Was recommended that I join up here as I've been told its the best source of info regarding Asia.
Myself and my girlfriend are planning to do 3/4 months around SE Asia next June. I know its along way yet, but I like to have my research all in order :)
First off, we are hoping to have €8,000 between the two of us to spend out there. Neither of us have ever been to Asia before so we don't really know what to expect.
Both of us are well travelled and recently did 3 months in East Africa packpacking as volunteers.
We definitely want to do the Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia route. However, if our funds allow it, would it be possible to get to see a small bit of Malaysia or even Burma?
My main problem is how to go about booking tickets. Would it be recommended to book single flights to and from asia or better of say landing and departing from Bangkok for example?
I'd hate after three months for still have money left to do us another month and then not been able to as we have our flights home booked! Has anyone else had this to think about while planning?
How long would we be able to live in SE Asia on €8,000 between the two of us? We are not big drinkers and would like to stay in moderate/clean accommodation....nothing filty(as we had enough of that in Africa) :)
I'd like to use this thread to ask any other questions about the trip in the future.
I appreciate any help and info offered.
Would it be recommended to book single flights to and from asia or better of say landing and departing from Bangkok
I'd say book a return flight to Bangkok. Aside from Kuala Lumpur it's pretty much the main air travel hub of the SE Asian region with the most/cheapest flights. If you're worried about the return date just pay a tad more for a flexable 6-mo. return ticket and establish a best-guess return date. I've seen many times (and done) the mistake of booking a one-way only to find that my "spotaneous" attempted return flight is either fully booked or as expensive again as the initial one-way.
You should also probably obtain a Thai tourist visa prior to your departure. Apply at your nearest Thai embassy or consulate. Airline regulations usually require this unless your return flight is within 30 days.
To put expenses in Thai terms, the Euro is currently worth about 40 Thai baht so €8,000 x40 = 320,000b /4months = roughly 2,600b (€66) per day which is a pretty comfortable budget for a travelling couple. Southern Thai beach bungalows can be pricey, as in 2000b+ for a concrete & glass unit, so just go frugal down there (wooden beach huts) then relax more in northern Thailand, Laos, etc. where something like 10 Euro gets you a pretty decent standard of accommodation (€20 is luxury).
Budget around €5/day for meals, maybe €2 for a couple drinks, and around €5-15 for major bus/train rides (2nd class sleeper train Bangkok to Chiang Mai is about €15 for example). Local daytrips (your elephant ride bamboo rafting hilltribe visit) run around €20/person but you won't be doing that every day. Daily rent of a small motorbike/scooter usually about €5-6. Costs are fairly consistent around the region, but again accommodation can be pricier on the southern beach hotspots as well as major cities (Bangkok, KL, HCMC, even Vientiane).
Well said by captain_bob!
It is indeed easier if you have a thai visa in advance if you book a one way flight. though you don't really have to as you get a free 30 day visa on arrival by plane, but some airlines don't want you to book a one way flight if you don't have a visa (it was fine for me with: air berlin, etihad, swiss air and royal jordanian. Qatar airways should be fine to for a one way without visa).
8000 € for 4 months is more then enough. that's a 1000 a month each and that's what I normally plan to bring on my trips and I do like to party hard sometimes, so that's just fine!