Been trying to rack my brains around a proper itinerary for SEA during the wet season. I was hoping someone with experience can help me out. My wife and I are travelling Aug-Nov in SEA, we know it's wet season, and are hoping to see as much as we can, while avoiding getting caught up in the worst of it.
From everything I have been reading I know this much
1) It tends to rain for short periods of time (in the afternoon or overnight) rather than all day, although there may be a wet week here and there
2) SEA experiences various degrees of wetness depending where you are and when
3) Certain places, like Angor Watt, are more beautiful and lust in the wet season
4) Costs are lower
6) Risks of landslides,slower transport, chances of certain places being washed out or inaccessible
7)November is back to dry(or dryer) season and gorgeous in many areas
We will need a good rain coat, and waterproof covering for our backpacks
Can anyone suggest a route for us to take, perhaps some good accommodations ($6-$10) range, or some great deals to look out for in particular as we go through the region?
We are looking forward to seeing historical and cultural sites/ eating as much of the local food as we can/ partying here and there/ beach time/ taking part in cultural festivals if any/ we love adventure and aren't afraid to stay off the beaten track
Thailand and Cambodia are off particular interest to us - followed by Laos, Vietnam and Indonesia
We have a $40/day budget
Hope this helps you, help us, we really need it and are thankful for any help you can send our way.
So you've got four months -- August & September see good weather (in the least) on Ko Samui and Ko Pha Ngan and Ko Tao in Thailand, the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia and Bali/Lombok in Indonesia. October is middling and by November both of southern Thailand, Laos and Cambodia will be shining while parts of Vietnam will be getting wet. So it needn't be a wet trip throughout
So, broad strokes you could do something like:
* Fly into Bali: 2 weeks: Bali/Java (beaches, culture, history)
* Fly out of Jakarta to Kuala Lumpur (I know you didn't specify Malaysia, but it fits in well) and head over to the east coast islands - Perhentians perhaps, say one week all up taking you to late August. If Malaysia doesn't appeal at all, look at flying something like Jakarta -> KL ->Surat Thani and going to Thailand's east coast islands.
* Back to KL, fly to Bangkok. coupla days there, then overland north via Ayutthaya and Sukhothai to Chiang Mai then head to perhaps Chiang Dao or Pai for a bit of trekking then overland to the Lao border Huay Xai - allow 2-3 weeks for this taking you to mid to late October.
* Cross into Laos, slow boat to Luang Prabang then Vang Vieng then Vientiane then Tha Khaek (for Kong Lo loop) then 4,000 islands then to Cambodian border. Allow 3 weeks for this. So middle of Nov.
* overland straight to Phnom Penh then south to Sihanoukville then to the islands (just pick one as there are quite a few - you can read about them here) then back to Phnom Penh, Siem Reap for Angkor Wat then overland back to Bangkok for flight home. Allow two weeks - end of Nov.
Wait, I forgot Vietnam!
To fit Vn in I'd suggest ditching Malaysia but that only gives you a loose week - you could conceivably overland from Phnom Penh for a taste of the south around Ho Chi Minh City ... time runs out quick doesn't it!
Stops between Bangkok and ChiangMai
Trekking in Thailand
Elephant trekking in Laos
And here is a sample regional itinerary and there are a bunch of other ones linked to on that page - may be useful.
For budget flights see Air Asia, Tiger Airways, Nok Air and Jetstar -- all can be quite affordable if booked well in advance.
Cheers - more questions, ask away.
Thank you so much. I've seen your posts in other threads as well, and they have helped us get through many other details. Your assistance is greatly appreciated.
This itinerary is a great starting point for us. A few more details that might help iron things out.
This is part of a year long trek. And we will be coming in from Australia (likely via Perth) into SEA.
- What tends to be the cheapest gateway into SEA from Aussie? And are there any specifics tips to getting a cheap flight in?
- This will likely determine the starting point of our trek. Indonesia does sound like a great way to start though.
We certainly want to see (and eat our way through) Malaysia. I forgot to mention it, and would like to see Singapore for a few nights too.
We fly out of KL to India (Kochi) on Dec 4th. This was determined last night as Air Asia is having a great sale right now.
- Any insights into adjusting the itinerary so that we end in Malaysia?
We plan on spending Christmas and New Year in India, and Feb in Sri Lanka.