Im new here so hello everyone Im going travelling for the first time and going alone in Sept 2012. I'm open to all advice as i'm sure I will need it. I have a route planned which is shown below and I have no timescales what so ever so i'm literally just going with the flow.
My planned route so far is, (When im there I know it may change but thats ok)
Thailand - mainly north (roughly 2/3 weeks as I want to arrive in Laos towards the end of Sept)
Thailand (time to relax and explore the islands)
and then off to Aus on a WHV and then NZ
I want to head to Laos towards the end of Sept as the rain season starts to clear and
hopefully I will then travel all of SE Asia with good weather... this is only what i've been told so sorry if i'm wrong (if however the weather is good in July/Aug then I will probably leave a month sooner and go in Aug)
How much will I roughly need per month? I will be travelling as cheap as possible due to no timescales but I will still be doing trips/excursions.
Also Visas and border crossings, is this difficult to arrange and do you need proof of onwards travel as i'm probably just booking a single flight to BKK? I know I need a Visa for Vietnam and WHV for Aus before but I have no idea about the rest.
If anyone has any advice what so ever then please help, also if anyone knows any MUST DO trips or even any DONT DO trips. sorry for the long post guys.
The movement route makes sense. You've kept it pretty broad, but in general your direction of travel is logical. I'm not a fan of these big, sweeping, moving around vacations, but some people do enjoy them. I prefer to spend longer periods of time in one location because I enjoy getting to know people, which takes more than a couple of days. But that's me.
You can get by OK on 25 USD a day. After that though, you have to add in visa fees (you can look each one up on the net), bus costs since you are doing a lot of moving around, and incidentals (like museum fees). The big budget eaters are booze and women, though, without a doubt. Most people here are not heavily into either, so I am assuming you fit into the "most people here" category and don't plan to budget for said.
As for must dos and don't dos, really people can only tell you what they think based on their preferences. I've heard people says Sapa in Vietnam is a must do. But their reasoning is because of the scenery, which I don't give a crap about. Others will say Siem Reap is a must do, but it doesn't interest me either. For me, Dien Bin Phu would be a must do. For some guys, Pattaya is a must do (and the only do). For others, the Islands and beaches are must dos. It really depends on your tastes and preferences.
Thanks for the response MADMAC, I'm not a big drinker so I wont be spending money on alcohol every night and definitely wont be spending money on women. This is only a rough idea of where I want to go so if I enjoy somewhere I will stay there for a while. 1 thing I am definitely doing will be diving and maybe get certified.
When I arrive in BKK I will only be staying around that area for a week or 2 as I will be coming back to Thailand so can explore the south and the islands then. I want to head to Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai before entering Laos, is this easy to arrange when your there as this is the sort of stuff I have no idea about, and from Vientiane - Hanoi again is this something I will just know once im there?
Everything said by MADMAC. You have to get your Vietnam visa in advance. Either in Cambodia or Thailand. Although you can get it in Laos too, I think Thailand or Cambodia are much better. All the other visa you can get on Arrival. Your Airline might ask you for proof of onward travell for Thailand. Happended to me but could figure it out. Just allow enough time at the airport, just in case you have to book a flight, as it happend to me in other countries and believe me its not fun booking a flight in 30 min when you are on a budget.
For budget I always calculate 30$ a day. Sometimes I spend much less some days much more, but thats a good average for me.
DO: Use your common sense. DON'T: Behave like an idiot, as there are already enough idiots travelling . I normally make a rough plan for the first few days. You will see your plans will change and sometime you might join someone going to a place you never heard about. Otherwise I just pick 2 - 3 must sees for me in each country and plan my route around. Have fund and enjoy your trip!