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Advice Please! Travelling South-East Asia and India

Travel Forums Asia Advice Please! Travelling South-East Asia and India

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1. Posted by tamara1kt (Budding Member 20 posts) 1y

Hello!

I am going travelling with my friend for 6 months, starting at the end of November this year (2015). We are in our early 20's, from England and haven't been travelling before. We are going to India, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam and Laos from the end of November to the end of May.

I have a few questions we would really appreciate people's advice on please!

Firstly, we are planning on saving £5000 each to take, however this also includes buying everything we need before we leave (like backpacks and cameras and stuff like that), and also includes flights. Do you think this is enough money for 6 months?? We are fine with slumming it, we'll be staying in hostels the whole time and not be splashing out on luxuries or anything. We are worried mostly about the travelling between places being expensive though?

That also leads on to, is 6 months enough time to properly do all 5 countries? With budget travelling (i.e. not flying and getting night trains and buses etc.) We really don't want to be squeezing too much in and therefore missing things or feeling rushed.

Thirdly, we aren't sure what order to do the countries in. We have decided we'll start in India, but then we're not sure about the rest. Mostly the trouble is we don't know where would be best to be in April, when it's ridiculously hot everywhere! Any advice on where would be the least unbearable? We're thinking somewhere with lots of coast, so maybe Vietnam? But then there is also the travelling from country to country again; will it be easier/more difficult from certain places to others?

The other thing we'd really like advice on is clothing! I've researched this loads but I just still don't really know what to take! Like how much of it, but also what to take. We both like clothes and looking nice, which obviously we're aware that we'll get dirty and smelling and stuff, but we just don't want the same drab clothes everyday you know? But mostly like what kind of clothes would you recommend for the heat, while also being respectful? In my head we'll have to be in trousers and long sleeves the whole time so as not to draw attention/look too provocative, but is this true? Will we have to be covered all the time or are above the knee shorts/skirts alright sometimes? And what kind of tops do people wear??! I'm just a bit lost, and I have a major tendency to overpack whenever I go on holiday, which obviously is not an option here! Help please!

Then lastly, are there any places in these countries that you feel are must sees?

Thanks for your help, any advice would be greatly appreciated! :)

2. Posted by Nic.A7 (Budding Member 29 posts) 1y

india is huuuuuuuuuuuuuge. im going in nov and until i started planning, i didn't realise just how big it is. (i mean, looking at a map you know its big but when you start looking at 32hr train journeys ) so id say spend 2 months in india and a month in each of the others but thats just my opinion, just do loads of research into where has the most things you want to do!
ive heard thailand in april is unbearably hot, like 40 degrees and humid. i haven't looked into the weather in the others but can imagine they'll all be in the mid 30s at least.
clothes wise, for india i'm packing cotton maxi skirts/three quarter length shorts and tank tops and then having a light weight shawl on me at all times if we end up going anywhere religious that needs shoulders covered. I think india will be the place you will need to take most caution with being respectful, as friends of mine who have travelled around thailand/vietnam have done so in shorts and tank tops and reported no problems. but dont forget another benefit of being covered up is avoiding mosquito bites! make sure to take plenty of anti bug spray and have all your injections up to date. will probably cost you around £200 x

Post 3 was removed by a moderator
4. Posted by tamara1kt (Budding Member 20 posts) 1y

Quoting Nic.A7

india is huuuuuuuuuuuuuge. im going in nov and until i started planning, i didn't realise just how big it is. (i mean, looking at a map you know its big but when you start looking at 32hr train journeys ) so id say spend 2 months in india and a month in each of the others but thats just my opinion, just do loads of research into where has the most things you want to do!
ive heard thailand in april is unbearably hot, like 40 degrees and humid. i haven't looked into the weather in the others but can imagine they'll all be in the mid 30s at least.
clothes wise, for india i'm packing cotton maxi skirts/three quarter length shorts and tank tops and then having a light weight shawl on me at all times if we end up going anywhere religious that needs shoulders covered. I think india will be the place you will need to take most caution with being respectful, as friends of mine who have travelled around thailand/vietnam have done so in shorts and tank tops and reported no problems. but dont forget another benefit of being covered up is avoiding mosquito bites! make sure to take plenty of anti bug spray and have all your injections up to date. will probably cost you around £200 x

Thanks, that was really helpful! I think maxi skirts/dresses are going to be a really good idea. I've read hundreds of people swearing by sarongs as well, for temples and things as you say, but also to use as a towel and a million other things.

