I am travelling to SE Asia for 9 weeks from early June to early August with one other person. Our preliminary plan is to start in Hanoi and work our way south till we reach Bali, passing through Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. After reading a few posts we are considering cutting out Vietnam or maybe just starting in Saigon and working our way from there. We are also considering cutting out Indonesia and saving that for another time, so that we can see indochina, thailand, and malaysia. What do you think, is this too much in too little time? Is it worth it to get a taste of several countries instead of a close to the ground experience in only a few? We are a pretty energetic pair and like to move around quite a bit.
Any suggestions or comments would be greatly appreciated.
#1 realacefool has been a member since 19/3/2012. Posts: 6
I hate to disagree, but one can sleeper train comfortably from Bangkok to Singapore. In fact, it's one of the few routes that it's really possible on. If you're heading straight south, sleeping from Bangkok to the islands, and so forth down to Singapore, it might be feasible. Having said that, nine weeks is good for three, maybe four countries unless you really like moving. I'd say Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) down to Singapore is the upper limit of what you should pack into nine weeks. If you really like moving a lot and don't plan on spending a lot of time in northern or north eastern Thailand, Phuket might be too modest of a goal.
In my opinion, when it comes to travelling in SEA:
Modest Good, Ambitious Bad.
#4 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Out of curiosity Mac. Do you consider your stay in eastern Thailand living or travelling? Are you the ultimate backpacker that hangs in 1 place for 2 years and then moves on?
As for the plan of OP. Yeah it is too ambitious for 9 weeks. Having said that a list of country names will always trigger that reaction from the majority of the crowd here. People here assume that everyone wants to see the whole country in 1 visit. If you stick to just 1 route along the coast the (names of the) countries don't matter if you're just interested in the coastal areas. Still too long for a 9 week journey but feasible
Well that is how I've lived most of my life - stay in a place a few years, then move on. But now I am pretty much settled and think my moving on days are unlikely (but you never do know). Most of my travelling is restricted to Issan and the occassional foray to Bangkok at this point. If I can't go on my motorcycle, I don't want to go.
#6 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
9 weeks will be a tough slog to cover all of that and in my opinion kind of defeats the object of going. The pace of life in SEA is slow and to get the most out of it you need to just go with the flow and leave yourself a lot of flexible time to stay longer in places you really like. Sticking to a plan takes might mean missing out on spontaneous things come up and these can be the most memorable bits. I remember in Kampot we were meant to be leaving but met some cool people who said there was a party the following day that would be good so we stayed and had one of the best nights out on our travels.