The Cost Of Traveling To Asia: Time For Another Business Trip!

Angkor Wat, Cambodia by Linda Russell - Cost of traveling to Asia
Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Once the pandemic is over, I'm sure millions of people are going to gear up to travel as much as possible. One such destination is Asia. I grew up in Asia for 13 years and it is my favorite region of the world to explore. This post goes into the cost of traveling to Asia to help you save and plan.

Much of Financial Samurai's culture is about bringing various worldwide perspectives to financial topics we care about. If we can assemble the best aspects of each culture onto one site, we could create a valuable resource of wealth and happiness for millions.

From 2011 – 2017, I traveled to Europe for several weeks at a time to understand the happiest people on Earth. We looked into more sensitive topics such as combatting apathy and whether it was so bad that America was turning into Europe with higher taxes, increased welfare, and an overall larger government presence.

I could go back to Hawaii or Lake Tahoe for a vacation, but I've decided it's time to return to a region where I spent the first 13 years of my life. It's been four years since I've been back and I'm curious to see how things have changed.

On this business trip, I'd like to research the following questions:

* Why are the Chinese so dominant in business in Malaysia? Malaysia is mostly made up of Malays, Chinese, and Indians with several rules favoring Malays. I wonder if those rules still exist. Are countries around the equator less productive? Or is this some type of misconception? I grew up in KL from 1988-1991 and want to better understand the country now as an adult. 

* What is the latest sentiment about China from the Taiwanese? When I lived in Taipei from 1984-1988, there was a lot of fear that China would invade Taiwan and take the country over. Now that China and Taiwan have prospered so greatly over the past 25 years, do they dare disrupt their fortunes over politics?

* How do South Koreans feel about the situation in North Korea? What is the existing attitude of South Koreans towards Japan and the United States? Are the family empires (chaebols) gaining or losing their significance? How is the manufacturing industry competing so well against Japan's manufacturing industry? I've only been to Seoul once, but Seoul seemed like a dirtier, more chaotic version of Tokyo. Korean culture is the one culture I've never been able to fully connect with. 

Cost Of Traveling To Asia: Make It A Business Trip!

The best tip on lowering the cost of traveling to Asia is making it a business trip. If you work for a business, the business will pay for your airfare, hotels, and meals. You can then stay for the weekend or on an extended holiday.

The next way to lower the cost of traveling to Asia is by starting your own business and writing off all your business travel costs. This is what we've done, especially since we will write about our travels to generate online income.

If I'm going to Asia, then it's best I go for at least three weeks since it's so far away. The older I've gotten, the more I dislike sitting on an airplane for hours on end. Furthermore, I'm too cheap to spend 5X more on business class tickets. When I can happily pay $8,000 for a $1,600 ticket to Hong Kong from San Francisco, that's when I'll know I'm rich.

It makes me happiest working online while traveling. It's like having just the right amount of clothes or having four people in the car. Maximizing one's potential just feels right. I can still write, respond to comments, and stay on top of work for my consulting clients. Thank goodness for ubiquitous wifi!

Where To Go In Asia?

The cost of traveling to Asia depends on where you plan to go. Here was my trip itinerary.

Taiwan To Malaysia

I’m thinking to start off (or end) in Taiwan for about four days, which I’d really enjoy as I’ve been thinking about going back for ages. I’d have the chance to practice my Mandarin, one of my main goals for 2015, and eat some of the best dumplings in the world every day at Din Tai Fung. I’ve traveled all over China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and other parts of Asia and DTF seriously has the best food in the world.

Batu Caves near KL, Malaysia
Batu Caves, Malaysia

From Taiwan, I’d fly to Kuala Lumpur for a friend's wedding and spend some time reminiscing at my old stomping ground where I grew up. Malaysian food is also incredible.

The people are friendly and the excursions to places like the Batu Caves to see thousands of bats and people climbing huge poles to get birds' nests for food is pretty interesting.

Of course it’s also a bit nerve wracking going to southeast Asia considering the Malaysian Airlines and AirAsia flight tragedies, but we can’t let terrorists paralyze us with fear.

Malaysia To Thailand Then Angkor Wat, Cambodia?

From KL, I’m thinking of flying to Phuket, Thailand. I’ve been wanting to explore more of Thailand for a while now since I've only been to Bangkok and Thailand seems to be the #1 destination for “digital nomads” due to the inviting culture, low cost of living, and terrific food.