Yes, everything I've read about the weather in these countries has been pretty extreme in April! I think we'll just have to suck it up! And yes, probably avoid Thailand I think.

I am worried about mozzies, I always get bitten loooaaaddss when I go on holiday, so I'm dreading that! Will definitely take about a gallon of bug spray.

Thanks for your advice :)

5. Posted by Andyf (Travel Guru 640 posts) 1y

In some of your destinations it's not just a case of bug spray, you need to consider anti malaria drugs. NHS Scotland has a Fit For Travel website with malaria maps and advice.

Post 6 was removed by a moderator
7. Posted by lostsoul77 (Budding Member 5 posts) 1y

Hey,

So I wrote an awesome response only to lose it, so lets see if I can remember the whole essay I wrote. First things first I love your choice of countries, you are going to have a blast. As to the money you will be fine, especially if you dont mind slumming it. The last time I went to Asia I took around 1000USD with me. Generally I feel comfortable with 1000-1500USD per month I am traveling. This includes paying my way, hostels, food, excursions, shopping, and gifts. Also keep in mind don't go crazy buying things in advance I would say a travelpack about 40L is perfect! I recommend a water proof camera as I made the mistake of dropping one of mine in the water. Also dont over pack!!! This is a big one most people find that they pack too much clothes. Heres what my usual packing list looks like: 1 Long sleeve shirt, 3 Short sleeves, ! pair of pants, 2 Shorts, 2 swim trunks, 7 boxers, 2 Pair of socks, I pair of lite shoes, 1 pair of flip flops, 1 light weight sweater/jacket (keep in mind I live in Miami I bring this for traveling in the airports and what not not to mention it helps sooooo much if you get a bad sunburn.) As for personal items I bring the bare essentials because you can always buy things while in the country ie tooth paste, shampoo, and so forth (this also makes it super easy to bring your bag carry on which saves you money in the long run). I will tell you that I did travel with a female companion and these are things that I noticed while traveling. When it comes to the clothes you dont always have to wear long sleeves. While most places are conservative with women you can still wear a variety of clothes as long as your modest. For example my friends wore tank tops but made sure to never wear tube tops or spaghetti staps as to not show her bra staps. Youll also find if you dont want to wear long sleeve but you are worried your not covered up enough you can simplet throw your sarong over your shoulders and continue on. The second thing I make sure to tell all travelers (more significant to women) is that majority of the public restrooms in SE Asia dont not carry toliet paper! I always recommend carrying at least small packs of tissue with you in your pocket because you never know when you need to go! Also I think that you have some awesome countries lined up, but if you have the time you should check out the Philippines as well! I always recommend El Nido Palwan it is simply breath taking and so much fun! In fact this was my first trip ever to SE Asia. I still speak to everyone I met there including some of the locals. I know you said you were traveling wih friends but just wanted to let you know I will be traveling the same countries coming Jan if all goes well. If you have any questions please feel free to ask away! If you have any questions related to girl stuff that you dont think I can answer I'll be more than happy to ask my friend on her take. Hope this info was helpful to you, all the best wishes!

Sebbie

8. Posted by berner256 (Travel Guru 497 posts) 1y

Palawan and El Nido are great.

I used to travel with short-sleeve shirts, but now have three long-sleeve ones to protect against bugs and the sun. You can always roll up the sleeves. Pants: One extra (convertible); and an extra pair of shorts. Underwear and socks: three pair. This necessitates washing at least every day or two. So I bring a universal sink stopper; wring the clothes out, then wrap it in a towel and pound it to remove excess moisture. The detergent bars sold in many developing countries work well for washing by hand. But laundry is cheap in the countries you're visiting, so you don't need to hand wash if you don't want to.

