I'm just beginning the preliminary planning of a trip to SE Asia (Thailand, Laos, etc) and this will be my first trip to Asia. Do you have any suggestions as to where to go? Also, what seems to be a decent per day budget?
Other tips are welcome!
Well it depends on how many days you have for the total trip.
Ideally you will start in Bangkok - make this your forward base for your travels. Then from Bangkok you have the option to go north to Chiang Mai or south to Phuket and the other islands. Once you've explored Thailand (give yourself at least a week or two for that), you may want to go to Cambodia (Siem Reap, to see the famous Angkor Wat) - spend at least 3 days there, or from Chiang Mai go to Laos (Luang Prabang, 2-3 days). Vientiane (day or two) can be tacked on to the Luang Prabang trip, or even Vang Vieng if you like tourist traps.
If going to Cambodia you can travel further east to Vietnam (pass Phnom Penh before going to Saigon). Vietnam, depending on how extensive you want to explore, is at least 1-2 weeks. If you really want to go even farther, fly to the Philippines from Saigon, and spend no less than 1-2 weeks as well.
Now if going south, continue from Phuket on to Malaysia, where a week's stay minimum is encouraged. Singapore is also a few hours ride away from Kuala Lumpur, you may want to spend about 3-4 days there.
Add these all up and we're talking a minimum of a month or two in this part of the world - all that will limit you are your budget and schedule - and plan to spend anywhere between $50-100 daily (airfare not included) for accommodations and living expenses, more if you want a bit of luxury.
if you prefer, Viet Nam is a beautiful, remarkable, safe and cheap destination with may famous destinations such as Sa Pa, Ha Long, Ha Noi, Hue, Hoi An, Da Nang, Nha Trang, Da lat...which are beautiful nature and hospital people. some new destinations which are untouched by tourism factor such as Ha Giang, Ba Be, Co To island, Moc Chau Plateau, Mai Chau - Hoa Binh...you will capture the splendid and peaceful sightseeing here and the diversity of culture and traditions of people.
the cost is competitive. you can easily search for information about these places in google or search tours organized by -snip-.
you can contact me for Viet nam tourism information anytime.
wish you have a best trip!
[ Edit: Sorry, no promos please. ]
I am currently in Vietnam, and travelled through Cambodia and Thailand.
It is much more expensive than I thought it would be as in the tourist areas, you pay tourist prices, if youre not planning to get off the beaten track.
I thought £15 a day would be sufficient, but spending more like £25 a day on average, once you have taken buses/trains, a few tours here and there. That's staying in hostels, eating in both restaurants and street food. Think also about visa costs and any internal flights needed.
Let me know if you want any more specifics.
Also, what seems to be a decent per day budget?
For many travelers they first write a budget out and see how much they have available after paying for round trip flight to Bangkok. Divide the number of days you plan being in Asia into your available funds. This will be your daily average. From this amount you must pay for hotels, food, entertainment, local transportation and if your time is short maybe flights between Thailand and the last country you visit. (From Thailand you can go overland to several countries but if your time is short you might have to fly to save time.)
Different people = different daily budgets! How much you pay for hotels depends on how low you will go, cheap hostel sharing a toilet with 20 other people or a decent guest house/hotel with your own toilet, air conditioner and TV. For food you can eat in expensive restaurants or choose cheaper places like a food court or even buy "fixings" from a supermarket. You can drink alcohol in cheap beer bars or or pay 3 times more in expensive nightclubs.
So, know how much money you have leftover after buying round trip tickets to Bangkok. (One way to Bangkok and one way flight home may cost more. Some long distance one way flights cost the almost the same as round trip flights. Flying between Bangkok and another close country is cheap. Flying one a one way ticket to Bangkok also has problems if you intend to use a free Visa Exemption.)
Different countries means different visa requirements. Do some research on this.
December - January is the most expensive time for hotel prices. Also if coming from North America your flights will cost more than other months of the year. Christmas-New Years holidays will have the most expensive prices for hotels for the whole year and some hotels for the holiday periods are booked 6 months ahead of time.
[ Edit: Edited on 20-Jun-2014, at 13:34 by karazyal ]
if you're heading to SEA, you might want to consider the Philippines with good food, warm people, numerous beaches since we have 7107 islands.
international travel websites have featured Boracay and Palawan as the best places to visit, there are still abundant islands to enjoy. check out Malapascua Island in cebu if you want to dive ... love seafoods? - gensan and davao is famous for Tuna while Roxas City is the seafood capital.
want to taste exotic fruits? try Durian, Marang, Dragon Fruits, Rambutan, Lanzones, Pomelo. Guimaras and Zambales produce the sweetest mangoes.
so if you decide to visit my beloved country, feel free to contact me and i can recommend some awesome sights and great tasting dishes from this part of the world
[ Edit: Sorry, no promos please. ]