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Old 01-12-2012, 03:43 PM   #1
zanzibar138
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Honeymoon PTR (feat. HK DL)

So after a suggestion from PIO, I decided I would start a PTR of my very own

I'll start off with a grand plan for the trip, and I like to include the night before and the night of the wedding as part of our honeymoon lol! So I'll start off with them.

So without further ado... from Friday 2nd March:

2 nights in Healesville at the Sanctuary Park Cottages
1 night in Melbourne at the Park Royal Airport Hotel
1 night in Ho Chi Minh City at the Grand Hotel
3 nights in Nha Trang at the Mia Resort (yet to be confirmed)
1 night on the train from Nha Trang to Danang
1 night in Halong Bay at the Novotel
1 night in Halong Bay cruising the bay on a junk
1 night in Hanoi at the Sunway Hotel
4 nights in Hong Kong at the Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel
1 night on the plane from Hong Kong to Africa
2 nights in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe at the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge
5 nights in Chobe National Park, Botswana at the Muchenje Lodge
1 night on the plane from Africa to Perth (stopping for dinner with my family)
1 night on the plane from Perth to Melbourne

Not bad huh?

Next I'll go through our plans so far in more detail for each destination.
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Old 01-12-2012, 08:21 PM   #2
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Nights 1 & 2 - Healesville

Apologies I am at work at the moment, so don't have access to all my photos. Will update when I get home.

So as mentioned previously, we'll be staying at Sanctuary Park Cottages.



The rest of the cottages have also been booked out by members of my family coming from Perth.

I will be heading up with the girls (my mum, MIL and SIL) on the Friday, stopping for some pampering on the way.


Then on the Saturday we are getting married at Healesville Sanctuary.


On the Sunday we plan to have a brunch with whoever is staying in Healesville who wants to come. Thinking of Giant Steps/Innocent Bystander at the moment.

And then onto our next super exciting destination... the airport
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Old 01-12-2012, 10:35 PM   #3
zanzibar138
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We interrupt this broadcast for a special HK DL message...

I was thinking, because we've got 4 nights at HK DL, and haven't actually purchased our park tickets yet, it might be worth at least one of us getting a magic access (annual) pass. I investigated the dates and if we go red or silver we could have access to the park for 4 of the 5 days we'll be there (the 5th day is a Saturday, but I honestly can't see us needing 5 days there...).

As a matter of interest, I did contact Disney with a couple of questions. I wasn't sure if I'd be able to apply the accommodation discount as we've already booked, and it was through a travel agent, for an expedia deal. Also I knew it was a long shot, but was wondering if we would be able to use any of the birthday benefits for our honeymoon instead.

I got quite a useless reply really, saying that I will need to contact our travel agent regarding the accommodation discount. And, as expected, the birthday benefits can only be used for birthdays...

However, having done a few figures, I've worked out that if we want 3 days at the park, even the silver magic access card would work out to be better value than day passes. And that's not taking into consideration any of the food/merchandise discounts.

Red magic access pass = HK$650
Silver magic access pass = HK$850

2 day ticket = $499
1 day ticket = $399

So I think it's still worth investigating.

Opinions anyone?
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Old 01-13-2012, 02:45 AM   #4
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You started your PTR/TR. Subbing in.


Regarding the Magic Access Passes. I think you should check with your TA as to whether they can provide Disney with the information to apply the discount. Have you paid money to your TA and what happens if you cancel?

If you can get the discount off your accommodation, then it is definitely worth it. I figure that the difference in the 2 day park entry compared with the Magic Access pass would be more than covered by the discount.
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Old 01-13-2012, 10:57 PM   #5
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Night 3 - Melbourne Airport

Quote:
Originally Posted by PrincessInOz View Post
You started your PTR/TR. Subbing in.


Regarding the Magic Access Passes. I think you should check with your TA as to whether they can provide Disney with the information to apply the discount. Have you paid money to your TA and what happens if you cancel?

If you can get the discount off your accommodation, then it is definitely worth it. I figure that the difference in the 2 day park entry compared with the Magic Access pass would be more than covered by the discount.
Thanks, we will check with the TA. I'm actually not that concerned about it TBH since we got such a great deal anyway! DF is happy to consider both getting red level magic access passes so we will have a bit more of a think


So our 3rd night is at the very exciting and exotic location of Melbourne airport lol! Still, it's a necessary part of the trip and staying at a flash hotel makes it kind of exciting.



Our flight to Vietnam leaves at about 11am so if we were going from our place we'd need to leave home no later than 6:30am.

