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3months in Asia, solo female - itinerary, transport, budget

bohemianwanderings

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Tags: budget, itinerary, transportation, se asia, asia, china, indonesia
  • Added on: August 27th, 2010
Hello,

I'm a 27 year old brazilian girl, traveling solo from Rio de Janeiro to Asia. I've done a lot of traveling before, but it'll be my first time off the American continent.

I'm going to meet up with family in Shanghai for three weeks in January 2011. and I want to travel around Southeast Asia - so my first question is about best time to travel SE Asia, before or after January? Oct - Dec or Feb - May? Weather and budget-wise, which would be better?

Also about budgeting, is USD 30/day really enough for countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand...? I've seen here and on other forums, daily budgets for this area varying from $10 - $40... what is realistic, considering I need no luxuries, but will want to have some occasional "fun money" available for nights out or whatever.

I don't have fixed plans and want to keep the itinerary flexible, to be able to go with the flow once I get out there, but I would like to know about traveling in between these countries - how easy is it to move mostly overland? If it's cheaper, I'd like to avoid flying as much as possible, unless it's too much of a hassle or maybe even dangerous for a solo girl to travel by bus or train. Because of my Chinese-Brazilian background, I've been told I just might blend in well with locals, so maybe that's a point in my favor? :)

Anyway, any advice would be greatly appreciated...
open mind
open heart
free spirit

\o/

my travel photoblog: http://bohemianwanderings.tumblr.com
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busman7

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  • Added on: August 27th, 2010
Met a girl, traveling solo, from Brazilia in Helsinki, when I was just starting my trip & she, going the opposite direction was nearing the conclusion of hers. She had had no major problems during her SE Asia portion, only a bit of a language problem in off the beaten track China. Trains & buses are safe for solo travel however personally I will never travel on a sleeper bus again.

Think I would leave in the fall & travel north from Indonesia as April is the hottest month in Thailand & it is HOT & humid!!

Should be OK with $30/day as long as you travel slow & short flights are reasonably priced however overnight trains & buses save on accommodation costs.
http://blogs.bootsnall.com/busman7 | http://wwwlasbrisasplayasandiego.blogspot.com
"I started out alone to seek adventures. You don't really have to seek them - that is nothing but a phrase - they come to you." Mark Twain

Andromeda

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  • Added on: August 30th, 2010
I did SE Asia as a solo female and it was just fine. :D And I agree in that $30/day should be doable even with nights out etc so long as you're traveling slowly and not doing big ticket items like scuba diving (way cheaper than elsewhere in the world but still ~US$500 for an open water course for example).

Weather-wise, all I can say is that I was in SE Asia Jan-March and by the end of things it was uncomfortably hot in Bangkok- I don't think I would have enjoyed May, but then you might be used to such temperatures more than me if you're from Brazil! So I'd do Oct-Dec I guess- do your research about where/when the rainy seasons are though as it can really vary over the area. Not a big deal, just plan your route around it.

RTW2010...

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  • Added on: August 30th, 2010
Two months into or 8 months of travel in Asia I thought I would comment on you budget questions.

We have spent our time so far in Malaysia and Indonesia, and we love both countries, so far.

The main budget killers for us have been transportation, activities, and the fact that, as a couple we don't stay in dorms. You can live incredibly cheap when you are staying in one place and not doing anything. We have spent as little as $30 in a day for 2 people. The problem is that there are loads of things you will probably want to do and this can get expensive. For example, we just flew in yesterday to Flores Island, Indonesia. On the way in we crossed over Komodo National Park. The coral reefs, scenery, etc from the air are surreal. We immediately knew that this was an area we wanted to explore, and now we are shopping for 3 day (expensive) boat trips.

My point is that if you like doing nothing you can, and will, spend very little. On the other hand, with a few splurges your budget can go out the window quickly.

In Malaysia (for 2 people) we spent about $75/day (this excludes a couple of cheapish domestic flights). Two weeks into our 2 months in Indonesia we expect to spend around $85/day for the both of us. This is more expensive than we expected, but doing stuff here has proved to be costly.

Hope this helps.

busman7

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  • Added on: August 30th, 2010
Must agree with RTW2010 that while $30 is possible in Indonesia, Malaysia also Brunei & the Philippines it is very easy to go over.

However in Myanmar, Laos & Thailand it is easy to keep it under $30, Cambodia & Vietnam ran me right around the $30 mark so it pretty much averaged out.
http://blogs.bootsnall.com/busman7 | http://wwwlasbrisasplayasandiego.blogspot.com
"I started out alone to seek adventures. You don't really have to seek them - that is nothing but a phrase - they come to you." Mark Twain

bohemianwanderings

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  • Added on: August 30th, 2010
thanks everyone for your help!
i decided to go in october! now i'm thinking about tickets - are those "round the world" fares really worth it or should i buy the tickets as i go along? since i don't have a fixed schedule - just have to be in shanghai in january - i don't want to set my travel dates ahead of time...
open mind
open heart
free spirit

\o/

my travel photoblog: http://bohemianwanderings.tumblr.com
facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Bohemian-Wanderings/153512154677668

Mama-to-many

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  • Added on: August 30th, 2010
Could you buy a ticket to your first destination and then overland from there? Busses and tains are cheap as chips. But don't listen too closely to busman - everyone has to do a Chinese sleeper bus once in their lives!!!!!! ;)
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busman7

