8 Weeks In Asia/8 weeks in Europe. Please Help!
I am tentatively going to hit:
1. Sumatra (or Bali)
2. Kuala Lumpur
5. Chiang Mei
6. Ho Chi Minh City
10. Off to Europe
Is this unrealistic in 8 weeks? Are there things I should be more focused on, and will I meet other travelers to meet up with in these locations. Hopefully you can help me decide and finalize something. I feel like Sumatra will be lonely and I've been to Bali before, so maybe Indonesia is something to miss. I also feel like it's not enough time for India.
Everyone is different, some people like pretty temples, some like natural wonders, others like to sit around in a bar every night and spend the next day on a beach.
I think it's best if you make a basic plan, try to work out how you could get from one place to the next - part of the fun. But don't try and get to too many places, or book too much, as that makes it harder to change your mind, if you're not liking somewhere, or if you're loving a place so much you don't want to have to leave just because you've booked a flight.
Most of all, get a little book, work out how much money you have each day for spending and then for accommodation, and then write down everything you spend each day. This is a real must - though most people seem not to do it. But one of the main reasons people have to cut their trip short is because they over spend.
If you add up your money at the end of each week, and you're under, you can then do something special or cool.
My partner and I have a budget of GBP15 for spending and GBP10 for accommodation, and we're doing fine. (I think some travellers cope on half this).
Whatever you do, have fun and enjoy the planning.
*I personally would head for Cambodia and Angkor rather than Ho Chi Minh. Saigon was the place I enjoyed the least in Vietnam... Then again we all have different tastes.
*You say you want to go to China but I don't see it in your itinerary
* India: People love it or hate it. I was there for almost a month and it took a little while before I could start having an opinion on it... There's just so much to take in... but I did love it. In retrospect, it was amazing and I want to go back. I would never discourage someone from going but I do think the longer the better. I guess it all depends on what you're hoping to see there and whether or not you think you'll have another opportunity.
* Of course you'll meet other travellers. Did you plan on sticking to big cities?
* Did you plan on flying to India? Also, you didn't include Agra. Don't you want to see the Taj Mahal? (Don't feel obliged to. I'm curious...)
*You're talking about skipping Indonesia. Have you bought your plane ticket yet? If so from where to where?
"First-Time Asia" from Rough Guides is a great book for planning. It might help you...
PS - Don't travel any less than 2nd Class Air-Conditioned Sleeper. It's a must.
HCMC is cool, but Hanoi has a lot to offer, more nooks and crannies I felt like the old quarter which was really cool
Everybody likes different things - I'd stick with Sumatra (I'm going at the end of this month!) but cut out Bali (you've been there) and most of the touristy backpacker stuff in Thailand...but that's personal taste there. I'd take a random hop through the middle of nowhere anyday over Chiang Mai.
India is fantastic and you could spend years exploring it - I found the Punjab quite interesting but not for tourist sites beyond the Golden Temple. I could spend ages in Mumbai just soaking up the craziness. The Taj is worth a visit but people inflate its importance in their trip...that's not to say it's not spectacular. The rest of Agra is a stinking hole, unfortunately.
I always tell people never to travel in A/C sleeper in India unless it's an overnight train. (better to travel AC for overnight trips for comfort). If it's a train that goes through the day though, you won't see anything out the window with AC, but you'll see all sorts of interesting things in non-AC as the windows open.
quote:I third Hanoi over Saigon.
I suggested Angkor, but if you must go to Vietnam, Hanoi is the place to go... From there, you can also easily do a sidetrip to Halong Bay or Sapa (up north to see the minorities)
Internal flights and other transport is so readily available and easily booked out there, don't worry about having it all sorted this end before you go. It is not like traveling 30 years ago when everything was very difficult and off the beaten track. You are following in the footsteps of millions of other backpackers and those countries will cater for you in every way with travel agents abound.
The only thing you might consider, in order to save money is to fly to Bangkok first. It may seem backwards, as you will then have to travel south, but it is the main airport in Asia and most travelers use this as a base for their travels because flights are much cheaper to Bangkok and domestic and local flights are very cheap also. (For example, I picked up flights: Â£50 to Laos and Â£20 to Cambodia from Bangkok). It is very much catered to westerners in Bangkok and so organising transport visas and trips from Bangkok is usually much easier than other countries, plus you will be immediately immersed into the backpacking scene (esp if you stay on khao san road).
I would try and add Cambodia into you schedule, also I disagree with the others about missing off Ho Chi Minh. You will not get to to see the Ku Chi tunnels and learn about the Khymer Rouge and the war in such great detail if you miss here. However, if it's a choice over Cambodia: Angkor Wat and Phnom Penh over Vietnam, I would def choose Cambodia.
If it were me I would do, spending about 1 week in each:
1.Thailand - Bangkok, Chiang Mei, islands, which ever bits interest you the most. (Don't bother with Phuket, it is the most touristy place after Pattaya). Maybe you could do a trek in Chiang Mei? Great way to meet other people and will break you in to traveling. Try to do the trek in the Pai region, which only has a bout 12 people doing the trek rather than 20-50.
2. Vietnam: Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh. (Poss stop half way for a day in Nha Trang or Hoi An)
3. Cambodia: Phnom Penh and Angkok Wat (Use the river boat as transport to get between the two, its a great way to see the river and great scenery)
4. Maybe head back to Bangkok for a night or fly straight to: Kuala Lumpar
Then head off to Europe! If you need any help, just email me. Have a fabulous time!!!!
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