My girlfriend and I are planning on travelling around SEA mid to late 2014 without a set date yet but first we will be riding the Trans-Siberian from Moscow to Beijing taking 19 days total. Once in Beijing we are unsure whether its worth travelling down through China to Vietnam or spending maybe a week to see The Great Wall, Tiananmen Square etc before taking a Flight to Hanoi. As China is so huge and involves a lot of extra planning recently I have been put off with the idea of travelling through China seeing that it would consume a lot of our money as its more expensive than SEA. Im not sure if we would be better saving the money for SEA or if we would regret not doing China, what do you guys think?
Also I am worried about the seasons we will be travelling around SEA going from Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos then Thailand. By the looks of our current savings we should hit our planned amount around August time so will be flying out around August however could postpone to September or October if the these months are more suitable for better weather taking into consideration we will be in Russia then Beijing for a month or more.
Would love any information or recommended changes you could provide, thanks a lot!
Scott & Danielle
#1 scotthutch90 has been a member since 12/3/2013. Posts: 14
Sorry, your ? is a tad vague. If you could ask about specific months it would be better. SEA in summer and fall is a problem with weather (heavy rain in summer/fall can really impact travel there - typhoon season). Far better to travel to SEA in winter months or spring.
#2 daawgon has been a member since 17/4/2007. Posts: 1,083
Apologies for vagueness of the question, so would you recommend starting from Vietnam around Cambodia Laos to Thailand from October time? Or later? With the money saved we would be looking to stay around 4 weeks or more in each country to really see each place.
Do you have any thoughts on China?
Thanks for the reply!
#3 scotthutch90 has been a member since 12/3/2013. Posts: 14
I loved China. I started in the north in April one year heading south, and it was still cool. May in Beijing was beautiful. I would do China and Russia first. Just really do your weather research for the time period you can go.
#4 neosho has been a member since 13/8/2008. Posts: 386
Thanks, yeah its giving me a bit if a headache to be honest! How long did it take you to travel through China and how much roughly did you spend if you dont mind my asking? Havent researched too much into China yet but havr the feeling i would regret cutting it out of the trip especially if i dont get the chance to go back!
#5 scotthutch90 has been a member since 12/3/2013. Posts: 14
China is the best! You should absolustley spend some time there. It depends how much time you could allocate there. You would want at least two weeks to do just a bit comfortably, but with 4-6 weeks you could see a lot of great stuff.
With two weeks, I would say spend 3-4 days in Beijing, overnight train to shanghai and spend 2-3 nights, then overnight to Guilin and spend a few days around Yangshuo before catching a train/bus from Guilin to Nanning and hopping over to Hanoi
With four to six weeks, you could do that same route (maybe add in Xian or Pingyao between Beijing and Shanghai?), but also head into Yunnan (seeing Dali, Lijiang, Shangri-La, Tiger leaping Gorge) and then catch a bus to Hekou and hop the boarder into Sapa area of Vietnam.
hope that helps!
#6 MWasser6 has been a member since 6/8/2012. Posts: 19
Thank for your reply!
Well we have all the time we want or as long as the funds last! Once arriving in Beijing we will have around Â£6000 hopefully a little more, I was mainly worried about China being more expensive and really taking a huge chuck out of this budget because after we have spent time in Thailand I have hopes of doing maybe one or 2 more countries if possible but only if the money is there to do so (Malaysia, Indonesia and Bali maybe) would you say this is realistic on this budget?
#7 scotthutch90 has been a member since 12/3/2013. Posts: 14
No worries. Its been 4 years since i traveled around china so I'm sure things are a bit different now. But I spent 3 months there, and the cost varies quite substantially depending where you are. Most of the places I named are on the tourist trail, but even then, Beijing and Shanghai could easily set you back about $40-50/day (USD) while the others you could do for $20-30/day (i.e. in Yunnan there are places with dorm beds under $5). While you can find a fewdorms under $10 in Beijing and Shanghai, most will be between $15-20, and its the tourist spots that are getting expensive, (forbidden city is up to 40-60RMB now (about $7-10) Shanghai TV tower is 150RMB ($25)) and people want to see them all. So all in its definitely more expensive than SEAsia but a lot of the western regions (i.e. Yunnan, Gansu, Xinjiang, and Sichuan) are on par. But, dont forget, China is massive and transportation takes a long time unless you take the trains, which also can set you back more!!!
I think the two week trip i mentioned fits in reasonably well though, and you should be able to do that for under AÂ£1000. but have a look on travelchinaguide.com for ideas. Just don't use their train prices as guidance because they are heavily inflated from what you will find at train stations!
Btw, im not sure if that is Australian dollars or British pounds? Because 1000 pounds would definitely be enough for 2 or 3 weeks for both of you if you are on a backpacking budget.
#8 MWasser6 has been a member since 6/8/2012. Posts: 19
Suddenly China is starting to look pretty do-able on a decent budget! haha Its British Pounds so our total budget would be around 11,000 Australian each for the entire trip after the Trans-Sib.
I will have a look at travelchinaguide.com and do a little more research thanks very much, also do you have any idea how much Chinese visas are these days?
#9 scotthutch90 has been a member since 12/3/2013. Posts: 14
Well then, 6k GBP each will be more than fine! I totally recommend spending 6-8 weeks in China first and hitting up Yunnan and Sichuan too! You could probably do that for only a quarter of your total budget sharing double rooms.
Sigh, Chinese visas are always changing. It depends how long you are staying, where you are from (Americans like me pay the most), and how many entries you want. The last of which is really important because, if you end up going to Hong Kong, you need a double or multi-entry visa, I think the same might apply for Tibet.
Feel free to PM me with any other questions!
#10 MWasser6 has been a member since 6/8/2012. Posts: 19
Thanks so much you've really helped a lot and got the ball rolling for China!
If I have any question I certainly will thank you!
#11 scotthutch90 has been a member since 12/3/2013. Posts: 14
i am planing to go to China, you really helped me a lot,
#12 jackwilliam86 has been a member since 5/12/2013. Posts: 14
Same Jack. Going for 10 months around the middle of August (5 week trip I went on in summer wasn't enough). Starting to definitely consider adding China (at least the south part).
#13 Arikara1985 has been a member since 14/2/2013. Posts: 32