me and two friends plan to have a gap year before uni and spend some time in thailand, laos and vietnam. probably may to july next year.
what sort of budget would we be looking at needing for 2 and a half months? ive looked up flights and the best ive found is £550 for a return to bangkok. were up for hostels, but would prefer a more private room in them? were planning on being on a backpackers budget, but would like a nicer hotel once in a while?
we definitely want to see erawan falls, ride an elephant and go snorkelling with turtles. in terms of drinking, we'd like to see some of the night life, but definitely not every night. maybe once a week plus wine with dinner kinda thing?
we've never been backpacking before, so any help would be appreciated! any must see places?
#1 maisie_russell has been a member since 10/8/2011. Posts: 2
As you're not going till May 2012 I wouldn't book a ticket yet. Many airlines don't know what their schedules will be that far in advance anyway and you may be able to get a special deal between now and then. 550 pounds isn't bad but sometimes you can get flights even cheaper than that. Flight search engines like Skyscanner are good for comparing prices and you can look at the whole month and pick the cheapest days to travel.
It's difficult to give you an estimate of how much you'll need because it depends on what the currency exchange rates will be next year and how much you'll be moving about. There aren't many hostels in SE Asia, most accommodation is guesthouses so you'll have a private room but will probably need to take two rooms because most have a double bed and are designed for two people. It generally costs the same whether one or two people are staying in the room. Depends if you're prepared to share a double bed! You can sometimes get triple rooms too.
I'd say budget 20-25 pounds a day each for food and lodgings. Transport is cheap compared to Europe but it does add up if you move about a lot...you'll need to add that and visa costs.
Can you bear to drink beer with your dinner rather than wine? Beer is much cheaper than wine though any booze (and teas and coffees) costs a lot more than just drinking plain bottled water.
For ideas of things to see and do and itineraries have a rummage round in the links at the top of the page...there's loads of information. Turtles will be difficult at the time of year you're going. The best place to see them in Thailand are the Surins and Similans but both those national parks will be closed when you're there ( rainy season). There's some snorkeling off Ko Tao (where the weather should be OK) but I doubt if you'll see a turtle there. Maybe the Perhentians (Malaysia) still have some...it's not too hard to get to Malaysia from Thailand and you won't need to pay for a visa for Malaysia if you're from the UK.
Also on flights, bear in mind that it's not possible to book any airline seats more than 11 months ahead of the flight date so currently anything from the first week of July 2012 onwards (which I assume is where your return date lies) isn't live in any airline, website or travel agents system. So I would definitely wait at least 4-6 weeks and look at quotes again. I assume you are flying from the UK as you are talking in pounds; look at Jet Airways and Kingfishers Airlines - they often offer some of the cheapest flights to Bangkok (under £500). They're via India but usually with good connecting times and have good service. I also use Skyscanner a lot and find it a good starting point when searching out flight prices.
thank you for your reply! we dont plan on officially booking anything until next year! just trying to look for basic prices so we can semi-guess how much to save. i will definitely check out skyscanner! beer sounds a lot better than wine to me (heard a lot of good things about beer lao), aha. wine was more for my travelling company.
okay here is the itinerary were thinking about.
"obviously start in bangkok. hit koa san road. then take the night train to koh tao. ferry to koh pha ngan for full moon mayhem. fly back to bangkok (apparently fairly cheap). get to cambodia from there by bus to see angkor watt. then travel to ho chi mingh city. followed buy going up to hanoi, for halong bay. travel across the border to laos to tube down the mekong river. travel to chiang mai , then down to kanchanaburi. and finally back to bangkok.
no idea about how long to spend in each place, but thats basically what we want to see. we were thinking (well, hoping) that £2500 would cover all of this apart from flights, jabs etc. that would give us around £35 a day budget? obviously some days were just gonna want to chill out on a beach, so hopefully this is a realistic budget.
also, are guesthouses reasonably cheap? i struggle to believe that people have found accomodation for under a fiver each, but maybe that just because living in britain is so expensive ahah.
#4 maisie_russell has been a member since 10/8/2011. Posts: 2
35 quid should be enough but parties are usually big money eaters.
I don't want to be a wet blanket but I see you're planning to go to Khao San Road, Had Rin and Vang Vieng ...all of those are party places and they are also where most **** happens (because people get totally wasted) so be careful.
There are a few gangs in Khao San road who target drunk foreigners. I know a couple of guys who have been beaten up in fights there and also an expat who got hit over the head with a beer bottle ( fractured skull) and was robbed as he was walking to get a taxi home one night.
Drunk/stoned people have a very high chance of being involved in a motorbike accident and your travel insurance won't cover you if that happens. If your injuries were so severe that you had to be repatriated it wouldn't just break your budget...your parents would probably have to sell their house too!
Make sure all your stuff is securely locked up the night of the full moon party because that's when bungalows tend to get "visited" on Ko Phangan. Thieves know everyone is at the party. And try and make sure one of you stays fairly sober to keep an eye on the other two... again it's very easy for any would be thief to relieve a practically unconscious farang of his wallet (or worse can happen if you're a girl).
In Vang Vieng stupidly stoned/drunk youngsters quite often drown while tubing or hit rocks when jumping in the Mekong.
Why do you want to fly back to BKK from Surat Thani (Ko Phangan)? Overnight buses and trains are much cheaper because you save a night's accommodation and you don't have to pay for transport to and from the airports. That's just a small detail though...you still have plenty of time to fine tune your itinerary!
PS Guesthouses are more expensive than they used to be. I think you need to allow at least 10 quid a night for a basic but OK bungalow or hotel room. You will find cheaper places but other places will be more expensive than that...so it's an average. You can often get discounts for long stays so if you're planning to spend a few weeks somewhere it's worth asking.
i struggle to believe that people have found accomodation for under a fiver each, but maybe that just because living in britain is so expensive ahah.
There are still some out there, even in Bangkok, but they won't be advertising on the net.