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Southeast Asia forum

Is there more of SE Asia I need to see or should I go on to Australia??

Posted by ElaineMcG on 16/11/2010 at 17:16

Ok so for two months I travelled around Thailand (Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Patong, Phi Phi, Koh Phangan), Cambodia (Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Sihanoukville) and Laos (Vang Vieng, Vientianne) and now Im am living and teaching in Tangshan, China (2 1/2hrs outside Beijing). I have a six month contract here during which time I am getting to explore some chinese cities surronding me. My issue is when my contract finishes at the end of March where should I go??

My year working holiday visa for Australia expires on June 12th so I have to be there by then at the latest. But I really cant figure out should I just go straight over to Oz when Im finished or have I missed out on too much of SE Asia like Vietnam, Malaysia, Bali, Singapore etc. and should I go see these before i head on. Flying out of Bangkok so I will have to come back down here anyways.

If I go back and travel more of SE Asia it means by the time I reach Australia ill need to start working right away as I'll definitely have no money left. But if I went to Australia I could at least enjoy my first month or two there without working?? Decisions, decisions.... feel free to give your opinons/advice.

Reason Im thinking about this so far in advance as my Australian flight was only booked with a provisional date in mind and I'll need to confirm the exact date in about a month or so

Also had a slight idea about nepal and tibet before I left China but seems this will be very expensive, anyone previously travelled here??

#1 ElaineMcG has been a member since 16/11/2010. Posts: 10
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Posted by MADMAC on 16/11/2010 at 17:22

Well, since you've got to fly out of Bangkok anyway, I would head down to Nong Khai and explore the Thai side of the Mekong. But I'm biased, as I like this area.

#2 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957


Posted by 5acrefarmer on 16/11/2010 at 18:13

A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do.
A traveller's gotta do what that traveller is inspired to do.
You have nothing but good options. Only YOU can decide!

PS. I hope the Aust $ is still strong then and you earn and save heaps of them!

#3 5acrefarmer has been a member since 10/6/2009. Location: Australia. Posts: 61
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Posted by svendj on 16/11/2010 at 19:51

agree with madmac, but a lot of backpackers don't like that area. though it still remains awesome and can be a different experience than the backpacker routes. Definitely gotta check out Nong Khai, Bueng Kan, Phu Wua (but then you are already in the far north-east of thailand), awesome places to be! Remember being in Bueng Kan (it's still a big city) and not seeing 1 backpacker or expat at the time.

Vietnam is nice as well to check out. Do whatever you want to do and just go for it

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Posted by MADMAC on 17/11/2010 at 10:59

"agree with madmac, but a lot of backpackers don't like that area."

Yep. Basically most tourists want to see exotic sites and get pictures of them. Well, all of the exotic sites have now well and truly been documented. So they are going where everyone goes who's pretending to do the "alternative" vacation. In fact, going to all the normal stops, there's nothing alternative about it at all. Just look at travelfish posts and the questions asked most often (by far) are Angkor Wat, VV, Laung Prabang, Sukhothai, Ayudaya and so forth. Nobody asks about Wat That Phanom, or Nakhon Phanom or Khemerat or Roi Et or Yasothon ... That's because they want to get the photos of these eye catching things AND want to make sure they are where at least basic english gets them by. The idea of being the only foreigner for miles around sounds good to them in theory, but not in practice - so they stick to the "travellers" trail. I have been to Saimun in Yasothon many, many times, since my in laws live there, and I have never seen a single backpacker or tourist of any other description. Not once.

#5 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by ElaineMcG on 18/11/2010 at 17:45

Thanks guys for the advice. Undecided about the Nong Khai area now because of the repeated view that many backpackers don't like that area... I have to say that I probably am one of those backpackers that stick to the more travelled areas.This is for two fairly genuine reasons however, firstly as madmac previously alluded to is the language barrier, unless you can speak the locals language in these areas things can be very difficult. Secondly is the fact that I am travelling on my own and this along with the language barrier in an non-backpacker area can make for a very lonely experience. I do often do things on my own and I enjoy this, but I like to book into places where I can meet fellow travellers to socialise with and enjoy the experiences with as I think this is one of the best things about travelling. I also love meeting and hanging out with locals in the different areas I travel too however in my ignorance unless they can speak some English, communication is very difficult.

So I am going to research more into these areas you all have suggested as I do like to see more remote places when possible. Maybe I might find a fellow traveller along my way and we can explore the less travelled areas together!!

#6 ElaineMcG has been a member since 16/11/2010. Posts: 10
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Posted by goonistik on 18/11/2010 at 18:40

The Philippines is part of South-East Asia and a lot of people speak English. ;-)

#7 goonistik has been a member since 7/1/2010. Location: Philippines. Posts: 562
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Posted by MADMAC on 18/11/2010 at 23:18

Elaine
Your rationale is very sound. I have learned sufficient Thai that I am comfortable here on my own. And I own my own wheels, so I can get up and go from place to place whenever I feel like it. And the last thing I want to do when out and about is run into tourists. So the things that make your trip enjoyable are the things that I am not interested in, and the things that I am interested in, would not make your trip enjoyable. Different strokes for different folks. I am heading out to Chanuman Sunday, then down to Khemerat and then over to Yaso to see the in laws. Should be fun. But I won't be speaking English for a couple of days...

#8 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by NoPlaceToBe on 21/11/2010 at 18:29

We've met a few people who have raved about Indonesia being really nice, it's made us want to go anyway.

Orrrr come say hello to us?? we're living in Chiang Mai for three months [img]smileys/smile.gif[/img] (I know you've already been but maybe a second visit?)

P.s central highlands of Vietnam were amazing!

