This is going to to be my first time travelling in SE Asia (as well as my first travelfish post!) and i just wanted some advice on my itinerary... So far I have a flight booked to Singapore for Jan 18th and I need to be in Hong Kong on 23rd March, so not really sure what my plan is for the two months inbetween.
I was initially thinking of doing a tour from Bangkok to hanoi and then flying to HK, but then I found out that direct flights between HAN and HK are really expensive! So now I am considering doing a tour in early Feb and then travel from Hanoi through Loas and into N. Thailand on my own, but I wasn't sure how easy/safe this would be as I am a female travelling on my own.
I suppose my main reason for this post is to get an idea if it would be worthwhile to do a tour early on to get any tips and then travel on my own, or if its safe enough to venture on my own first - i've only ever really travelled round Europe and South Africa.
Any advice is welcome and if anyone else is going to meander around SE Asia between Jan-April then get in touch!!
Singapore is a good place to start - modern functional and English-speaking ("Singlish") but can also be expensive. Go stay at the Rucksack Inn http://www.rucksackinn.com and meet up with fellow travellers. Take the "Jungle Line" train up to Wakaf Baru see map here and train info here then go to the Perhentian Islands. Then across to Penang and by ferry to Langkawi, Ko Lipe, Ko Lanta, etc. Check out Tigerline ferries - great way to see the Andaman coast.
Independent travel is pretty easy in this region, as long as you use common sense and team up with other travellers. Thailand is very user-friendly and you can get around easily on the train system (see the Seat61 website) or cheap flights on Air Asia and Nok Air.
I would consider going through northern Laos starting at Vientiane then north through Vang Vieng, Luang Prabang, and Luang Namtha to the Boten border with China. There are daily buses from Luang Namtha that go to Jinghong in Yunnan province, then overnight bus to Kunming from which you have many train options for getting to Hong Kong. See China Rail map here.