We're kind of relying on someone to give us a lift so we don't have to worry about what to do with our car for the 3 1/2 weeks we'll be away... Hate to think what the airport parking would add up to for that

I booked a room at the Park Royal (for anyone familiar with Melbourne airport, that's the one located directly above the short term parking) through wotif. It looks like a nice room, and apparently we'll have a city view. Amusingly, if you wanted a view of the runway you had to pay extra Personally I would take a view of the city over the runway any day!

DF found out that we can get Krisflyer (that's the Singapore Airlines FF program) points for staying there, so we'll have to make sure we flash our IDs when we check in.

We plan to sleep in as long as possible, wander across to the airport to check in as soon as it opens, then wander back to the hotel for a leisurely brekky before going through customs etc.

Next up, our plans for Ho Chi Minh City!
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Old 01-15-2012, 12:42 AM   #6
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Night 4 - Ho Chi Minh City

Xin chao Vietnam! (Apparently that means hello...)

Our flight leaves Melbourne at 11:25am, and arrives in Ho Chi Minh City at 4:05pm. With the time difference I think it works out to about an 8 hour flight. We're flying with Vietnam Airlines.

DF has discovered that Vietnam Airlines offer a highly discounted upgrade to business class upon check in if available, so we hope to check in as early as possible to increase our chances of this happening! Either way, they're a full service airline and it won't be an overnight flight (I'm one of those people who can only sleep in a bed, at exactly the right temperature, with no noise and no light ), so it shouldn't be too bad.

Our TA has booked airport transfers at each destination (usually we'd just get a taxi or shuttle bus or something, but we figured since it's our honeymoon we can splash out a little).

We're staying at the Grand Hotel Saigon, which is apparently in District 1. Seems to be quite a decent location, although we won't have that much time there to check it out properly. We're booked in a 'junior deluxe' room. Breakfast is included so we won't have to go too far afield in the morning.



In the morning we have a tour of the Cu Chi Tunnels booked. I believe it will be an early start Should be worth it though - it looks very interesting.



We'll get back to Ho Chi Minh City mid afternoon, in time to leisurely grab our luggage and maybe have a bit of a wander before heading back to the airport for our next destination.
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Old 01-15-2012, 12:46 AM   #7
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I'm definitely going to live vicariously through your PTR/TR. You're going to a lot of places that I'd love to visit....someday.


Well....maybe not the staying at Melbourne Airport bit; but most of the other places.
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Old 01-16-2012, 04:30 AM   #8
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Nights 5-7 - Nha Trang

PIO feel free to live vicariously

So where were we? Oh that's right. In Ho Chi Minh City.

So next we take our flight to Nha Trang, which is on the southern coast of Vietnam. We don't arrive at the airport until nearly 9pm, so we won't be doing much our first night.

We're staying at the Mia Resort Nha Trang - I'm soooooo excited It looks so awesome and only opened in September so is brand new!




We're staying in a villa on the beach with a private pool and outdoor shower

The owners have a chain of highly acclaimed, prize winning restaurants in several Vietnamese cities, and from all the reviews we've read the one at the resort is equally excellent. Breakfast is included in the room rate, but I suppose other meals will be fairly pricey.

There is also a spa there which sounds lovely too!

And if you don't feel like walking up the hill to the facilities, you just call reception and they send down a little buggy for you!

There's a golf course down the road which DF might enjoy, and you can do a tour of some islands, or take a cooking class... or just enjoy our villa!

Did I mention I CAN'T WAIT!!!

The resort is about 20 minutes from the actual city of Nha Trang. Apparently the resort has a free shuttle bus, but taxis are supposed to be fairly cheap and I don't think we'll have much need to go into the city. Will be nice to just hang out and relax at the resort for a few days.

After checking out on our last day, we'll make our way into Nha Trang and spend the afternoon/evening there waiting for the train.
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Old 01-17-2012, 03:43 PM   #9
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Night 8 - Overnight Train

It was DF's idea to catch an overnight train somewhere in our journey... will be kind of a step down after our 5 star villa with private pool

We may try to arrange a late check out on our last day at the resort so we don't have to rush into Nha Trang, where we haven't got a clue what we might do! I'm sure we'll manage to find something interesting though. There's always shopping

The train for Danang doesn't leave until 11:54pm, and arrives in Danang at 10:18am. Not sure how well I'll sleep but we do plan to book in to a sleeper cabin. Apparently that particular train only has hard sleepers, which have 6 bunks to a cabin. I want to try and get the lower or middle berth so we can at least see out the window when it's light enough.