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  • Added on: August 31st, 2010
Mama-to-many wrote:Could you buy a ticket to your first destination and then overland from there? Busses and tains are cheap as chips. But don't listen too closely to busman - everyone has to do a Chinese sleeper bus once in their lives!!!!!! ;)



mama-to-many you have a point there, everyone should try the sleeper buses "ONCE" a truly unique experience, that I could have done without LOL Actually my trip was in Laos, bus broke down & we spent 3-4 hrs on the roadside waiting for a replacement, which thankfully was a regular coach. Really interesting when traveling solo & sharing compartment with a stranger.
http://blogs.bootsnall.com/busman7 | http://wwwlasbrisasplayasandiego.blogspot.com
"I started out alone to seek adventures. You don't really have to seek them - that is nothing but a phrase - they come to you." Mark Twain

Mama-to-many

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  • Added on: August 31st, 2010
Our unique experience was in China. We were supposed to arrive in Guangzhou at 8am, having boarded the bus 12 hours earlier. To our surprise at 5am (when we had finally just dropped off to sleep), the bus stopped, it was indicated to us that we were supposed to get off right now (try waking toddlers and getting their jackets and hats and gloves etc on coz it was freezing....and make sure you collect all your luggage and don't leave anything behind at that time with no advance warning!)
So we were hustled off the bus. By the time we opened our eyes, we realised we were standing right next to the highway, under an underpass roaring with traffic, wondering if we were in the middle of a scam as half a dozen taxi drivers appeared from nowhere, vying for our business. By then the bus had long gone!

Do we tell our intrepid taveller that movies blare all night long, that the beds are not long enough to stretch out on, that the window by your head might be so broken and taped up that you cannot see out it but wonder how the rain is getting in, that if you get a top bunk you will be scared of falling off, even if you do the seatbelt up.....?????? :D
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busman7

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  • Added on: August 31st, 2010
Aw gee some people have all the fun!!

We didn't board the bus until around 11 pm so had to do without the movies, merely arrived in Pakse 4 hours late missing the bus connection to Voen Kham where we were to catch the shuttle boat to Don Det.

The 5 of us continuing on then took a tuk-tuk to the bus company office where,surprisingly there was no problem getting a cash refund for the missed bus, then the tuk-tuk driver took us to the local bus station where there was a 2 ton Sawngthaew about to leave for a lot less than the refund. The trip was pretty good except when the driver went on the dirt roads to take someone to their home, then it gt just a tad dusty.

No I don't think we should tell prospective sleeper bus passengers these stories. LOL 8-)
http://blogs.bootsnall.com/busman7 | http://wwwlasbrisasplayasandiego.blogspot.com
"I started out alone to seek adventures. You don't really have to seek them - that is nothing but a phrase - they come to you." Mark Twain

Andromeda

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  • Added on: August 31st, 2010
You guys crack me up :lol: (Haven't been to China but I have been dumped out of a sleeper at 3am in Bangkok...)

To the OP, sounds like a rtw ticket wouldn't be worth it for you because you have no set plan and are only interested in one continent. So I'd recommend doing something like purchasing a flexible ticket to/from Shanghai then one of many cheap budget airline tickets to you your first destination in Asia and taking it from there. The other option is buying an "open-jaw" ticket where you fly into one city and out the other (presumably Shanghai) but I obviously don't know which would be cheaper.

bohemianwanderings

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  • Added on: September 2nd, 2010
being from south america, i've taken sleeper buses/trains in brazil, bolivia and peru, with stories not too different from yours! i kind of like the adventure, if it's a one-time thing you can laugh at later... :D
so, right now i'm thinking of getting the tickets as i go... hope everything works out well!

thanks again everyone!
open mind
open heart
free spirit

\o/

my travel photoblog: http://bohemianwanderings.tumblr.com
facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Bohemian-Wanderings/153512154677668

bohemianwanderings

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  • Added on: October 29th, 2010
olaaa beautiful people!
very excited about my first trip to Asia!
i got a ticket leaving from Rio de Janeiro to Bali on Nov 8th, and the return leg will be Shanghai - Rio on Jan 26th. it'll actually be a 10 week trip. i haven't made much plans, and pretty much just want to go with the flow... i still don't know where i'm staying in Bali as soon as i arrive, so i'm taking suggestions!
besides Indonesia i would really like to see Malaysia, Thailand and Cambodia... i'm thinking two months around SE Asia and the month of January in China... is this enough time? i don't want to rush around too much. i hope to travel by land or sea as much as possible, even if it takes longer than flying. should i move slower and skip a country? if so, which one? i want to see the temples, beaches, do some hiking in the forests...
and i want to spend the whole month in China because it's so big and there's certainly so much to see. my family will be there in January so i want to meet up with them too.
open mind
open heart
free spirit

\o/

my travel photoblog: http://bohemianwanderings.tumblr.com
facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Bohemian-Wanderings/153512154677668

tvl2

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  • Added on: November 4th, 2010
Hi there,

The countries you have just wrote down are really worth mentioning. Please do take your time, don't rush. You do have enough time to go about those countries. I think this sounds a trip of a life time, hope you'll have a great time. Do enjoy, happy trails.

Cheers :)

moyna

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  • Added on: November 15th, 2010
Have you figured out some of the details of your trip? I am also a female solo traveler,25 & from the US....I arrive in Thailand December 18th, However I will only be alone from December 22-30th, I was hoping to meet people to travel with! Let me know what your plans are and if you'll be around those dates.
Moyna


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