enough to have lots of goes. If you are a diver then Perhentian Islands are pretty nice. They are on the east cost near the Thai borber. You fly to Kota Bharu (Yes, by Air Asia) which is the most traditional muslim part of Malaysia. You can only buy alcohol at Chinese owned resteraunts! You taxi to Tok Bali and then long boat 30 or so Kms out to the islands. Its a tropical paradise and very undeveloped. Breakfast on the beach, diving courses and many diving sites. Its just beautiful. I could take or leave the Malaysian resorts of Peneng or Langkawi after that but if you like luxury......... There is a national marine park between these islands which have good tours for diving and snorkelling. Internal travel is really cheap on busses but its only for the brave. We have a 12hr, overnight bus trip from north to south Malaysia and it didn't slow down for the whole trip. I like to mix the bussing with some more instant flying with AirAsia where for about au$30 you can go to many places in Malaysia. As well as the Malaysian food, the Indian food in Malaysia is fantasic.... Try the street stall and food courts, Its still relatively cheap and so good. Roti Chanai is the best roti anywhere. about 10 years ago
If you want to start further north you could enter from Chiang Rai. An AirAsia flight from Bangkok ( http://airasia.com au$65 ish ) could get you there by lunchtime. You then go to the Thai border town of Chiang Khong and cross the Mekong by small boat to Houei Xai. From there you take the 2 day, slow boat trip down the Mekong to Luang Prabang. I am planning to go in May. I have been doing a Mekong Country theme. Yes, did all that and it went very well. Its a fairly remote area but the river trip was a bit uncomfortable but all well worth the bother. Its a beautiful place to be. GC about 10 years ago
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