Photo: Street food Phetchaburi Soi 10, Bangkok.

Southeast Asia forum

To old to backpack at 50?

Posted by TonyM on 2/6/2012 at 03:04

Hi everyone,

Don't let my age influence your ideas!


Travelling solo July and Aug 2013, not ideal due to rainy season but no option.

Looking for adventure, relaxation and anything SEA has to offer, open to your thoughts on how and where to go.

I have a basic itinerary in mind but open to suggestions.

1 week Philippines.
1 week Hanoi inc Halong Bay.
1 week Phon Phen.
1 week Laos
1 week Chang Mia, more the if you think it's worth it.
1 week elsewhere in Thailand or head ove to Rangoon, your thoughts.
2 weeks island hopping in Thailand, question is which ones given time of year.

I'm keen t hear your recommendations on what to do at eac destination please.

I'm thinking due to time need to fly between major cities but also keen to use other modes of transport or bus, train, boats etc.

Also thinking of hiring a motorbike at each stop as means of getting around, good move?

#1 TonyM has been a member since 22/5/2012. Posts: 31

Posted by MADMAC on 2/6/2012 at 05:18

Man, you are all over the map here. Is there a reason you are racing from city to city and country to country?

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


Posted by TonyM on 2/6/2012 at 05:47

Madman tks for commenting, I thought a week in each destination and flying in between major cities could be done with reative ease, perhaps not!

Reason for moving around is to see as much as possible but certainly dont want to spend my time commuting and not relax to enjoy the environment, am I trying to cover too much ground, if so what would you suggest I cut out or do differently?

#3 TonyM has been a member since 22/5/2012. Posts: 31

Posted by altmtl on 2/6/2012 at 07:25

Skip the Philippines, Vietnam, one week in Phnom Penh is too much - go to Angkor Wat - What do you expect to see in Laos in one week. I spent a month there and didn't see everything - I think the east coast beaches are your best bet that time of year, but u may be better off going to Malaysia or Indonesia as it's not rainy season there I believe.

#4 altmtl has been a member since 18/5/2009. Location: Canada. Posts: 992
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Posted by MADMAC on 2/6/2012 at 07:38

It really depends on what your preferences are and what your objectives are. Tough to comment without understanding those two things.

If you are thinking about culture, my advice is always pretty consistent, pick one country and explore it. The reason is language. The PI notwithstanding (and maybe Burma) English doesn't cut it here unless you stay on the tourist trail. So if you want to learn even basic whatever, you need to focus on one country.

Some people, though, are more interested in seeing things and less interested in anything other than very basic interaction with people. If that's the case, then just research the things you want to see, and figure out how to get from location to location as efficiently as possible.

Since you've indicated you want to do the beach thing, that's easy. Just pick a place that will have decent beaches that time of year. You can find that info out here with a little research (I'm not a beach guy, so I'm not much help there I'm afraid).

Don't forget flight and visa costs, as with your current plane you are incurring plenty of both. That may not matter in your case, as you might have the financial werewithal to do whatever you want - which is a good thing.

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

Posted by busylizzy on 2/6/2012 at 08:00

Damn - I just lost my big post... and in that time MM and altmtl got in before me!

In summary, I'd suggest just focussing on 3 countries: Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. You could train up to Chiang Mai, spend a 1-2 weeks there, then overland (or fly) into Laos. You could easily spend 2 weeks in Northern Laos area (Vientiane, Phonsavan, Luang Prabang - plus other smaller towns depending on your route).

From LP, fly down to Siem Reap, and spend another 2 weeks in Cambodia (Siem Reap, Phnom Penh and maybe Kampot/Kep and Battambang). You could overland into Thailand (but you'll only get a 15 day visa) or fly to get a 30 day visa. If you flew, you could possibly get a direct flight to Surat Thani or Krabi to start your island adventure for another two weeks.

Go to the planning section of this website to see some suggested itineraries. At the bottom of each you will a table with some indicative travel times between destinations. Don't underestimate travel time in Asia... it can be incredibly slow going sometimes!

For weather in Thai islands, check out this map: http://www.travelfish.org/weather_fish.php.

Yes, motorbike is a good way to get around each place, although I wouldn't recommend trying it in the bigger cities unless you're experienced. And even then experience doesn't always count for much when driving in Asia - it's a different ball game there!

Finally, don't worry about being a 50 year old backpacker! There are plenty of us in that age group - some a bit younger, and some a bit older. You're never to old! I'm in my late 40's... and still enjoy backpacking around. In fact, I'm planning another big trip for next year.

#6 busylizzy has been a member since 31/12/2007. Location: New Zealand. Posts: 2,155
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Posted by altmtl on 2/6/2012 at 08:05

Research is really the key, and I agree with MM, and he's certainly right about all those visa costs... although the Philippines is free for stays of less than 21 days, as is Malaysia (90 days free) - There are over 7000 islands in the PI, a week - no way.

Why would your age be a factor? 20 yr.old's make similar planning errors :D
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#7 altmtl has been a member since 18/5/2009. Location: Canada. Posts: 992
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Posted by OttawaValleyGuy on 3/6/2012 at 18:37

Tony I'm in a bit of an older boat than you as I am 61 next month. SEA is on my Itinerary @ 60%. I plan on 4-5 months primarily on Thailand's beaches but also I am going to give Chang Mai a month or so also within the trip. It will be my 1st time to SEA and I'm Backpacking it. Others that could recommend any specific areas that have a few interests for Boomers please let me know. I will arrive in either October or November 2012 .........Traveling often within my itinerary is not the plan as I like to do little, as I do little, very well.

#8 OttawaValleyGuy has been a member since 3/6/2012. Posts: 2

Posted by OttawaValleyGuy on 3/6/2012 at 18:38

Tony I'm in a bit of an older boat than you as I am 61 next month. SEA is on my Itinerary @ 60%. I plan on 4-5 months primarily on Thailand's beaches but also I am going to give Chang Mai a month or so also within the trip. It will be my 1st time to SEA and I'm Backpacking it. Others that could recommend any specific areas that have a few interests for Boomers please let me know. I will arrive in either October or November 2012 .........Traveling often within my itinerary is not the plan as I like to do little, as I do little, very well.

#9 OttawaValleyGuy has been a member since 3/6/2012. Posts: 2


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