This summer (late June through late July) my fiancée and I will be off to Southeast Asia for a month of travel for our honeymoon, awww ;) After a day layover in Helsinki we'll start in Singapore and leaving Bangkok a month later... In between who knows!
We've been reading the Lonely Planet guides as well as the various fabulous resources on Travelfish and and are frankly a bit overwhelmed.
I think we'll end up spending a week and a half traveling from Singapore through Malaysia and then the remaining time in Thailand though if the current military hostilities between Cambodia and Thailand cease we'd like to venture to Angkor Wat... we'll have to see.
While we're not really at a loss for things to do/see we do have a few general questions about traveling and staying in SEA. We're hoping to have a free-flowing itinerary allowing us to come and go as we please and focusing on one activity per day. We have main places that we want to visit and things we want to do but otherwise we're hoping to freewheel it and plan as we go... We've both traveled quite a bit but never in SEA and just don't know how it will compare to other places we've been...
1.) Are we going to have trouble finding places to stay? We'd like to stay in everything from cheap-o's to nicer hotels... are we going to need to plan ahead and make reservations or will we be ok as walk-ins?
2.) We'll be traveling with backpacks... is it wise to leave the larger pack at the hotel or inn while we take a day pack out and about or should we keep our main pack within eyesight the whole trip?
3.) As we'll be trying to cover a lot of ground we'll plan on taking multiple forms of transportation from bus, taxi and train to cab, hired car and short flights. Mostly with respect to the flights- will we be able to walk up to a ticket counter and buy a fare or will we need to again, plan this ahead.
4.) As seasoned SEA experts... is there anything that we simply MUST do/see or ABSOLUTELY avoid? It's kind of hard to determine the quality of an experience through a book/website and thousands of miles away... In addition we've heard/read mixed things about the far south of Thailand and much of Malaysia... of course we take it all with a grain of salt, but wanted to get an opinion or two about where our time might be best spent.
Thanks is advance... you all are a wealth of information and gracious as can be.
#1 showdown has been a member since 1/11/2010. Posts: 2
The situation in the south of Thailand is not normal, and it is dangerous, but heretofore that threat has not been directed against tourists. So I would assess that risk as low, but not non-existent. More of a wrong place, wrong time kind of thing. Certainly you are at greater risk due to traffic accident.
You do not need to take your backpack with you everywhere and that's probably a bad idea unless you are in serious athletic training. Day pack is fine.
Ignore all "Must Sees" and "Must Avoids" Decide for yourselves. What I like maybe you hate. What you like maybe I think is nonsense. We're all different in preferences.
Honeymoon means relaxing together. I wouldnt rush around and try to do too much.
1.) Are we going to have trouble finding places to stay?
june-july is low season so walk ins ok but 4-5 star hotels are cheaper on the net.
2.) We'll be traveling with backpacks.
yes leave them in the room.
Many rooms have safes to keep passports, money etc. Ask before you book a room if they have room safes. But generally they do if they are rooms above 700 baht which is about $24. If not they are usually safe anyway and you can carry a mix of money on you and leave a little bit in the room well hidden.
3.) internet prices are cheaper for flights - airasia is usually the cheapest. walk up for buses and tours is fine.
4.) As seasoned SEA experts... is there anything that we simply MUST do/see or ABSOLUTELY avoid?
depends what you like but for me the islands of thailand are good as are some of the river towns.
I'd recommend spending at least half your time doing some islands and beaches.
gulf - samui, pha ngan, tao
western side - krabi, phi phi, phuket.
kanchanaburi-sai yok area west of bangkok is nice too.
Malaysian is a muslim country as is the far south of thailand so it's different to buddhist culture. I find Malays to be rather boring people and not that warm.
In southern thailand the trang islands are nice. Check out Ko Ngai or Kradan if you go there.
#3 Krabiman has been a member since 2/1/2011. Posts: 223
"In addition we've heard/read mixed things about the far south of Thailand and much of Malaysia... "
Everybody will have their personal reaction to a place. I like Bangkok, some people hate it. Some people like Kuala Lumpur, I find it boring. In the end, only you can decide if you like a place by going there yourself.
KL is a business city. It's really boring. Bangkok has a lot more stuff catering to tourists.
#5 Krabiman has been a member since 2/1/2011. Posts: 223
DON't overpack. Hit your local REI or some such and get a pair of convertable pants. have a good pair of waliking trainers or an approach shoe. Those Keens are comfortable and protect the toes. I love the techamphibians. best shoe I have ever owned for light travel.
You will be able to get t-shirts cheep. Bring a thin long sleeve for cool nights and layering. Bring light underwear that can dry quick, but cotten is important and breathable for women. It can be sticky. If you are not way too tall or overweight you can get needed stuff like shorts or little extras. Bring thin breathable sox. You can buy almost any stuff you need so don't overload you packs like many first timers do with big bottles of sunscreen, (unless you will share it among two for the whole trip), many kinds of water systems, (you can buy good water anywhere, too many shoes (wear a pair and bring a pair). wear a good hat if you want some extra shade. You can get many kinds of feminine products and such. there are many western people in every major destination. Don't bring the whole box. Dudes. don't weigh yourself down with tons of shaving crerams etc. same for heavy lotions.
You will be shopping so remember that coming home you will pay for more stuff to ship/luggage.