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I need serious advice on a "RTW" trip

DenkiGroove

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Joined: April 2nd, 2011

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Tags: rtw, asia, uzbekistan, turkey, Europe, advice, japan, china, mongolia
  • Added on: April 7th, 2011
Good evening boys 'n gals!

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... :D ) 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)
Belgium (Antwerpen)
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! :lol: + 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.
Last edited by DenkiGroove on April 8th, 2011, edited 4 times in total.

Seawitch

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Joined: May 24th, 2009

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  • Added on: April 7th, 2011
I don't have any advice - but I just want to say that I'm envious of your adventure!!!!

Mama-to-many

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Location: New Zealand

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  • Added on: April 8th, 2011
Given that you live in the Netherlands, I'd keep the parts of the trip that are close to home VERY SHORT and get moving further away - you can always go back to Italy or Germany another day, but it will take much more effort to return to Japan (if it hasn't blown itself up by then). So I'd say focus on the Stans and Asia.
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vagabondette74

Holds PhD in Packing
 
Posts: 267
Joined: September 26th, 2007
Location: San Cristobal Mexico currently

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  • Added on: April 8th, 2011
I agree with mama. Pretty much everywhere up to AZERBAIJAN is easily doable in a long weekend via train or budget airline so why focus your time there? Better to focus on the areas that are further away/harder to reach that would be hard to return to at a later date. Instead I'd add Laos and Myanmar to your list.
Traveling through Mexico and Central America starting in January '09. Hit me up if you want to meet!

DenkiGroove

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Posts: 15
Joined: April 2nd, 2011

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  • Added on: April 8th, 2011
Thank you for your replies! Very helpful. I'm still thinking of visiting Germany, Italy and Greece but I'll stay for a short while and only in major cities (just to get started). Also, do you guys know any sweetspots in any of the countries above? Everything is welcome!

I don't know about adding Laos though.. Is it really worthwhile? I've never heard of Laos before.
(Shame on me) :lol:

vagabondette74

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Location: San Cristobal Mexico currently

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  • Added on: April 8th, 2011
Laos is definitely not on the traditional tourist route but everyone I know who has been there has really enjoyed it. It's high on my personal list.
Traveling through Mexico and Central America starting in January '09. Hit me up if you want to meet!

busman7

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Joined: January 12th, 2008
Location: Traveling for a while away from Playa San Diego SV

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  • Added on: April 8th, 2011
Not only is Laos 2nd on my SE Asia like list, it along with Myanmar #1 are the cheapest countries I visited during my 11 mo RTW. :lol:
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

DenkiGroove

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Joined: April 2nd, 2011

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  • Added on: April 8th, 2011
Watch out now.. I might never return! :D

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!)

rhythm_blues

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Joined: September 25th, 2008

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  • Added on: April 8th, 2011
I've been to the following places in China, and I liked all of them.

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

busman7

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Location: Traveling for a while away from Playa San Diego SV

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  • Added on: April 8th, 2011
Spent a total of 13 days in Laos for an average of $23/day internal travel included, of that 6 days was spent chilling on Don Det, one of the 4,000 islands in the Mekong where a bungalow with private toilet + shower was $5/day & I spent $8 on food & beer. :abzv:

23 days in Myanmar came in at $21/day including internal travel.
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

DenkiGroove

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Posts: 15
Joined: April 2nd, 2011

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  • Added on: April 8th, 2011
Wooooow nice! I'm ready to spend some money in Laos!
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?

Andromeda

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Posts: 509
Joined: March 23rd, 2008

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  • Added on: April 9th, 2011
I'm in China right now actually- greetings from Chengdu! :D

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. :)

vagabondette74

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Posts: 267
Joined: September 26th, 2007
Location: San Cristobal Mexico currently

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  • Added on: April 9th, 2011
Re China, this may sound silly, but I just got finished watching The Amazing Race Asia: China Rush and I loved seeing all the different places (It's like the regular Amazing Race but takes place only in China). I'm not familiar with China so seeing the diversity was great and very motivational for a visit. :) You can find it on bittorrent sites if that's your thing.
Traveling through Mexico and Central America starting in January '09. Hit me up if you want to meet!

DenkiGroove

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Posts: 15
Joined: April 2nd, 2011

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  • Added on: April 9th, 2011
@Andromeda: Thank you, that's very helpful. I've taken a look at your travelog and I like it. No unnecessary information, straight to the point and fun to read. Plus, I can write down some cool places to visit.
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.

vagabondette74

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Posts: 267
Joined: September 26th, 2007
Location: San Cristobal Mexico currently

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  • Added on: April 9th, 2011
Here's the link to download: http://btjunkie.org/torrent/The-Amazing ... ee7805c6d0

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.
Traveling through Mexico and Central America starting in January '09. Hit me up if you want to meet!


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