Hello my name is Clare and I am planning to travel the world next year on my own for a year. I am planning to fly to India and then to work my way overland through Tibet (maybe), Nepal and then all the way through S E Asia. Is this possible and roughly how long would it take? I then plan to do a couple of weeks in Borneo, then travel to Australia, NZ, Figi, San Francisco, Mexico, Costa Rica, Canada and New York. I have never travelled before, and have so many questions!I would be so grateful for any advise and experiences from you guys! I am planning to take £8000 if I can get it together which is to include my flights, do you think this will be enough. I will be backpacking and obviously be on a budget.
Please please any advice on the above, recommendations on places to visit, budgeting, transport and travel, all welcome.
I am pretty sure it isn't possible to do the thing you are talking about with India, Nepal, Tibet, China to South East Asia. You could definitely get overland to Nepal, but the Tibet and remainder of China bit would be the hard bit. Maybe if you skipped Tibet and flew from Kathmandu to somewhere in China if that flight exists that might work, but othwise it'd be almost impossible with at least one flight somewheer in the middle. Other than that you could go through Bangladesh and get a flight to Myanmar and a flight from Myanmar to somewhere else in South East Asia, because no land border crossings are open to foreigners in Myanmar. Without going through China you'd have to go through Myanmar to get to South East Asia if you wanted to do the majority of the travel overland.
I think that unless you are planning to spend hardly any time in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and America, you will struggle to survive on only £8000 for 12 months. I did a fairly similar trip and went through about £8000 in 7 months and that's not including my airfares which amounted to close to £2000. You'll definitely be living it on an extremely tight budget if you spend any major time in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and USA. I haven't been to Borneo, but from what a heard you need to change quite a large amount of money on arrival (something like $1000US) as a minimum and you aren't able to change back your excess money (unless the rules have changed). So if you were only going for a brief time, you may be stuck with a whole load of excess money that you have no way of changing and is basically of no good unless you go back to Borneo later for an even longer time.
In Mexico I'd definitely go to Mexico City, Cancun and Palenque (the best of the places I have been in Mexico) from there you could also go overland to Guatemala and then get a bus from Flores-Belize City to see a bit of Belize as well.
When in New York, you should definitely consider adding at least 4 days on to your planned time for New York. If you did that, you could get a China Town bus down to Washington DC and spend some time in the capital. It is a really beautiful city to go but if you go, be careful after dark and don't go anywhere that you are isolated from other people.
Have a great trip.
Thankyou so much for taking the time out and giving me some advice. Can I not go overland via Nepal missing out China, from Nepal to Burma and then all the way down without flying? Please find below a very rough idea of my itinery, what do you think. I have been told by people that India, and S E Asia are all so very cheap, I have family who I will stay with in San Francisco and hopefully New York which will help. So I am really hoping to get by on the £8000. With regards to your advice on Borneo I will be doing an organised tour there so hopefully I will not have any money troubles, but thankyou again. May I ask where you went on your trip. I am 25, female and will be travelling alone, im very exited already!
India 3-4 wks
Nepal 2 wks
S E Asia, burma, vietnam, laos, thailand 3 months
Borneo 2 wks booked tour
Singapore couple days
Australia 3 months will work if I have to
New Zealand 1 month
Figi 2 wks
San Francisco 2 wks
Mexico 2 wks
Costa Rica 2 wk
Canada 1 wk
New York 2 wks
I departed Australia and went to Japan (expensive), Hong Kong, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, India, plenty of Europe (including Iceland which was extremely expensive), Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Chile (including Easter Island), Mexico, Guatemala, Belize (only drive through), Miami, Jamaica, New York, Washington DC, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Big Island/Hawaii, Oahu/Hawaii and back to Sydney.
On a previous trip I did China, some of South East Asia that I didn't do in the above trip, Dubai, plenty of Europe, Egypt, Canada, more of USA, New Zealand (both north and south Island) and back to Australia where I live.
With 4 months in Australia/New Zealand. I'm almost certain you will need to work along the way to finance the rest of the way because really $50-60US a day is what you should aim for to have any sort of a time in Australia and New Zealand but if you want to try any activities in Queenstown/New Zealand that should be doubled for the days you are there. Your 4 months in Australia/New Zealand would be like the costing of my time in Japan, Europe, USA and Jamaica.
Myanmar (formerly Burma) doesn't currently have any land border crossings so the only way for a foreigner can get in to the country legally is by flying. So it isn't possible to go overland through Bangladesh and Myanmar/Burma to get to South East Asia. Some areas of Myanmar even require special permits to enter, but they are areas that the average tourist probably wouldn't want to visit. Supposedly it even costs a foreigner about $3000US for having a working mobile phone in Myanmar plus the monthly costs! Your mobile phone wont work in Myanmar and unless things have recently changed you'll need to leave it at the airport on arrival to be picked up when you depart. Hotmail, Yahoo and I think MSN messenger are illegal in Myanmar, although from what I've been told you can get some internet cafes to charge to your creditcard via arouting to Singapore which will allow you to get on to Hotmail or Yahoo without being detected as doing it illegally! I mean how crazy is that in this modern day of technology where you can hardly even remember what life was like before having a mobile phone or internet access!
India and South East Asia can be done very cheap as long as you don't go over the top. From what I have been told, you can find dirt cheap places in Nepal for like as little as $1US a night, but things like climbing some of Moutn Everest does cost quite a bit.