Not sure what we plan to do in Danang either as our next flight doesn't leave until 6:20pm. But again, we're bound to find something interesting.

Next up, the next stop I'm really looking forward to - Halong Bay
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Old 01-18-2012, 04:40 AM   #10
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This is one heck of a honeymoon! You sure aren't leaving yourself much time to ......um........sleep in the same bed for too long....



















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Old 01-18-2012, 05:17 AM   #11
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I don't know, you two must be super UBER Disney fans if you're planning 4 days for HK Disney. In my opinion a day is more than enough. Maybe 2. It's a small park with not many rides compared to other Disney's. We did it easily in a day with no crowds and to be honest, we went on several of the big rides more than once to fill out the day. We mostly stayed for the fireworks at night. Two days would be overkill unless, like I said you guys are HUGE Disney fans and can't get enough. There are a lot more things to do around HK that would be worth making it to the city for. Keep in mind, other than the park and the 2 Disney resorts there is NOTHING else around you (as of last year when we were there). If you want any other kind of entertainment you got to hop on the metro and head towards the city.
Either way, sounds like a great honeymoon. We did ours Disney, with a cruise in the Mediterranean on the Disney Magic!
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Old 01-18-2012, 03:42 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PrincessInOz View Post
This is one heck of a honeymoon! You sure aren't leaving yourself much time to ......um........sleep in the same bed for too long....


We made sure to build in a decent few days at a few locations - Nha Trang, HK and Chobe should give us some time for... ahem... proper honeymooning


Anaheim Boy - we're not really planning to spend all 4 days at DL, we just happen to be staying there. Sounds like it's pretty easy to just hop on the train to the city. The main benefit I see in the annual passes is that if we do want to go into the park on our 'non-park' days, just to see the fireworks or check in with Mickey, we'll be able to.

I am keeping in mind though, that while most people say that 3 days is plenty of time for DL in California, FH and I spent a whole week there (in low season with no crowds) and left feeling like we had missed a lot and could have easily spent another week there. And that's especially true of DCA - most people say it's a half day park, but we spent heaps of time there! We really enjoyed just hanging around and soaking up the Disney atmosphere more than just hopping from one attraction to the next.

I'm very jealous of your Disney Mediterranean cruise though If we hadn't already decided on Africa, I would have seriously considered something like that.
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Old 01-18-2012, 04:20 PM   #13
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Ahh, totally understand :-) One thing, check the timings for the HK metro. Can't remember how often they run at night. The metro from Disney that connects with the other line is literally only for Disney. Stops at the resort and then at the other end at the connecting station. It's only a few miles long. I somehow remember it being very scarce with people when we left. (may be wrong). Just check the timing.
Perhaps you are right about DL. I grew up there so I can go there in a day and get my fill. But if you don't get there as often, I'm sure you can always find little things that you've missed. I haven't done the little caves all over Tom Sawyers Isle in YEARS for example. Anyway, have a wonderful honeymoon, believe me, I envy you for some of where you guys are going!!
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Old 01-18-2012, 04:35 PM   #14
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Thanks for the tip - will make sure we check that out before we go gallavanting of an evening :-)

Will get onto my next post about Halong Bay shortly I promise!
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Old 01-18-2012, 08:31 PM   #15
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Nights 9 & 10 - Halong Bay

I think I better make a start on the next section of our trip, even though I can't access my photos at work. Will have to back-fill tomorrow night (going to the cricket tonight, much to my dismay ).

We arrive late the first night - around 9pm, so I expect we won't get much of a view of the bay until morning. This first night we'll be staying at the Novotel Halong Bay, which is directly across the road from the bay. With any luck we'll get a bay view room so we can see it as soon as we wake up!



It won't really matter if we don't get a bay view from our hotel though because the next night, we'll be actually ON THE BAY on the junk! I'll have to confirm with the travel agent, but I think the junk leaves shore quite early (like mid morning). I know it doesn't get back until mid-afternoon the next day (was screwing with our flights to HK ).



Although the cabins on the junk are all described as 'twin' (there are 5), they do seem to have double beds, and all have their own private ensuites, so we won't be roughing it! There is a gourmet restaurant onboard and a bar. For entertainment (apart from taking in the views), it has a games room, sun deck, and kayaks




I think there will be lots of lounging around, taking in the view (will have to make sure the camera is fully charged!), and will definitely be making use of those kayaks if we have the chance!

Next up, Hanoi.
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Last edited by zanzibar138; 01-20-2012 at 10:00 PM. Reason: Pics added
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