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Finance and money forum

3 Months vs. 4 Months

Posted by thatvaletguy on 25/10/2010 at 07:35

Ahhhh, I'm finally a member after all this time of just reading other people's posts. So here is my first post with Travelfish, and here we go:

What would be the better alternative? 3 Months traveling Southeast Asia and spending "Fat Stacks" OR 4 months and being on a limited budget? Here are some details about me and my trip that might make this easier.

-I'm looking at $30 a day for the 4 month trip, but I feel like that wouldn't be enough
-I LOVE to party, love women, beer and the finer things in life (I'm 26)
-Traveling to Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Bali
-First trip, so I'll be geared towards the tourist spots and night life (Bangkok, Siem Reap, Hanoi, Luang Prabang, etc.)
-Fancy accommodation isn't a necessity but maybe a few nice places here and there would be good. Aiming for guest houses and hostels.

My budget will be around $5000 included air fair.

Any tips or advice would be helpful!

#1 thatvaletguy has been a member since 25/10/2010. Posts: 14

Posted by Archmichael on 25/10/2010 at 08:38

Hello, ThatValetGuy:

How much of that $5,000 is going to airfare?

Also, you speak of things you like ... the finer things in life ... but how do you like to travel? By this, I mean at what level of comfort. At $30 a day, if you stay in backpacker-type accommodations, you could have enough left to eat cheaply (on the street) and have a couple of beers, but there is the matter of getting around from place to place (Thailand to Lao to Viet Nam, and so forth). I'm sure others here will weigh in with more thoughts and suggestions.

Happy travels!

#2 Archmichael has been a member since 23/7/2008. Location: Global Village. Posts: 395
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Posted by thatvaletguy on 25/10/2010 at 09:02


$1015 is going to airfare.

I've never traveled to SEA so, I'm not sure at what comfort my brother and I are going to travel. I mean, we aren't picky, we are young...we just need a bed somewhere safe and enough food to keep our stomachs full and LOTS of beer.

We will definitely need money for airfare to Bali and maybe once or twice from Laos to Vietnam or to Ko Samui from Bangkok. The rest of the travels will be by car/train/bus etc.

#3 thatvaletguy has been a member since 25/10/2010. Posts: 14

Posted by caseyprich on 25/10/2010 at 09:03

Transport is a big hit - how much flying? how many VIP versus Local buses for long distance trips? Will you do guided tours? How many temples will you see? Gibbon Experience or hire a bike?

I usually plan a trip by breaking it into 4 spending areas.

1. Necessary Transport & Visas - These are the prices to travel between the places I plan to visit and the costs to get across borders.

2. Accommodation - Look at the average prices in places from Chiang Mai to Bangkok for a place you'd like to stay. Do this for each country you'll visit and have a seperate price set for each country (example: Laos 8 - 10 USD per day, Thailand 15 - 20 USD per day . . . I'm so over dorm accommodations).

3. Food - This I usually take a high end estimate by looking through different guides and sites to see how much I should be spending a day and then adding beer money. I also try to think of this with a different amount for each country, starting by looking at local currency and converting it to my currency.

4. Entrance Fees & Good Times - Here you've got to do a lot of digging, and again it isn't a bad idea to do it by individual country. How many hikes will you go on? How many group/tour excursions for day trips? How many temples are you going to see in Laos vs. Cambodia? Will you be renting a motorbike for a week or more? This is the important calculation that can often screw up a lot of plans.

5. Add a couple hundred dollars to your plan and hide it in a safe place.

Of course, you probably don't want to plan everything out so closely, but this is just a way to give yourself an estimate. Maybe you decide after one group tour day excursion that you don't want to do anymore - that's fine, hire the motorbike then, but it will give you separate pools of money to draw from so that you don't overspend on accommodation and then not have enough to go on that hill-tribe hike in the north.

#4 caseyprich has been a member since 3/3/2010. Location: China. Posts: 1,281
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Posted by caseyprich on 25/10/2010 at 09:06

Also, you say it is your first trip - insinuating there may be another. Perhaps this time you could skip Bali, save yourself a chunk of airfare that way and the expense of Bali and have more time and money to gallivant about Indo-China. You'll already be seeing a lot of paradise in the four countries on mainland Asia.

#5 caseyprich has been a member since 3/3/2010. Location: China. Posts: 1,281
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Posted by Archmichael on 25/10/2010 at 09:44

Caseyprich's point is a good one about Bali. It seemed like the odd one out to me, as well (due to distance from SE Asia), though I don't know where you're coming from. Maybe it's on the way to or from (probably only if you live in Australia, though).

