Southeast Asia forum
A year in Asia
14th March, 2013
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Alright people, I recently got made redundant from work and have decided that this is the perfect time too take a year out and go travelling. I'm planning to go round and see as much of southeast Asia (Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and Borneo being the main countries I wanna visit, anything else is a bonus) as possible in that year but on a very tight budget. Am looking to leave end of November, with a one way ticket landing in any which ever country is cheapest to get too at the time and just work my way through by land and sea seeing as much as possible then whenever the money runs out, jump on a plane in whatever country I'm in and make my way back England. As you can probably tell, I dint have much of a plan and not much of itinerary but figured that with a year to do it in I could probably just take my time and see where my travels takes me. Does this sound like a really silly idea? Do I need to make a bit more of plan? Any advise that anyone can give me will be greatly appreciated
#1 Posted: 14/3/2013 - 14:33
Sounds like it could be a really fun time. No need to make a very strict itinerary with a plan like that - and if you manage to have some important documents with you there is a chance of picking up some English teaching and even getting a working Visa in some countries if you find a place you want to stop in for a while. I'd just research the region by looking all around the site and find some places that you are really interested in, make a top-ten list sort of thing that could help give you a general sense of where you want to go and what you don't want to miss while you're in the region. Once you arrive you'll meet plenty of travelers coming from all direction who will have lots of thoughts on the best places they've been, so they'll make a valuable source of information.
My recommendation - don't overpack by buying a 80L bag or anything like that, you'll want a fleece and some jeans and long sleeve shirts for any mountains you'll be in, but generally won't need anything over 50L worth of stuff - packing for 3 weeks can be the same as packing for 1 year. Also - invest in a kindle, you can carry a library around with you. There are still plenty of little book shops around, but for me a kindle is an essential piece of equipment when traveling, and probably the only thing of any importance I ever have on me besides my passport and out-dated fairly cheap digital camera. Don't Panic and remember your towel.
#2 Posted: 14/3/2013 - 18:49
Sounds like being made redundant is a blessing in disguise if you'll get to spend a year on the road. I have two things to add to casey's comments. First, get a good idea of what the visa situation is for each of the countries you think you might visit. For example, for people from most western countries, you get a 30-day visa exemption when you arrive by air in Thailand, but if you go to somewhere like Laos, and then cross back into Thailand, you'll only get a 15-day visa exemption by arriving overland. If you wanted to spend longer in Thailand at one time, you could get a 60-day tourist visa in advance instead. Having those details will help you plan where you want to go next and what is needed to sort out your visa.
Second, if being out for a full year means travelling on a really tight budget, maybe consider being out for a shorter amount of time instead so you'll have enough money to make the most of where you are. That doesn't mean you can't live on the cheap, which is part of the fun, but it would be a shame to visit all those places and feel like you didn't have enough money to do all the things that make being in those places special.
I hear the Long Bar at Raffles in Singapore still has the best Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters in the entire region, if you find yourself in that area. Best wishes.
#3 Posted: 14/3/2013 - 23:09
14th March, 2013
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Cheers guys, both really helpful and have clarified alot of what I had goun on in me head.
Yeah I reckon being made redundant has been a bit of a blessing n all, travelling is something that I have always really wanted to do and this has just provided me with the opportunity And they kick up the arse that I needed!
Casey u say about teaching, this something I been looking into. When u say take documents what sort of thing did u mean and also is it worth me doing a TEFL course before I go?
As for packing, Im taking a 45/50l bag 2 restrict me from packing too much, I may be a bloke but I still av a weakness for a pair of converse or 27 and somehow think that I might grow to detest em whilst they're weighing me down and I'm sweating me nuts off.
Visas are definitely something that I needs too look into a bit more, all the numbers, prices, different entrances and different lengths of time is confusing the grannies out of me.
Do u think that just getting a one way ticket is a bad idea? Am gonna leave the money for my return ticket with someone back home but have read somewhere that some countries want proof of your return journey in order to be let in!? How true is this??
I'm given myself a year but one of the reasons I'm only getting a one way ticket is so that when the money runs out I can just get a ticket home from wherever I am, obviously I really want it too last a year but I'm not gonna let it hold me back from doing anything I wanna do. The long bar is now top of places to visit list
One last thing before I bore the life outta ya both, I've heard it makes it cheaper to travel if there is more than one person, is this true? If so, how comes? I gotta mate who is thinkIng bout coming and am trying to weigh up the pros and cons of travelling someone as apposed to on me tod.
Cheers again for all ya help guys, it really is much appreciated
#4 Posted: 15/3/2013 - 06:10
Last question first - cheaper because a lot of places don't have dorm rooms and you end up getting a double bed for yourself at 10 USD when a twin room is 15 USD. Also lots of smaller transportation stuff like tuk-tuks around Siem Reap or town charge base prices so that if you've got someone to split costs with you there is savings there. For the later, you can find people to join you on these tours, especially if you are in no hurry or time constraint - so traveling with someone is not essential there.
I've never been asked to show proof of onward travel - though I've heard some people (I think Madmac's mom had an issue with this for Thailand) say that airlines might make a fuss about letting you on the plane if you don't have it. Someone suggested going through the booking process for a return ticket and printing off the screen that shows it before you actually purchase the ticket . . . don't know if that works.
Bring the Cons - if you've got a shoe you like then travel with it, you can always tie them to the outside of your backpack and it isn't like they'll weigh a lot. Most 'treks' you'll go will be fine with tennis shoes or cons anyway.
Well, you'd probably either want a USB drive or an email saved into your own email account with electronic scans of birth certificate and university degrees - some places want a police report background check so it might be a good idea to get one of those done before you depart. I'm sure you don't want to bring your original degree and birth certificate along with you, so photocopies might work. I'm not sure how it works with language centers in Vietnam and Thailand but even in second-tier Chinese cities (if you want a Visa, you can do some under table stuff by just speaking English) they need proof of degree holding to employee you. TEFL would certainly make you more marketable, but is usually not essential for short-term or under the table work. If you are trying to get a longer visa stay and something like a 1 year contrat then you may find it very much worth the investment. For a 3 month part-time gig it probably isn't necessary. Depends on how much it takes from your budget otherwise.
#5 Posted: 15/3/2013 - 23:31
16th April, 2013
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Hello, I highly recommend Taiwan for first time travelers to Southeast Asia! It's SAFE, CHEAP, BEAUTIFUL, FUN and the people there are super friendly. I'm a Taiwanese from Canada, and I noticed not many backpackers come to Taiwan because it's not famous enough! So me and my friend we made a new Facebook page about fun things to do in Taiwan, you can go check it out! Hope it helps:)
#6 Posted: 16/4/2013 - 11:54
1st May, 2013
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Good plan if u ask me..... its pretty much the same as mine
From what i gather u can make it up as you go, and itll allow a lot more freedom and adventure, all ive really researched is the basics like travel insurance, visas and cost of living, and general things like scams etc so i know what to expect when i get there....
Hope it goes well...
#7 Posted: 2/5/2013 - 08:46
I reccomend a basic travel guidebook like LP southeast asia one, a regular backpack, and enough savings to last you your trip. You'll be able to really enjoy travelling at a slower pace and understand the culture so much more with 1 year. It's unlikely to make sense working since you'll be travelling, probably best to leave the work till when you return to a 1'st world country unless you wanna settle somewhere to teach english, which is a commitment rather than casual affair.
have a nice trip, and do some guidebook reading up first.
#8 Posted: 2/5/2013 - 09:34
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