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Southeast Asia

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Thailand/Myanmar itinerary help please

Posted by AFClatouche on 24/9/2015 at 07:37

Hi there,

I'm planning to travel (first time, solo) to South East Asia in mid to late October. My initial plan was to fly in to Bangkok then travel north and follow a typical banana pancake trail - eg, Laos, Vietnam north to south, Cambodia, back into Thailand for Ko Chang and Krabi, than Malaysia...

However.... After reading up, I have a huge desire to visit Myanmar too, particularly Yangon and the Southern beaches around Dawei.

What would be your expert advice for factoring in Myanmar with my other destinations? At the start of my trip, should I overland from Kanchanaburi to Dawei, head north and fly out of Yangon to Bangkok? Then north to Chiang Mai to continue my banana route?

Sorry if a similar question has already been covered. Are Mandalay, Lake Inle and Bagan "must see" destinations?

I'll be travelling on a budget, mostly guesthouses with the (very) occasional splurge. Im 38 and there are no pressing time constraints. I like history, food, culture and nature. Any further itinerary suggestions would be very welcome...

Many thanks in advance,

Aidan

#1 AFClatouche has been a member since 29/7/2015. Posts: 4

Posted by Gogomobile on 24/9/2015 at 19:18

History, food, culture and nature is vague. Every 2nd tourist says that.

Maybe you need to read up on national parks, museums, temples and ruins cause there are so many options.

Mid to late October means you only have 2 weeks and in that timeframe Id just pick 1 country and 3 or 4 locations. It takes a day to move so you really dont have time to see many places without constantly moving.

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

Posted by exacto on 24/9/2015 at 22:08

Hi Aidan,

You mentioned there are no pressing time constraints. Does that mean you have an extended time available? If you really wanted to see all the things you listed above, I'd want to have at least three months so as to not be rushed. Otherwise, you might want to decide which places are most important to you and limit the list a bit.

There is a suggested itinerary section on Travelfish that will give you ideas of where to go as well as what order to visit. You can get ideas from those suggestions, and string together a general itinerary. Give it a look at under "Where to Go" in the Planning section at:

https://www.travelfish.org/travel-planning

Some other general logistics things to consider are weather and visas in helping you plan an itinerary.

Also, most experienced travelers on this site will tell you that less is more, and that you will have more fun, see more, spend less money, and generally be better off to include fewer places on any itinerary. On a first time, solo trip, you might want to hang out in Thailand for awhile to get adjusted to the road and get the rhythm of backpacking. After that, you'll be more comfortable visiting some of the more challenging places, like Vietnam and Burma. If you decide to visit them, I'd save them towards the end.

Finally, some folks have a dim view of the banana pancake trail, but I wouldn't worry about that too much. I've had heaps of fun hanging out on that trail over the years. It is there for a reason, because those places are fun and interesting, and you'll still be able to branch out and get off the beaten path and discover some things on your own too. Plus, banana pancakes are cheap and delicious.

Anyway, have a look at a few of things I suggested as well as other basic information in the planning section, then come back with some more specific questions. There are plenty of folks here willing to help out if they can. Cheers.

#3 exacto has been a member since 12/2/2006. Location: United States. Posts: 2,840

Posted by antoniamitchell on 25/9/2015 at 00:37

Hi Aidan,

Is this your first solo trip ever, or your first solo trip to SE Asia? And if it's the second option, where else have you travelled?

If you haven't done much solo travel or much travel in developing countries before (if this is your first ever solo trip, or your first trip outside of Europe/North America/Australia), I'd second Exacto's recommendation that you start with one of the easier countries, like Thailand. As Exacto says, there's nothing wrong with the banana pancake trail, especially when you start (ignore those naysayers who mock anyone who spends time on the trail because, quite frankly, they're just snobs). Think of it like easing yourself into a swimming pool, rather than diving in at the deep end (when you don't know exactly how cold the water is yet). Instead you can gradually acclimatise to the cold, so it's not such a shock to the system.

I enjoyed Burma, but it was a harder country to travel in than Thailand/Malaysia - worse transport infrastructure, more visible poverty and child beggars. It's a beautiful country, but it's also hard work and I found some of it a bit wearying, psychologically, so I'm glad I didn't visit it until after I'd done some travelling in "easier" Asian countries.

Have a great trip.

#4 antoniamitchell has been a member since 13/5/2012. Posts: 569

Posted by amnicoll on 25/9/2015 at 06:23

You really should do what you want and from this I would say if you have a strong desire to visit Myanmar then you should do it OR if you don't want to curtail you visit elsewhere save it for next time

#5 amnicoll has been a member since 10/1/2005. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 976

Posted by AFClatouche on 25/9/2015 at 07:18

Hi there,

Many thanks for the replies. To confirm, this will be my first ever adventure to Asia, and also my first time travelling independently (anywhere!) I will have upwards of six months to slowly make my way across SE Asia.

On reflection, I think I should "ease myself in" to Thailand first - I like Antonia's swimming pool analogy ☺

Provisionally, a clockwise loop from Bangkok up to CM then Chiang Rai, then the NE provinces and down to maybe Koh Chang seems reasonable - all at an easy pace.

I can always change my plans on the road, and don't necessarily need to plan too far ahead.

Many thanks for the advice,

Aidan

#6 AFClatouche has been a member since 29/7/2015. Posts: 4

Posted by amnicoll on 26/9/2015 at 05:39

Thailand is a good place to start as it has a good infrastructure and is very easy for the independent traveler.

Read up on the common scams (forewarned is forearmed) and take care especially in Bangkok till you get the hang of the place

I am assuming that from Koh Chang that cambodia would be the next stop

#7 amnicoll has been a member since 10/1/2005. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 976

Posted by logan2 on 26/9/2015 at 13:23

Hello,
You can also visit Nepal or India for holiday and these places have nice atmosphere and so many place where you enjoy your holidays like Taj Mahal , Lal Killa,many century parks and so many places with there different tradition and languages also.

#8 logan2 has been a member since 26/9/2015. Posts: 1

Posted by AFClatouche on 26/9/2015 at 14:59

I think my biggest problem is I'm so indecisive! I've been planning my adventure for so many months, and changing my mind so many times RE route/countries to visit etc.

I had intended to do the well trodden Thailand/Laos/Vietnam/Cambodia loop starting at the beginning of this month, then broke my leg two weeks before my flight 😒. This resulted in me researching more and more different destinations. India is definitely a consideration, but so is Myanmar, Indonesia, Taiwan and everywhere in between!

Travelfish has been a brilliant tool for planning, especially for a rookie like myself. Hopefully in a few weeks I'll finally land in Bangkok and take it from there (most probably reverting to my original banana pancake route...maybe😀)

#9 AFClatouche has been a member since 29/7/2015. Posts: 4

Posted by antoniamitchell on 26/9/2015 at 15:12

Well, the great thing about having time is that you don't need to plan it all in advance. You can pretty much decide where to move on to, and when you feel like moving on, as the mood strikes. Some places you will need to apply for a visa for, so you'll need a few day's notice to head to those places. But mostly, the world's your oyster.

You won't be able to fit it all in - 6 months seems like a lifetime before you set out, but the reality is that, even with a good amount of time like you have, you won't get to every place you want to go.... but there's always next trip!

Have a fantastic time.

#10 antoniamitchell has been a member since 13/5/2012. Posts: 569

Posted by Gogomobile on 27/9/2015 at 06:55

I wouldnt plan much. 6 mths is ages to work it out as you go. Id head to a beach first and relax for a few days. If I was you Id fly to Trang and stay on Ko Mook then when you get bored head north.

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


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