#6 Archmichael has been a member since 23/7/2008. Location: Global Village. Posts: 395
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Posted by thatvaletguy on 25/10/2010 at 09:58

Coming from USA, California specifically. We are leaving Feb. 1st 2011. We are talking about cutting out Bali (as painful as it sounds) and taking your advice. Would we be spending a lot more in Bali than...lets say Thailand? Generally, as a tourist in tourist places, eating from the streets and staying in guest houses and such. Thanks!

#7 thatvaletguy has been a member since 25/10/2010. Posts: 14

Posted by eastwest on 30/10/2010 at 19:07

May I try to describe you as traveller. My point is not to be judgemental but more to give better advise.

Your main aim is to have a big party after having worked/studied very hard. You want to go to cheap places and have fun but you're not completely impartial to cultural things and find that you could/should visit cultural highlights while you're there but it's not that important to you. You wouldn't dare to say so, however, on this site where most people are more interested in political correct things.

You're fine and in the right region. It's not my thing but my advise would be to pick the party spots, most of which can be dirt cheap, and stay there for longer periods (than the average person would) and limit the time in the main cultural places which tend to be more expensive since they also cater for the package tourist.

The party spots listed below have very cheap beers, rooms and a party atmosphere. $30 per day is good in these places if you eat cheap streetfood for $2-3 and a room for $ 3-4 (you'll only use it for sleeping probably). A few dollars for some other expenses and you're left with $15-20 drinking money which in most places is roughly 15-20 beers.

- Khao San road, Bangkok
- Koh Samui, Thailand
- Vang Vieng, Laos
- Nha Trang, Vietnam
- Pham Ngu Lao, Saigon, Vietnam
- Sihanoukville, Cambodia
- Phuket, Thailand
- Kuta beach, Bali

The other places, just stick to necessary days in Chang Mai, Luang Prabang, Hoi An and so on. Stay in these places a little shorter (than the average tourist would), see the sights and get out. For those places $30 is also alright but then you have less beer money because of entrance fees, excursions, taxis, more expensive food and a decent room (which might be nice every once in a while).

I left out transport costs and visa which is considerable so I would say go 3 months (with or without Bali) and you'll have a great time and you have $1000 for transport and visa (which you won't use all) and some buffer for more beer or Bali if you feel like going.

Choose 6 of the above places, plan for 10 days in each, make a route accordingly and you have 30 days to travel between the party spots and visit the cultural highlights that lie within the vicinity of that route

You can always come back to do the cultural thing.
Have fun!

#8 eastwest has been a member since 17/12/2009. Posts: 778
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Posted by thatvaletguy on 30/10/2010 at 23:57


Thank you for your detailed and expert advice, you make some valid points. Yes, I like to party but I can't rage for a week straight, nor drink $20 worth of beer a night. I'll drink and party a night, then take a night off or two, then maybe go at it again.

The reason why I want to go for 4 months and stay in guest houses with a limited budget is for the challenge and adventure part of it. I want to see how far I can stretch my dollar.

This will be my first trip there, so at times I probably will be staying at touristy places at times. My brother and I already discussed about Bali, and its already out of the question (We figured we'd be saving $700 or so if we cut it out).

As the culture part of it, I want to take in as much as I can. After reading the forums at Travelfish, I feel like there is so much to learn and see in SEA. I'm not going just to party, but it doesn't mean I won't =)

#9 thatvaletguy has been a member since 25/10/2010. Posts: 14

Posted by eddyirving on 31/10/2010 at 09:26

Stretch it. I did six weeks budget with my girlfriend, and then two weeks expensive with six mates, definitely enjoyed the budget experience more. Felt like I was wasting money paying for expensive hotels when the places I had stayed at in the first six weeks were fine - a clean bed and a clean shower, which is really all you need.

Going back in November for a month with three mates to do Full Moon (again) and then spend a good amount of time with the budget option in Cambodia. Can't wait.

#10 eddyirving has been a member since 10/8/2009. Posts: 8

Posted by eastwest on 31/10/2010 at 10:33

@ valet

Well, then I was wrong and that whole (master)piece was for nothing....
You can not drink 20 beers per day? There's no place for you here then! (only joking)

It sounds more like an ordinary trip and you can stretch it to 4 months if you skip Bali. Do keep some emergency money aside for eventualities and you can spend those extra dollars at the end of your trip for 1 big last party or shopping.

Enjoy it anyway you do it though.

#11 eastwest has been a member since 17/12/2009. Posts: 778
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