Hi and really hope you can help
We are travelling a trip of a lifetime on a shoe-string budget; we have worked 9-5 in an office for too long and were getting out of here, we want to travel from London to Sydney via Asia. (We presume that an open return would be the best form of flight ticket?)
I know what you’re thinking that Asia is a broad generalisation, but we are in a need of suggestions and help in navigating our amazing trip.
The trip must include the cheapest form of travel, train/bus or sea. Please consider the weather and the best time to travel, including the best destinations in each country.
As a priority these are countries which we want to see, Nepal (including walk to Base Camp), India , Vietnam ( we particularly like this country and want to do Ho Chi Min trail – South to North, if you have seen Top Gear in Vietnam, it’s what has inspired us to do this) , Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, China and Japan.
The following are countries we would consider if you suggest worthwhile; Philippines, Malaysia including Singapore.
We would really appreciate any feedback, advice and help on the matter.
I was quite surprised by how much I liked Malaysia, so personally, I think it is worth a stop. Some areas to consider are Melaka, Tamen Negra Park, The Cameron Highlands, The Prehentian Islands (beautiful!), Tioman Island, Penang, and of course, Kuala Lumpur.
Singapore is also a good stop for a few days (I spent 10 days there). It really will give you a look at the modern, affluent side of Asian life that you won't see in Cambodia, Laos or Vietnam. Singapore and Kuala Lumpur are also both good travel hubs for inexpensive flights. (I flew from KL to Perth, Australia for about $150 US.)
For SE Asia, take a look at travelfish.org they have a lot of good info.
If you really are on a shoestring budget, I would stick to Asia and do Australia another time? I spent SO much more money in OZ than in Asia! If you have the time and can get a working holiday visa there it might be a different story, but just to travel there is very expensive.
It's good to know that you are going to visit India, if need my help or want to meet, please lemme know.
I'm also a Traveler, though, I've only traveled in my own country till date, but, planning to do south east asia trip soon.
Thank you so much for your advice and destinations so far, we are very much appreciated with all your input and taking down all your suggestions. You have helped so much already.
Sorry, I should have given times, we are looking at 12 months, starting April.We dont know where to spend the 12 months though as were not sure what should dictate our route, should attampt to go from left to right on the map, then we need to consider avoiding monsoon season, which is the cheapest route. We dont know how much money to take, at the moment we have £6k and will save more by April.
We are very much outdoor people, with a sense of fun. We love history, nature,beach,mountains,culture,food,diving,hiking,sports,animals. As mentioned in the first post, those are the countries we would like to see, and we are also looking for suggestions on where within each country to go and spend our time, and for how long.
Thanks again and hope this info helps.
I'm off 1st March to escape 9-5 as well!
Im leaving from heathrow to bangkok then through Cambodia, south to north vietnam (again top gear major influence) laos, northern thailand down to singapore, brisbane then down east coast to sydney and home (approx 1 year open ended flight)
From what ive researched and speaking to other people id be worried about 2 things for you.
1) time. there's alot of countries on your list and id be worried about rushing them. The countries i plan to visit seem to have so much on offer im worried about the time let alone adding China japan india and nepal.
2) budget same as delanaloo would prob skip australia im taking approx 8K planning to live extremely low cost cheapest hostels, local markets for food etc in Asia. Then australia im know im going to need to work out there or trip will be cut short due to lack of funds - its expensive.
Places to visit - tons just look on the forum or google everything on the country but several highlight for me
Cambodia - angkor wat - if you saw Karl Pilkington on sky's idiot abroad - amazing
Laos - Vang Vieng - more for the party backpacker atmosphere
Northern Vietnam - Halong Bay
Thailand - Tiger temple, also close to River Kwai bridge
So many beaches but Ko Chang Island near cambodian border looks great
Still where ever you end up I can guarentee it'll beat that 9-5
If you are interested in diving, look into a Similan livaboard out of Koh Lak, Thailand (depending on the time of year). I have been diving both the east & west coats of Thailand and thought that the west side was much nicer (did the same trip twice a couple of years apart), but the sites are pretty far out so a livaboard is best. Richeliue Rock is AMAZING! I found the best deal booking through divetheworld.com. Be sure to ask what their restrictions are though. I only have my open water (1st level) certification - on first trip it was not an issue, but the 2nd trip they made me do an additional deep dive class (an unexpected $60!).
If you are interested in going to Indonesia, for something totally different go muck diving in Sulawesi or (easier to get to, but not as crazy weird critters) Tulamben on the northeast coast of Bali. I would recommend TwoFish divers in Sulawesi, they have locations in both Manado and Lembeh - only a couple of hours apart, but completely different underwater worlds.
If you are spending 12 months in Asia, you should visit China for a month, at least. You can travel around China very cheaply, and there's lots to see here. You can even travel by train or bus north from Southeast Asia (Vietnam or Laos).
All my favourite destination are in the area you're going.
In SE Asia top for me is Myanmar (Burmah) and so easy/safe, followed by Laos, then Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia then Vietnam. All have great people, food, scenery and are super cheap.
Having said that my favourite trip of all was the western half of Australia. Because the attractions cost nothing if you minimise accommodation costs then it is cheap. To do this I have used 2 options - bought a cheap car, a tent and a primus stove & resold the car when finished; bought a cheap campervan & resold it. You can free camp almost anywhere as it is true wilderness. Start in Perth & take in hePinnacles, Bungle Bungles, Kimberleys, Karijini, Ningaloo Reef, Broome, Ayres Rock, Alice Springs, Katherine Gorge, Kings Canyon, Litchfield & Kakadu NPs and the beaches of the SW. Include whale watching, whale sharks, rodeos, crocodiles and stacks of other things.
If you're going for a year then the hot/wet season (June-Oct) is a good time to head to western Australia which is at its best climatically from May to October.
I have never talked to anyone who has been to Asia and had a bad time and if you working to a budet then you get a lot for your money.
Arriving in Bangkok you have loads of options. I you are looking to take in the rest of south east Asia and don’t want to back track on yourself whilst seeing the best bits here is a great itinerary:
Bangkok - River Kwai (Kanchanuburi), Ayutthaya - Chiang Mai (jungle trek) Pai - Chiang Rai - to Laos Boarder - Luang Prabang - Vang Vien - Phonsavan (plain of Jars) - bus over to Hanoi - Hill tribes of Sapa - Halong Bay - Bus down Vietnam stopping at usual spots - HCMC - Take a river cruise along the Mekong river into Cambodia - Phonom Penh - Siem Reap (Angkor Wat) - Bangkok - bus and ferry to Ko Tao - Ko Phangan - Ko Samui - feryy back to main land - Khao Sok national park (amamzing!) - Bus down to Krabi - Ko Lanta - Ko Hai - Jump on a trian down into Malaysia to the Perentian islands - Cameron Highlands - Tamen Negara - Kuala Lumpur - Melaka and onto Singapore. Job done!!!
If you follow this or a similar itinerary then you will not be disappointed. Have fun!