Kho Phi Phi Islands, Thailand
Kho Phi Phi, Thailand

Plus, from Phuket I can easily take a ferry to the gorgeous Ko Phi Phi islands. The water looks unbelievable and I’d have the chance to go diving (got certified a couple years ago) and snorkeling in the electric blue waters.

After a nice dive, how awesome would it be to eat some grilled fish and curry for lunch, and mangos for desert. Then I'd take a nap, and wake up an hour later to do some writing and respond to your comments. Sounds like fun!

Next I’d fly north to Bangkok for a couple days. I’ve already been there so it’s not really that exciting of a pitstop, but I will see the temples and check out the river market again.

Bangkok seems like the easiest transit to Siem Reap and Angkor Wat in Cambodia. I wonder if I’d be tired by this point, but I think it’d be worth it. If I’m already all the way in Thailand, I can see myself regretting not going to Angkor Wat, a UNESCO World Heritage site, because it’s one of the places on my bucket list.

Then Either Seoul Or Hong Kong

Seoul, Korea - cost of traveling to Asia

Then from Siem Reap, Cambodia the easiest way to get back home to San Francisco is either through Hong Kong or Seoul. Since I'm trying to maximize my trip, I figure I might as well spend a few days at either Seoul or Hong Kong to break up the flights. The cost differential between the two cities doesn’t seem to be that significant either.

It’s not the most fun way to end my trip since I’ve been to both cities before. In fact, I've been to Hong Kong around 10 times in the last 15 years for work. Despite going to Hong Kong so many times, I really just spent most of my time at the conference center and then out to drinks and dinner with clients. Perhaps this trip can be more adventurous.

Hong Kong is famous for its shopping, something I don't do much. Hong Kong is also a great place to get tailored clothes made. Too bad I don't need to dress up to go to work anymore and I already have too many clothes. If I'm going to go back to SF via Hong Kong, the most I'll stay is a couple days.

Seoul seems like the more exciting way to go.

Custom Asian Itinerary Map

Despite tens of hours of sitting miserably on a plane, this Asia trip should be one heck of an adventure. Granted it might be exhausting bouncing around between so many places. But I’d have some great beach days midway to kick my feet up and enjoy the turquoise waters. Chances are I won’t be going all the way back to Asia for a while either, so I might as well see as many places as I can in one trip.

Here's what my itinerary looks like on a map:

map of Asia itinerary - cost of traveling to Asia

Alternatively if I decide to end the trip in Taiwan, I'd fly to either Seoul or Hong Kong first, then Malaysia, Thailand, and Cambodia. Then, since there's no direct flight to Taiwan from Siem Reap, I'd probably spend a couple days in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam as a stopover and then end in Taiwan.

The Cost Of Traveling To Asia For Three Weeks

Here's a very rough estimate on what flights and hotels would cost to see all of these places. The cost swings will depend on the quality of hotels and excursions. I looked at the 3 and 4 start hotels, and was surprised to see how inexpensive hotels cost. Food is also much cheaper in Asia than in San Francisco. Overall, a trip for two shouldn't cost more than $8,000 since hotel rates are based on double occupancy.

As you can see there doesn't seem to be any significant difference in price between returning home via Seoul ($4,143) or Hong Kong ($3,909).

The Cost To Traveling To Asia For Three Weeks

So there you have it! Over the course of three weeks, I plan to visit six cities, possibly seven. It doesn't seem too hectic, does it? In each city, I'd like to research various cultural and financial topics to publish on Financial Samurai.

Working while traveling is when I get the most excited about having an online business! Everybody should start one today. It's never been cheaper and easier to brand yourself online. You can even get a lot of free goodies when traveling due to your site like I've received.

For further suggestions on saving money and growing wealth, check out my Top Financial Products page.

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Updated for 2021 and beyond.

50 thoughts on “The Cost Of Traveling To Asia: Time For Another Business Trip!”

  1. Pingback: The True Cost Of Building A Luxury Master Bathroom | Financial Samurai

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  3. Hi Sam,

    Glad to hear that you’re going back to your old stomping ground, KL. Have you been back since the 90’s? You’ll find that much has changed (infrastructure) but a lot remains the same. Despit being such a modern country compared to the other SEA countries (S’pore exempted), the government is still useless. Corruption is abundant, the elections are rigged and they just threw Anwar back in jail…again! Najib and his ruling party UMNO loves to fan the racial fires. I grew up with many Malay and Indian friends (I’m Chinese) and have no problems getting along with both races but I hear that things are not the same.

