Just reading some posts and its so reassuring to hear so many people heading out to SE Asia solo. I've spend years thinking about it (..and years giving friends/family earache talking about it), so finally took the plunge and booked my flights a few weeks ago. Got 3 months off work and planning on spending 2 months travelling SE Asia, then Oz / NZ for final month. I leave on 6 February, flying from London and first stop is Singapore.
My plan is to work my way up from Singapore toThailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and then fly out of Bangkok to Oz.
I'm female, 30 years old and from Edinburgh (Scotland). Would be great to hear from anyone who will be travelling about the same time, or grateful for any tips on the above route.
@KiSimpson - Yes i they look quite expensive to take cash out.. its free to put money on though (via bank transfer anyway).. If i was a bit more organised, i would have applied for a specialist credit card.. I think Halifax is one of the best, along with Sainsburys (but they charge £5 pm for the priviledge, but really cheap to use etc..) but i just ran out of time.. Again with Visa's i would have opted to get it over here but I am ridiculously unorganised that I havent.. With regards to Transfers i cant help you I'm affraid.. I am sure STA charge a premium to use though, so probably could get it cheaper but I have been told a few times that the drivers try to sell you everything from food to tailored shorts (one mates experience)..
@ Mike P - I do want to go to Phuket, no idea when or how i will get there though.. I personally prefer trains over buses, but if it has to be a bus then so be it.. Would be cool to meet up with someone who been living out there for a while.. I will message you too.
@ GemsP - I will be around there at that sort of time.. i am doing your route of SEA but the opposite way.. arriving in BKK and leaving from Singapore.. Enjoy oz/nz.. am jealous,, would love to do that too but its not in my plans... yet... haha..
@KiSimpson - I reseached credit cards yesterday and as Sean said the Halifax came out with the best reviews. The Halifax 'Clarity' card for designed for travellers and you don't get charged any interest for purchasing and withdrawing money abroad. I also applied for a Post Office credit card which came out second best on the reviews. I want to take a few cards with me for back up! I applied yesterday and the cards should be with me in the next 7-10 days.
Sean - sounds great, not quite sure why I've done it this way round, Trailfinders led the way with flights. I'm sure it doesn't matter either way - maybe see you half way
Without reading though all posts, can anyone advise if you are best to buy the visas before i depart? And I am I right in thinking that I can travel Thailand for 30 days without one, head to Cambodia or Vietnam, then head back into Thailand without visa - because i have left the country?
Accomodation - are you best to book first few nights in each starting destination or is it easy enough to do that along the way?
I dont think either way matters too much - I just said i wanted to go to thailand and travel round and the flights back from Singapore seemed to work.. Yer be cool to meet up .. maybe keep me up to date and I'll do the same when you arrive and sure we will bump in to eachother..
My understanding of the visa's is that you get a 30 day visa when you arrive in Thailand.. (even if you cross the boarder and return on the same day.. but can only get 3, 30 day visa's in 6 months).. i am sure other people will know more so please correct me if i am wrong.. but i remember reading that somewhere.. Need to get visa for Vietnam before you cross the boarder I think, (if you fly in to Vietnam you can get it on arrival, but not if you cross by land)..
With accommodation, I have only booked my first 7-8 days .. not arranged any other accommodation, but i posted a thread on here asking about that and majority of people were saying its fine to just do it along the way..
hope that helps (just dont quote me on what I have mentioned above)...
Feel free to message me if you like Gem..
You are correct that you can come to Thailand for up to 30 days without having to apply previously and that will be the case every time you enter Thailand by air. If you cross the border into Thailand via Bus/Train/Boat you will only be given a 14 day visa - Its strange i know and it didnt always used to be like this but they quite like to change the rules fairly regularly here.
as far as booking ahead I would book for the first place you intend to land ie if you land in Bangkok book for the entire time you intend to stay in Bangkok but after that its quite easy to play it by ear - i think its better because it doesnt force you to stick to a schedule - if you like a place you can stay longer without having to worry about losing out through cancellation charges etc.
p.s If you do land in Bangkok its worth checking out D&D Inn. Its right on the Khao San Road, so you'll be right in the middle of it (not sure if you like that idea or not). If you can ask for a room thats not at the fromnt of the building because it can be pretty noisy on the street at night.
Quick mention on the Halifax Clairty Card - Although it is free to withdraw cash.. it charges interest for cash withdrawals.. (12.9%).. The only one that doesnt charge interest for cash withdrawals is Sainsburys - but they charge £5pm so need to work out what is best.. depends on how much cash you take out.. (there is a page on money saving expert which details it all.. thats what i looked at..
Oh excellent, cheers guys! The Sainsbury's one sounds like the best one so far - i'll go and have a more detailed read now! The guy in STA said it's cheapest to find one with a flat fee for withdrawing money (as opposed to one with a percentage charge), and then just draw out as much money as possible each time, but of course that means carrying large amounts of money around.
Thanks guys. My task for the next few days is to get my visas sorted, then accomodation. It's only 2 weeks on Monday until I depart and suddenly feeling very disorganised....eek!
Thanks for the info on the Clarity Card Sean, i think I've come to the conclusion that whatever means of monies i take I'm going to have to endure bank charges. Planning to take 2 credit cards and my current account visa debit card.
Does anyone know if you are best to book on organised tours for Vietnam /Cambodia, Loas ??
I'm the same Gem!! and i leave in 6 days!!!
Thats ok.. hope it was of some help.. yes and I am going to be spending lots on bank charges over the 5 and half months.. which is very annoying.. serves me right for being ill-prepared.. never mind.. im sure it will be worth it in the end!!!
Havent looked in on tours for Vietnam/Cambodia/Loas so be interesting what people would say.. Have spoken to a few people though who met up with other people doing the same kind of thing and create their own tours.. as they can often get expensive..
you on fb?
Are you spending 5 1/2 months in SE Asia Sean? I always leave things to the last minute too, i kind of work better under a bit of pressure
I'd be interested in meeting up with people and doing the more independant tour - if that is recommended?
Yeah on fb, if you want to add - Gemma Park (Edinburgh).