We are looking to do a BIG Christmas trip next year and because of all of the planning (and money) we will need, we are starting to look/plan now. Two places that we are interested in are Australia (no exact location yet, but flying into Sydney and then going ?) and Thailand (flying into Bangkok and hopping around from there). We realize that these are very different locations. I am looking to see if anyone has any strong opinions either way about which one would be better (bonus points if you have been to both and can offer a comparison!!).We will be traveling with three of our kids, 12, 9 and 5. Thanks!
Hi Kranzie 10, while I have not been to Thailand I have been to Australia and I can say the thing that impacted me most was the people! They were some of the most helpful and friendliest my wife and I have encountered. We absolutely loved the days we were there and when we retire certainly plan to try to get back! Not sure if that helps you but I would highly recommend a trip there!!!
Hi Kranzie10, we have been in both locations extensively and you are right, they are entirely different. Australia for 5 is rather on the expensive side, even family owned B&Bs are around $ 200 in good locations. Sydney around Christmas and New Years Eve is super expensive and most accommodations have a 5 night minimum. Expect to pay around $ 300/night at a decent B&B, about $ 400-500 for a hotel room. The much cheaper alternative to Sydney is Melbourne which has also non stop flights from the U.S. Great city, lots to see and do. Thailand on the other hand remains very affordable. Expect to pay around $ 100 for a decent hotel in Bangkok and even less on the countryside. Traveling around Thailand is fairly easy. Lots of cheap airfares from Bangkok and very modern buses for shorter trips. Thais are very kids friendly but so are the Aussies. Australia is a living zoo but Thailand has its own flair that you will never forget. Happy to provide more details.
Thank you so much for the info! We were leaning towards Thailand and obviously we want to get a great vacation without spending too much. I really appreciate the info :)
Thanks for the info! My kids are begging to go to Australia. They have the idea that they can bring a kangaroo home with them...
I hear you. And kangaroos are just a start. Wait until they see their first koalas, parakeets, cockatoos, black swans, wombats, snakes of all kind or maybe even a platypus in the wild. As a first timer to Australia, you could consider the drive from Melbourne to Sydney. Lots to see and do along the way.
I haven't spent time in Australia outside Sydney, but on the surface level, Sydney seems North American (save for driving on the left). It reminded me of a mix of Vancouver and Chicago. Of course, if you stay longer, you can appreciate and soak in some cultural nuances. And you can make your way out to Melbourne and Cairns, among other locations.
If you go to Thailand, Bangkok too seems like a generic city. You could however enjoy a beach vacation at Phuket or Ko Samui. If you have not been to Angkor Wat yet, I'd encourage making a side trip from Bangkok to Siem Reap Cambodia for Angkor Wat, which is absolutely fantastic, and one of the largest temple complexes in the world. Since Siem Reap's airport is small, hopping over from Bangkok is one of the best ways to visit (you can get cheap tickets on airasia).
@centrifuge41: I kindly disagree with you. Bangkok is all else than a generic city, there are so many interesting pockets within the city that are unique. Been there six times (for a couple of days each) and I am sure that I would still be able to get to know something different next time I am there. Even if you just stick with the main sites, Bangkok is special. In particular for someone who has never been there.
As to Angkor Wat, I totally agree that it is a wonderful site. But in my opinion, it would be a pity not to explore other parts of Cambodia if you are already in the country. There is so much more to see than just Angkor Wat :-)