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SE Asia Trip

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1. Posted by NYGal (Budding Member 19 posts) 9y

Hi everyone,

I will be traveling to SE Asia in the fall. I will be starting in Nepal/Tibet for about a month. Then I will be hitting the following countries: Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia. This is my first time traveling in this area and I will be traveling alone. My question is, what is the best mode of transportation? I've heard of the RTW ticket but don't know too much about it. I don't know if this is for me, considering I'm not exactly traveling around the world. I originally thought taking trains in between countries would be the best way. But on some websites I read it may be more economical to do it with the RTW ticket. If anyone has any advice they could offer I'd really appreciate it. I'd also apprectiate it if anyone could explain exactly how this ticket works.

Thank you,

2. Posted by aharrold45 (Travel Guru 1281 posts) 9y

You could see about geeting a flight from American to Kathmandu, but I don't know how much that would cost. Then look at getting another flight from Kathmandu (or somewhere near) to Bangkok. Then you can get yourself a mixture of cheap AirAsia flights and overland travel by bus within and sometimes between the countries. Like I got a cheap Air Asia flight from Bangkok-Hanoi and went overland using the open tour ticket (about $20US) from Hanoi-Saigon. I then got a cheap Mekong Delta tour (advertised and arranged easily through many travel agents in Saigon) which went for 3 days and 2 nights by mixture of boat and van until I got to Phnom Penh/Cambodia. Then I did a few bus trips in Cambodia before getting a cheap Air Asia flight to Bangkok. I didn't have enough time to fit Laos in as well on that trip, but if you did something like my trip, then when you got to Cambodia you could make your way to Laos and then overland down through Thailand. You could go overland from Thailand to Malaysia easily if you had plenty of time, but you may be able to get a cheap Air Asia flight and go from Bangkok-Kuala Lumpur saving yourself a couple of days and maybe more in the process.

You may want to check RTW tickets out even though you aren't exactly planning a full on RTW ticket, because I think for a trip of a similar nature to yours from Australia it'd probably work out cheaper to buy a RTW ticket and be able to see a couple of extra things that you otherwise wouldn't have. Basically the ticket works exactly as the name suggests, you have to cover all 360 degrees of the globe. The fare rules vary from ticket to ticket so their is no easy way to explain fare rules without knowing the exact ticket. Like for example Oneworld has a continent based ticket, so if you did a lot of backtracking and going out of your way specifically aimed at building frequent flyer miles, you could get like 60,000 miles on your ticket. All other tickets that I am aware of, you have to stick to a maximum of 39,000miles, but the more miles you fly the higher the ticket cost. I think usually the tickets are 24,000 miles, 29,000 miles, 34,000 miles and 39,000 miles. So if your ticket had you travelling 29,001mile that would mean you would fit under the 34,000mile ticket because you were just over the 29,000mile limit. If this was the case, you'd seriously want to consider changing your flight itinerary a little so that you could fit under the 29,000mile one because the price rise would be a lot for only 1 mile or a few miles over.

Maybe for your ticket you could look at something like New York-London-Kathmandu-Hong Kong or Bangkok/overland to Singapore, recommence your RTW ticket, Singapore-Jakarta-Sydney-New York. Doing a trip like that would cover less mileage than adding things like Bangkok-Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City-Phnom Penh etc which would be able to be covered cheaper by going by bus or sometimes Air Asia flights. Where I put overland to Singapore, obviously if you landed in Hong Kong going overland which mainly would involve going in a southern - westerly direction most the time, but landing in Bangkok would also either invovlving flying north and then making your way all the way south or going overland north and then all the way south. Kathmandu is a hrad place to fit in on RTW tickets because it doesn't seem to have many places which it will let you fly to, but I think Bangkok is the one I have seen but not sure about Hong Kong.

A RTW is a lot more convenient way, because you don't have to worry about buying onward tickets to get visas for places like Vietnam which your ticket wouldn't mention, but you'd plan on going through. That visa needs to be arranged before going to Vietnam. It also means a lot less stressing about hacing to wait until close to the time to book extra flights as you weren't sure of your exact itinerary, although you should try and plan to a certain degree as to your rough itinerary in South East Asia ie how many weeks you will spend in Vietnam, Thailand, Laos etc as you'd need to give a departure date for each place on your RTW ticket. If you decide to change the dates later it wouldn't cost you extra on a RTW ticket, but you may find that they have no flights with vacancies even if it says on the internet that an economy class seat exists, but that's because RTW economy class only has very few seats allocated for it. So at least have a planned final departure date with that overland section and then if it means hurrying up a bit as you are leaving it a bit tight, then you can just get a seperate flight to skip a large area or plan it so that you will time your trip accordingly. Using this method, I had no problems and really had no perfect day by day plan except I just timed the overland sections to suit my available time and had the final date in mind all the time when making the decision to go places knowing I wanted to cover Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand all by ..... date.

When in Vietnam definitely take the open tour bus ticket. It will allow you to go approximately 2000km, make many stop overs in a lot of places to see many nice things and all for about the same as a one way ticket from New York-Washington DC on a China town bus. For that matter accommodation in a low range budget hotel for a week costs less than 1 night in one of the mid price hostels in New York and most the time it is better quality than the ones I have stayed in when in New York. It is extremely cheap when in Vietnam to purchase added little day tours or multiple day tours. Like I did this full day island hopping tour in Nha Trang which was really good and it had this floating bar and that whole day tour was roughly the same cost as a day pass on the New York subway for a hell of a lot more enjoyment!

[ Edit: Edited on Apr 20, 2007, at 6:22 PM by aharrold45 ]

3. Posted by NYGal (Budding Member 19 posts) 9y

This is great advice, thank you!!


Post 4 was removed by a moderator
5. Posted by Walkaways (Full Member 106 posts) 9y

Hey there,
Im just curious how much you expect the trip to cost as im thinking of a similar trip next year. Id be going (unsure at the moment) from Laos - Cambodia - Thailand - Malaysia - indonesia (hopefully to Papua) - (maybe phillipines at the end). I want to spend a long time in various areas and was just wondering what kind of budget youve made for the trip

Thanks Nick

6. Posted by aharrold45 (Travel Guru 1281 posts) 9y

Quoting Walkaways

Hey there,
Im just curious how much you expect the trip to cost as im thinking of a similar trip next year. Id be going (unsure at the moment) from Laos - Cambodia - Thailand - Malaysia - indonesia (hopefully to Papua) - (maybe phillipines at the end). I want to spend a long time in various areas and was just wondering what kind of budget youve made for the trip

Thanks Nick

I think if you set yourself a budget of $20US a day you'd have plenty. You could get by on $15US a day most the time, but $20US would allow plenty of luxuries along the way.

7. Posted by pinoy (First Time Poster 1 posts) 9y

yup try the philippines you'll enjoy your stay here and its a lot cheaper

Post 8 was removed by a moderator