I need serious advice on a "RTW" trip
First of all; great website and forum!
I'm 21, doing what I deem is necessary and right.
I'm from the Netherlands (no not Amsterdam... ) and love to travel.
The only problem is: I haven't done it a lot (yet).
Here's where I've been:
France (Belleville, Lyon, Paris)
Turkey (West (including Istanbul), South, and Central)
I've always found myself wanting to see more of the world. The few trips I've done, were pretty cool. Especially those without a clear plan (you know.. just heading there without planning ANYTHING ahead).
I have a few serious questions to ask.
I'm currently in an extremely busy part of my life, where setting up a company, stabilizing myself financially and renting an appartment are one of my top priorities.
2012, however, is still blank! I'm thinking of planning an amazing trip with a lot of adventure and just lots of fun and meeting new people. Spontanity is important to me. I don't want to plan ahead too much so that I can go my own way, but I also DO NOT want to miss sweetspots at the places that I will be traveling. So I'm open to A LOT OF SUGGESTIONS from you guys. I love tranquility but I also love adventure (climbing, skydiving, bungeejumping and all that is exciting) and I would love to visit great places and just go with the flow. I also love metropolitan areas and busy places and going out partying and meeting people and eating delicious foods. Long story short; I'm extremely versatile and would love to have best of all worlds! haha.
I'm planning on: (-> means: from/to/through)
START - AMSTERDAM
AMSTERDAM -> GERMANY
GERMANY -> AUSTRIA
AUSTRIA -> ITALY
ITALY -> GREECE
GREECE -> TURKEY
TURKEY -> AZERBAIJAN
AZERBAIJAN -> TURKMENISTAN
TURKMENISTAN -> UZBEKISTAN
UZBEKISTAN -> CHINA (THROUGH KYRGYZSTAN)
FOLLOWING THE WESTERN PARTS OF CHINA -> MONGOLIA
THROUGH MONGOLIA -> EASTERN PARTS OF CHINA (MAYBE BEIJING?)
CHINA -> SOUTH KOREA
SOUTH KOREA -> JAPAN (TOKYO)
FROM TOKYO all the way down to the south of Japan (visiting Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima etc.)
SOUTH OF JAPAN -> CHINA (SHANGHAI)
FROM THERE, ZIG-ZAGGING THROUGH CHINA IS NO ISSUE
ZIGZAG CHINA -> HONG KONG
HONG KONG -> VIETNAM
VIETNAM -> LAOS
LAOS -> CAMBODIA
CAMBODIA -> THAILAND
THAILAND -> INDIA
FROM INDIA to..... Amsterdam...
(AGAIN: I'm open to suggestions on places I should visit in these countries, as nothing is planned!!)
I know that it is not really an RTW trip, but Africa, Australia, the Middle-East and The Americas are something for a different time as Asia is my biggest passion and goal!
I have about a year and half of time, and I wish to travel as much as possible by bus, on foot or by boat (starting from GERMANY or AUSTRIA) and will be sleeping as much as possible in cheap hotels/hostels/ on couches.
Again, suggestions on everything from nature, to cities, to icey to hot to sky to ground to clubs to parks to wildlife to important historic places is welcome!
Ofcourse, depending on your suggestions, I will adjust my budget but let's just say that money isn't really an issue here (+/- 20.000 EUR -> 28.000 USD -> 18.000 GBP)
Thanks a lot in advance! Oh and also, please do let me know when you'll be visiting where, so that maybe if I'm there also, we could meet up for a great time (or not)!
Edit: I forgot to thank you all! + added Laos to the list! (Thanks guys!)
Additional information added (edit):
I speak Dutch, English, Turkish and basic Japanese. I also understand German pretty well.
I don't know about adding Laos though.. Is it really worthwhile? I've never heard of Laos before.
(Shame on me)
Laos it is then. What'd you guys like about Laos?
@busman7 that sounds amazing! I'll definitely hit Myanmar on a trip after this one.
Have you travelers ever visited China? I want to see those enormous lakes with the mountainrocks right in the middle of it. I saw it somewhere and was in shock of how beautiful it is, but I can't seem to remember the name.
Also, does anyone know which cities in China are REALLY worth it? (for clubbing, culture, people, nature, shopping, doesn't matter!)
In 1991, I visited:
Beijing: huge city, and I'm sure it's gotten considerably smoggier since I was there, but lots of good museums and sight-seeing
Shanghai: quaint Western buildings in the old part of town, good seafood
Guilin: beautiful scenery, although I've heard it's gotten really touristy - maybe Yangshuo would be better
Xian - the terracotta warriors were amazing, food was not as good as in other locations
In 2006, I visited:
Hong Kong: cool museums, very walkable, great food and shopping
Macau: really interesting, especially the Macau Museum
23 days in Myanmar came in at $21/day including internal travel.
Your posts are really helping me out.
So are there any suggestions on some natural beauties of mother Earth in China, Japan and Mongolia?
And what about adventurous stuff in the countries I'm visiting?
So far I haven't been anywhere in China that I didn't find worthwhile: Hong Kong had the most amazing skyscrapers I've ever seen, Guilin/Yangshao area had spectacular scenery (I'd just stick to Yangshao tho next time), Beijing has a lot going on, and Xi'an has the terracotta army which was one of the most spectacular things I've seen. Ask me in a few more days about Chengdu and Tibet.
One thing I will note about your itinerary is your visas might be difficult to procure- if nothing else Chinese visas need to be obtained within a month of arrival and you might not get as many entries as your plan requires (mine was also a whopping US$200 with processing, but that's the joy of being an American- don't think the Dutch have to pay that much!). Pretty easy to move around China itself really as the rail network is extensive and fairly cheap.
I will second those who say go to Laos as it was my favorite country in SE Asia- spectacular scenery, good adventures to be had, great culture, and look up Veng Vieng tubing and get back to me. Trust me, go. Also, no one's mentioned it yet but you will need to fly to India from Thailand while it sounds like ther est of your journey is overland. I hear Myanmar is great, but they don't keep their borders open to outsiders much (though if you want to go to India overland you can do so via China-Tibet-Nepal-India).
If you want more details than that my travel blog is linked below- I'm currently writing about China obviously but there's a fair number of countries linked on the right hand side too.
Have you experienced any dangerous encounters (whether it be the police or bandits) while traveling in China?
@vagabondette74: I can't seem to find the right torrent but I've found an article on Wikipedia, showing the places they have to visit. That includes (for example): Shanghai to Zhejiang, Zhejiang to Jiangsu, Jiangsu to Beijing and so on.
That'll be of help too!
I'm starting to think that China is perhaps going to be a place I will be staying for a pretty long time, including SE Asia (to stretch the journey out as much as possible).
However, I'm also negotiating with a friend of a friend on renting an appartment in Tokyo for about 1 month to explore Tokyo and the surrounding area (I'll be eating 2 meals a day with a friend, except for the weekends, so that'll save money).. will that be too long? If so, what do you recommend?
I think I should do it, because that friend of a friend offered to show me the best spots, go clubbing and eating together + he is a native Japanese.
It's HUGE (120 GB) but you only have to download the china season which isn't that big. (You need a bittorrent client to download it BTW) It's huge because it's all the seasons from all the countries. You might also want to download the asia seasons to get some ideas but I think the China would be best. They went to some really amazingly beautiful places.
RE Tokyo, personally I'd probably not want to spend a month in Tokyo but that's your call. If you can get a good deal on cost of living it'd probably be worth it.
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