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My First Travelling Trip - I really need some advice please

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1. Posted by Muz (Budding Member 3 posts) 8y

Hi all,

I need some advice - I am really unhappy at work and have been here two and a half years - have decided that it's a good time to get away and do some travelling.

Thing is that I want to do mainly Asia (Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia) then Austrailia, then New Zealand, up to Tokyo and back home. My concern is that if I leave in mid-April (when tickets are cheaper and gives me 6-8 weeks to get everything sorted and stick my house on rent) then will I be enduring bad weather across all of asia as I read that Monsoon season hit's in May. Also, it will be winter in both Austailia and New Zealand.

I think it's better to go in October/November when it's nice on that side but I really really can't imagine enduring another 6-8 months at work (I'm in recruitment and it's at least 10 hours a day and lots of stress). Would I be mad to go off in April or should I hold off?

Many Thanks
Muz

2. Posted by itchyfeet2 (Budding Member 58 posts) 8y

Hy Muz, .... so hitting the road hey?... Who can blame you.

Ok travel weather putting you off? - i Can understand that.

I've been out here (SEA) for 2 & half months - Thailand - Laos - Cambodia and im now in Vietnam.
its been amazing - but arriving in Nam on 6th Feb when its pretty cold can put dampner on things - can only imagine wht it wld be like during Monsoon. It's around 9 degrees but bit warmer duing day. The further south - the warmer it will get but it still changes the feel of the trip a bit.

You might be desperate to leave now - but consider your options...
I was desperate to leave bt had to wait a bit and it paid off.

Plus if you stay a bit longer - you can save even more for your time away!??? :)

3. Posted by Muz (Budding Member 3 posts) 8y

Hi mate,

Thanks for the reply. I'm getting mixed messages from people - some are saying that if I'm in Thailand/Nam/Cambodia between April and May then it should still be really nice with the odd bit of rain. Naturally others are saying it's monsoon...

In terms of saving, I have about an 8k budget for 6 months - potentially a little more if necessary. I'm assuming this will be enough?

Not sure what to do! Thing is that though travelling in a few months will give me a focus I really am unhappy here and on the other hand couldn't comtemplate another recruitment job as I'm absolutely shattered after 4 years straight from uni.

What about Austrailia and New Zealand over our summer - I'm there for 2 months each after Thailand

Thanks for all the advice

4. Posted by Rubymurray (Budding Member 62 posts) 8y

Alright Muz

I'll be in SEA for the hot months March/April and wet months May/June/July. Looking forward to seeing it without the crush of seasonal holiday makers, it will also be cheaper and I'll buy a good hat to start then a good brolly to finish!!
From what I can gather the hot season is exactly that very hot but the wet season is between 0 and 3 hours of heavy down pours a day but it's fine apart from that (please correct me TPers if I'm wrong?).
Then it's off to OZ albeit in winter but I don't mind that because I get to NZ, where I'm working, for the start of the high season and good weather...
You could make your budget last a year if you wanted so I don't think that's an issue if your going for six months. Obviously only you can decide but if I were you I would just go mate life is for living and all that

Hope whatever you do works out for you

Ruby

5. Posted by Muz (Budding Member 3 posts) 8y

Quoting Rubymurray

Alright Muz

I'll be in SEA for the hot months March/April and wet months May/June/July. Looking forward to seeing it without the crush of seasonal holiday makers, it will also be cheaper and I'll buy a good hat to start then a good brolly to finish!!
From what I can gather the hot season is exactly that very hot but the wet season is between 0 and 3 hours of heavy down pours a day but it's fine apart from that (please correct me TPers if I'm wrong?).
Then it's off to OZ albeit in winter but I don't mind that because I get to NZ, where I'm working, for the start of the high season and good weather...
You could make your budget last a year if you wanted so I don't think that's an issue if your going for six months. Obviously only you can decide but if I were you I would just go mate life is for living and all that

Hope whatever you do works out for you

Ruby

Hi Ruby,

Thanks so much for your reply. Good to know that I won't be the only one out there. I'm a bit scared as I'm just getting to the stage in my relationship where things are getting serious and I'm off to leave!

Looking at leaving mid-april so if anyone's out there and wants a bit of company look me up :)

Best,

Muz

6. Posted by wildfk (Respected Member 459 posts) 8y

http://www.travelfish.org/weather_fish.php

Weather in Thailand...should be able to find similar for other countries.

Don't worry too much about rain...it's nice and warm in the tropics (mostly0 and you dry out pretty quick. If it gets too much just move off to some dryer area.

Here are 20 things to think about when visiting Thailand…

1. Bring a cell phone “unblocked” and buy a Thai SIM card for it on arrival, they’re cheap (apprx. 250 baht) and include some credit already on them - e.g. - International calls to UK are about 5 - 8baht per min…

2. Money - Bring ATM and/or credit cards. - check fees and tell your bank your are going abroad. - Take Travellers cheques only as back-up. Bring very little cash (Baht) – you tend to get a better rate of exchange here than any home country. You can change money on arriving at the airport..

3. Bring very few clothes – they are so cheap here and you’ll only bring stuff that is too warm anyway.

4. Very little luggage – this makes you more mobile if you need to be and less vulnerable to taxi touts and undesirable men….Before you go home you can buy any extra luggage (cheap) to take souvenirs etc.

