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Southeast Asia forum

1 year to see the highlights of South East Asia?

Posted by laurentiu on 12/12/2011 at 10:16

Hi all, I wanted to say that this is a great resource and I find myself visiting the forums everyday. I am planning to visit SEA and want to do it at a slow pace to see most interesting places. Do you guys think that is enough time and what is the advice on traveling on a budget? Is it better to buy a motorcycle in my case?

Also I need to get online to update my web sites once in a while. What is the internet situation in guest houses and everywhere?

Thank you for the help!

#1 laurentiu has been a member since 12/12/2011. Posts: 14

Posted by eastwest on 13/12/2011 at 05:28

If you have 1 year to see the highlights you may have to stretch your definition of highlight. ;-)

For the rest your plan sounds a bit vague. Which SEA countries are you considering? Typically time per country would be something like:

- Myanmar 1 month
- Thailand 2 months
- Cambodia 1 month
- Laos 1 month
- Vietnam 1 month (perhaps 2)

if you add Indonesia, Malaysia, Philipines you can add at least 3 more months

Budget wise it would be good to stay put in a cheap city/region that you like for a month or so. Make a deal with guesthouse or rent apartment and make it your home for while.

Buying and selling motorbikes you will have to do per country which will be a hassle if you can't sell quickly. Perhaps check in the biking forum for experiences from others.

Besides it's not cheaper than the bus. With higher fuel prices most of the time buses on long stretches are a lot cheaper. Only in cities you will be able to save money on tuk tuks and mototaxis. Just be very careful driving a bike here.Accidents, medical care and insurance are things you have to seriously consider. Read the first post at the top of this forum

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Posted by exacto on 13/12/2011 at 16:34

A year in just southeast Asia is plenty of time for the highlights and more. I'd probably pick an entry and an exit point and just work north to south or south to north, depending on when the year started and what the weather patterns are like that time of year.

You can pull together some general itineraries, with lots of good suggested routes right here on this website, but you won't need anything too rigid. One important thing to plan ahead, however, is visas and how much time you are allowed in each country. For Thailand, for example, you might want to get the 60-day tourist visa so you can stay longer without having to duck across a border. You typically get 30 days in Laos and the same in Cambodia with visa on arrival.

I also agree that getting a motor scooter wouldn't be worth it, except maybe in Vietnam where is seems to be more common, and I'm not sure I'd even bother then. As eastwest says, riding in southeast Asia is pretty dangerous. If you choose to ride, you can always rent them from time to time as you need.

Internet is generally available most everywhere and wi-fi is becoming more and more common in guesthouses, coffee shops, and other places. No problem there.

A year out sounds wonderful. I'd mix it up with some good on-the-road highlights and some mellow, stick-around-for-awhile time too. I'd love to just hang out in Chiang Mai, Nong Khai, Bali, or Pakse, for example. Have a great time. Regards.

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Posted by laurentiu on 14/12/2011 at 11:59

Thank you very much for the help.

Yes, I would like to go to all countries including Indonesia and Malaysia. I am not sure if Philippines is worth and it could significantly add to the budget. By the way, did anybody here travel as far as New Guinea and is it worth it considering the costs? My plan is indeed not to have a "forced march" but rather spend some weeks in quiet places while planning for the next destination.

I agree that I need some good planning and general route to stick to. I like very much history and surely I will include Borobudur and Angkor Wat. Any other old temples not to be missed?

#4 laurentiu has been a member since 12/12/2011. Posts: 14

Posted by eastwest on 15/12/2011 at 02:53

Other temples there are plenty of.

In the same category as Angkor and Borobudur is in my opinion only Bagan in Myanmar. Not because of a single temple but the sheer number of stupas/temples in 1 single area.

The most interesting sites per country you will find out quickly enough once you read up on them or when talking to other travellers.

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Posted by laurentiu on 16/12/2011 at 16:41

Thanks eastwest. I really don't want to do any detailed planning since I will have lots of time to change my mind while I'm there.

The other question is regarding visa requirements. I keep reading about most SEA countries asking an onward ticket proof and such. Are these enforced in all countries now and what is a way to deal with this efficiently?

#6 laurentiu has been a member since 12/12/2011. Posts: 14

Posted by eastwest on 16/12/2011 at 19:47

That's (visa) the part of planning you really have to pay attention to besides insurance and money. It really pays off to spend some serious time on these things before you go. It will make your trip much more carefree.

You will have to read this site for requirements per country.
In most cases a return ticket to your home country will do. Even if it's a year later. You're not the first to travel for such a long time and in general they just want to be certain that that's what you really do. If you come on a 1-way ticket more questions will be asked in general.

For most countries visa can be had upon arrival and you usually get 1 month only and in most countries it can easily be extended at least once.
If you know you there is a good chance you will stay 2 months or so (Thailand or Indonesia) it's worth it to apply for a proper tourist visa at a regional embassy before you enter.

Do some extended research now and write it on a little paper so you can check once on the road.

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Posted by Siya on 30/12/2011 at 02:09

One year is more than enough for the highlights of SEA, you can visit more than the highlights there and would definitely have a good time.
And yes buying motorcycle is good idea.

#8 Siya has been a member since 30/12/2011. Posts: 2

Posted by savorygal on 30/12/2011 at 20:09

I second what EW says about visas, particularly Indonesia. YOu can only get a 1 month VOA which can only be extended once. you can get a 60 day visa while in Malaysia or Thailand which can be extended up to 4 times. Visa runs from Indo are a real pain and can be expensive.

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