Hi, I am planning my first RTW trip sometime next year (faily flexible over when to leave). I'm planning on travelling for 6-8 months, and will (hopefully) earn enough to have around £1000 a month. The following is what I have thought of (I will be leaving from London):
Auckland overland to Christchurch
Melbourne overland to Brisbane
Possibly Indonesia / Phillipines
Goa / S. India
I have been playing around with the route on the STA travel world planner, and it's fine up to Japan but then it gets a bit tricky in SE Asia trying to find a logical order to go - I would like to travel overland from Hanoi to Saigon, and quite extensively in Thailand, but maybe a bit less time in Laos and Cambodia (maybe 2-3 weeks between them). Would it be easier to book flights in this area into the RTW ticket? Or do it overland / pay for flights when out there?
Also, does anyone have any recommendations on the best time to go for a trip like this? Am I right in thinking around April is the cheapest time to fly from London? Also for getting the best of the weather...
Thanks to anyone who can help or has any other ideas or suggestions for the trip!
I'd be inclined to count SEA as one for flights.
Something like Japan - Hanoi - (overland) - Singapore then fly out. Alternatively, for RTW ticketing reasons, it might work out cheaper to fly Japan to Bangkok then overland to Singapore and out. Then arrange a single flight from BKK to Hanoi on your own (cheap airlines) and go from there.
There is a fairly well worn circuit in SEA, and for you, it would be a kind of swirl. Going overland Hanoi through Vietnam to HCMC. then via the Mekong Delta to Cambodia. After Cambodia, if you want to visit southern Lao, head north. if not head to Bangkok, then north to Vientiene in Lao, and do an arc through Lao into Northern Thailand to Chiang Mai before heading back down to BKK, then south through Thailand and Malaysia to Singapore.
You can fly around SEA or overland it, and if you have the time, i'd suggest overlanding, simply because the scenery in Lao is fantastic, and the experience of buses in Cambodia can be great. Flying is often much more expensive than buses. And 3weeks in Cambodia and Lao (whilst not a huge amount) gives you time to get a basic overview - enter Cambodia overland from Vietnam, see Phnom Penh and Siam Riep, then head through Lao to Vientienne, Vang Vieng and Luang Prabang easily enough (then boat through to Northern Thailand), with 2 or 3 other stops included if you wish.
Setting off on my RTW in a few weeks so don't have an sage advice just yet! For your route I might be able to help. Could you fly Japan to Bangkok then from Bangkok travel up through Northern Thailand, into Laos, then through Vietnam Hanoi down to Saigon, then to Cambodia, back to Bangkok, head south to the islands, then you can go overland to Malaysia, make your own way to Singapore and fly out from there to India. Or you could go back to Bangkok after the islands and fly down to Malaysia and fly to India from there.
I know with my RTW ticket allows you to travel overland and fly out from a different destination but adds the miles to our overall total. If your ticket doesn't work like this then you could do the Bangkok - Malaysia - India route or do the Thailand - Malaysia - Singapore - Indonesia route yourself and get a cheap flight back to Bangkok for your flight to India. Whichever works out cheaper I guess! Hope that helps!
I'm missing Japan on my route seemed like it would work out too expensive, I'm jealous!
Thanks for the advice - that way of doing SEA makes a lot of sense.
Can anyone reccomend the best time of year to visit SEA? Or Aus/NZ for that matter. If I did leave around April then I would be in SEA from around July to September - is this the monsoon season, and a bad idea??
Best time depends on which places you go, which areas of the countries etc. For example in southern Australia (southern 2/3 of it) it is not particularly nice weather wise from about April-September, but in Northern Australia that is the best time to visit due to it being the dry season. Indonesia would be much the same as far northern Australia in regards to weather hot all year round but very wet from about October-April.
I travelled quite a bit of mainland South East Asia from Bangkok up and across through Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam from the beginning of April-mid May and hardly had a crappy day at all weather wise. On a previous trip I was in Southern Malaysia in early April and the weather was very unpredictable with plenty of sunshine but also lots of rain (enough to have ankle deep water in minutes), so probably not the best time down in that region. It is simply going to be impossible with a trip like yours where you are going from Northern Hemisphere to Southern quickly to have good weather all your trip.
Best time in Japan (at least for seeing the country at its nicest) is late March-early april when the Cherry Blossoms are on. Weather wasn't the warmest and had one really crappy weathered day, but it was such a nice time to visit the country despite it being a little chilly most days.
Regardless of weather as long as it isn't pouring every single day you'll have a great trip.