Southeast Asia forum

5 month Itinerary feedback. Thanks!

  • travellite

    Joined Travelfish
    6th April, 2010
    Posts: 17

    Hey everyone, first things first, I love this site and all of the user input!!

    So I'm starting my 5 month SEA trip in December and was hoping to get some itinerary feedback. My itinerary is pretty general because once I'm in a region I just want to try and go with the flow of things. Thanks ahead of time for the feedback!

    So coupled with a few flights, trains, buses, ferries, this is what I've come up with:

    Dec 9 - Arrive in Bangkok
    Dec 10-19 - Bangkok and any Surrounding areas
    Dec 20-Jan 8 - Southern Thai Islands
    Jan 9-29 - Cambodia
    Jan 30- Feb 22 - Laos
    Feb 23-Mar 20 - Vietnam
    Mar 21-Apr 12 - Indonesia
    Apr 13-Apr 16 - Singapore
    Apr 17-May 3 - Malaysia
    May 4-May 9 - Beijing
    May 10 - Fly Home =/

    I'm staying about 20-30 days in each region (with the exception of Malaysia and Beijing, so I don't expect to see too much there). Is this still too rushed? I want to try and see as much as I can but don't want to rush through it. Its just so hard to cut things out haha.

    Thanks for any advice.
    Cheers.

    #1 Posted: 31/7/2010 - 00:28

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  • busylizzy

    Joined Travelfish
    31st December, 2007
    Location New Zealand
    Posts: 2098
    Total reviews: 20
    Places visited:
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    Whilst 5 months seems a long time, I would say you are maybe just pushing it a bit, but it depends on how much you want to see in each place.

    I recently did a 5+ month trip - Indonesia (2 months), Malaysia/Singapore (1 week), Vietnam (1 month), Cambodia (3 weeks), Thailand (1 month) and tried to pace it so that I would spend 1-2 weeks 'on the go' followed by 4-5 days of beach time or similar where I could just relax and chill out, and not be moving every day.

    You mention Indonesia - what areas are you referring to? Travel outside of Bali, Java and Lombok can be slow and hard-going. Don't be too ambitious in going outside of these islands in a 3-week period.

    9 days in Bkk and surrounding areas.... not sure what you consider 'surrounding areas' but that is potentially quite a long time.

    My advice would be to have a sketched out planned itinerary (as you have done) - but don't finalise it by buying all your tickets, etc now. It's good to know what (or where) you are aiming for next, but you will find as you meet and talk to other travellers, and learn a bit more about what each country has to offer you will want to change things considerably. For example, you may find that while travelling through Indonesia you really want to go check out the Komodo dragons, or Borobudor, (or whatever) - and that would mean an extra week. Having the flexibility to change your plans on a whim is what makes the whole trip exciting and adventurous.

    Also - I wouldn't worry too much about having to cut something out.. I am a believer in making the most of your time where you are - and not just rushing through the countries at a breakneck speed for the sake of getting the stamp in your passport. And you CAN always go back - which is what I'll be doing next year! :-D

    #2 Posted: 31/7/2010 - 09:37

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6410
    Total reviews: 10

    This is a frequently recurring theme on travelfish. It comes down to what you want to do while you are in the region. What kind of tourist are you? Predominantly I see four basic themes:

    1. The Sex Tourist. He (and occassionally she) is coming here to find sex (the women seem to be looking more for some kind of boyfriend experience). You can do that by just going to places like Bangkok, Pattaya and Phuket, but throughout Thailand, anyway, you can find companionship from the opposite sex in any provincial capital city. The language barrier is more pronounced in the sticks, which is why most stick to the obvious konwn locations.

    2. The beach tourist. They are coming here to chill on the beach, sometimes enjoy some nightlife. They will often like to experience multiple beaches, but are interested in coastal areas (for obvious reasons) He (or she) also often wants to chill and will seek solitude at times.

    3. The cultural tourist. There are two types of these:

    a. The one who is coming to "see" culture. He was to see old khmer ruins, temples, that sort of thing.
    b. The one who is coming to "experience" culture. He is interested in homestays, seeing village life, and trying to communicate with local peoples, often in rural environements.

    Some of these kinds of tourists are mixed and mashed, so someone doesn't always fit neatly into a box. The first thing to determine an itinerary, though, is to determine what you are coming to do. What's the purpose of your trip? For example, if you are of type 1, then why waste your money transiting from place to place? You want to save as much cash as possible to spend on booze and women. If you are type 3.b., then you will want to stick to one country. Language is culture, and learning just one of these languages would be a huge challenge in 5 months. It's hard to give intelligent advice if we dont' start with purpose.

    #3 Posted: 31/7/2010 - 14:07

  • SBE

    Click here to learn more about SBE
    Joined Travelfish
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    Location Global Village
    Posts: 1952
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    Aha! When are you going Lizzy? Where? Maybe we can hook up for another beer or 6. :-)

    #4 Posted: 31/7/2010 - 16:06

  • busylizzy

    Joined Travelfish
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    Location New Zealand
    Posts: 2098
    Total reviews: 20
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    Where? Now there's the question of the year! Laos and NE Thailand? Or Sulawesi, Sumatra and Borneo? Or... or.... crap, so many places to see!! I won't be doing it all in one trip though - unless I chuck the job in. The pull gets strong and stronger, so anything is possible.

    Not sure when either.... but most likely Sep-Nov-ish, give or take.

    Would love to catch up for a beer or 6. Who knows, I might actually be drinking beer by then! ;-) I never did acquire a taste this last trip in spite of best intentions!

    #5 Posted: 31/7/2010 - 16:21

  • SBE

    Click here to learn more about SBE
    Joined Travelfish
    14th April, 2008
    Location Global Village
    Posts: 1952
    Total reviews: 5
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    I can do G&Ts too. ;-)

    Maybe see you in late 2011 then. I'll be wandering about SE Asia for about seven months from September this year too if you decide to chuck in your job sooner than planned!

    #6 Posted: 31/7/2010 - 22:30

  • travellite

    Joined Travelfish
    6th April, 2010
    Posts: 17

    thanks everyone for the replies. Madmac & Lizzy I know my itinerary was super general, I wasn't quite looking for suggestions on where to go but more wondering if that was enough time to get a feel for the countries I'd be in. With your suggestions, I've decided to slow it down some and just focus on a couple of countries instead of all of them. I'd rather stay longer in one place instead of bounce around.

    Thanks again.

    #7 Posted: 10/8/2010 - 23:02

  • busylizzy

    Joined Travelfish
    31st December, 2007
    Location New Zealand
    Posts: 2098
    Total reviews: 20
    Places visited:
    At least 107

    I think that's a wise move. Less is more, as they say. Personally, I like to spend at least 3 days in each location place before moving on as it allows me to have a good look around and get a better feel for the place.

    There have been times where I have been on the move, staying at a different town each night - and it all becomes a blur. By slowing it down, it means I have a better experience and better memories of each place.

    Enjoy your trip - I'm envious!

    #8 Posted: 11/8/2010 - 04:01

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