I am currently in final year of University and after 4 years of studying, I feel the need to get out Ireland for a while!
I'm currently looking into travelling around SE Asia for 4-6 weeks - mainly Thailand but also Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam. I then want to make my way to Australia for a year, maybe two
I have lots of friends in Australia at the minute but I may have to travel around on my own first, which is bothering me as I am a 21 year old female.... I would love to meet new people on my travels to enjoy nights out with who are in the same situation but I'm not sure how to do this - tour groups/hostels/websites??
Has anyone gone travelling these areas and joined a group of people along the way? What was your experience of this? Also, what sort of budget would I need just for travelling BEFORE Australia? I will have a budget of approx. €2000 - would that be enough for 4-6 weeks between Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam?
Thanks so much - any information is greatly appreciated
Myself and my girlfriend are planning on going to travelling in the same areas of South East Asia this Summer. We would appreciate if anybody who has done this trek previously could give us some info on Visas required for these areas and how to get them.
Thailand has a a free visa on arrival (28 or 30 days if you fly in, 14 days if you come in by land).
Laos is visa on arrival too, slighty different rates for different nationalities but I think if you're irish you pay around $35 (USD). UK passports pay a bit more, and Canadians pay more again.
Vietnam requires you to have a visa before getting to the border. I presume it's same if you fly into vietnam. Any travel agent can get this for you in 2 days for a few bucks extra, or else you can get it yourself at a vietnamese embassy for maybe $30, but it might take a while queueing etc.
Cambodia is visa on arrival. $20 for a tourist visa (1 month) or $25 for a business/working visa (1 month). You need a passport photo to get the visa, but if you don't have one they charge you $1 extra. You can get an online visa before you arrive but I've never done it.
Myanmar is visa on arrival if you fly with the national airline from Phnom Penh Siem Reap Bangkok or Kuala Lumpur (maybe a few other places too, google it for more).
Not sure about Malaysia/Indonesia visas, I didn't make it that far yet.
I can't remember if I needed passport photos for Thailand, Laos and Vietnam, but if you're coming travelling you may aswell take a few with you anyway, in case you're asked for them.
Don't quote me on prices for visas (except Cambodia, that's definately $20/$25), and maybe be prepared to pay an extra $1/$2 at any border for bribes/handling fees - it might not happen but it can.
One more thing - if you plan on getting a nightbus from one country to another, find out what times the border crossing opens/closes. I thought I was being smart a few times getting nightbuses, only to arrive at a closed border crossing at 3am and having to wait on the bus until the border opened a few hours later. Travel agents might advertise a nightbus journey as taking 10 hours, but that could end up as 15/20hrs. The travel agent doesn't care (they'll promise you the moon on a stick if you ask them) as they'll probably never see you again.
Thanks for your reply very helpful. Really looking forward to going now!
Myself and my boyfriend are heading off on a similar trip in a couple of weeks. I found the sample itinerary on TravelFish to be a great base, I've posted the link below.
This itinerary minimizes backtracking as much as possible. We're heading to bangkok for 5 days before spending 2 weeks island hopping. Then heading up north to Chiang Mai and following the itinerary from there.
We're spending 2.5months between the four countries so our trip is very flexible, but if ye're on a shorter trip and want to fly more than travelling overland, Bangkok airlines do a "discovery airpass", see on their website, where you buy a minimum of 3 flights, (domestic flights and international flights have set prices), and works out cheaper than buying individual flights. I have to look into this a bit more, I have a feeling I'll be getting very tired of long bus trips!
It's impossible not to meet people... I was sitting down with a group of people within 20 minutes of walking into my first hostel in South East Asia. I travelled on and off with some of them for the next 5 months.
4-6 weeks is nowhere near enough time for them 4 countries.. As loath as I am to say it, ya'll have to skip Vietnam. Although it's my favourite by far.
This. You do not want to rush or you wont enjoy it as much. Meeting people is so easy. I traveled with people from each city I was in to the next. Sometimes same group for a few cities sometimes different but you would always meet up again with someone you have met before.
Actually going to meet some again in London soon