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Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia forum

First SE Asia trip (12 weeks) and trying not to cram too much

Posted by hollon on 30/7/2015 at 22:07

I'm planning my first trip to SE Asia that will start in mid/late Sept. to mid Dec. Though I've never been to SE Asia, I've been living in Korea for a year so my mind is accustomed to not being in America. I guess I want to lay out what I've got planned and see what advice you guys have for me.

I would like to visit: Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, and Indonesia (will be flying into and probably out of Thailand).
Budget is around $6000 for two people.

I really enjoy hiking, swimming, camping, etc, but I also like seeing cultural and historical sites. It's preferable to get off the beaten path a bit for me as well. I'm not too into the partying scene but it can be fun occasionally.

So would I have enough time to do this? I'm also trying to plan a travel route that makes sense and doesn't really use flying if all possible. I've been trying to plan for this trip for a little bit, but I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around planning a 12 week route.

Thanks everyone.

#1 hollon has been a member since 30/7/2015. Posts: 1

Posted by mikal83 on 31/7/2015 at 03:29

Imho, you'll be fine. You can always go back and theres only so many little towns you can visit. We too leave the UK early Oct bound for BKK, then a quick flight to Hanoi and will be doing the "reverse" big loop. We figured that ending in Hanoi in Dec it would be cold etc and not so much fun in Sapa. We know that the weather in northern Laos/Thailand in Dec will be great. The lonely planet book for Vt, Cam, Laos and northern Th has been a great guide combined with the guides here. Have fun.

#2 mikal83 has been a member since 19/1/2015. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 140

Posted by Buzzdavagabond on 3/8/2015 at 02:15

Just make sure you don't miss Vietnam, with the exotic Saigon, great beaches at Mui Ne, Ninh Thuan, Nha Trang and Da Nang- the dream city for all travelers. Ha Long bay is a must-see also.
If any questions about Vietnam you can email me at: buzzbuzz.buzy@gmail.com.
From a local student in Ho Chi Minh city who would love to help :D

#3 Buzzdavagabond has been a member since 3/8/2015. Posts: 1

Posted by Gogomobile on 3/8/2015 at 04:18

Halong Bay is dirty. Go to Phang Nga in Thailand. I'd stick to 3 countries. Anyone and it will be tiring.

#4 Gogomobile has been a member since 14/4/2015. Posts: 412

Posted by SBE on 3/8/2015 at 05:52

Agree with gogomobile. General rule of thumb is three months=3 countries max, otherwise you'll be rushing and wasting money on visas that you won't have time to fully use. You don't have a massive budget, and in general the faster you travel the more money it costs. It's a lot cheaper and more enjoyable to take your time... allows you to stop for a while in places you really like rather than having to pack up and get on a bus every couple of days.

Indonesia is my favourite country in SE Asia so I wouldn't dream of cutting it out (in fact I'd probably spend 2 months there and one month somewhere else) but I suspect it's Indonesia that's giving you your logistical headache. Can't see how you'll be able to include it without flying and it's hard to get off the beaten track if you've got very limited time. Distances are huge and land transport is often very slow and uncomfortable. You may have to wait 2 weeks for the next Pelni ferry and it can take days to get to where you want to go.

I still haven't got round to visiting Vietnam so can't help there. The reasons I haven't been there yet are: 1.the expensive visa and the fact you have to decide in advance where you'll be entering and exiting the country. 2. it seems quite hard to deviate from the major tourist routes if you're relying on public transport, and 3. the complicated climate. I've read that the central area can be quite wet and stormy between September and December and it gets hit by typhoons fairly frequently. If Vietnam is high up on your wish list I'd be inclined to choose either the north or the south, otherwise it's going to eat up too much time.

#5 SBE has been a member since 14/4/2008. Location: Global Village. Posts: 2,055

Posted by MADMAC on 3/8/2015 at 05:58

SBE - what do you find so appealing about Indonesia? I've never been, but at some point would like to go as I have some friends there from the dance scene.

#6 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by JuliaLuther on 11/8/2015 at 22:40

I think around 3 months is fine to visit these countries all. Vietnam is a big country and scenery varies from the north to south, so you should spend much more time than you do in Laos & Cambodia. I plan to travel to Indonesia next year and hope to hear much interesting info of that country then. IMHO, you should start in Vietnam 'coz Sep is great time to visit Vietnam: cool weather and not much rainny. Esp if you travel to Sapa that time, rice terrace is amazing.

#7 JuliaLuther has been a member since 21/10/2014. Posts: 29

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