Sebbie is right about the versatility of scarves and shawls. They are available almost everywhere. You'll see lots of pashmina vendors in India. So tank tops are OK.

I always bring flip-flops, a raincoat (good for warmth, too), a lightweight fleece jacket or vest; and a small LED flashlight (some places don't have reliable electricity).

I carry toilet paper in my pants pocket, particularly when traveling in developing countries. There will be times when you just have to use the "bush toilet," even if there are no bushes. Often, the "bush" will be more sanitary. Also, there's reason why men and women wear robes or similar garments in some countries: They're easier to hitch up when they have to go. Bring a small bottle of hand sanitizer. It will help keep you from getting sick. For example, I've been on some Indian trains where water in the WC was either not available or in short supply. So after people use the toilet and touch this and that ... you get the message. Besides insect repellent, bring some antihistamine ointment. You will be bitten. Guaranteed. Some insects bite through clothes, too. Also bring enough of any medication that you need. Otherwise they might not be available, or the formulations may be different.

I don't have a waterproof camera. To protect against rain, dust and sand, I use a disposable shower cap (you can get them in many hotels). A gallon-size plastic bag will do nicely.

Some travelers don't care what they wear. They're oblivious to the sensitivities and culture of the country and the people they are visiting. Last year I traveled in a predominantly Muslim area with a woman who wore shorts (above the knee) most of the time. She wondered why people were staring at her, particularly in the villages. I explained to her that if she respected the people and the culture, she would have dressed more modestly. So it pays to observe what people are wearing; and dress accordingly, especially if you're going on a walk, or visiting places of worship.

Hope this helps. Have a great trip!

9. Posted by tamara1kt (Budding Member 20 posts) 1y

Quoting lostsoul77

Hey,

So I wrote an awesome response only to lose it, so lets see if I can remember the whole essay I wrote. First things first I love your choice of countries, you are going to have a blast.

Thanks for rewriting your essay, it's much appreciated! That's good about the money; 1000USD about equates to what we will have per month so hopefully we'll be fine. Yes, going to have to be very strict when buying things to take; we are not allowing ourselves to buy clothes (/anything else!) until we leave so as to save as much money as possible, so when we're actually allowed to buy clothes to take with us it'll be so hard to only get a few things! Haha (we like to shop... lol) But yes, definitely necessary to not take a lot. I think I'll take one pair of trousers, one maxi skirt/dress, one pair of shorts and three t-shirts, then two bikinis, a pair of trainers and a pair of flip flops. This is definitely easier said than done though, I am equal parts excited for and dreading packing. Your tip about bra straps not being visible is very helpful, I wasn't aware of that, so that helps a lot, thanks. Unfortunately I don't think we'll have enough time/money to add a whole new country to the list, but it sounds amazing, we will definitely check it out.

Thanks for your help!

[ Edit: Edited on 15-Mar-2015, at 08:25 by tamara1kt ]

10. Posted by tamara1kt (Budding Member 20 posts) 1y

Quoting berner256

Palawan and El Nido are great.

I used to travel with short-sleeve shirts, but now have three long-sleeve ones to protect against bugs and the sun. You can always roll up the sleeves. Pants: One extra (convertible); and an extra pair of shorts. Underwear and socks: three pair. This necessitates washing at least every day or two. So I bring a universal sink stopper; wring the clothes out, then wrap it in a towel and pound it to remove excess moisture. The detergent bars sold in many developing countries work well for washing by hand. But laundry is cheap in the countries you're visiting, so you don't need to hand wash if you don't want to.

Sebbie is right about the versatility of scarves and shawls. They are available almost everywhere. You'll see lots of pashmina vendors in India. So tank tops are OK.

Your tip about drying clothes is great! (the wrapping them in a towel and whacking them), I will definitely use that, thanks. We will probably also use laundry places a few times if they're that cheap, I am not a fan of hand washing! Haha.

With your shower cap/camera tip, do you just mean that you store your camera in the cap when you're not using it? Or that you use it as protection when you are actually taking pictures as well (in the rain say)?

We definitely don't want to offend any locals or be disrespectful, so we will definitely pay attention to what those around us are wearing and dress accordingly.

Thanks for your help :)