How would you split your time in SE Asia? Watch

kirstied
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I have around 8-9 weeks to spend in SE Asia from the end of June to the end of August.
I'm hoping to cover Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia and Vietnam. I'm most probably going to be flying in and out of Bangkok. I was planning on visiting Indonesia first in order to avoid being there during Ramadan, but it's become a little bit trickier because I'm flying out with a friend who really wants to go to Thailand but can only come for 3-4 weeks. (I don't think she has the confidence to fly out on her own and meet us)

From what I've been researching it seems like we would need those 3 weeks for just Thailand, is that right?

How would you suggest splitting the remaining time between Indonesia, Cambodia and Vietnam? Indonesia is high on my list but another friend I am travelling with is very passionate about Cambodia and Vietnam so we are going to have to find some sort of compromise! If I'm being realistic I know I won't be able to do everything I want to do in Indonesia with the time we have available, so where would you suggest not to miss out on?

The other friend I'm travelling with is in New Zealand at the moment which has wiped a lot of her money, she reckons that she might only have a minimum of £800 (which I really hope does not have to include flights!!) How long is she going to last-or will that be fine?

A lot of questions, but thanks in advance
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the_neg_master_
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No Philippines? or Malaysia? You are missing much..

I think spend most in Thailand - 3 weeks in it.. Go to Bangkok for shopping and visit their beaches.

then next 1.5 weeks in Vietnam - Mekong River (quite good to experience shopping in boats) and go to the City. Visit families as well which would be good as it would give u an insight of how life is in Vietnam.

1.5 weeks in Cambodia - Phnom Penh is the best bet. Try to visit some families again, contrast life in Vietnam and Cambodia. Find some tourist attractions (Zoo would be good - lots of primates up there).

Then just 1 week in Indonesia - go to Jakarta and to that zoo where they have the sumatran apes.

A week left for Philippines/Malaysia -- if you choose Philippines I can tell you some places to visit there. Good places. (Plus Philippines got one of the biggest mall in the world -- and they're cheap as well)
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pices_zodiac
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hey, I currently live in indonesia, Jakarta and honestly, I think you will need more time than just a week. 2 weeks? depends on where you are going though.
Bali (go to kuta for the clubbing, and to sanur/ubud for cultural stuff) (you can also hike krakatau/merapi depending on their activity state)
Jakarta (meting pot of everything, you wont see much culture here, but you get to hang out in the malls etc..) I would recommend no more than 3 days here.
Jogja (Yogyakarta)- full of cultural stuff etc..
Lombok (flipping amazing diving in the Gili Islands)
Hope this helped you in planning.
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Ewan
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I would do 3 weeks Thailand, 2 weeks Indonesia, 1 week Cambodia, 2 weeks Vietnam. If you decide to stay 9 weeks add 1 week to Thailand or Indonesia or both.

For Thailand I would spend 2 weeks doing Bangkok, Ayutthaya, Sukhothai, Lop Buri, Chiang Mai. 1 week in the south, perhaps Krabi & Phi Phi. Favourites for me: Bangkok & Ayutthaya
For Cambodia I would just do Siem Reap (4-5 days) and Phnom Penh (2 days). Personally wasn't that impressed with Phnom Penh.
For Vietnam I would do Ho Chi Minh, Hoi An, Hanoi, Ha Long Bay, Sapa. Perhaps you can fit in more than this, it depends though how long you want to stay in each place. Favourites for me: Hanoi & Sapa

This is just based on my own experiences though, check out your guidebook and see what looks good.
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kirstied
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(Original post by the_neg_master_)
No Philippines? or Malaysia? You are missing much..
I'd love to go to the Philippines and Malaysia but I really don't think I have enough time, I wouldn't want to think I hadn't done them justice. I'm worried about rushing through countries and seeing more bus stations than anything else!

Ewan, I like the sound of yours, although I'm not sure if my friend wants to see more of Cambodia. I don't know what it is about Phnom Penh but nobody seems to have anything good to say about it!
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kirstied
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(Original post by pices_zodiac)
hey, I currently live in indonesia, Jakarta and honestly, I think you will need more time than just a week. 2 weeks? depends on where you are going though.
Bali (go to kuta for the clubbing, and to sanur/ubud for cultural stuff) (you can also hike krakatau/merapi depending on their activity state)
Jakarta (meting pot of everything, you wont see much culture here, but you get to hang out in the malls etc..) I would recommend no more than 3 days here.
Jogja (Yogyakarta)- full of cultural stuff etc..
Lombok (flipping amazing diving in the Gili Islands)
Hope this helped you in planning.
Would two weeks be enough if I also wanted to go further South? I've been reading about Flores and it sounds really appealing to me.
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Rogercbinboy
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Thailand might need 3 weeks if you're wanting to see the north and the south - I'd recommend Pai, Chiang Mai and Sukhothai in the north if you head there.

