Photo: Street food Phetchaburi Soi 10, Bangkok.

Southeast Asia forum

6 months in SE Asia

Posted by onewayticket on 14/3/2010 at 21:43

Hi All,

I'm an English guy, living in Wales and have been planning my escape in my head for over a year. I came back from a great snowboarding trip with a bunch of people I hardly knew at the end of january with 11 new friends. By the first week in Feb I'd decided it was time to go find more people I'd didn't know at all, in a slight more exotic location!

So, sabatical sorted with work, one way ticket booked to Bangkok (4th May), and six months to see what SE Asia is all about. I've been reading the forums for a couple of weeks now, and helpful as they are, I'm coming down with info overload!!

I guess I have a few specific questions I'd like to throw out there.

1) 6 Months - too long to just spend in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam - should I look further afield?

2) Planning - with 6 months I guess I can take my time - I'm tempted to not plan at all and see how it goes. Good idea/bad idea? I want to have some party time/island relaxing, but am mainly interested in seeing beautiful scenery and doing exciting things (I'm a kitesurfer in my spare time, so I need a fair amount of adrenaline to keep me going!)

3) I was trying to pick a general route direction - but with so much weather info to cross reference, I'm getting nowhere. Can anyone suggest the best places to be at what times (roughly) (May - Oct)

4) I'm travelling alone, but obviously would love to meet plenty of people. I've travelled alone before, but that was 7 years ago, and just for a month around Europe. Anyone fancy meeting up, drop me a email, and we can chat rich.onewayticket.clark(at)

5) Guide books. I've stuck with Lonely Planet in the past and found them pretty good. However, I've read a few bad reviews on recent ones - can anyone suggest the best ones for each individual countries.

All advice greatfully received. (and I'm sure there will be many more questions to come!)

Thanks in advance


#1 onewayticket has been a member since 14/3/2010. Posts: 9

Posted by christay2009 on 14/3/2010 at 23:05

Personally, I'd try and think of some general 'must sees' for yourself but how and when you get to see them is something that might be good to do on an ad hoc basis!

As far as weather goes, everywhere [with a couple of exceptions] will be hot or hotter or wet or wetter. I wouldn't get to worried about it but maybe looking at the 'four countries' itinerary on here might help with the route - as you've got loads of time just add in ALL the extras!

I could quite easily spend 6 months in those places. I don't think that would be a problem. If you find yourself wanting more you could always think of getting a cheap [probably Air Asia] flight to Hong Kong. Theres always Malaysia and Singapore too. You could just plan for 4 countries and decide about anything else on a whim. Quite alot of possibilities thanks to AirAsia and the close proximity of other countries...

mmm...hard to think of a good guidebook for SE.Asia. If only there was some website that provided loads of up-to-date information on all four countries your going to!!? Better yet, it would be amazing if they published some kind of guide you could download and print out! If only! :-)

(p.s. you can pick up cheap copies of LP books in Asia, if you feel you need one when you get there!)

#2 christay2009 has been a member since 8/2/2009. Location: China. Posts: 415
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Posted by exacto on 14/3/2010 at 23:20

Hey Rich,

1) It depends on what you like to do, but personally, I could easily spend 6 months just travelling around Thailand and Laos, much less Cambodia and Vietnam. If you were looking to expand out a bit, those cheap Air Asia flights to Malaysia and elsewhere are a great idea. I'd also recommend Indonesia and particularly Bali, but that's a bit more of a distance and effort.

2) With six months you can definitely take your time, but I'd suggest at least having a rough plan worked out if for no other reason than you'll have to deal with visas for each place you go. It might be smart to start out with a 60-day tourist visa for Thailand that you get ahead of time rather than the 30-day exemption you get at the airport, for example, and then work from there. Laos and Cambodia will give you 30 days on arrival too. Anyway, like Christay says, figure out at least your few must sees (Angkor Way, Luang Prabang, Sukhothai, a few different islands, whatever) and work out a general itinerary that takes you there.

4) It is easy to meet people on the road, particularly in the smaller guesthouses and more out-of-the-way destinations. I often meet folks on day trip-style tours too. Plus, there is something to be said for travelling by yourself and not having to compromise on where to stay, eat, go, etc. Its a different kind of fun.

5) I'm not sure I'd try to carry separate guidebooks for each country on such a long trip. Maybe you could either get a regional guidebook and fill in the details with online resources and through chatting with fellow travellers, or just wait and pick up used guidebooks once you arrive.

Six months sounds really nice. Have a great time. Cheers.

#3 exacto has been a member since 12/2/2006. Location: United States. Posts: 2,759
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Posted by MADMAC on 15/3/2010 at 09:29

6 months is still not enough just for one country, let alone four. And my reasoning is this. In my view, language is culture, and if you really want to experience the culture, you have to learn the language. And that takes time. I would rather spend a long time in one country and get a real understanding of it, than a short time in a lot of countries and not really understand squat about them.

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