    The Chinese are always entrepreneurial people no matter where they end up in the World, especially if you are an immigrant. I think entrepreneurship is just inherent in our genes. A small percentage of Malays are self-made successful businessmen but many rely on kickbacks and special incentives from the National Economic Policy (read it here: . This policy was implemented in 1971, after the racial riots in 1969 and a version of this is still in effect today – after 40+ years! This essentially caused a massive brain drain in M’sia and had all the bright individuals migrating to the UK, Australia or the US (like yours truly).

    On to more fun things – if you’re going to Redang, Berjaya no longer operates a flight to the island. It’s a 5hr drive from KL to Kuala Terengganu where you catch the public ferry (departure time @ 10:30am or 1:30pm) for RM55 one-way. Accommodations on the island varies in pricing but it’s more crowded if you stay in one of the hotels on Pasir Panjang. If your are looking for a closer island destination, I would recommend Pangkor. We are actually leaving in a few weeks for a trip back to KL ourselves and while we are there for three weeks, we will be visiting Redang, Cameron Highlands, Malacca and possibly Penang. Other cool things to do in M’sia: jungle trekking in Taman Negara, shop at Central Market, visit Petaling St and go back to the Royal Selangor Club! Make sure you pack in the calories (Malaysian food, yum!), but I’m sure you already know that. Hokkien noodles on Petaling St is a staple for me when I’m home in KL. See this:

    Safe travels.

    1. Fantastic tips! I’ll be there I think from May 23-30 if you want to get some roti canai. Heard of Villa Samadhi? Looks peaceful and romantic. Will probably stay there.

      My friend was thinking of going to Pulau Sibu instead. It looks OK, but he says the water is quite blue and nicer than Tioman. Doesn’t seem like that based in the videos I’ve seen online.

      Sounds like not much of KL has changed at all except for the construction. Thingnfs still seem so inexpensive! #1 place for foreigners to retire according to one publication.

  4. Happy to share an itinerary I recently put together w ya if you are interested; just let me know how to send it along. Includes a lesser know spot in the beach areas w/o the tourist crowds. As well as recommendations for Bangkok, Chiang Mai and siem reap.


  5. Pulau Redang is an island off the East Coast of Malaysia, so you can’t really drive there. Berjaya Air flies there from Subang Airport in KL (the old airport) but most people fly to Kuala Terengganu (“KT”) and take a ferry over. There are several resorts on the island, all with their own private beach, but no towns or roads connecting them. So, it’s not like Phuket – it’s a small, tropical island with incredible snorkeling and diving.

    Asking us about Malaysia is a loaded question because we love it there, so would have no problem staying the entire time there. But, we also like excursions, and have been to Phuket many times. I personally would go to Bangkok if you’re not coming back again for a while, because the city is changing so rapidly, you’ll want to see it. We much prefer Koh Samui to Phuket, however – it’s on the other side of the peninsula from Phuket – that is, in the Gulf of Thailand. It’s a gorgeous island, nowhere near as big or developed as Phuket, but still has hundreds of resorts and restaurants. It “feels” more like a tropical island to us. There’s an airline called Firefly with direct flights to Koh Samui from Subang Airport in KL, and also direct flights from Bangkok.

    We haven’t been there, but have also heard good things about Chang Mai, a city in Northern Thailand.

    If you haven’t been to Malacca, or even if you have, it’s always a nice day trip from KL – an hour or two drive (I think there are day busses too). Great Nonya food, and interesting history. It gets very busy on the weekends as tour busses full of Singaporeans come up.

    We also like Ipoh, about two hours drive north of Kuala Lumpur. The historic old town is more like the “old Malaysia” before it became overrun with skyscrapers.

  6. Sam,
    Whoops, I just read some other comments – I want to note that economy-wise, Cambodia left the biggest impression and I look forward to hearing your thoughts. It’s never a good sign when the local currency is overrun by dollars, is it? I have a giant stack of Cambodian money right now that is equivalent to just one dollar….it reminds me of when I was in Argentina way back and locals would only accept my dollars. I plan on reading up ALL about Cambodia. In Siem Reap, I went to National Museum looking for some answers but it covered mostly the country’s religious journey (also super interesting). My business idea in Thailand was to get in contact with business owners and offer private English lessons to the employees – as a tourist we should take time to learn local language, no doubt, but I witnessed so much business lost due to employees not understanding tourist requests…it turns out English schools are super expensive so offering a low cost alternative specialized for their industry is an opportunity…

  7. Sam, I like your blog. I’m from Malaysia originally, but now live in SF. We also have a home in Lake Tahoe, and my husband is also an MBA from UC-Berkeley.

