im off round South East Asia in october for about 4 months. I fancy Indonesia first, then flying over to Thailand, then the bus up to Laos/Vietnam and back down to bangkok. Would that order be ok?
and as im a female going alone are there any places I should avoid/be wary of? (please don’t just say all of it, im shitting it already!)
and are there any good travel books/guides out there except lonely planet?
thanks very much xxxx
You don't say where you're from.
But, if near a good book store, go look for yourself and see if anything jumps out at you.
I hope you don't take this as a rude comment, it's not intended that way. Rather, that whatever you take with you has to be lugged around by you. That said, some people prefer Lonely Planet, others rely on the electronic Travelfish guides, and the list could go on.
At the end of the day, YOU have to work with whatever aid you use, YOU have to make that decision, so go look and see what YOU think.
If I were you I'd wait till getting to Bangkok to buy your guidebook. You can pick up cheap second hand copies there, especially if you're staying in the Khao San Road area. Loads of people sell them when they've finished travelling or don't need them any more.
Whereabouts are you thinking of going in these countries exactly?
In general it's pretty safe though you will probably get a bit more male attention in Indonesia once you get away from the cities and major tourist areas.
In my experience Indonesians often find it very difficult to understand what a woman is doing travelling on her own...why aren't you at home looking after hubby/kids/parents/grandparents???? Very alien concept for them so they are eager to help you rectify the situation instead of wandering around like a lost electron. Also the men have heard all these stories about what western women will do so they are kinda curious to test you out and see if it's true.
The owner of a homestay where I was staying at in the Mulukkus even proposed to me once, citing his good prospects of becoming village chief one day as his big draw card. He was rather good looking, not to mention about 20 years younger than me. However I didn't fancy having to don a ninja outfit in that heat every time I went out to fetch water from the village well so I declined. Also I'd have been wife #2 which is THE worst one to be because wife #1 and wife #3 often gang up on you.
The Christian ones are just as bad ... constant stream of young men who want you to take them to Bali (where the streets are paved in gold) and be your toyboy.
Also, "Hello misterrrrrrrr. Where are you from, are you married?" is often the only English they know, so don't take it personally. Try and remain polite and smile even if 50 other people have already asked you that very same question that day.
The locals in Laos and Thailand (don't know about Vietnam) mostly leave you alone... it's the expats and the tourists you have to watch out for there. You wouldn't believe the number of guys who claim they are totally "Thaied out" in Thailand.
Apart from that you should be fine...apart from motorbike accidents, scams and the odd opportunistic theft .... all of which can be avoided if you exercise a little common sense.
Don't worry though, you'll feel safer wandering about the streets of Bangkok at night than you ever would in London or New York!
"Also I'd have been wife #2 which is THE worst one to be because wife #1 and wife #3 often gang up on you."
That made me chuckle - it sounds as though you were actually contemplating it! ;-)
Thanks for the great advice. especially SBE -you have a wicked attitude, i think humour is the best way to deal with those types of situations!
its probably sensible going to Bangkok first and doing my trip the other way around as I can pick up some cheap travel guides and perhaps get a feel for it first from somewhere slightly more 'western', (albeit rife with tourism)
From reading an earlier post by BruceMoon (i think it was?) I think its best to keep the plan pretty vague and focus more on the place im in rather than where im going.
thanks again x
Hey Sophie - I'm not sure it's a great idea to plan your trip around where you can buy travelbooks! You will also be able to buy them in Kuta/Legian in Bali, as well - and other places along the way, I'm sure.
SOmething that is more important to consider (in my view) is the weather. You really want to try to avoid the rainy season as much as possible - or least, you don't want to be hitting it your whole trip as you move through each country. And different parts of each country will have different rainy seasons.
Just a thought...
I was going to say exactly the same thing! The rainy season starts in mid-late November ... well it has whenever I've been there, but someone mentioned to me yesterday that el nino is here this year so that may affect things a bit.
By all means get over the jet lag and find your feet a bit in BKK but your original idea of starting with Indonesia in October was a good one. It's still a bit rainy in Thailand but the weather should be fine in Indo at that time of year....hope so because I'll be there then too and so will Busylizzy!
I don't know where you're going exactly Sophie, but if you go to say Bali first then I don't think you'll find that any more difficult than BKK. Very developed tourist infrastructure. You can spread out from there so to speak. (Have you checked the Air Asia site BTW...big sale on at the moment, dirt cheap prices).
PS Sounds like there is the definite possibility pissup in Bali towards the end of November if you're interested! The more the merrier eh Somtam? ;-)
Ah sorry the Air Asia sale ... the flights in it are from Jan 11 onwards.
Sorry I've been emptying my bank account (not really) buying Air Asia flights all over the place these last last couple of days because they have such good deals on in their sale...
Speaking of which, yesterday I had one of my "why not?" whim moments and decided to go to Sri Lanka for a month so now I've got to decide whether to go to Laos or Burma in December...or Vietnam. Those flights are great deals but they do rather tie one into an itinerary which isn't my usual modus operandi at all.
PS. All I know about Sri Lanka so far is that it's a teardrop shaped island off the end of India and that the capital city is called Colombo. This site doesn't cover it but if anyone has any great tips regarding "where to go what to see" then I'm all ears (Yes I know that's rather vague Bruce but hey I'm a newbie and I have to start somewhere don't I).
Failing that, does anyone know of a site similar to this one full of helpful "real" travel info as opposed to the glossy sale brochure type?