I'm currently "planning" a trip to SE Asia. The thing is, that i'm not very good at planning and usually just take things as they come. As of right now, I'm travelling solo, and I have never gone backpacking before.
First things first. I have 6.124 USD/4.033 GBP/4.691 EU to travel for. The flight costs are gifted. I will probably have a little more, but i don't know yet. How far will this get me, and where could i go, for how long. I'm planning on flying to Bankok, but other than that, its pretty much a blank itinerary.
Where are some good places to go other then Thailand, and how long should i stay in different places? I'm planning on flying to Bali at some point. I'm using http://www.staralliance.com/en/booking/airpass-planner/# (the asia one), so if anyone could see what airports i could fly to, that are near good places.
Any advice,tips,stories that are relevant, etc would also be greatly appreciated.
Thanks in advance
#1 johancp has been a member since 26/2/2013. Posts: 11
I didn't get a chance to check the star alliance site, but I have usually gone with air Asia. You can use the sky tracker app if you have an I phone and it's mint for flight prices (compares all agents, airlines, and many sites for you to find the cheapest).
I have always budgeted 1200 per month of travel, keep in mind this is usually pretty comfortable and lots of people do it alot cheaper. You can go prob as low as 500 per month, but I like my diving and partying and move alot.
#2 Brute has been a member since 16/12/2012. Posts: 36
I think 1,200 per month is solid mid-range, no dorm rooms and eating and drinking some nice meals from time to time. You can certainly do it a lot cheaper - though you may splurge on the occasional guided tour and such, remember you can save money on 15USD tour tuk-tuks and such by renting a motorbike for the day and checking things out on your own too.
I just visited Cambodia & Vietnam for 3 weeks and spent around 800 USD to stay in mid-range (twin beds, was traveling with a friend) but didn't bother to bargain for anything and got fleeced on a couple of rides that I needed faster rather than trying to save cash.
I prefer the less developed places because the developed places are almost like home in my opinion, and I find the natives in the less developed places are nicer/far more outgoing (a BIG PLUS when you travel solo, as we travel). The less developed places are mostly in Indochina (Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos). You will find fewer creature comforts in the cheaper countries, but even in poor Laos you can get excellent food/lodging. I find Vietnam to be the most welcoming and friendliest of all.
I believe you can live very well on $70. a day in the cheaper countries, but you will pay considerably more in the more expensive Hong Kong and Singapore (only for the rich). Bali and Malaysia would be mid-range in cost. Thailand slightly more expensive than Indochina.
#4 daawgon has been a member since 17/4/2007. Posts: 1,111
Yeah - 70 USD a day is very nice. For example you can easily get a hotel room for around 15 USD in Can Tho and then if you go into a local neighborhood two of us had Pho and Iced Coffees for 3 USD, that takes care of lunch. If you are really taking it easy and not doing too many tour groups, careful about your transport options and not partying too much you can probably do it in half that around Indochina. We probably spent on average 40 USD a day and didn't really watch our spending very tightly.
Then you compare places like HK and Singapore that daawgon mentions - and ouch! For example, I was in Taipei around Christmas and couldn't find an open bed in the city center for under 60 USD a night . . . had sprained my ankle so wanted to stay near the train station otherwise I could have probably searched out a cheaper hostel somewhere.
That sounds good. I'm flying into Bankok, and that is pretty much what i have planned. Where are some interesting places to go, and how long do I spend in each location/country?? I don't want too much planned, but a general idea where to go and how long to stay is needed, i think. I also need to book plane tickets soon, so i need to know which Airports to fly to. The pass that i'm getting will allow flight to the bigger airports like (Thailand) Bangkok, Koh Khan, Chang Mai, Koh Samui, Phuket, Krabi, Hat Yai. (Cambodia) Siem Reap, Phnom Penh. (Vietnam) Hanoi, Da Nang, Ho Chi Minh City. The Pass isen't unlimited so i can't go to all places, but which are the best cities to fly into, in terms of sites, temples, activities, party spots being nearby?
#6 johancp has been a member since 26/2/2013. Posts: 11
It looks like you've got a lot of money saved up and therefore a lot of time . . . so I don't even know how much flying you'll need to do. Honestly, with the budget you have and the time it allows I would plan a big circle and likely wouldn't do any internal or regional flights. Can I recommend checking this out to get your wheels greased and coming back with more specific questions:
I can't stay more then 2 months and I don't need to spend all the money if it can be avoided, since i need be back around summer to apply for university and find an apartment. I have looked at the different trips, and I would like to go to the Islands in the south of Thailand, which isen't in the "Big Trip". Is it viable to not have a clear plan before departing? I'm looking at the one week explorer in Cambodia, which looks pretty good, but i might just spend more then one week in Cambodia and divert from the time table, which means I might have to skip something else. Is it a good idea to have the "take it as you go" approach? I want to see a lot while there, and not get too bogged down on some island for too long, but I also don't want a time table or a definitive plan for my whole trip. What is your take on the planning phase of the trip??