5. Internet access is everywhere – even on the beach… you can get all your photos copied to CD - If you have a lap-top you can connect it (broadband even wi-fi) at most cafes.

6. Food - Thai food is very unlikely to give you food poisoning but can contain more chillies than you ever thought possible….Street food is usually safe (and delicious!), check for numbers of customers and general looks of the stall. Western (“farang”) food is much more likely to give you food poisoning – fridges are not part of Thai cooking lore yet…beware of Western Fast Food outlets and hotel buffets - food that has been out for over an hour or so. Thailand is not used to fridges/chill-serve etc.

7. Always carry a pack of tissues - they don’t supply free tissues (if there is a vending machine at all!)

8. Drink bottled water - not tap water. Even consider not brushing your teeth with tap water. Ice is usually safe in drinks and for anything else.

9. Use common safety sense – it is easy to relax too much here…when it comes to petty crime the rate is certainly lower than in places like the US/Europe etc…but every country has its share of con-men and psychopaths…..

10. Don’t be afraid to go to Pattaya – it is the sex capital of Thailand but they don’t jump out at single women and couples and it has good, cheap hotels, shopping and food. Not a bad place to start off for Koh Chang, Koh Samet or Cambodia.

11. Bring an international driving licence – although most national ones are accepted by motorbike and car hire companies and anyone else who wants to hire you something….you may not be insured without an IDL! In Thailand they drive on the left - cars are Right-hand-drive. However driving is really only for the experienced. Be especially careful on a motorbike - Samui has the highest accident rate in Thailand.

12. Public transport is cheap. Planes, Trains, Buses, Minibuses, Taxis, from town to town. If you’re in a minibus or taxi, tell the driver you’ll tip him if he keeps the speed below 90/100 kmph! National speed limit is 90kph (120 on motorways)

13. Around Bkk try to use meter taxis with the meter on...it’ll be cheaper than the tuk-tuks. Take a tuk-tuk once for the experience then use meter taxis. Don’t let the drivers take you out of your way...they’ll try to take you to some (relative’s) store where they get commission.

14. Medical - Check out a few “jabs & medications” – don’t bother with the malaria ones – too heavy! You can get tetanus or rabies here if you’re bitten by a dog - it’s cheap. Most medicines (including antibiotics) can be bought over the counter without prescription and are cheap. A pharmacist will give you what he considers right for your symptoms but you can just as easily see a doctor at a local clinic for a couple of hundred baht. They usually speak a little English.

15. Check up on Thai manners and customs – this will earn you more respect from the locals. - Keep up some dress sense – how you dress in Thailand is quite important. Don’t go topless without checking out if it’s acceptable where you are – usually it’s frowned upon. You’ll notice that Thai women (even sex workers) are very modest in public –they usually swim fully clothed.

16. Check out table manners – Thais tend to eat from communal dishes in the centre of the table – don’t pour everything onto your own plate!

17. Don’t knock the royal family – even in jest.

18. Body language - Don’t point your feet at people – the body is seen as hierarchical and the feet are the lowest part and should not be waved about (this is like a “fingers up” sign. Before entering someone’s home you must take off your shoes; this also applies to some shops and businesses. - Never take a shoe off and wave it at someone – this could lead to violence.
On the other hand it is impolite to touch people on the head.

19. It’s not necessary to “Wai” people - the Thai greeting - as you’ll probably get it wrong. If they Wai you, you might try a wai back.

20. Remember, this is the Land of Smiles and you will find everything goes much better when you have a smile on your face - whatever the situation….

7. Posted by Mel. (Travel Guru 4567 posts) 8y

Hello Muz:)

I was in Thailand during the monsoons last year. The weather is not nearly as bad as one would expect for the rainy season. Most of the rain falls at night. Sometimes there are a few hours of it during the days but not everyday. Occasionally it rains all day. But generally there are plenty of warm sunny hours most days.
And a big advantage is that accomodation is often cheaper and more available during the rainy season and everyplace is not crowded with tourists.

Mel

[ Edit: Edited on Feb 16, 2008, at 1:22 PM by Mel. ]

Post 8 was removed by a moderator
9. Posted by b3k (Budding Member 9 posts) 8y

Hey Muz,

I cant comment much on SEA but I live in Wellington, NZ.

It's fantastic here from Jan-March when the weather is settled and there are lots of festivals on. particularly in Wellington is the arts / summer festival where there is free bands etc on almost every night at the botanical gardens and lots of other shows etc on.
And of course theres the beaches and rivers to swim in.

I guess it's always gonna be better to travel in the summer but the winter has it's bonuses too. We have some fantastic ski fields in NZ and places like queenstown go off during winter and quieten down a bit more over summer.

I think you could make the most of your time here whatever the weather, NZ is a beautiful country to travel around, particularly the south island which has some amazing scenery.

If you want any advice on NZ feel free to message me.

Good luck with your decision!

10. Posted by pau_p1 (Respected Member 214 posts) 8y

March and April would be the hottest times here in the Philippines if you'd consider flying by... Monsoon usually starts mid-May though last year the rains came around late June... this year April would be the best time to go to our beaches since Holy Week happens on March when beaches and resorts are usually packed due to long holiday break...