To answer the other question £800 will go far around SE Asia - I got by on just over £200 for 30 days in Thailand and that's pretty good accommodation (fiver a night for 2 people usually, we did without air-con though) and bus travel - tip to save cash is not to eat at your hotel restaurant as street vendors/street restaurants are much cheaper and usually better/more authentic.

If that includes travel then I dunno though, flights are damn expensive between London and Bangkok and I'm not sure about the travel to get to Bangkok from NZ.
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pices_zodiac
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(Original post by kirstied)
Would two weeks be enough if I also wanted to go further South? I've been reading about Flores and it sounds really appealing to me.
Flores would be nice, diving is amazing; however I think you would get bored really easily. spend about 3-5 days there (or whatever tickles your fancy) and then go somewhere else. Are you also planning upon the Freeport mines in Papua? I've never been there but definitely going to try to arrange a trip before going to the UK.
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Ewan
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(Original post by kirstied)
Ewan, I like the sound of yours, although I'm not sure if my friend wants to see more of Cambodia. I don't know what it is about Phnom Penh but nobody seems to have anything good to say about it!
But I mean if you're going to Vietnam you may as well visit Phnom Penh. After all you have to travel through the city to get to Ho Chi Minh city anyway. Worth a day at least to visit S21 & Choeung Ek (killing fields). S21 especially I found quite frightening, it's a very enlightening experience. Definitely worth seeing.

The palaces etc on the other hand are basically just worse versions of those found in Bangkok. By that point you will probably be quite tired of it all (I know I was, and I'm quite a sucker for temples).

Regarding Siem Reap, I recommend hiring a bicycle and cycling around the historical sites (as oppose to hiring a driver). Spend at least 3 days there and make sure to see some of the less visited temples. I think I spent 5 days there in the end.... But as I said I'm a sucker for temples, especially old ruins!
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theseeker
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Majority of the time, you should spend in Thailand. Amazing!! You should check out Borneo (L)
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Olibert
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I'm planning:

Vietnam - 2 Weeks
Cambodia - 1 Week
Laos - 1 Week
Thailand - 2 Weeks

I've already done a fair amount of Thailand and Laos already hence the shorter stays. I have an extra 2 weeks to distribute between the countries. I might add an extra week onto Vietnam and Maybe an extra few days onto Laos/Cambodia.
(Original post by Rogercbinboy)
Thailand might need 3 weeks if you're wanting to see the north and the south - I'd recommend Pai, Chiang Mai and Sukhothai in the north if you head there.

To answer the other question £800 will go far around SE Asia - I got by on just over £200 for 30 days in Thailand and that's pretty good accommodation (fiver a night for 2 people usually, we did without air-con though) and bus travel - tip to save cash is not to eat at your hotel restaurant as street vendors/street restaurants are much cheaper and usually better/more authentic.

If that includes travel then I dunno though, flights are damn expensive between London and Bangkok and I'm not sure about the travel to get to Bangkok from NZ.
£200 for 30 days? How did you eat/drink/live!? I spent £600 in 30 days and I didn't live an extravagant life style :s
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Ewan
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(Original post by Olibert)
£200 for 30 days? How did you eat/drink/live!? I spent £600 in 30 days and I didn't live an extravagant life style :s
Were you travelling solo? I'm guessing that dude was with his partner and that reduces the costs SO much. I mean you practically pay the same accommodation cost as a single person yet the cost is shared between two. Then you have food which again works better for couples because of how it works in SEA (lots of dishes that you share in general), plus transport costs are reduced heavily as well. I mean £400 for 2 people is a bit like £300 for one person, still not much for 30 days but certainly nothing unheard of
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Olibert
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(Original post by Ewan)
Were you travelling solo? I'm guessing that dude was with his partner and that reduces the costs SO much. I mean you practically pay the same accommodation cost as a single person yet the cost is shared between two. Then you have food which again works better for couples because of how it works in SEA (lots of dishes that you share in general), plus transport costs are reduced heavily as well. I mean £400 for 2 people is a bit like £300 for one person, still not much for 30 days but certainly nothing unheard of
Yah it was solo but when I wasn't staying in a 80 Baht dorm (so less than a shared room if I was with someone) I was sharing with some people I met which halved the cost or getting free accommodation with my diving stuff.

I'm guessing the majority of the £600 was spent when I was on Koh Tao for two weeks. The lack of street vendors and cheap beer made for very expensive evenings. That's the only explanation because there's no way I spent that much in the North of Thailand or Laos.
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Rogercbinboy
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(Original post by Olibert)
£200 for 30 days? How did you eat/drink/live!? I spent £600 in 30 days and I didn't live an extravagant life style :s
Was with my brother not solo as someone said which helps but wasn't in dorms or anything - was in guest houses usually at 250-300baht a night. Ate 2 meals a day rather than three and only got drunk a few times (all of which we had alcohol paid for by people we met who were generous/worked in bars).