    We have traveled back to Malaysia every summer for the past 13 years, and like you, frequently take side trips on the way there, or once there, from our home in Kuala Lumpur. Travel is very cheap within Asia due to the local discount air carriers like Air Asia and Firefly.

    Last year on the way to KL we stopped in Seoul for a week and had a very nice time. They have great night markets, and it’s a very efficient city to get around. This year we’re going to Hong Kong and Macau on the way.

    Last year we took a side trip from KL to Krabi, Thailand, which wasn’t as nice as Phuket, or our favorite, Koh Samui, but did have nice food, though the beaches in Krabi aren’t great. My husband has taken side trips to Phi Phi a couple times with the kids and really liked it. It would be very cool to actually stay on the island. Ferries run from both Krabi and Phuket and it’s about a two-hour trip – though note that if the sea is rough, the fast ferries won’t go.

    In terms of diving, my husband was certified in Malaysia and has dived all around Asia. His personal favorite is Pulau Redang or Pulau Perhentian – both of which are off the Northeast coast of Malaysia, but he also likes Pulau Tioman, and there are several excellent dives that leave from Phuket. To get to Redang and Perhentian you fly from KL to Kota Baru, then take a bus or taxi to the ferry port downtown – and it’s a relatively short ferry (<1 hour) to the islands.

    This year we’re taking side trips to two islands: Penang and Bali. I know you like Malaysian food, and the best, in our opinion is in Penang. Very easy to get to as their airport is quite busy due to the industrial boom on the island, though you can also drive there from KL because there is a bridge connecting it to the mainland.


    1. Pulau Redang! I was just messaging with my friend in KL who kept saying Pulau Redang. Would you fly or take a car there?

      Penang really does have amazing food.

      Would you consider just skipping Phuket and Bangkok to just stay in Malaysia for 10 days? I feel like I’m packing in so much stuff, but that’s b/c I probably won’t go out for another 3-5 years.

      1. Pulau Redang is an island off the East Coast of Malaysia, so you can’t really drive there. Berjaya Air flies there from Subang Airport in KL (the old airport) but most people fly to Kuala Terengganu (“KT”) and take a ferry over. There are several resorts on the island, all with their own private beach, but no towns or roads connecting them. So, it’s not like Phuket – it’s a small, tropical island with incredible snorkeling and diving.

        Asking us about Malaysia is a loaded question because we love it there, so would have no problem staying the entire time there. But, we also like excursions, and have been to Phuket many times. I personally would go to Bangkok if you’re not coming back again for a while, because the city is changing so rapidly, you’ll want to see it. We much prefer Koh Samui to Phukett, however – it’s on the other side of the peninsula from Phuket – that is, in the Gulf of Thailand. It’s a gorgeous island, nowhere near as big or developed as Phuket, but still has hundreds of resorts and restaurants. It “feels” more like a tropical island to us. There’s an airline called Firefly with direct flights to Koh Samui from Subang Airport in KL, and also direct flights from Bangkok.

        We haven’t been there, but have also heard good things about Chang Mai, a city in Northern Thailand.

        If you haven’t been to Malacca, or even if you have, it’s always a nice day trip from KL – an hour or two drive (I think there are day busses too). Great Nonya food, and interesting history. It gets very busy on the weekends as tour busses full of Singaporeans come up.

        We also like Ipoh, about two hours drive north of Kuala Lumpur. The historic old town is more like the “old Malaysia” before it became overrun with skyscrapers.

  8. Eek!!
    Sam, I had the chance to meet you at a FinCon meetup in New York but you slipped out before I could introduce myself. I’ve become a HUGE fan of your site ever since (think the meetup was 2013).

