Sorry if this is long.
I am leaving for a 6 month trip of Asia on 1st December this year with two friends. So far i have done all the research and all the planning, going through various forums and websites and just getting together all the information that i can.
I live in the UK and we will be getting our 1st flight from London Stansted to Kuala Lumpur through AirAsia. First off, we are thinking of booking a couple of our flights in our itinerary next month as the prices are so low at the moment and when i look at earlier dates they become a lot more expensive. Would anyone not recommend this? I mean ive heard of cancellations and what not, and i dont want it to mess up our plans, but at the same time, my two friends are on a tight budget, so we need to do it as cheap as realistically possible. Can anyone let me know what they reckon on this please?!
Right, now for the reason of the thread.
Obviously we start in KL at the start of December and we want to travel up through the rest of Malaysia and then Thailand around this time as this is when the weather is best.
I'll now give you a list of the other places so far on our itinerary.
What i need help with is deciding which route to take, people say you don't want to go back on yourself too much, but its hard not to really. Do we do all of Thailand and then back to Vietnam and round that way, do we just do S.Thailand 1st and then come back to N.Thailand at the end of our travels?? Because from Ko Chang we could go to Koh Kong in Cambodia and then onto Sihanoukville, then to Phnom Penh, then into Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam and so on!! Its hard to make a decision for myself, and my friends arent that clued up. So please help me!!
If anyone can recommend anywhere in between our stops as well, that would be helpful.
(Does anyone recommend Lop Buri?)
-Ho Chi Minh City
(maybe Hoi An, but only if decide to travel all the way though Vietnam)
After Macau we will fly back to Kuala Lumpur, where we may then go on to Indonesia.
But we will be back at KL at some point to then fly on to Australia where we will be spending a year with a working holiday visa.
Cant wait for it all, so excited. But please, please someone help with this, its driving me insane now trying to work it all out myself.
Happy travels people
I can only advise you on the advance ticket purchase.
I recommend it because u can get it cheap if u buy in advance. I always buy the travel insurance too, just in case.
I'm a girl and I only take calculated risk.
I've bought tickets with Air Asia twice... so far, no delays and no cancellations (touch wood!).
I recently came back from flying to Yogyakarta and I actually bought the ticket last October 2009 (5months prior).
Hope this helps...
If you need help in Singapore, just drop me a note..
I'm certainly no expert on the region, but I have been in Vietnam 3 times and once in Thailand. Seems to me it makes more sense to do all of Thailand at the same time, and then look towards N. Laos via Chiang Rai and taking the slow boat down the Mekong into Luang Prabang. Work your way south to the capital and into Cambodia from there. Once in Cambodia, it's an easy process to enter Vietnam via the Mekong Delta by boat or bus. Work your way north in Vietnam to Hanoi and the NW city of Lao Cai, where you can cross into China at Hekou. I understand that domestic flights in China are priced differently from the rest of Asia - in other words, cheap flights available last minute? Domestic flights in Vietnam are also cheap and often available the last minute.
The real expense is the international flights. Bangkok Airways has a pass if you do extensive travel on their system (includes Bangkok Air, Siem Reap Air and Lao Air on most routes in Thai, Cambodia and Laos). To return to KL, your best bet would probably be Air Asia or Viva Macau Air.
why don't you include the Philippines in the itinerary... that time is a great time to be in the Philippines with a cooler weather.. plus if you'd be around during the Christmas season... :D
I agree with Daawgon's advice re Thailand,Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. Couple of options(with added destinations):
Option 1: Hat Yai-Krabi-Koh Phi Phi-Phuket-Surat Thani-Koh Samui-Koh Phangan-Koh Tao-Chumpon-Bangkok-Ayutthaya-Chiang Mai-Pai-Chiang Mai-Chiang Rai-cross border into Laos-Luang Prabang-Phonsavan-Vang Vieng-Vientiane-cross border into Thailand-Nong Khai/Udon Thani-Bangkok-Pattaya-Koh Samet-Koh Chang-cross border at Hat Lek into Cambodia-Koh Kong-Sihanoukville-Phnom Penh-Siem Reap-Phnom Penh-Saigon direct/via Mekong Delta-Nha Trang-Hoi An-Hue-Hanoi-then in to China.
Option 2: Chumpon-Bangkok-Pattaya-Koh Samet-Koh Chang and then backtrack to Bangkok. This would mean from Vientiane travelling to southern Laos and enter Cambodia there-Siem Reap-Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville and then head to Vietnam via Phnom Penh OR via the southern coastline into Vietnam and the Mekong Delta then up to Saigon.
It's very refreshing to read a first time post stating that you have undertaken comprehensive research BEFORE posting. As to suggesting other destinations (you'll note I have included some above but only because your going to be passing by them anyway) it's helpful to provide some info such as age bracket, interests eg partying, beaches, diving, trekking, historical sites etc.
Given your proposed itinerary there is a wealth of info you can research which will make your travel a lot smoother, well, at least knowing your options, as there are always unknowns when travelling through Asia.
I have been to Thailand a number of times,Cambodia twice,Hong Kong,Macau,and I have researched Vietnam and Laos for proposed future trips. Feel free to PM me. I can't help you with China.