Gday all, just looking for a little advice/guidance in regards to travel in SE Asia. Im looking to travel again in 12 to 18 months time, but can't decide weather to see parts of Europe that I missed last time, or check out SE Asia for the first time. (all i know is it cannot be both)!!
Im leaning towards SEA as I never been, I've done some study on the region, and the costs of living are more within my price range. If you had 6-8 weeks to explore the region, where would you go? what would you do? and how much money would take (considering you are staying in hostels and eating cheap)?
I'd like to see Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, and maybe Cambodia, Vietnam and Lagos (although I'm not entirely educated on the latter 3 countries, and need to do a little research on them). For a first-timer to Asia, would it be ideal to stick to the tours? Or would independant travel be fine? Any dangers I should be aware of? Any sites/locations/hostels/beaches/rainforests/temples I shouldn't miss for the world?
Any suggestions will do!!
I just got back from a 17-day honeymoon to Thailand and Cambodia. We spent a little more than the average budget traveller might, staying in nicer places (not always the backpacker type hangouts), but we spent just over $3000 USD. The Temples of Angkor in Cambodia (Siem Reap) truly are amazing, although the Apsara Authority is constantly thinking of ways to wring a few more dollars out of visitors. The price of admission just went up at the beginning of June. One-day pass is $23, three-day pass is $43, and seven-day pass is $63 (all USD). A lot of hotels will either rent a bike to you for about a dollar a day (or free). You'll be pretty tired, though! We did the short circuit on bikes and were exhausted, but I'd do it again (and I have moderate-severe asthma). LOTS of water and breaks! Tuk tuk is $12/day, and taxi ~$20/day. Average hotel $3 to $50 a night. Most include breakfast. Sihanoukville in Cambodia has great beaches--worth checking out.
In Thailand, we checked out Bangkok, Koh Chang, and Khao Yai National Park. Each had charms of their own. Bangkok for many, many reasons. Khao Yai has great tour guides (check into Green Leaf Guest House in Pak Chong). Wild elephants, crocs, tigers (very rarely seen), pythons, hornbills--it's an amazing place! Koh Chang has wonderful beaches, and between all of the islands, you can pretty much find whatever scene you're looking for. Great snorkelling on Koh Wai, complete isolation on other islands, upscale resorts on the main island (www.iamkohchang.com).
We tried to take as many forms of transportation as we could when we were there. I think we ended up with 9 or 10 different things (including elephant). We went pretty local at times and had a blast!
Cambodia, Vietnam and Lagos (although I'm not entirely educated on the latter 3 countries, and need to do a little research on them).
where Lagos would be?
I am sure Aussie meant Laos . That edit button would be really handy right about now...
I went to Thailand and Cambodia for the first time in January this year. I had a great time.
I don't think you need to book a tour - just do some research, there are some great websites that cover travelling by public transport in Thailand and across to Cambodia. The key to remember is information is power. If you don't read up on the places you want to go and how you want to get there, there is a higher chance of someone taking you for a ride....ignore offers that are too good to be true...
I would also really recommend Khao Yai (if you like rainforest and animals) seeing 2 million bats fly out of a cave was fantastic and the temples of Angkor are also fantastic.
I also went to Kanchanaburi and saw Erawan NP, Ayutthaya, Sukothai, Chiang Mai, Chaiyaphum and Bangkok.
Most of the places I went to (with the exception of Chaiyaphum) had a lot of tourists (and the accompanying tourist facilities), if you want a less touristy experience, I've heard Laos and Vietnam are better...although I've never been.
I'm happy to answer any questions you might have about my travels.
Lagos would be?
Lagos would be in Nigeria. But I'm also pretty sure he meant Laos.
No need to be embarrased , you should see some of my misspells...
Aussie, you will do just find once you arrive. I went in April of this year with nothing but a plane ticket to Bangkok and I got along just fine asking questions and having a general idea of what I wanted to do and where I wanted to go.
I did Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam in 3 weeks, with 6-8 weeks you should be just fine. Ck out my "itinerary"...I started this thread when I went away...
SE ASIA thread
SEA is great! I was in Vietnam and Cambodia in Jan-Feb this year with two friends. We travelled independently with the help of some experience, a guide book and lots of advice from others. Other travellers have a wealth of knowledge - just ask them heaps of questions about what's good and what's not so good. Most people are really happy to tell you what they enjoyed, and they generally don't want others to get caught by the same pitfalls as them. Have fun!