    Anyway! Crazy timing, I just got back Saturday from three weeks in Asia – it was my first time. I think your plan sounds great! This is what I did: NYC to Bangkok, 1 day in Bangkok – fly to Phuket, hour taxi down to Karon beach (800 baht), stayed 4 nights there (stayed at Simplitiel, $35/night…took tuktuk down to Kato beach). In these four days I read Peter Lynch’s One Up on Wall Street! Took bus from Karon up to Khao Lak to visit friend, stayed at Sentido resort which was beyond amazing. Flew from Phuket to Bangkok to Siem Reap, hired tuktuk and toured the temples in two days (be sure to study up and/or hire a guide so you know what you’re looking at). No electricity in Siem Reap and was at $10/night guesthouse… the heat was killing me so I left after 2 nights and flew to Sihanoukville, Cambodia on the water – TOTALLY loved it. Tons of expats and kind of party town but so much culture at the same time… stayed at Serendipity Hotel right on the water ($30/night). Only stayed two nights there but could have stayed longer – flew to Singapore to stay with friend and did it up city style until back to New York.

    Can’t wait for your trip!! When do you leave?

    1. Welcome back Elizabeth! Sounds like a great adventure! What did you think of Phuket and the surrounding area?

      I’ve turned soft on standing extreme heat while living in 62 degree SF for the past 14 years. Two days in Siem Reap in an AC room doesn’t sound too much fun, but the exploring before 9am and after 8pm does!

      Thinking of leaving end of May. How much did you end up spending for 3 weeks?

      1. I spent $3k on the whole thing (!). It was an impulsive vacation once I found a round-trip flight to Bangkok for $700 the week before leaving….so that saved a ton. I spent another $580 on flights while there. Honestly, it’s pretty darn cheap – the most I spent on a hotel was $40/night (except for Sentido, that’s a side story).

        You seem reserved about Phuket and I can understand. All things aside, it’s beautiful and personally, I really enjoyed the water, the food, the town and close-by Kato Beach. It was a leg of my trip when I was alone and I have no regrets. However, I did NOT do anything touristy (elephants, phi phi islands, Big Buddha, etc.) as I heard what another commenter said and it seemed true upon arrival. Tourism is geared towards Russians in Phuket so I also kind of liked being the minority among other tourists and had several interesting encounters! Just go for a day or two!

  9. Good luck on your trip. Glad you’re visiting Malaysia. While in there, take a trip to the Borneo states. It’s a world of difference from the US or even KL. At least, climb Mount Kinabalu in Sabah, then go the World Rainforest Music Festival in Kuching in August. Sarawak is the best!

  10. I recommend Chiang Mai in Thailand. No beaches, but the mountains, old city and especially the FOOD are so worth it!

  11. Ciaran Murphy

    Been reading for a few years and I just moved back from a two year expat gig from Malaysia.
    I loved it.
    Also lived in China for a few years.
    P.S if you are looking for a standout place to snorkel/scuba, please check out Tioman Island.
    Japamala resort. Hour boat ride to a tiny island that has no cars and maybe 15 resorts around a central rainforest.
    Monkeys and giant monitor lizards while you drink cocktails on the beach or go swin in the coral. Hard to beat. And they only have about 15 places to stay so its a very private escape. No money changes hands until you leave.

    My role in Malaysia was setting up supply chain and experienced the racism and cultural issues with the Chinese and Malay first hand…..fascinating!

      1. Got an update! My friend wants to go to the Taara Resort on Redang. Whatcha think? looks like there are tons of dive sites!

    1. That’s great to hear! A two year expat gig in Malaysia sounds like an incredible experience. Everything is so cheap right?

      I’ll definitely take a look at Pulau Tioman, although, what are the great islands on the western side of the peninsula to be closer?

      You sure it only takes 2 hours by car from KL? If so, I’m in!

      Found this from TripAdvisor:

      “We took the bus from KL but next time we go there (we plan to move to KL in a year or two) we’d fly. You get to see more of the country on a bus but it took 6-7 hours and we missed the last ferry or the day meaning we had to overnight in Mersing. Mersing is a nice town but Tioman is much better!

      Flying is only 45 minutes from KL!”

    2. how was your gig? are you of Asian decent? i am a white 30 year old male looking for a expat supply chain job in se asia. i was just thinking of going there with no connections and just trying to find a job. any advice? you mentioned racism so i was just wondering what the attitudes were

  12. Hi Sam!

    Ive actually been fortunate enough to have travelled those destinations.

    Heres my take:

    Ho Chi Minh – Can be dangerous, air is quite polluted and some people dont take well to the constant honking. Food I found was a bit hit and miss as it is quite touristy. Nah Trang was great for food, but there wasnt much else to do. If you do decide to go to vietnam, definitely pick a quality tour boat and spend some time in halong bay. Unmissable.

