So, after using this forum to help me get set up and good to go to Australia, I have now been here 3 months and am planning my next trip!
I have travelled the East Coast of Australia and spent 5 weeks in Sydney and while I absolutely love it here, I am about to start work as an au pair in Sydney to save for my next trip - Asia for 5 months!
My plan is work until my 6 months is up (end of July/beginning of August) and then fly off to Asia for 5 months before returning home for Christmas 2014 (Christmas in Australia is so weird.. hot?!)
The only problem is.. I have no idea how to plan it! I have no idea where to go, how much I'll need, how to get there, what to do while I'm there.. and so on and so forth. The only thing I know is that I don't fancy Bali, Japan, China, Singapore or Hong Kong.
Any help/advice would be much appreciated! And if you need any help on the East Coast of Australia I can certainly help with that!
Thanks in advance...
OK - without knowing anything about you, a first plan could be to fly into Kuala Lumpur and work your way overland up Malaysia and into Thailand (Cha-Am, Bangkok, Chiang Mai) then across to Chiang Khong and get the slow boat doen the Mekong to Luang Prabang in Laos, up to Sam Neua, across the northern border to Hanoi in Vietnam (Halong Bay, Sapa) and work down the coast to Saigon (Hue, Nha Trang, Hoi An) then across into Cambodia (Phnom Penh, Siem Reap) and then back to Bangkok to fly out. This can be done in as little as five weeks or, at a more leisurely pace, five months with plenty of other stops on the way.
Just a suggestion to get you started - enjoy planning and, more importantly, enjoy your trip.
You could go first to Indonesia in August. You can visit Java and some other Islands. I recommand Sulawesi and Jogjakarta area. I have been there in July: some heavy but short rains and rather good weather in general. And by the way, I also do recommand Bali.
Then after a stop in Kuala Lumpour, visit Vietnam from North to South (or from South to North ) and when the temperature decreases, you can go in continental SE Asia. Laos and Cambodia are fine in November.
I do not know about Thailand and Burma but I think you should also wait lesser temperatures to go there.
Enjoy your nice trip
Planning a trip to Asia for the first time can be daunting. It seems so foreign and challenging, and when you're not familiar with the region, it is hard to know where to start. But don't worry, Asia is really an easy place to travel in.
The suggestions above are all good. The Thailand - Laos - Vietnam - Cambodia - Thailand route is a pretty well worn path, and the most obvious choice for part of your route. Bangkok is a perfect city to fly into, with unlimited resources for travelers, and is the intro to the region for a large percentage of travelers. From there you can head south to Malaysia and fly out of KL or Singapore, or continue into Indonesia. Though you said you don't have an interest in Bali, think of it as an exit point, since there are numerous flight options from there and you wouldn't have to backtrack through Indonesia. Of course all of this could be done in reverse, and actually, flying from Australia to Bali, and home from Bangkok is a pretty good option.
I think this route could easily take up 5 months, but if you have time to spare, you could consider flying over to Philippines for a bit, into Myanmar, or even up to Southwest China (Yunnan province is wonderful, and not the big city China you probably picture). I wouldn't cut out Hong Kong so quickly - it's a pretty amazing city.
As for money, it's really hard to say. I've traveled the region many times and on many different budgets. Some trips I got by on $15 a day for several months, and other trips I struggled to keep it under $50. I've also gone and spent a few hundred on a weekend in Bangkok. Usually though, if I watch what I drink, don't shop too much, and don't splurge on a touristy restaurants, I get by fine on $25-30 a day, depending on the area. Totally depends on the person though. If you like comforts and drinking, that's going up to up in a hurry.
Accommodation and transportation is also really easy. Hotels are easy to find in guidebooks, and I'm the kind of traveler who is happy to walk the streets and check out a few spots to get the best price. I usually go to the guidebook and find the area of town that has a concentration of hotels. If the guidebook lists 5, there are most likely 15 more on the block. Sometimes I book online, but generally only my first night, or if I'm on a really short trip and don't want to waste time. Hotel owners can usually give you advice on the best way to travel to the next town. Sometimes they can book bus and train tickets for you, or you can head to the stations yourself. There's no one blanket answer, and it's a different process in every country or town. You'll figure it out.
Hmm ... it really is difficult without any information about you and what you like ... so I will just tell you some things I loved about asia ...
My friend and I (two girls, so no worries about safety in asia!!) rented a bike and started in phnom penh. We went with the small automatic suzuki mio around the tonle sap (the lake in the middle of cambodia), visited angkor wat of course too, but it was not the most important part of our cambodia trip. It was really amazing and even if our butts were sore we loved it! :D
If you are going to laos try this:
It is a 3-4 trek through the jungle, you are using zipp lines for the most parts and sleeping in tree houses. It is hard (especially when you take the "waterfall tour") and beware of leeches (you need trekking shoes not only sandals). Maybe it is a little bit expensive, but worth it.
I will not say "If you go to thailand" because you defintely will ... ... So WHEN you go to Thailand don't take a plane or direct bus from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. There are some really nice places in between ... for example the Erawan Waterfalls or Sukothai.
I don't know how much time you have for the planning, but if time is short I use this site for my bookings:
There are a lot such pages online, you have to choose your favourite.
[ Edit: Sorry, no promos please. ]
In February 2015.
I have a Mekong river cruise from near Seam Reap in Cambodia to Saigon in Vietnam. Then an Irrawaddy river cruise from Rangoon to Mandalay in Burma and another Mekong cruise from Luang Prabang & back to Luang Prabang in Laos.
The first 2 are about 15 days each & 8 days in Laos.
I did see a place to stay in Laos I think, where the rooms are in the treetops & you get to them by zip-line. Maybe when I was younger, but not now.
This may not be for you as it is expensive but something to consider as river travel will be a great way to see the world go by.
Mine are not ferries but a ferry is a great way of getting from place to place.
My blog gives more details
aaaa thats so exciting, there is literally so many options. It is exactly what I have been doing the last 4 months.
[ Edit: Sorry, no promos please. ]
Allow 2 weeks in each of Myanmar, Vietnam, Laos & Sri Lanka. Allow a week in Cambodia & northern Thailand. Avoid Singapore, Malaysia and Phuket unless you have heaps of time. These are the only SE Asian countries I have recent experience in.
Wow guys great advice! Thank you all!
Will have a proper read through when I get a minute but I just wanted to thank you all for the effort you put into your answers - much appreciated!!
If you have time,try to visit Philippines specially if you love nature and cultures.. There are lot of untouch beaches and world heritage site that you can see.
People are nice and hospitable. And there are lot of cheap accomodations, if you're a backpacker.
Mayon Volcano in bicol, Taal Volcano, Sagada, Rice terraces, Vigan, Underground river, Elnido and Coron beach in Palawan, Chocolates hills in bohol, are some of the beautiful places in the Philippines.
[ Edit: Edited on 14-Feb-2014, at 20:43 by adalaine.lia05 ]