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Japan, Thailand or Hong Kong?

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Japan, Thailand or Hong Kong?

I know i know, they are vast different cultures, and different entities ... but it's the first time i'm doing a trip to Asia, and at the moment i'm not yet sure which country to go, so i'm looking for some initial advice.

Originally i planned on going to Thailand, and combing the city life of Bangkok with perhaps the beaches of Phuket. But then recently, i've been reading various media reports on Hong Kongs rich culture and thus i now lean towards the Kong. And for some reason Japan has always appealed to me too, for no other reason than it's a culture and people i admire.

I'm looking to spend around five days at one of these destinations ... any advice would be welcome.

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Melbourne Australia
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1. Re: Japan, Thailand or Hong Kong?

Hi Joey,

We are planning a trip to Japan for Nov and are spending 17 days, We are having trouble deciding what to leave out as Japan has so much to offer. If it is any help I would say 5 days is not enough for Japan. In my opinion you would be better off going to Japan when you have the luxury of more time.

Enjoy your trip where ever it takes you.


Ota, Japan
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2. Re: Japan, Thailand or Hong Kong?

i'll rate for japan also i won't tell you about it cos that might make stuff tigh for you .i guess one of the destinationes you mentioned is stuck in your mind but you don't know wich one ; 5days in thai seems not fair neither for japan too Kong is very busy and crow;;;; but i stil able to recommend japan (5days in 2cities) thailand is the country where you'll run to visit all the places and you'll never finish it i guess; you need to point out what you really want to see ; at all we prefer/enjoy/like/admire/ diferent places/cities/adventures.

something else a guidebook will help you to decide where to go -the only problem in japan it's : you'll get lost among the cevilisation ;looking for the historic places to visit.

forget hong kong (thailand and japan worth it);

i may helped to delete one option from your list.


Seattle, Washington
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3. Re: Japan, Thailand or Hong Kong?

I live in Japan, vacation in Koh Samui, and my favorite city in the world is Hong Kong. Well, next to Rome.

The three places you mention are, as you point out, vastly different. What time of year are you going? That would make a difference to me.

I think Hong Kong is fabulous, although the main attractions for me are the shopping and the food. The island does have a beach or two and some hiking, and the setting is just beautiful. It is very international and easy to get around and there's no trouble with English. ATMs everywhere. You can be walking on a street of banks and high-end shopping, turn the corner, and there's a market with chickens hanging in the open air and vegetables, fruits, you name it. Hong Kong is incredibly crowded.

Thailand, well, is Thailand. I don't care for Bangkok, finding it a little TOO frantic even for me. The traffic and haze...It's very exotic though, and after sunset it improves wonderfully with the lights of a million storefront restaurants and street vendors, and the slightly cooler temperature. I have not been to Bangkok often; I'm sure in the Bangkok forum you'll find other more positive reviews.

I like Phuket and the beaches of Thailand. I go to Koh Samui these days because I'd rather rent a house than stay at a resort - there seem to be more houses for rent in Koh Samui. The beaches of Thailand are beautiful, beer and food are delicious and cheap, the people are wonderfully friendly (or fake it nicely), it's really wonderful BUT...the third-world side is never far away. Mangy dogs, kids in business, interesting sewer arrangements, that sort of thing. I haven't been to Phuket for a while, don't know how much is still present, but just know it's there. If that bothers you, stick to Hong Kong or Japan.

So. Japan. Japan is way cleaner than either of the other two places. The language barrier is greater (though many people in Thailand don't speak a LOT of English, there seem to be more that speak a little, especially in restaurants and shops) in Japan. Japan has seasons and is colder, obviously, than the other two places, although it is brutally hot and humid in the summer (the same could be said for the others too, though - though I just came back from Hong Kong and had a surprise with first, dry hot days and second, a typhoon).

It seems to me that in Hong Kong and Thailand they are totally ready for tourists - they offer their goods, want your money, will smile and bargain and court your business; in Japan, people are going about their daily business and if you want something, well, just tell them, they'll try to help, but otherwise they're not actively trying...I don't know if that makes any sense. It's all reserved and polite.

Tokyo is an amazing big city, with interesting sights, and in your five days you'll find it hard to see much else, though you can do day trips to places with more history (Kamakura, Nikko) or dash off to Kyoto for a day or two. The weather will vary greatly depending on when you go.