    Phuket/Phi Phi – Phuket is great for singles, but probably not so great for couples. Phi Phi has been overrun by tourism lately, so the beauty is hard to appreciate when hordes of other people are sharing the view. It is hard to go wrong with the thai food and friendly thai people though.

    Siem Reap – Not to be missed. Spend at least two full days (three maybe) and if you are up for it just get a map and rent a bike to explore all the temples yourself. We were disappointed in most of the food however, but the durian was very memorable.

    1. Hola Tuna!

      Thanks for your feedback! VERY helpful! We’re thinking of going to Hanoi and then Hang Long Bay instead of HCM. Whatcha think?

      Sad to hear about Phuket and Phi Phi getting over run. I love the crystal turquoise water there. Hope they have some good diving.

      I was going to just stay in Siem Reap for a day and a half, but I think you’ve changed my mind! I’m wary of 100 degree oppressive heat though! What do you do during the day given it is so hot? It’s been too long since I experienced such weather living in SF.

      1. yep, thats a good plan. hanoi is quite interesting and youll have a better experience of a vietnamese city. be sure to check out the cafe high above the roundabout at night. its a great view of the chaos. its opposite the kfc. they also have quite unique coffee.

        with phuket i found you can easily get away from the crowds if you stay off bangla road. also, try the quad bike trip up the hill to the temple. great fun.

        tough call about the weather… hmmm we went during xmas and that was quite hot also… with one and a half days you may get to squeeze in the must see temples like the tpmb raider one etc, however i really enjoyed the parts in between temples eg biking amongst elephants, stopping off for green mango… other than the temples there is little else to do or see unfortunately.

  13. What a wonderful itinerary! This is my first comment on your blog altho I have been reading it pretty religiously for over a year!

    I was born in Cambodia (Chinese ethnicity) so I am excited to see it mentioned here. Left when I was about 4 and returned to visit almost 10 years ago. It was a painful visit despite all the economic developments (or rather because of the economic dev), there’s just so much weight of being back in my birth country and knowing how much better life is now in california.

    I look forward to your impressions of Angor Wat, Cambodian culture and the economic development of the country.

      1. Unlikely. My life is pretty tethered to SoCal and there isn’t really anything back there for me. I prefer the climate, lifestyle, comfort and ease of being in the states. Being in Cambodia requires living a little dangerously and is not practical at the moment.

        Hope you have a great time on your trip. Maybe it was me, but I found Angor Wat personally disappointing. It has just become so much of a tourist trap in a lot of ways…so many people spoiling the landscape of a historic structure…takes away from the charm. Perhaps you will find a quiet, undisturbed area to ruminate

  14. If in HK, drop me a line if you want a coffee/drink. Lot more to HK than shopping and the concrete jungle. Suggest you maybe try one of the outlying islands or go on a hike (lots of those), or hit one of the beaches here (I’m partial to Big Wave Bay near Shek O). There are of course plenty of others, and some that require a hike and are stunning and not crowded (But I’m lazy). It might not be Hawaii, but you’ll be amazed to see a very very different Hong Kong than the business one you have witnessed….

  15. Sounds like an amazing trip! Ive been to all the cities on your itinerary except Taipei – I’ve heard the night market there is amazing and not to be missed. I hope to make it back over there when my kids are a little bit older! Regarding Hong Kong vs. Seoul: if you haven’t connected much with Korean culture, you should fly back through Seoul. Visit a traditional spa and eat the amazing food. Walk around the outdoor markets. I am getting jealous just thinking of this! Seoul also seems to have a lot of very good looking people in it, both male and female. I’m not sure if I’m the only one that has thought that? They seem to dress really nicely and take care of themselves. I’ve only been there once, so maybe I was just in a good mood that week! I’m interested to read your posts from this trip!

    1. Funny you should say good looking people in Seoul. It is the plastic surgery capital of Asia! Kinda like Rio in Brazil.

      Taipei is a pretty chaotic city with not too much beauty until you go to Yang Ming Shan. But the food is amazing. Maybe the best along w/ Malaysia/Singaporean food.

  16. Sam,

    Great you are looking at coming out.

    What dates do you have in mind? Note that you may hit the monsoon season at some of these places. The driest time to visit most of Asia is winter (Nov-Jan).

    Let’s meet up in Bangkok, you have my private email address I believe. And if you would like a free place to stay (location excellent, private room with ensuite bathroom), let me know.


