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Southeast Asia

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6 month Itinery, SE Asia, starting in October

Posted by rosaw1 on 6/5/2017 at 10:23

Please help! I am a 25 year old female and this is my first time backpacking - I hope to be going with a female friend of the same age.

I want to leave in October, and will have ~£6000 to spend post flights (no diving). I think this should give me about 6 months of travelling. I want to see as much of SE Asia as I can but not to rush it. I am not fussed about going to Singapore & think timor-Leste will be too risky? I want to go to Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand (although not the very touristy bits), and I think Malaysia. My interests are nature, wellness/spirituality, culture and people (mainly people!!!!!) so I imagine I will enjoy Indonesia, Cambodia and Laos the most. I am no going to do the typical party strip thing so want to avoid the western packed areas if I can - no booze cruises!

From what I have seen, Indonesia is the best place to start from UK? From there, maybe Laos and then bus travel around Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand?

I could really do with some help of what route is the best (to go in the right months and with cheapest flights) - I am happy to be flexible on timings (visa depending). Where is the best place to be in the busiest months on Dec and Jan?

I hope you can help. thank you!

#1 rosaw1 has been a member since 6/5/2017. Posts: 4

Posted by somtam2000 on 6/5/2017 at 17:27 admin


A couple of quick thoughts to get you started:

Weather wise, in October Indonesia will just be kicking off its wet season, while much of mainland SEAsia (Cambodia/Thailand/Laos) will be at the end of their wet season. So you may want to reconsider your timing somewhat and look to start in say northern Thailand, then Laos, then Cambodia, then Burma (I'd say in that order as then you'll be arriving at the Cambodian islands to very good weather) then, after that, head to Indonesia, where it should be drying out by the end of March (though, here we are in May and it poured rain here in Bali last night!)

In Dec Jan you have brilliant weather in most of Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Burma, so really anywhere is pretty good! I wouldn't make the mistake of assuming Thailand is all too touristy - it is a big place :)

I wouldn't say Timor Leste is unsafe, but it is a bit pricey. If you're not diving, what has your interest there?

For more detailed planning and routing ideas, take a look at the itinerary section which has a bunch of suggested routes and you could get some ideas from there.

More questions, ask away!

#2 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 8,089

Posted by rosaw1 on 7/5/2017 at 02:09

thank you Somtam2000! Very helpful.

I really want to see Indonesia, do you think it would be best to go in September and spend a month there first? then perhaps thailand - Laos - Cambodia -Vietnam (or vice versa?) - Myanmar - Malaysia - Philippines

It is possible I could stay for 7 months if the money goes far enough.

timor-Leste - I was just interested in somewhere no so developed but as it's expensive and I'm no diving I will give I a miss.

On a side note, how worth is diving, and how much more money would it cost?

thanks again
p.s. my 't' won' capitalise - in case you were wondering!

#3 rosaw1 has been a member since 6/5/2017. Posts: 4

Posted by rosaw1 on 11/5/2017 at 13:03

I think I have decided to stick to Thailand - Cambodia - Vietnam - Laos - Myanmar. Starting in October. Would you still advise this route? Over ~6 months.


#4 rosaw1 has been a member since 6/5/2017. Posts: 4

Posted by SBE on 11/5/2017 at 19:37

Hi there.

I've been doing a similar trip to yours on a limited budget every year for the past 15 years or so. Depends on your particular interests but Indonesia is the one country I'd NEVER skip because it's so vast and varied and it's also the best place for snorkeling. (There's no need to learn to dive if you're on a tight budget...you can see loads of stuff just with a mask and tuba).

In fact I'd happily spend my whole six months in Indonesia if it weren't for the inconvenient timing of the rainy season there.

I know Somtam lives on Bali but I disagree with what he says about the weather in October. In my experience, it's a great month to go ... not too many tourists, the weather is usually nice and sunny (just the odd tropical shower) and the seas are still calm. Even November is still pretty OK. Real rainy season doesn't usually start till December and it then stays rather wet and stormy until the end of March. (Northern Sumatra should be dry enough by March though). Doesn't rain much in September but that's when they burn forests on Sumatra and Kalimantan so there's a smoke and haze problem if you're anywhere near those two islands.

Nobody has yet come up with suggestions about where to go in high season yet I see... pity, I'd be interested in knowing too. I usually hang out on one of the less developed Thai islands so I can swim but Thailand's getting increasingly expensive due to rising prices and lousy exchange rates and the snorkeling there is very "meh" nowadays....most of the coral has died and there aren't many fish left.

Pity TF still totally ignores the existence of the Philippines for reasons that only Somtam knows ... have only been there once myself. At the time I found it poor value for money compared to Thailand with underwhelming snorkeling and overwhelming karaoke noise but it was quite a few years ago and maybe I didn't go to the right places. Might try it again next trip.

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

Posted by exacto on 11/5/2017 at 21:56

I'm not sure I'd recommend carrying a tuba around with me for six months. In fact, I'd say French horn is the largest instrument that would be comfortable. Other than that, I agree with SBE that Indonesia is something particularly special and worth visiting. I've only been to Jakarta and surround, Yogyakarta, Bali, and Lombok, but I thought particularly the last three places were extra awesome in terms of exotic feel, food, and value.

You should be able to get cheap flight in and out of Indonesia on Air Asia.

Thailand is a great place to get started, as it has better infrastructure than most other Southeast Asian countries. I didn't think it was expensive at all on my last trip, but I was only out for a few weeks, which colored my opinion. Even so, stay out of tourist areas and there are serious values.

Laos is great for switching into low gear and slowing things down.

In any case, have a look at the itineraries section to get an idea of places to visit, etc. The link is below. Cheers.


#6 exacto has been a member since 12/2/2006. Location: United States. Posts: 2,831

Posted by SBE on 12/5/2017 at 01:48

Oops. Thanks exacto! Am in France at the moment and hardly ever get the opportunity to speak any English here. Tuba is the French word for snorkel and was the first word that popped into my head.... sorry about that rosaw, my answer must have been somewhat confusing for you! :)

PS. I would recommend carrying your own snorkel and mask. Doesn't take up much room in a backpack. Rental gear is usually pretty rubbish (leaky masks etc) and it gets expensive to hire if you're doing a lot of snorkeling.

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

Posted by exacto on 12/5/2017 at 08:05

Right. I knew exactly what you meant. Just thought it was cute. Bon jour!

#8 exacto has been a member since 12/2/2006. Location: United States. Posts: 2,831

Posted by Tutins on 8/6/2017 at 09:13

Hi, my name is Kristaps, im 25 and i am planning to do a similar trip next september from Edinburgh.

me and my friend have been talking about it and easily could have £5000 for the trip.

we could easily find a group of people for it. would be fun.

#9 Tutins has been a member since 8/6/2017. Posts: 1

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