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1st time backpacking thailand/bali help!!!

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Hi guys!

My names Amy im 20 years old and planning to travel over to thailand leaving 31st January 2016 and staying for around a month then flying onto bali for a couple of weeks.

This will be my first time backpacking alone ever so could do with a little help and advise! Obviously have been reading alot of forums and been doing my research but thought i would post to get my own personal trip advise.

I am booking flights in december frm lhr to bkk. Will be staying for 30 days should i also book from there straight to bali for when i leave or do that when im out there?

What i really need help with is my itinerary. I have a fair amount of money but doesnt mean i want to be a big spender so i want to budget staying in hostels. My main reason to travel is to explore the culture and relax really! I will obviously stay in bangkok first so should i book hostel before? I would like to visit Chiang Mai, Ayuthaya, Pai, Krabi, Ko phangnan, phuket, khao sok national park.

With regards to what to bring to wear any advice this is the thing im most stuck on i know it will be warm. Will there be nice clothes to buy out there? I do still want to look nice as i travel.

I know there is a free 30 day visa so i guess i dont have to do anything with regards to that?

Also with booking travel insurance where is best place to go ?

Any advice would really help!!

Thanks dudes!

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    Hi Amy - Many travelers posting on this site are in their 50s, 60s and even 70s, with their backpacking days long behind them. You're probably better off posting your Qs on the Lonely Planet Thorn Tree:

    https://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/forums/asia-thailand

    And yes, there will be a LOT to buy.

    Have a wonderful trip.

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    Speaking to the Bali portion of your trip:
    March 9 is Nyepi a major Balinese-Hindu holiday and a great time to be there. The night before there are processions of massive demon figures all over Bali, then on Nyepi, everything shuts down: no cars, no motorcycles, no airplanes (the airport is actually shut), no TVs or music. At night, no lights, but a zillion stars. Everyone's meant to stay in their village compound or resort grounds for 24 hours.

    I'd recommend that you divide your time between the beach for sand, sea and sun and the upland Ubud area for culture and nature.

    At the beach I'd suggest that you avoid Kuta/Legian and look at the more laid back areas of Petitenget, Batu Belig, Brawa, Canggu. Right now, Batu Bolong is the coolest place in Bali.

    In Ubud you can either stay in the town itself or in the surrounding countryside. There are plenty of choices in low cost accommodation.

    In both areas there are plenty of places to buy clothes. Bring a pair of sturdy hiking sandals, like Chaco's.

    For medical evacuation insurance look at the program offered by PADI/DAN. (This is different from travel insurance, which is widely available.)

    AirAsia offers inexpensive flights to Bali, non-stop from Bangkok and with connections from other parts of Thailand. If you choose "premium flex" you can change your travel dates without additional fees. Today the fare is about US$240 roundtrip. AA fare adjust according to availability, sometimes prices go down, sometimes up as you get closer to the travel date.

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    For travel insurance in the UK I tend to use trailfinders or statravel ( also great for air tickets. Both have competitive rates for longer term travel. Alternatively use one of the comparison sites, moneysupermarket or travelsupermarket. Best to get your insurance when you book your tickets. Assuming you are based in the UK, a comprehensive policy will cover everything from cancellation dues to illness etc. Missed flights to baggage personal effects and medical care. I woul strongly advise buying it.

    AirAsia will provide most of the flights you will need both withinThailand and on to Bali. Have you thought about staying in SE Asia rather than going on to Bali? The weather is great and there is a huge amount to see -

    For cheap accommodation try booking.com also the specialist hostel sites such as hostel world.com hostelbookers.com etc.

    I would book you first nights in Bangkok in advance. It is a massive city and can be daunting on arrival. Get a metered taxi from the airport to the hotel. Should cost 3-400 baht (£4-7)

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    Agree with all of Crellston's posting.

    For a first trip I'd leave Bali out too, and spend time in Cambodia, Laos, or Vietnam, but you won't have time to visit all. All are easy to reach overland from Thailand, and if you decide to fly the flights are short, and tickets inexpensive. Vietnam is the cheapest budget wise for accommodation, food and drink. Everywhere is easy to do independently, and you'll never feel lonely on the beaten track.

    Travel slowly, don't book too far in advance as there's places you'll either want to linger or places you'd rather not be. Trying to do too much = achieving too little, immerse yourself and you'll be well rewarded.

    Best place to stay in Bangkok for a young backpacker is the Khao San area. It's vibrant, safe, and you'll meet lots of like-minded travellers to change experiences with.

    In Thailand also have a look at the Kanchanaburi area. It's easy to do independently from Bangkok for a couple of nights.

    We use Nationwide for our Travel Insurance. But like all insurances, you never know how good they are until you need to claim.

    About 6-8 weeks before you travel, that's now in your case, make an appoint with your GP Travel Clinic. Make sure you use a clinic as most GPs aren't qualified in travel medicine.

    Here's the Foreign & Commonwealth Office travel advice for Thailand, similar ones for all the other SE Asian countries...

    https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/thailand

    There's lots of information on the website, the Health tab is particularly useful.

    Don't buy any Baht in UK. On arrrival buy a £50 worth at the airport [low denominations], and then change as you need it in town.

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    Little snippets...

    - Take several small plastic bottles of medicated alcohol hand gel. The ones sold in your local 99p shop are fine. And use the gel often.

    - Staying in inexpensive accommodation? Then take a wedge for the door of your room. If your room is on the ground floor don't leave anything of value close to an open window.

    - Mosquitoes are at their worst at dawn and dusk, so cover up with light coloured clothing. They get in your room too, so take a plug-in for your room. They also get in through sink or bath plug-holes, so take a couple of universal sink plugs. Don't overdo with the strength of DEET repellent, 30% is usually plenty, and don't apply it over cuts or directly onto your face [tastes awful!].

    - Eating out. If you're eating on the cheap, then don't eat at an empty restaurants as there might be a good reason it's empty. Check out the toilets before ordering, a place with a flthy toilet might also have a filthy kitchen. Eat where locals eat, the busier the better. Make sure there's a menu with prices clearly displayed, that'll avoid a nasty shock when you come to pay.

    - Be careful who you listen to, as there's a lot of scammers around. So if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.

    - Always be aware of your immediate environment, and never let valuables out of your sight.

    - Travel light.

    - At the end of your trip, make sure you spend your final night in the city that you're taking your international flight from.

    There's loads of other little tips, so take a look at the FAQs on the Trip Advisor Forum for Thailand and wherever else you decide to visit.

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