  17. Sounds like a blast! In Thailand, if you can squeeze in a few days in Koh Tao and Koh Pha Ngan (especially if you can be there for the full moon party), it is well worth it! Koh Phi PHi is heaven on earth. Pretty sweet that you can write off the trip.

    1. Great! Will take a look. How does one write about Asia without going to Asia?

      Got to write about real experiences. This business is great. I spoke to a couple travel writers from Rick Steve’s in Brugge, Belgium a couple years and they really love their jobs.

  18. Wow that’s intense! I am glad you’re visiting Taiwan for DTF! Don’t forget to have mango shaved ice at the Yongkang street as now is the reason!

    It seems that you have done a great job planning your trip, but I still would like to recommend a travel site for you to plan this multi-dest trip: Instead of opening up tens of windows to compare price for different arrangement, this site will do all the searches for you (including LCCs, which could save you a lot of money considering all the crazy deals they offer). Then you could pick the ordering you like to see which one works best for you. Hope that’s useful :) Wish you have a wonderful trip!

    1. Ah yes, MANGO SEASON! The best season in the world! I’m actually keeping tabs on mango season in Hawaii b/c in my mind, Hawaiian mangos are the best e.g. White puree, and Makalapa mangoes.

      Then there is the Alfonso mangoes in India… yum, yum, YUM! Why do American imported mangoes have to be so bad? So sad.

  19. Wow that sounds like an amazing trip filled with culture, awesome food, great sights, and getting to know the locals. I haven’t been to any of the places on your itinerary so unfortunately I can’t offer much help on which places are more exciting than others or how long to stay in each place, but it sounds like you already have a good grasp on your itinerary. The beach days in the middle sound really nice so maybe you stay an extra day there to rest from all the hustle and bustle and recharge for the second half of your trip. From my past travels I usually like to stay 3-4 nights in a new city so I don’t feel too rushed. But I’ve crammed things in and done single days in big cities before too. It just takes more planning the shorter your stays are in one area so you can make the most of your time. Now I just want to go eat some Thai food and chicken satay with peanut sauce. yummmmm

  20. “I hear the Chinese food is much better in China. Especially, the #4.” – Garry Shandling

    This reads like a great trip! Hope to read your methodology in researching the cultural and financial topics, maybe you will get some insight from FS readers living in the region(s)? Maybe meet some fellow wedding guests that can bring perspective? It will also be interesting to read how the subject of ‘globalization’ is viewed in Asia, seems like it might be a two-edged sword (like everywhere).

    P.S. – looking forward to your post on your remodel, hope it worked out the way you wanted!

    1. I’m sure I’ll be able to craft at least three posts out of my trip with lots of fun pictures.

      The bathroom remodel is going as fast as a baby turtle through peanut butter.

  21. Are you going to write off the trip as a business expense? Might be good to look into that, though I’d assume the IRS might get a bit curious.

    You really, REALLY need to collect AAdvantage points if your goal is SE Asia, but especially your destinations. For 55k points you can go SFO-TPE and HKG-SFO. Then just use AirAsia for your shorter regional flights. We’re going to HKG, Macau, Bangkok, and one other place we haven’t been able to get flights for yet. Chiang Mai, Bali, Pattaya, Singapore, Phuket or Samui are all possibles. We’ve been to Singapore before and lowed it, and we were only there for a night before our flight back home so we’d love to return.

    We visited KL last summer, but there weren’t any bats in the Batu Caves. Pretty cool though. Jalon Alor was a highlight. Our Embassy buddies got us a private tour of the Petronas Towers which was really cool. Basically it was up to the bridge and that was it, but from what I understand it was the upper bridge which tourists don’t normally get access to. Our friends stationed in Oman met us in BKK and went with us to KL, it was probably my best birthday ever.

  22. Vivek Gupta

    It seems to be a jam packed itinerary and a full blast fun trip :-) In which month are you planning this trip? What is the main agenda of this trip? Planning to attend some conferences as well?

    1. May/June business trip. I’d like to write more posts highlighting different Asian perspectives about money, life, economics, and politics.

      I’d also like to see if I can create any new business development partnerships with other media sites out there.

      1. I just got back from Thailand; I’d highly recommend heading up to Chiang Mai as well. It’s such a hidden secret relative to the bustling cosmopolitan hub of Bangkok or touristy Phuket.

        Only a 2 hour flight from Phuket and <$100 flight!

        Enjoy paradise!

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