Sunday, April 1, 2012

Epic Asia Trip

In September 2011, Jimmy and I decided that we would hit up Indonesia the following year and stay with his family.

Since I was drunk, I tweeted something like, "Indonesia, it has to happen in 2012."

Little did I know, the trip has become a reality and we are set to leave tomorrow evening at 1AM, but instead of Indonesia it became a tour of Hong Kong, Singapore, Phuket and Bangkok.

Two main goals: eat and shop for cheap.

Inspired by Mony, I created a google docs that organized everything.  I printed out all hostel confirmations and flight numbers and stapled it into a folder in chronological order.

Jimmy went on a shopping spree on Amazon investing in a heavy duty water proof backpack to protect his gear, space saving bags to help with the clothes we plan on purchasing and an extra camera battery in case the first one dies.  We have 32 GIGs of memory and a tripod.  Prepare for amazing photos.

We are packing light light light.  Only the essentials which includes some anti-diarrhea and a skimpy bathing suit to even out our white thighs.

A peak at our schedule:

Los Angeles
Unfortunately I'm leaving work at a "bad time." But when is a "good time?"  I'm worried about coming back and everything being on fire.  After a full day tomorrow, Jimmy's mom will pick me up from 321 and we depart LAX at 1:40AM for an amazing red eye flight.  Blessed with my, "I can sleep anywhere" talent I am excited for a cramped airplane with crying babies, suspicious smells and little to no leg room.  The best 12 hours of my life.

Hong Kong
When I first moved to LA, I made friends with Jason, but he quickly went to Hong Kong for work and never came back.  Lucky for us!  He's going to meet us at the airport and is excited to show us a good time.

  • Eat Pork and Goose
  • Temple Street for "men's fashion"
  • Big Buddha
  • Ferry/Sky Tram (Skip the veggie lunch)
  • Victoria Peak
  • Chungking Mansions from Jimmy's favorite movie
Our Hong Kong Inn Hostel is right off the Causeway Bay stop so we should have no problem getting around and just for kicks we'll check out the gay club Propaganda.  Why not?

Apparently Singapore has the best airport in the world.  Upon arrival I want to go on their large slide.  Maybe check out a free movie in the airport theatre.  Items on the list:
  • Helix Bridge/Sky Park
  • Bukit Tima Reserve
  • Arab Street
  • Hawker Center
Ever since watching Anthony Bourdain's No reservations, Jimmy and I have been salivating over the amazing food this man consumes on both the Travel and Food Channel.  We learned about  Hawkers which are outdoor food courts with only the best cuisines. Going to eat everything.

The idea of being on a beach with a cocktail sounds so amazing to me right now.  Phuket is where you go to get scammed but by avoiding the grudge of Patong we found plans to revolve around Koh Phi Phi.  Jimmy found this amazing program aptly called Maya Bay Camping that has amazing reviews online.  After an afternoon of snorkeling, the hosts cook you a meal and hand you a mat and blanket where you can fall asleep on the shore next to a camp fire; this is truly a "one with nature" experience.  And also where Jimmy's water proof backpack will come very handy.  Jimmy insisted that we be surrounded by islands so there was no way we were going to stay at just "another" beach.

After camping on the beach we are spending a day at a beach side resort doing resort-y things as a treat to ourselves since we are in hostels in HKG, SIN and the first night in HKT (Phuket).  It's the romantic part of the trip.  I think the goal here is to buy cute swim wear and flip flops and to reenact a scene from the movie The Beach or Castaway.

The biggest reason we are going in April is because of Songkran or Thai new years which is a city..actually country... wide giant water fight.  Bloggers say that it's impossible to stay dry during this weekend.  Luckily I'm borrowing Alysia's waterproof camera (even though it's also good photo quality proof as well.)

We're meeting up with blogger Thwany for two days and a night.  I offered to bring him stuff from California since he hasn't been back in a long time.  His request: Bayer Aspirin and a large bottle of Sriracha since it's manufactured in Southern California.  You didn't know that, did you?  Read the bottle next time you have pho, it says, "Made in Rosemead."  The bottles were just made to LOOK imported.  A gift to you fellow blogger.

The rest of our stay in Bangkok is blurry, but Thwany recommended we keep it open ended because the city was built for backpackers.  But a couple of things we had jotted down include:
  • Grand Palace
  • Open Flea Market (Chatuchak)
  • Khao San Road
  • G Circuit - the largest circuit party in... i have no idea.. and why not.
  • Night markets
  • Taylor a Suit?
Once again lots of eating and buying cheap goods to fill our space saving bags

Surprise. Surprise.  Our connecting flight back to LAX was canceled so our 6 hour layover in Beijing turned into 13 hours.  And according to this, we can sneak out of the airport on a Stopover permit to explore the Forbidden City.  If we don't come back, you'll know why.

We will arrive at 6:30AM and plan to dash on the subway to explore the Forbidden City, the Hutongs and any other temples we can squeeze before our 9PM departure.  Oh and a quick delicious meal of course.

I'm the most nervous about Beijing because of the huge language barrier and the potential of being stranded.  But I feel like taking this risk since we won't be returning for a while.

And there you have it.  

In between I will be meeting up with Mony and some SF gays to chill and hang.  We've decided that we are only eating local, and checking out what the McDonalds menus... McFriedRice?  McDimSum? McPadThai!?  I can only imagine the bastardized delicacies of America + Asia.

Please leave some tips and suggestions for any of these places.  I would love to hear it!
See you in a couple of weeks!!!!!!


thwany said...

Wow, truly epic in deed. See you guys in Bangkok---safe travels!

thwany said...

And by the way, thanks in advance for the aspirin and sriracha haha.

Anonymous said...

Singapore - check out Bugis St (SHOPPING!) and Clarke/Boat Quay for the pubs. Orchard Road to check out hot guys! Sentosa island? Chinatown?

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