Just interested to see what people's preferred method of travel is? I'm spending 6 months in SE Asia next year - flying into BKK on Jan 13 and flying home from there on July 12, and have pretty much no solid plans for in between. Very few people I've spoken to seem to believe this!
It's not that I don't have ideas what I want to do. I have places in mind I want to visit - Ha Long bay, Angkor Wat, Chiang Mai, a few Thai islands and the usual popular places plus a few extra, but I'm stubbornly resistant to the idea of planning the route - I'd much rather let the journey unfold a day / location at a time than be fixed. I have six months to do it in!
Am I a rare case?!
not at all. lots of folks do it the same way.
with such a big chunk of time on your hands, you may wish to at least rough out a general itinerary, such as thailand first, vietnam second, cambodia third, then back to thailand last, etc. this is particularly important when you are working out the logistics of your visas and how long they'll be valid for each country.
it also helps to have at least a rough plan for getting from point A to point B, since it is much easier to get to siem reap from bangkok than it is from luang prabang, for example.
sounds like a great time. have fun. regards.
I'm more like you Jleef. I've never made an itinerary. Ever.
I used to love those open ended tickets, you could come back any time during the one year window if there were seats available.
I still haven't been to many famous tourist sites and towns, oh well. Being tied down to a schedule and an itinerary sounds restricting. I like to relax while relaxing.
I'll give you a direct quote from Travelfish, "less is more". That day when you wake up, realize you don't know what month it is let alone if you have overstayed your visa, think back to this thread. I'm envious.
I'd also say "wing it". The only thing I'd be proactive about is a visa for Thailand. Specifically there could be issues (on the departing end) if you try to fly to BKK for a long visit without any Thai visa. Also if popping in/out/in Thailand by land you're limited to 14-days per entry without a proper visa. Vietnam visa also needs some preperation but just grab one in a neighboring country before heading for the border. Laos and Cambodia generally issue 30-day tourist visas on arrival so no worries.
As for the rest - just get to the region and take it as it comes.
Good, there's a few of us then!
I do sort of have plans for country order - a couple of friends will be in Vietnam around 6-7 weeks after I begin, so the basic plan is to do Thailand and then fly over to meet them. After that it'll probably be Laos and Cambodia, plus perhaps a little time in Malaysia or the Philippines, before back to Thailand to spend the last of my time and fly home from BKK.
So I do have a rough plan in a way I guess, but I'm happy to leave any further details than that until I arrive in each country! As far as visas go, I'm planning on picking up a double-entry 60 day thai visa in the next week or two, then getting my Vietnam visa in Thailand. If Laos and Cambodia are simpler to get into then that makes things easier too!