In Vietnam I got the bus from Hanoi-Saigon in Vietnam making many overnight or longer stop overs along the way for just $20 US! If you look on the map and compare that distance to other places, that is even further than going from the Northern most point of the UK to the southern most point. I went on this bus and boat to Halong Bay which was good and it cost less than $10US. A full day Island hopping tour in Nha Trang was something like $10US if I remember correctly and in one section of the trip it had a floating bar which was really cool. That trip would have been good value at $25-$30US. Getting my camera fixed which would have costs about $150AUD cost me about the equivalent of $15AUD and this was done within three hours with someone having to be called to come on premises for it, not two weeks like would have been the case in Australia! When you go to South East Asia, you should definitely either go from Hanoi-Saigon and then do a Mekong Delta tour across to Phonm Penh and bus up to Siem Reap to see all the temples, or do it the opposite direction. That Mekong Delta tour was for 2 days 3 nights included all accommodation and transport and only like $20US!
In Cambodia I stayed in this nice little guesthouse which was located on the lakeside and only cost $2US a night for a double bed with tiny ensuite (not the best furnished room, but what can you expect for $2US a night)! In Australia a similar type of room but Australian quality would have set you back around $80-$100 a night and probably more in Sydney.
You can get reasonable priced flights to Yangon/Myanmar from Bangkok, but compared to the price of the Air Asia flight from Bangkok-Hanoi that I got, the one to Yangon is a bit of a rip off.
Mexico can be done relatively cheap but that depends on what you do and where you stay. Like Amigos hostel was like about $5US a night for the cheapest dorm bed in Mexico City and that included breakfast and free use of internet (snail pace drive you crazy type), but then long distance buses cost a small fortune like close to $100US for the bus from Cancun-Mexico City which is long.
Train prices in India are dirt cheap, but for long distance trains it pays to go to the tourist office that is somewhere in most major places (usally close or in the main train station). Getting the 3AC sleep class and the top bunk is a good idea. If you get the cheaper sleeper class you are likely to have people crawl in to bed with you which may not be what you want! First off they will start by climbing on to the beds edge, then if you let that happen they will move in a bit more and slowly but surely they'll end up sleeping next to you on a bed barely big enough to fit one comfortably.
Have a great trip.
[ Edit: Edited on May 18, 2007, at 5:53 PM by aharrold45 ]
Just some advice.... take it or leave it.
You are missing out on Cambodia which is an amazing place.
Burma, on the other hand, does not seem the best place for a single female to go to. I didn't meet any people in my travels through S.E. Asia that recommended going there. People said the place was unfriendly and seemed somewhat dangerous. None of the women I spoke to liked it. Neither did the guys, but the women downright did not like it. I didn't bother going anywhere other than Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.... so I am not speaking from actual firsthand experience, just what other travelers told me.
You could fly directly from either Nepal or India to Bangkok, and skip Burma completely and allot that time for Cambodia... A week and a half to 2 weeks is good for Cambodia. See Angkor Wat and explore Phnom Phen! It's worth it. Cambodia was one of my highlights.
Also, I will say you have WAY to much time planned for New York. Expect to spend big bucks there on absolutely everything you do. If your talking about NYC then it's a fun place but you can see the highlights in 2-3 days (Central Park, Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Empire State Building, Times Square, Grand Central Station, China Town, Little Italy). I know you don't want to rush, but the place is just so darn expensive!
Also you have 1 week planned for Canada... be prepared when in NY and Canada, it is REALLY REALLY REALLY cold from mid October-March and you will need very warm clothes. Plan your trip accordingly.
Now, the best time in my opinion to go to SE Asia is November-April as that seems like peak season there. Not to wet and a lot of people traveling through there getting away from their cold parts of the world make it a real lively atmosphere.
8,000 Pounds seems do-able in my opinion. You can get by on $10-$15 a day pretty much all through S.E. Asia if you don't drink a whole lot and like fried rice. In fact, if you eliminate alcohol from your trip completely - or at least buying beer, then I think you could do it. I spent about $2000 in 3 months in S.E. Asia (I think). The flights are going to drain you pretty quick though. Working in Oz is probably going to be a must for you.
also you could do couch surfers or the hospitality club to cut down on costs and sometimes people will even show you around.if you're in canada when we are , we live there in the woods of B.c. and have a guest house you could stay in for free. wont be back until april or may though...will be in asia.contact us if you need a quiet break in your travels..be safe and have fun!!
Ok.. just to clarify things. Myanmar and Borneo - at least Malaysian Borneo and the Sabah State are just wonderful and full of friendly people. I was shocked in fact by how friendly - I found both peoples to be some of the most open and hospitiable in the world. That said Yangoon is fairly grim and can be somewhat scary - especially at some of the budget places and Myanmar isn't the easiest place to find other tourists to hang out with.
And there is internet - really really cheap and most of the smart cafes will help you bypass the "lockouts" yahoo and hotmail but the connections are really slow. Some places do have DSL and can connect you quick but they are much more expensive but available and not all that secret. I don't think I visited a place in Myanmar where you couldn't access them.
The flights from Bangkok to Yangon run about $25 US if you book in advance.
As a New Yorker I'll tell you the city is expensive but there are a ton of free things and discount things you can do as well as get off the beaten path (safely). I'll happily write up some walking tours and what not for you. If you have the place to stay taken care of it will be a lot more affordable but trying to find nightlife that won't cost an arm and a leg is tough.
The same is true for San Fran.
NZ and Australia are also pretty expensive but you can camp out and cook for yourself and save a fair bit. Its the getting around there that really really hurts when you are on a budget.
Happily SE asia can be dirt cheap and is a wonderful and fairly friendly place to get around although there are plenty of scammers and people who' you'll need to watch out for - especially in vietnam and Bangkok. Very rarely is it violent though but do expect some sexual harassment if you are by yourself. Its been written about on here in the asia forum.
Anyhow good luck and feel free to write if you want more specific recommendations or advice.