I am a 24 year old Female from the UK and am at present preparing for my travelling adventure at the end of this year/beginning of 2011!
I am looking to go from Uk-OZ(Sydney)//Overland to Melbourne and perhaps other places on the east coast//-NewZealand-Singapore//Overland through Malaysia to KL then up to Thailand, starting at Koh Tao to visit friends and perhaps some of the other islands in south Thailand, then up to Bangkok, Then from there over the border to Laos//Overland to Vietnam//Overland to Cambodia then Back to Thailand where I will fly home from.
This is obviously still quite a rough plan, and some of the points where i have said 'overland' may well be using internal cheap flights etc depending on how difficult it is to travel by other means of transport over borders etc!
I have so far been given quotes from STA, roundtheworldflights.com and am waiting for a quote from travelnation.
So far Roundtheworldflights have given me a cheaper quote of £1,150 inc taxes etc whereas STA's quote was around £1,500 inc taxes. These were both for a ticket that goes from UK-OZ-NZ-ASIA-UK.
I am going to be travelling for parts of this trip on my own and will be meeting up with friends and relatives at various points on the way!
If anyone would be so kind as to give me some advice on a few things to ensure i get the most out of this experience then please leave a post, and be honest, you guys will have experienced some of the things I am hoping to do and been to places and cultures that i havent so im counting on you
Firstly- What companies have people used to book tickets and who have they found to be the cheapest/most reliable etc?
-Can anyone give me any advice on travelling overland through SE Asia, train companies,buses. is it better to use cheap internal flights?
- Can anyone, especially females give me some advice on travelling alone, what do i need to watch out for? is it a risky thing to do? etc etc
- What do people think of the route im taking? what should i definatly go and see/avoid?
I am planning to take around £3000 with me, obviously more if i can save this (and i will/may need more on top to purchase internal flights) does this seem a reasonable amount to take with me? I am perfectly happy to do everything on the cheap, i dont need a beautiful hotel when i am on the beaches of Koh Tao!
Any advice, input, qualms, queries whatever people have please get in touch
I would say that those flight quotes are a little expensive. Have a word with your local travel agent (they do still exist) and ask them to quote you UK/Oz (via KL) with Air Asia. If you're only doing Oz, maybe NZ and a bit of Asia over land before coming back, then you should be able to get your flights a bit cheaper than that.
I traveled as a solo female through S.E.Asia and I'm very proud of you for doing it too!! I met lots of solo females and it's completely safe as long as you got a good head on your shoulders and use common sense.
Just a few pieces of advice:
In addition to your RTW fares, check Airtreks.com. They are terrific, and also include pretty good travel insurance for cheap!
And as for getting around from Bangkok to Laos to Cambodia to Vietnam--don't sweat it until you get there. Really, don't make any commitments or get too into which companies (buses and trains) you should use. You're really best to wait until you're there. I say this because if you commit to purchasing some bus/train ticket on a particular day ahead of time you A) lose flexibility B) miss on much cheaper opportunities that locals get on the fly C) miss out on advice that travelers can give you who have been there a while already.
And I advice traveling as the locals do: booking tours geared towards tourists is a HUUUGE ripoff!!
If you're in Bangkok (most people's starting point in Thailand and S.E. Asia in general) I highly recommend staying at David's Soi 1 GuestHouse. (he's on Facebook and I think has a website too). David is Australian (I think) and he's super cool. He has this HUUUUUUUGE wall with everything a first timer needs to know: local bus times, train schedules, flight times, where to get Visa's for Vietnam etc, information for crossing into Laos, scams to be avoided, and general advice that is VERY VERY helpful. It's really the best place to stay for a first timer--I felt totally safe there.
Before my 3 1/2 month trip I researched every town and city I'd be in-but once I got there, I just did as I pleased. Sometimes you get somewhere awesome and decide to kick it for a while.
I took an overnight train to Chang Mai (sleepers were sold out so I had to sit in an upright chair which SUCKED-but oh well), staying in Nat's Guesthouse and there booked a mini-bus to Pai (AMAZING-LOVED PAI). From there I booked a tour for the Long Boat down the Mekong to Laos. (all this over a few weeks)
The LONG BOAT TOUR--everyone will be talking about it when you get there. I had never heard of it, but it was very interesting. It gets you from Pai (or Chang Mai) to the Laosian Border where you are processed and get your visa (kinda a scary process--but it somehow works) and you get on a long boat for 2 days (about 8 hours each day) which can either be really cool or really horrible--I had some good books to read and I made a lot of great friends that I continually bumped into as far away as Saigon). In fact, because you're a solo female, this is the bestest opportunity to meet a ton of traveling companions. You'll meet people from the Long Boat again and again. The biggest down side was staying the night in Pak Bang. But I endured it. and it was worth it. For more details, you can check out the section on the Long Boat on my S.E. Asia travel blog.
In fact, that travel blog will be chock full of what the experience is like, complete with photos.
After making it to Louang Prabang, i just worked my way down to Vientiane (gotta hit Vang Vieng and go tubing-absolutely ridiculous) and then I just randomly felt like flying to Phenom Phen (only like 89 USD) but you can just as easily work your way overland...
Anyhow, what i'm getting at is that it's totally easy to find your way because you're going to be meeting SO many other people who are doing the same thing or have just got back from doing what you're about to do.
I can't wait to get back out there. My measly 3 months just got me aching for more! So I'm saving for a trip that will be many years long and hit all the continents in 2012. But instead of being solo I'll have the love of my life with me, who i'm very lucky now to have.
I'm working on writing/creating a website geared towards solo-female travellers. Stay tuned.