Hi I am taking my first backpacking trip EVER and need help!
I am having the hardest time ever creating a rough internary! I am travelling with my female 21 yr old cousin and neither of us are planners. We booked plane tickets to and from Bangkok May 3, 2013 - June 28th, 2013. So we have 8 weeks in Southeast Asia! Our inital plans were to fly there and meet people, get recommendations and have the freedom to go whereever we'd like. I am starting to get nervous with this plan, and think we should have a rough idea of places to visit. While doing research everything sounds the same! I know I would like to see more of the beaches / laid back / party lifestyle. I am thinking of going south of Bangkok, but have no idea where to even start with planning! Has anyone else planned anything similar? Any suggestions?
Also, not to sound "conceited" we are both young tall skinny attractive blondes. Very bubbley and outgoing, and extremely naive. We have been told by many people this is a bad idea for the two of us to go alone, as we get a lot of attention in Canada, and have been told blondes get a lot in Southeast Asia. Is it safe for us to go? Should we be extra cautious? Any recommendations?
Thanks so much!!!
I looked at your photo and you are not 'conceited'. You are young, tall, blonde. Yes, you are going to get a lot of attention from SEA males. Western males as well! I am concerned about the 'extremely naive' part. Thailand has plenty of scams going on and you do need to realize that many that appear helpful are really trying to separate you from your money. Please keep your female radar on at all times and stay skeptical of 'too good to be true' offers, deals. Of course you are going to experience new countries and to enjoy yourselves, but do realize that things can go wrong very quickly. Yes, it is safe for you to go, but stay alert. Just because a place has beautiful beaches does not mean there is no crime. My advice: never rent motorbikes or jet skiis. Travel with the most metal around you as possible. Train is better than bus, bus is better than a van or car, both are better than a motorbike. Flying is the safest option between cities if you have the budget. Use the gov't bus system the Thai people use. Travel shops try to put you on the private buses. Many reports of theft on these buses. Make the effort to get over to the bus station and book it yourself. Having your gear stolen will ruin your holiday.
Two is way better than going alone. But, you two should not have a problem travelling with other females if you choose. The Khao San Road area of BKK is perfect for you two. Heaps of young BPers heading everywhere in SEA. I suggest you stay on KSR or close by for a few days. Many members prefer Soi Rambuttri for accommodation. Then walk over to KSR and you will get plenty of advice on where to go, stay, transport etc. You say you are out going, perfect for information sharing. Ask others at your GH, when eating, on a tour, etc. about heading down to the southern beaches and a 2 month route.
I would suggest you spend most of your first month in Tland. Go North for trekking and the culture of Tland. Ayutthaya, Sukhothai. Then head South for the beaches. You have time for both coasts. You might check the weather and pick the side with the most sunshine. I would pass on Phuket, but you might want to visit Phi Phi and the Krabi beaches. Or perhaps Samui and Phangan. After Tland, I would fly Air Asia over to HaNoi. Use the VN visa on arrival system. My blog talks about my experience. 3 weeks in VN, train or open bus down to HCMC. Bus is cheaper, more convenient, the train is safer. Or use some train, some bus, your choice. After HCMC, bus over to Phnom Penh. My blog talks about my trip: HCMC-PP. 2-3 days in PP, bus down to Sihanoukville for some beach time. Or head up to Siem Reap if you are running out of days. 3-4 days in SR, one long day back to BKK. A few days sightseeing and fly home.
Good luck with your planning. Send me a PM if you have questions on any part of SEA travel.
[ Edit: Edited on 24-Feb-2013, at 12:06 by vegasmike6 ]