If it were me I'd go to Hong Kong or Thailand, as I find them more exotic and exciting. I leave it to others in this forum to convince you to go to Japan!

Palo Alto...
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4. Re: Japan, Thailand or Hong Kong?

If you search in this forum, you will find plenty of comparisons. 5 days is not a lot of time for Japan and Thailand, but too much for a tiny city like Hong Kong. Also, consider the season of your travel. In summer, all thress places can be very hot, humid, and nasty.

What do you mean by the "rich culture" of Hong Kong? I lived there for more than one year. I found that this city is trying so hard to eliminate any remnants of its cultural heritage and become a characterless generic commercial city.

If you just wanna relax on a beach, then go to Thailand for sure. But combining Bangkok with a beach location in five days is too hectic, unless you choose Pattaya/Hua Hin over Phuket. Pattaya/Hua Hin are not too far from Bangkok.

If you want to see temples and castles, then go to Kyoto in Japan (fly into Osaka) and combine it with a side trip to Hiroshima or Nara. These cities are in the west side of Japan's main island, Honshu. Tokyo, a metropolis in a league of its own, lies in the east side of Honshu. Having just five days means that you have to choose between Kyoto and Tokyo; you won't have time for both.

Ota, Japan
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5. Re: Japan, Thailand or Hong Kong?

i was talking about thailand . i know hong kong become a comerial city - .lol!

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6. Re: Japan, Thailand or Hong Kong?

When i said Japan, i meant more on the Tokyo side. But i also know i usually get quite bored if i'm in one place too long, so i do hope Tokyo has more to offer that what i can easily find in any western country.

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7. Re: Japan, Thailand or Hong Kong?

One thing i dislike about Bangkok and thailand in general.. is always being hassled in the streets to buy something, go on some tour where they will take you to wholesalers to get a commision, taxi or tuk tuk drivers charging you twice the normal fare and generally being ripped off alot of the time. Tourist are just seen as a dolar sign. Well in my experience. I know they have a hard life but it just gets tiring. As far as the beaches are concerned koh samui and pucket are lovely. Koh samui alot more laid back and village atmosphere.. well it was last time i was there.

Tokyo, Japan
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8. Re: Japan, Thailand or Hong Kong?

Not a good time to visit Thai - political unrest, sudden airport closings, coups, overall uncertainty.

Much better to visit Bali, which now seems to be having a golden age. Travel warning was lifted by the USA, and airport was certified by the TSA. No political problems at present and the IDR stayed equal to the USD, which means its a bargain for anyone paying in EUR, GBP, or JPY.

Hong Kong is great, but 5 days is too long unless you are visiting other parts of China. The Pearl Delta is now a mass of factories, so not too nice to visit for a tourist. Macau has become Las Vegas, great if you like that.

Japan can soak up a long vacation. Even 2 weeks not enough. It can be expensive, but its a cultural awakening to visit. Japan is now experiencing a huge increase in overseas visitors, which the growing number of posts to this forum attest to.

Tokyo, Japan
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9. Re: Japan, Thailand or Hong Kong?

Hmm, I'd say why only 5 days? Are you en route to another location on the same trip, or you just can't take off much time?

That being said, if you have the hankering to visit Asia in such a short time frame, Hong Kong would be better. Price-wise it falls in between the other two, and five days there is not too long, not if you want to see the off the beaten track areas of Hong Kong.

But as other posters have asked, what are your interests in activities and types of things you feel you really want to see? Once you have given us that information (as well as the season you'll be coming), then we can probably better help you with choosing one of those three destinations.

Guildford, United...
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10. Re: Japan, Thailand or Hong Kong?

While Japan is my favourite Asian country, you won't even begin to scratch the surface in five days. Tokyo in my view is not nearly as interesting as Hong Kong, the ideal place for such a short trip. In addition to Hong Kong island there are numerous boat trips to less developed islands, something not available in Tokyo.

I don't know if you would regard it as an advantage or disadvantage but Hong Kong still has a rather British feel to it with, for example, pavements to walk on and cars stopping at red lights and pedestrian crossings, things that tend not to happen in other parts of Asia.

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