I'm currently trying to organise a 2 year trip through various parts of Asia and plan to do a mix of trekking, independant travelling and working. Anyones advice and help would be greatly appreciated since I'm not actually sure if my trip is possible...
My plan so far is;
October 2009 to March 2010
- 5 months trekking northern China. Then return to UK.
- Accommodation: Mostly my tent, sometimes cheap hostels/hotels in rural ares.
April 2010 to August 2010
- 4 1/2 months work & travel in Japan with 'RealGap'. Then take the 'Shanghai Ferry' to China.
- Accommodation: Hostel for approx. £400/70,000 per month.
August 2010 to September 2011
- 13 months teaching English in China. Then take a flight to Phuket/Bangkok.
- Accommodation: Apartment for approx. £260/3,000 RMB per month.
September 2011 to October 2011
- 3 weeks travelling Thailand. Then take a flight to Shanghai/Chengdu.
- Accommodation: Hostel for approx. £55/3,300 Bhat per week.
October 2011 to October 2011
- 2 weeks travelling southern China. Then take a train to Qingdao, followed by the 'Weidong Ferry' to Incheon.
- Accommodation: Cheap hostels/hotels in rural areas.
October 2011 to January 2012
- 12 weeks travelling South Korea. Then take a flight to Madrid.
- Accommodation: Hostels for approx. £75/175,000 Won per week
January 2012 to January 2012
- 1 week visiting friends in Spain. Then return to UK.
- Accommodation: My friends house.
So this is my idea, I'm not sure if it's actually realistic or not. My plans could change depending on how much all of this would cost and how much I'd earn from work placements.
I haven't booked anything yet, but have been trying to find out as much information as possible - and any suggestions to better alternatives for travel or accommodation would be cool!
So far I have checked prices for ferry/train tickets, looked into vaccinations I need and I'm still trying to find a good agency to get my flights from.
Cheers all for taking a look at my thread! Hope to get some nice info from you all.
I think you are planning too much too soon. You have no idea where you are going to want to be in two years from now and while all these plans look good to you on paper and in your daydreams, things will change. You will like some countries more than you thought and will want to stay, you will dislike some countries and decide not to stay as long, you may love your job teaching and want to stay for longer, or you may hate it and want to leave. It's also hard to budget that for in advance, and plan tickets usually can't be bought more than a year in advance. My advice to you is to start with a smaller chunk of time. Maybe plan how you will spend your first year, and while you are on that year, start thinking about what you might do the next year.
I think you'll also be spending a whole lot of money on flights. You are planning on going to China, and then back to the Uk, and then to Japan, and then back to China. That just seems like a waste of money to me, unless there is some reason that you have to be back in the UK. Then you have a random flight to Thailand and back to China before going to Spain. I think you will discover that you will be limited by how many flights you can afford.
I also have a concern about your trekking in Northern China bit. I'm no expert in that part of China and I'm not even exactly sure where you mean, but I do know that Oct-March is winter, and China can get pretty cold in winter.
Maybe I'm wrong, but have you looked into weather for this trip, and the logistics of tenting during this time? If you are into snowboarding, it might be a good time to spend in Japan.
Anyways, what I would suggest is to start out by finding a base in Asia. Seems like China is your real interest, so I would say go straight to the teaching job for your first year. You'll probably find that during that year you will get some holidays where you can explore other parts of China, or take a Christmas break in Thailand. You may find after a year that you've had enough of China and it's time to move to Japan or Korea or back home. Or you may find that it's where you are meant to be and you will continue to use it as a base for your second year or more. I think this would make a much more reasonable plan, as it saves money on flights, and gives you more options to adapt your plan as you go along.
Hmm, good point - I see how it would cut down the costs nicely...
I was wandering if there is any particularly decent company to buy flights from since prices are quite disgusting directly from the airlines. Also, any recommendations for decent accommodation sites?
I have read up on climate for northern China - apparently it's alright providing people take the necessary equipment (correct season sleeping bags, thermals, warm gear and so on).This is something I am still looking in to.
At the moment I think I have planned a little too far ahead, but only to have some idea of what I would be doing - I'm the kind of person that likes to make sure everything is all set beforehand. Another reason for trying to plan my trip down to the date is because of some requirements I've heard about. Apparently Japan only issue visas to people with proof of a departure ticket?
Thanks for your helpful input Any more would be really helpful!
I'd agree with Degolasse,
By any account that is an extremely detailed diary for the next 3 years. Go to China if you want, do some teaching for a short time, and then get flights inbetween countries. I'd say spend half a year teaching and then just travel around asia and see how you get on.
You could get the oneworld - Visit Asia (i'm thinking i might get this)
Also do you have a teaching qualification? This might help you if you are wanting to teach for a long time. Unless its just a means to money than it'd be worth investigating. Also realgap - hmmm. I travelled around thailand with them years ago and i know most people weren't impressed. The trip was very overpriced and a lot like a school trip. The people i met through realgap were amazing though. All very easygoing, likeminded people. They may be better now.
Have fun whatever you do. Id say calm down. It's not like when you get back to the UK you can't work for a bit then jet off again.
I've taken a brief look at the link in your reply and it seems pretty cool - great choice for a decent variety of destinations.
I currently have no teaching qualification and a college education (that's a National Diploma in the UK, equivalent to 3 A-levels), but I plan to start 120 hours of TEFL courses at the start of next year which should make me eligible for employment in most Chinese government schools.
That said, RealGap offer a 100 hour TEFL course within their 'China Teach & Travel Programme' that costs £1900 for a whole year. I think they do have quite a high price considering what they actually give you for your money, but they iron out the creases of supplying accommodation, finding employment, getting a visa and bank account, etc. Since it'll be my first time in Asia it's probably wise to have this help the first time around, and if I want to stay for longer then things could be done independantly.
I have been calculating prices and scratching my head over what a sufficient budget would be for two years travelling (not going fancy dining or out on the beer most nights). Could anyone give me any decent guesses or costs of your own journeys in the past? I appreciate your helpful comments, cheers all!
It's difficult to make a good guess of the budget you'll need, considering the different standard of living and costs of the countries you're visitng. Japan definitely costs triple to travel through as compared to China and Thailand. Sorry, but I haven't done such long-term travelling for 2 yrs to give any advice.
But being an Asian, I'm familiar with China, Japan, Thailand and can tell u more or less the cost of living:-
China - a standard meal for 1-2GBP, hostel room for 6GBP per person per night
Japan (Tokyo) -standard meal 5-6 GBP, hostel room 12GBP ppn
Thailand - std meal 0.50GBP, hostel room 3GBP ppn
I also advise on roughing it out on your own, instead of going through RealGap or any other organization. It is afterall more adventurous, rewarding and saves you much more money and allows you to stay even longer.
Teaching is the best way to get around Asia, esp China, there is a high demand, there is no necessity to be TEFL Certified. I personally have taught in Spain, and did not have any TEFL certification. If you do enough research, you'll be able to find work easy. Check out my post on teaching abroad:
Let me know if u need any other help!
[ Edit: Sorry, no promos please. ]
Thanks very much for the average prices, etc - it's a big help.
And to all - thanks loads for your kind advice, it's much appreciated. Lately I've been busy studying my TEFL qualifications and progressing nicely. My plans have since changed a little and I've been thinking that 'going with the flow' would probably be a better option - visiting/teaching in China and then see what happens from that point. I still plan to visit the countries I've mentioned (and more) but plan to leave a few months later.
We'll see what happens