North is also loads cheaper than south we heard if you went there.
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kirstied
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(Original post by Rogercbinboy)

To answer the other question £800 will go far around SE Asia

If that includes travel then I dunno though, flights are damn expensive between London and Bangkok and I'm not sure about the travel to get to Bangkok from NZ.
That's good to hear, maybe I'll stop saving so hard now! Turns out she does have a separate flight fund and is working on convincing/emotionally blackmailing her parents to pay for a flight home (if they don't pay she'll just have to keep travelling!)
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johno090
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I'm planning on something similar but I've heard that the temperature is around 38 degrees in July which is surely too hot to do anything but stay inside next to an air conditioning unit? Is this true?
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Olibert
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(Original post by johno090)
I'm planning on something similar but I've heard that the temperature is around 38 degrees in July which is surely too hot to do anything but stay inside next to an air conditioning unit? Is this true?
No.

30 degrees at most with 90% humidity.

You'd still go out and do stuff, most of which involves getting out of the heat. Visiting air conditioned museums, cool temples and waterfalls are very good sights to cool off.
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pauline_lg
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I recently when to SE Asia, only for 6 weeks though. We did Cambodia, Vietnam and Malaysia.

Cambodia - A week and a few days is definitely enough - go to the Angkor Watt etc in Siem Reap. Stay at a hostel in Siem Reap and get a 3 day pass to the temples (plenty time to do it all). We got a Tuk Tuk for 1 day, hired bikes for the other, and then on the last day got a Tuk Tuk at like 5am to watch the sunrise over Angkor Watt - an absolute must if you're in Cambodia!

Phnom Penh - you just need a few days to visit the prison, killing fields, wouldn't recommend the zoo I've heard it's an absolute horror show. And there are amazing markets in Phnom Penh.

For Vietnam, we got a bus from Phnom Penh to Ho Chi Minh (in guidebooks it tells you most of the places worth visiting), then we went to Nha Trang, Hoi An (where you get all your clothes made), Ha Long Bay (got a deal where you stay on the boat overnight then a hotel on Cat Ba island - amaaazing!) Hanoi (not hugely exciting but we mainly stopped off for a flight to KL) - we did Vietnam in about 2/3 weeks.

Would thoroughly recommend Malaysia, especially for the Perhentian islands (beautiful, and cheap diving!), but if it's not part of your plan then can always be done another time.
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FormerlyHistoryStudent
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(Original post by kirstied)
I don't know what it is about Phnom Penh but nobody seems to have anything good to say about it!
Well, I liked it Admittedly I was only there for one full day so I only had time to visit the Museum of Genocidal Crime (which is in a former high school which was taken over by the Khmer Rouge and turned into a prison and torture chamber) and Cheung Ek (one of the Killing Fields). The above were very harrowing to visit, incredibly sad. What I saw of the rest of Phnom Penh didn't seem bad to me - I had some lovely food (for example, there's a great restaurant/tapas bar which is run by a charity which trains street children up to be chefs etc.) It's the Cambodian capital so there's bound to be museums and art galleries etc., and isn't there a massive palace in Phnom Penh, a golden one? I may be mixing this up with another city but I'm sure I heard there was one.

Anyway, if I had 9 weeks to spend in SEA then, because I've already been to mainland Malaysia, Singapore, Cambodia (Siem Reap as well as Phnom Penh - I agree with Ewan by the way about hiring a bike and cycling to and between temples inside Angkor, it's the cheapest option and you can go at your own pace and the exercise is lovely into the bargain) and Bangkok/ Koh Tao, I would miss these out or cut the amount of time spent in them, and would do this itinerary instead;

2 weeks & 3 days- Indonesia, then overland into
1 week & 5 days - the Malaysian islands
2 full days - Kuala Lumpur (because I didn't get much time to look round the last time I went) - then fly to
2 weeks - Vietnam, then overland into
1 week - Cambodia (to visit Battambang, Kep and Sihanoukville), then overland into
1 week - Laos, then overland into
4 days - North Thailand to Bangkok
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Motorbiker
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Subbing as i'm going on similiar trip this summer.

Mine is just over 8 weeks...

It's gonna be something like

2/3 weeks in thailand then probably
less than a week as we travel through Laos to Hanoi then
a good few days chilling out at hai long bay/that big island Then another
2/3 weeks in Vietnam travelling all the way down.
a week in Cambodia
Back to get my plane...

Something like that.
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