We are a young South African couple who are going to be moving to china in August 2009 for work. We wanted to plan a 6 month trip around south east asia, plans are stil in the very early days but I have been researching quite a bit already as i'm very excited!
We have 6 months 1st July-31st December and so far what I'm tryin to plan is just a basic outline of our trip and would like to do my own further research on each place.
We are keen on seeing a good variety with environmental and cultural mix. We are keen scuba divers, surfers and hikers. And were thinkin of a budget of around $13 000 or 8000 pounds for the two of us for 6 months(travel money including flights to and from china) we happy to rough if out and are planning to travel as much as possible by land.
If you could pleae just give some basic advice about best route, best order considering the weather at that time of year. Then I will start with filling in all the details and itineries!
Our plan was
Starting point China- Chongquing
Laos- 4 weeks
Cambodia- 4 weeks
Veitnam- 4 weeks
Thailand 6 weeks
Indonesia 6 weeks
Do you think it is worth travelling to/from indo via malaysia (heard it more expensive there)in which case it would probably be 5 weeks indo 5 weeks thailand 3 weeks malaysia
Possibly to fly to indo from china then work our way back up? Or else to work our way down to indo and then fly back to china
We don't want to be to rushed or have to spend two many days in buses/trains. know all the advice is less is more! Is this a realistic plan or should we rather choose to spend more time in fewer places
Thanks for any advice
Tammi and Juan
Tammi and Juan
In some respects, and in terms of logistics, I'd suggest the reverse. That is start in Indo and move up through SE Asia. And, I'd probably add in a trip from SE Asia to Yunnan province China before heading to Chongquing.
Not only will you be getting progressively colder (a help as Chongquing is known as a one of the 4 icebox furnaces (extreme cold, and fierce heat as well as an industrial centre)), but July is a bit wet in SE Asia and 'doing' coastal(ly) areas can be better than enduring wet wet wet in the hinterland.
If you 'do' Indo, check out Manado for diving. I'm sure others will add ideas here.
Malaysia is great, while it's about 30% more expensive than Thailand, it does have some great attractions. Taman Negara is an amazing hike area (I came in contact with Orang Asli hunter gatherer's on my last visit).
If you do the reverse, you could fly from Indo to KL (AirAsia) and from Penang to Phuket (Firefly) to do your 'beachy' thing.
From the southern 'beaches' go to BKK, and look into that area. Clearly, you then have the option of east to Cambodia, then Laos & Vietnam, or north to Chiang Mai across to Laos, down thru to Cambodia and across to Vietnam. Then, up Vietnam (and maybe into Yunnan).
Just some ideas.
Whatever you do, try and do some hiking in Nthn Laos (Luang Nam Tha area) for a bit of asia that is fast becoming mere history.
One quick point, being keen divers, you may want to allow more time for Indo and Malaysia, perhaps shave a week or so off Cambodia or Thailand -- both of which have poorer diving.
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T & J
As you'd know, the coral reefs of the Indo-Pacific stretch from the east coast of Africa through to the Hawaiian Islands. However, the closer one gets to the 'core area', the better diversity these reefs offer viewers. The 'core area' is in SE Asia: a map of the 'core area' is at:
According to 'reef - ologists' (ie those that appear to speak only coral reef language) apparently 'THE' centre of coral reefs in SE Asian waters is the Malaku Islands. Access is either via Halmahera or Gag Island (a focus of recent lobbying).
Thanks for the great advice and links. After thinking about it a bit more think we should definately spend more time in Indo(best diving and surf!) and seeing as we right there and the diving looks great, would be a waste not to explore malaysia! Also think flying to Indo from china and working our way up will be best especially with regards to the weather! Also exploring the yunnan province as well on the way back to chongquing. Getting excited!
So we're rather looking at:
Indo 8 weeks
Malaysia 4 weeks
Thailand 4 weeks
Cambodia 3 weeks
Veitnam 3 weeks
Laos 3 weeks
Thanks again for the advice and tips
T & J
If you are going to spend time in Indo for diving in and around the places I suggested, then I wouldn't be focussing on either diving or surfing in peninsular Malaysia.
I suspect that if you attempt same, you'll be greatly disappointed (pity that conservation isn't valued in the more populated parts of the SE Asia region).