Can I just say after only knowing about this site for a couple days, i've got to say the information on these forums are sensational and i've already learnt quite alot.
I was just wandering if i could pick your brains for a couple of tricks and hints as it is my first time travelling for a extensive period of time. I am travelling with 1 other friend.
We are flying on the following days:
29th March: London - Bangkok
26th May: Bangkok - Delhi
6th June: Delhi - London
We are planning on travelling from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, then across to Laos (where i really want to try tubing, any info on how where it is or how to get there?). Then off to Hai Noi and Ha long Bay before making our way down the Veitmanese coast to Ho Chi Minh. Off to Cambodia to Phnom Penh before finally arriving back in Bangkok. We then want to make our way down to Krabi for at least 2 weeks, and planning on going to the Full Moon Party on May 18th sometime in that period (10th - 24th May?). We then plan on get a straight train/bus back to Bangkok for our connecting flight to Delhi.
In Delhi we plan on heading north to Manali as we have heard it is a very peaceful and 'self-finding' place. But my knowledge is very limited, so any information would be fantastic. (how to get there,prices etc.)
Im bringing £2500 for the whole trip, do you think that will be sufficient?
I was looking at this as a suitable rucksack?: http://www.blacks.co.uk/rucksacks/rucksacks/product/105017/hot-rock-40-ramblesack.html?attribute=3661542
Im completely for taking the 'unused' path and would prefer to train/bus my way around to save the money on more important things, like activities. I want to see the beautiful culture and scenery but would also like to see the nightlife and partying scene.
If you could provide any input, places you would suggest visting (my route is not set in stone so happy to divert to see the right things), average prices of trains/bus's and generally any knowledge on any of the places im am visiting (especially manali) I would be very grateful.
Lastly if you have any knowledge of the mannerisms used in these countries (thank you, please) I would be grateful, as I believe that as it is not my country I should treat the local people and the country its self with great respect.
Thanks alot for any help.
I havn't been myself yet but im planning a similar trip later this year and done a fair bit of researching like yourself. I've heard that around $1000 a month is sufficient to have a good time and see everything around SE Asia and India is apparently even cheaper so i would say yea that you should have plenty. And the Backpack looks good.. maybe a front-loader though as i can imagine it being annoying when your looking for something and it always seems to be at the bottom.
Good plans though.. Have fun
Delhi to Manali "tourist bus" nice bus 17hrs about 900rupees. Bus leaves in evening arrives in morning.
Delhi to Manali locals bus open windows, locals puking out of them on the mountain hairpins 18hrs 350rupees.
I'll have to look through my old note books, but somewhere I have the name and number of the best of the tourist buses. At the time you're going you need to book a few days and sometimes a week in advance to get a seat, its a really popular time with the Indians to be traveling to the cool mountains.
If you're interested, I can also give you a couple of recommendations for guest houses in Manali and Vashisht the neighboring village. There are probably better places for "self finding" but Manali is still good and a great base to branch out into other areas. Dharamasala for the Dalai Lama, google him to find his website and you can see if he is in residence when you are there. Spiti Valley, amazing beauty and more Tibetan than Indian. I dont think you'll have time for a trip to Leh and it will probably be too early in the season and the roads still closed.
Take the train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. Leaves in the evening and arrives in the morning. Nice comfortable beds, take your own food. I think it was about $50. I can also give you a recommendation of a lovely guest house there too, with awesomely friendly owners.
Ho Chi Minh I can give you a great guest house too. Not sure on your time you have here, but I loved this city.
The tubing is in Vang Vieng which is accessible by bus from Luang Prabang. Are you planning to get the slow boat from the Thai/Laos border down to Luang Prabang? It takes 2 days and I'd recommend it; the trip can be arranged in Chiang Mai or Pai.
The bus journey from to Hanoi from Vientiane in Laos takes 18 hours and is not recommended - we flew with Vietnam Airlines and I think it cost around $100.
I'm doing a very similar trip to you starting in March. I'm going to Bangkok first and moving on to Cambodia and up Vietnam before flying back to Bangkok and making my way down to South Thailand and Malaysia. I'm also hoping to go to the May full moon party (going to be insane!)
here is a very good website for train and transport info for pretty much any country in the world. http://www.seat61.com/
I'm taking around £3000 for 3 months, which i hear is about right.
really can't wait as its going to be my first time travelling alone
Anyway, good luck and happy travelling
Thank you all for your replys.
@Dodger Thanks for all your help, any notes from your old notebook would be much appreciated.
@bex76 Thanks for clearing that up, and the slow boat sounds great. Do you know roughly how much it is, and can it easily be booked in Chiang Mai, or is it a know the right people thing?
@Panda See you at the FMP? . Thanks for the site, helps out alot.
Any other advice would be great.