Also, which book should i buy? I'm looking at Lonely Planets books. Which should i get? The big SE Asian region book (http://shop.lonelyplanet.com/asia/southeast-asia-on-a-shoestring-travel-guide-16/?lpaffil=lpdest-shoppod) or the country books, like Thailand+Cambodia+Vietnam(+ maybe Laos).
Thanks in Advance.
#8 johancp has been a member since 26/2/2013. Posts: 11
I personally don't use the Lonely Planet books. I do research on Travelfish and other forums as I find overall the information is more up to date - and often guesthouses and cafe's will have copies of a Lonely Planet that you can look through. Many of the places I recently stayed in Cambodia and Vietnam had free internet terminals and otherwise they are easy to find and cheap access. You could just keep a notebook with some maps you printed of cities and some key names of places you want to visit in each area and then do deeper research once you've gotten there, talked to people on the ground and have some free time to hit up an internet terminal.
If you really want to buy a book - I'm not sure if they have updated it recently, but the Greater Mekong Lonely Planet offers the basics on Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Yunnan Province and Northern Thailand. Since you'll probably know which islands you want to visit before you arrive you can just supplement some printouts from Travelfish for anything that edition doesn't have (it is a much smaller book so less to carry --- though if you like to read I highly recommend you invest in a Kindle if only to bring a load of Fiction/Non-Fiction for long bus rides).
You've certainly got enough money for 2 months - so no worries about that, you mostly need to have in mind your must see locations - a week or two doing some island hoping, maybe Siem Reap, do you want to party in Saigon, take a boat around Halong Bay? If you've got a few key places to visit you can then see while you're there how your time is going - and it is your choice or not to get lost somewhere. I met a girl in Kampot who ended up spending 3 weeks camped out there with some weekend trips to islands and such, didn't regret it at all - though she knew that she'd now be taking a pass on northern Vietnam as she no longer had the time. If you have your must visit spots in mind then you can also see how time is going and maybe you're going faster than expected so you could break up the long leg from Kampot to Saigon with a stop for a night or two in Can Tho because people told you it was a nice place to check out. Loose is probably better if you have 2 months.
I usually travel for just 3 weeks at a time, so my path is set, and I just decide how much time to spend in each place as I go -- usually having to cut a place out along the way because I get stuck somewhere longer than expected.
Just went to the doctor today, for vaccines and he told me that I'm ready to go after giving me a Tetanus vaccine. I already have the Hepatitis B vaccine. I thought I might need the A vaccine, but he said that it wasn't really necessary, since it was relatively safe and it was unlikely that I would get it. Same explanation was given about Malaria and Rabies. I asked my dad, who is also a doctor, and he told me the that my doctor was right, and that it wasn't too dangerous and i could do a lot of things to prevent getting it (same explanation with Malaria), and he would get me some medicine if I was unlucky and got it.
I would just like to ask people here what their experiences were? Would it be considered safe to get it beforehand, or could i just be extra cautious on my trip. My dad may know a lot about the causes and symptoms but i don't think he knows a lot about SE Asia.
Thanks in advance.
#10 johancp has been a member since 26/2/2013. Posts: 11
I'd agree with casey re: how you might like to tackle this. You have time and a good budget so i'd be more inclined just to have a loose plan and go from there. Flights can be cheap/sales come on train travel especially in Thailand very easy to organize on the ground.
Just a thought not sure which country your from but here in Aus, we have a Twinrix injection for both Hep A + B in one, when you need to have a booster might be better option
I live in China so - Hep A vaccine for me please! Also, why not get a rabies vaccine, there are high incidents of rabies in SE Asia and lots of stray dogs. . . Malaria, I've never taken medicine (knock on wood) and have just taken the usual precautions - long pants at night, repellent, mosquito net, etc.
Yea, i'm calling my doctor to get one soon.
I'm currently looking at backpacks and the ones in Denmark (I live in Denmark) are extremely expensive, costing 349,67 USD. Can anyone recommend anywhere to buy a good travel bag in another close country such as the UK? Also, which model and brand would be a good pick. Since this will be my first time backpacking i have no idea which to choose.
Thanks in advance.
#13 johancp has been a member since 26/2/2013. Posts: 11
Looking at this one http://www.nomadtravel.co.uk/p-757-berghaus-jalan-7015-wheelie-mens.aspx
#14 johancp has been a member since 26/2/2013. Posts: 11