Since booking this trip in November 2015, knowing that I will be backpacking around South East Asia for four weeks between my final university exams and Graduation with my boyfriend, has been the thing getting me through the cold Yorkshire winter and university assignments. Technically I have already been to Asia (Israel 2014), but I am looking forward to scratching off a completely new part of the world on my wall travel map this summer.
We have Qatar flights and accommodation booked in advance; although we will be backpacking, we have booked comfortable hotels which still only range between £5-12 pp/night. We decided we would rather do that than stay in some questionable lodgings. We booked them all through Booking.com, which has some good deals and also allows us to pay on arrival and get free last-minute cancellation if necessary. We also have a rough idea of what activities we are interested in doing while out there, thanks to so many hours of research.
The trip will last 29 days in total: 11 days in Vietnam, 7 days in Cambodia and 11 days in Thailand.
We were initially tempted by spending just 2 weeks in Vietnam, especially because until 1st July 2016, Vietnam has given a VISA waiver for British Nationals who stay 14 days or less – very tempting indeed. After Vietnam had been decided, since we were going to be in the region anyway and with more free time before we had to return to the UK, we thought why not add on Cambodia and Thailand as well – I particularly wanted to visit Angkor Wat and it is doubtful we will be able to return to the region soon after.
We will be working our way down from Hanoi in North Vietnam to Ho Chi Minh City in the South, with stops including Halong Bay, Ninh Binh (possibly) and Hoi An in between. We will then cross over the border to Cambodia and spend a few days in Phom Penh the capital, before catching a day bus to Siem Reap (Angkor Wat). We will then be flying to Northern Thailand to Chiang Mai (the overland border crossing looks a complete nightmare), before finally heading south to Kanchanaburi and finishing in Bangkok. Although we are visiting quite a few places, we have made sure to spend at least 3 days in each place – we have no intention of rushing about unnecessarily but still want to make the most of the trip.
Apart from splashing out on a flight between Siem Reap (Cambodia) and Chiang Mai (Thailand) to save travel time, we will doing the entire trip overland in sleeper trains, day buses and tuk tuk!
The things I am looking forward to the most are:
- 3 Day 2 Night cruise in Halong Bay, North Vietnam
- All the food!
- Spending a few days visiting Angkor Wat, Cambodia
- Elephant encounter with a reputable, cruelty free Elephant Sanctuary in Thailand (walk with elephants and wash them, no riding)
This week I managed to purchase a very affordable and practical 40Litre rucksack to take with me which has got me all excited about going. Minimalist skills will be in full force when I have to start packing!
Do you have any tips/suggestions for our trip?
I’m looking forward to taking lots of photos when I’m out there. Four months and counting!