Photo: Street food Phetchaburi Soi 10, Bangkok.

Southeast Asia forum

No plans just going to arrive, good or bad idea?

Posted by Rassklass on 30/9/2010 at 23:19

Hi all!

I plan to do a spot of travelling at the end of January for around 10 weeks (or longer if my finances can cope with it!). I've never been to the far east before and want to see as much as possible but not being detrimental to the enjoyment. Ideally I want to go to Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. There seems to be a LOT to see in each country and I know some people would say that you could easily spend 10 weeks in each one and still not see everything so I don't intend to make a specific plan as such but instead to fly out there and see where the wind takes me, basically winging it. Just wondering if people think this is a good or bad idea to have no itinerary at all? I hope to have around £2500 spending money after flights out there and insurance e.t.c

Thanks for your help :)

#1 Rassklass has been a member since 30/9/2010. Posts: 3

Posted by MADMAC on 30/9/2010 at 23:32

Personally I think this is what everyone should do. Get off the plane and have one place you know you need to go to sleep. After that, plan as you go. Hang out where you are until you're board, and head to the next place. 2,500 pounds should be OK, as long as you live cheap. It's the women and booze that bite budget most, so if you minimize on those two things, you should be fine.

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


Posted by exacto on 1/10/2010 at 00:46

I think most of us who use Travelfish tend to have very loose plans when we travel. At the same time, it is smart to do your research before you arrive to get a general sense of what there is to do in each country, which things you want to see, and what options there are for getting there, accommodation once you get there, etc. In other words, don't over plan your trip, but definitely have some general ideas of what you want to do once you arrive so you can make the most of the time and money you have.

#3 exacto has been a member since 12/2/2006. Location: United States. Posts: 2,657
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Posted by Tilapia on 1/10/2010 at 02:37

I agree completely with Mac and Exacto.

You will find that winging it on the road is very simple in SE Asia, and probably a lot more enjoyable than following a schedule. With few exceptions, there is always a train, bus, songthaew (pick-up with seats), or boat (and someone else) going your way. Most of the time if you miss a bus or whatever, another one will be leaving in an hour, or so.

Good idea.

And that's plenty of cash unless you plan on going first class all the way.

Enjoy!

#4 Tilapia has been a member since 21/4/2006. Location: Canada. Posts: 1,499
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Posted by busylizzy on 1/10/2010 at 03:30

Agree with all of the above, especially with exacto's comment about doing some research ahead of time, and have a rough itinerary sketched out ahead of time. You can always change it but it's nice to know the general direction of where you think you might be heading and to keep you on track. It would be too easy to wallow away days somewhere which is a bummer when you are working with a restricted time frame (albeit 10 weeks). You also need to keep in mind visa considerations - you have one month essentially to spend in a country.. where do you want to be when the time runs out.

But other than that - keep it as flexible as you can. For me, the excitement is in 'discovering' a place that you really enjoy and just want to linger around for awhile rather than moving on. You get to fine-tune and change your plans along the way as you hit the unexpected.

#5 busylizzy has been a member since 31/12/2007. Location: New Zealand. Posts: 2,155
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Posted by MADMAC on 1/10/2010 at 09:46

Rass
Be sure to come back to Travelfish and let us know how your trip went. Hope you have a great time. There's a reason people keep coming back to this part of the world.

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

Posted by eastwest on 1/10/2010 at 10:04

I concur with all of the above and for me a rough sketching of a route/plan works best.

In general I like to have a rough idea about a route/plan which allows a lot of flexibillity. If I'd completely wing it I could stay in the first village for 8 weeks, which in itself would be fine, but I would somehow regret it afterwards (not having seen more).
Also I prefer to travel by theme (beaches, nature or temples for example) rather than geographical route. A loop always gives me a feeling of constraint having to go from place to place to finish the loop.
Criscrossing across a country may not be very efficient (luckily travel is cheap in this region) but gives me a greater sense of freedom.

The other have given great advice an I'm sure you'll find something of your liking among it.

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

Posted by Rassklass on 1/10/2010 at 14:30

Awesome! Thanks to all for your advice! I do think I'll have a look online to plan a little but there's just sooooo many places and sights that people recommend you go to and things to do which makes it's a bit overwhelming to plan an itinerary so that's why I was just going to turn up.

This is probably a stupid question but will it be easy to meet people along the way? I plan on going on my own, 25 year old male, but would prefer to tag along with people along the way sometimes too.

#8 Rassklass has been a member since 30/9/2010. Posts: 3

Posted by MADMAC on 1/10/2010 at 14:51

"This is probably a stupid question but will it be easy to meet people along the way? I plan on going on my own, 25 year old male, but would prefer to tag along with people along the way sometimes too."