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Posted by ElaineMcG on 23/11/2010 at 15:34

Hey "Noplacetobe" thanks for the advice have been looking into Indonesia myself and think I might take a trip there, also had a look at Vietnam on your travel blog and it looks amazing. I'll keep this all in mind when I finallly make my ROUGH plan as to what to do next!!
Also you guys are living in Chiang Mai for 3 months.... Im very jealous, I loved that place! You never know I may return there, my travels tend to go here there and everywhere depending on who I meet along the way so I could end up back in Chiang Mai and if I do Ill def look you guys up!
Oh by the way Kirsty I hope you are feeling better again read your recent blog about your trip to the hospital and it's great to see how much you were looked after by the locals!

#10 ElaineMcG has been a member since 16/11/2010. Posts: 10
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Posted by john_f on 23/11/2010 at 17:20

The North East of Thailand still has quite a few backpackers in certain places, particularly Nong Khai. It's a nice area to visit.

I would also recommend Indonesia, but only if you can change your flight so you fly out of Bali to Australia rather than from Bangkok to Australia. It is a big detour to go there and then back track to Bangkok.

You've got a couple of options if you do Indonesia. You could go to Penang in Malaysia, cross over to Medan in Northern Sumatra and then travel down Sumatra, cross to Java and then go to through Java to Bali. There's a well trodden back tracker trail and some good places to visit.

If you don't want to visit Sumatra, you could go through Malaysia to Singapore, cross over to Jakarta and then travel through Java to Bali.

If you're feeling really adventurous, you could carry on from Bali to Kupang in Timor, passing through places like Komodo and Flores on the way. It's then a short flight over to Darwin in Northern Australia. You may not have enough time to do that and you would again need to change your flight from Bangkok.

If you do go to Indonesia, you might want to check with people who have been there recently whether it's ok travelling as a single female.

#11 john_f has been a member since 26/3/2010. Posts: 18

Posted by ElaineMcG on 24/11/2010 at 18:34

Hi John,
Thanks for all the advice that's great, Im definitely going to look into those routes. I may even fly from Beijing straight down to Bali after Im finished up teaching here and then do the reverse journey and end up back in Bangkok for my flight over to Australia! But I will also check if it's possible to change my flight as I have to change the date as it was only booked as a provisional date before I left so it may be easy to change locations at same time as changing the date. I will have a maximum of 3 months to travel here depending on when I finalize my date of entry to Oz so should have lots of time.

#12 ElaineMcG has been a member since 16/11/2010. Posts: 10
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Posted by Rasheeed on 3/12/2010 at 14:34

And there's more in Cambodia than Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville... come on back...

'sheeed

#13 Rasheeed has been a member since 4/11/2010. Location: Cambodia. Posts: 311
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Posted by ElaineMcG on 3/12/2010 at 15:27

Tell me more about the places I missed out on in Cambodia Rasheed?!

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Posted by Rasheeed on 4/12/2010 at 13:58

I always pitch a northeastern trip through Kratie and Ratanakiri.

Kratie's a rad little riverside town with good people, beautiful countryside, and dolphins. Ratanakiri has waterfalls, trekking, a national park, and a beautiful volcanic lake I'm going to go swim in... right now.

'sheeed

#15 Rasheeed has been a member since 4/11/2010. Location: Cambodia. Posts: 311
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Posted by MADMAC on 4/12/2010 at 17:02

How's the nightlife in Kratie?

#16 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by Rasheeed on 4/12/2010 at 22:29

Mac,

Nightlife in Kratie rocks hard until, about, sunset...

#17 Rasheeed has been a member since 4/11/2010. Location: Cambodia. Posts: 311
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Posted by MADMAC on 5/12/2010 at 16:27

Well Rasheed, it looks like Kratie is off the list. I can get that in my in laws village.

#18 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by Archmichael on 6/12/2010 at 09:30

But on my list, Mac. But then, I don't have in-laws in rural Thailand.
More's the pity ........

#19 Archmichael has been a member since 23/7/2008. Location: Global Village. Posts: 396

Posted by Rasheeed on 6/12/2010 at 09:44

Mac can prolly make something happen for you if you're interested...

'sheeed

#20 Rasheeed has been a member since 4/11/2010. Location: Cambodia. Posts: 311
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Posted by ElaineMcG on 6/12/2010 at 10:57

Kratie might just been on my list now too, have looked into it and it definitely seems worth a visit, also like the look of Ratanakiri hadn't heard of either of these places bofore you mentioned them so thanks Rasheed!

#21 ElaineMcG has been a member since 16/11/2010. Posts: 10
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Posted by Rasheeed on 6/12/2010 at 12:20

Come one come all...

I think I'll actually be passing through Kratie this week also. I've been persuaded...

'sheeed

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Posted by MADMAC on 7/12/2010 at 12:54

Michael
Well, it has its plusses and minuses. At times it can be a financial strain. On the other hand, when I want to spend some down time away from the city and away from white people (and there are some times when I like to do that), or to just plain work on the farm, it's great. I also like my in laws, which helps.

Rasheed
I'm a night guy. I like nightlife, I love to dance, I'll even do the occassional Karaoke. So travelling to a place with no nightlife doesn't work for me. Even in Yaso, there's a little nightlife (although not in the village). I'm also not much of a nature guy, so I don't like to travel to see "natural beauty." I do enjoy interacting with people, so on that front it might be interesting, but I don't speak Khmer - that's a problem.

#23 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by Rasheeed on 9/12/2010 at 22:33

Mac, if you're in the area, Kratie or Banlung, gimme a shout and we'll rock some karaoke and I'll make sure I find a place that got some Thai songs for ya...

'sheeed

#24 Rasheeed has been a member since 4/11/2010. Location: Cambodia. Posts: 311
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Posted by MADMAC on 12/12/2010 at 01:51

I will saxib, I will.

#25 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957


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