Do you mean meet other tourists, or do you mean meet indigenous persons? If you spend your time at tourist hang outs, then meeting other tourists will be easy. If you don't, then it obviously becomes trickier. Personally, I would lone wolf it. Then you can decide what you want to do when you want to do it without considering what others would prefer.

As for meeting indigenous inhabitants, that's VERY easy. Especially if you move into the small provincial cities where young white boys are pretty rare. For them, you are exotic and somewhat wealthy. My son is 23 (he lives here now) and he is a superstar.

Lastly, nobody here talks about it, but if you get out of BKK and don't go south to the tourist spots or to Pattaya, you can actually meet a nice girl and perhaps develop a relationship. I'm not saying you should be trying to do that, but romantic contact is the most basic and intimate form of human behavior. There is no better way to learn about a culture than to develop a romantic relationship with someone. Most people here don't even talk about it. But if you move around in rural Thailand, you're chances of being hit on frequently are about 100%. As I said, I'm not saying that you should do this, but I wouldn't rule it out either. Most normal 25 year olds don't plan to spend a 10 week vacaton celibate.

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

Posted by Rassklass on 1/10/2010 at 14:54

I mean both really. I would like to meet up with other travellers and share some experiences with them as some things you just can't do alone. I would also like to socialise with the locals too and do a mix of both touristy and non locations. I have been told that it's quite easy to get 'attention' in thailand and such but i'm not sure how my girlfriend would take to that :P

#10 Rassklass has been a member since 30/9/2010. Posts: 3

Posted by MADMAC on 1/10/2010 at 20:39

Well, if you're taking your girlfriend with you, then you won't get very much attention. If you aren't... you will have a severe test of willpower.

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

Posted by caseyprich on 1/10/2010 at 21:39

i usually think in a sketchy schedule, something like - i'll go up to northern thailand around chiangmai for a week - then i'll head down to the islands around ko chang for a little while. also, for budget reasons i usually do think in a loop, and you can just fill in the blanks between major destinations that you put on your 'most want to see' list. thematic travel is a great idea, but with 10 weeks you could have a couple different sets; trekking in the north, beaches in the south, temples in between.

#12 caseyprich has been a member since 3/3/2010. Location: China. Posts: 1,281
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Posted by neosho on 2/10/2010 at 08:13

If you meet a girl, there goes the 2500 pounds. :)

#13 neosho has been a member since 13/8/2008. Posts: 386

Posted by MADMAC on 2/10/2010 at 11:40

Neosho, my son didn't pay for squat - cause he had no money. Still doesn't. Can't get blood from a stone. He had a very good looking girlfriend and she was lucky if he paid for noodles when they went out for dinner. Cause he didn't have any money to pay. And she was exceptionally attractive. I think the rules are different for younger guys - especially when it's not the pay for play scene.

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

Posted by siddy on 16/10/2010 at 15:40

Hey ur plan, or lack of plan, sounds like mine!

I think some things you should know before you go are, vaccines, insurance, culture.
-Be aware of what vaccines are recommended, and if you should get them. Hep A+B and Typhoid and recommend i think for anyone wanting to stay that long and eat the local food. Also dont forget about Malaria and Degue fever (sp?), prevention is the best cure. You can get vaccinations in Bangkok, its a 2 or 3 week process, but if you lay low and stick to safe food it can work well (and is a lot cheaper).
-Insurance can be cheap, maybe $150-200 for 10weeks for "basic" cover (hospital only) which is all you need, comprehensive cover is for people with a tight schedule and a lot of pre-booked plane tickets.
-Respect the natives, they are not into shorts (outside of a beach area), so dont be a tool and get around in board shorts 100% of the time :) Also, get some tips of battering and learn basic words

This is far from comprehensive, but you can learn the rest from this site

#15 siddy has been a member since 16/10/2010. Posts: 21

Posted by MADMAC on 17/10/2010 at 10:53

"-Respect the natives, they are not into shorts (outside of a beach area), so dont be a tool and get around in board shorts 100% of the time :) Also, get some tips of battering and learn basic words"

Siddy, a lot of natives here (Issan) do wear shorts. My objection to them is they don't protect the legs and from a fashion standpoint they fall well short of GQ. Wearing shorts is not socially unacceptable when you're a bum wandering around the night market. It's the guys who are wearing them in places that are more upscale that are objectionable. But basically I wouldn't say don't wear them because you will offend local sensibilities (at least not here in Issan), but don't wear them because you'll look like a dork.

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

Posted by errik on 25/11/2010 at 20:59

Just make sure to read about the place at least.

#17 errik has been a member since 28/10/2010. Posts: 28


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