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Dream Trip Itinerary - Backing Asia to Europe

Dream Trip Itinerary - Backing Asia to Europe

Old Feb 22nd, 2015, 04:53 AM
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Dream Trip Itinerary - Backing Asia to Europe

Hi there. I am posting this in both the Asia and Europe forums as it covers both.

I am from Australia and I am looking at doing 6-7 months backpacking through Asia and Europe from April to October 2017, ending up in the UK to work (I will apply for the youth mobility visa before I leave).

I really like planning and I am excited about my itinerary but it would be good to hear some different opinions on the whole thing.

Before I begin I will say that I like history, art, culture, music & theatre, nature, food, adventure and diversity!

This is what I am thinking of doing. I'd appreciate tips on anything.

April 2017 - Fly to Japan, spend approx. 2wks - Tokyo, Mount Fuji, Nagano, Gifu, Ishikawa, Kyoto, Osaka, Nara, Kobe, Hiroshima. Cherry blossoms!

Ferry from Japan to South Korea, train across South Korea, then ferry to Beijing

Beijing - about 5 days - Great Wall of China, Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace, Ming Tombs, Purple Bamboo Garden, panda base, zoo & aquarium

Then I want to get the train from Beijing to Moscow, but I would make stops along the way. This should be the beginning of May.

Mongolia - one week - a couple of days in the capital and a short tour to Central Mongolia - I believe that the majority of hostels can help you arrange this. I will be quite early in the season though so I might try to pre-arrange something so that I don't miss out.

Ulan Ude - 2 days

Irkutsk and Olkhorn Island - 4 days

Yekaterinburg - 2 days - Asian/European border - so I guess at this point those on the Asian forum could stop reading! Or continue if you like...

Perm/Kungur - 3 days

I would actually end the train travel in Vladimir, outside of Mosocw and see some of the Golden Ring cities/towns first. So Vladimir, Suzdal, Yaroslavl, Rostov, Sergiyev Posad.

Then I would do Moscow, Veliky Novgorod and Saint Petersburg.

Now it would be June.

I'd make my way through far Eastern Europe over 3 weeks.

Ukraine - 10 days - Kiev, Chernobyl tour, the tunnel of love in Klevan, Odessa, Yalta, Kamyanets Podilsky (I am presuming that Crimea will be safe by then)

Romania - 5 days - Sibiu, Transfagarasan, Sighisoara, Brasov, Bran, Sinaia, Bucharest

Bulgaria - 5 days - Koprivshtitsa, Plovdiv, Veliko Tarnovo, Nessebar

Then onto Turkey - Istanbul, Gallipoli, Troy, Ephesus, Cappadocia, then down to Fethiye.

At this point it should be July.

I hope to do a gullet cruise from Fethiye to Bodrum, then another from Bodrum to Mykonos. (I have researched a few options for cabin charters.)

Fly or ferry into Athens and spend a couple of days.

Then Croatia - mostly the islands, Dubrovnik, Zadar, Split, Krka National Park and Plitvice National Park. Apparently there is a classical music festival on in July also that I would love.

Now the next part doesn't make so much sense geographically, but it makes sense seasonally and timing wise. I want to avoid Italy in August - I hear it can be very hot and lots of tourists in the cities.

So instead I would fly to Switzerland and work my way east and north, taking about a month, progressively getting further away from the traditional tourist destinations.

So August would be:

Switzerland - 5 days - Berne and Interlaken. I understand it is Swiss National Day on the 1st so if my timing is right that could be exciting.

Train to Austria - seeing beautiful scenery along the way. 9 days in Austria - Salzburg, Admont, Linz, Vienna

Now I understand that the next part is a bit rushed but I sort of just want to see the main sites in these places:

Budapest - 3 days (pretty much just for the baths)
Krakow - 3 days (Auschwitz and salt mines)
Vilnius - 3 days - visit Trakai Castle and the hill of crosses
Riga - 3 days - visit Rundale Palace and Gaujas National Park
Tallinn - 3 days - visit Saareema Island or Lahemaa Park and the seaplane museum

Now we would be in September, and I'd fly back down to Italy!
Spend 2 weeks - Naples/Pompeii, Rome, Florence (Tuscany & Pisa), Cinque Terra, Venice. Maybe Milan.

Then Prague - 3 days

Then Germany - timed for Oktoberfest. And Autumn leaves in the forests. Spend 2 weeks - Berlin, Leipzig, Nuremberg, Munich, Heidelberg, Stuttgart and The Black Forest.

Now we would be in October.

Into France - just the south - 1 week - Strasbourg, Nice (with the Gorges du Verdon) and Montpellier (with Saint Guilhem-le-Desert). Maybe Carcossone.

The rest of October would be in Spain and Portugal, hopefully 3 weeks - Barcelona, Valencia, Madrid, Toledo, Cordova, Granada, Seville, Evora, Lisbon, Sintra, Obidos, Coimbra, Agueda, Porto, Guimaraes, Braga (Definitely need to narrow this down! Too many places to see!)

Finally fly into London. I would have spent 90 days in the Schengen area so at this point I will have to get out to wait for my 90 days to reset. I budget to have about $5000 AUD left when I get to the UK, so I don't starve while I find a job. Hopefully I will work there for about a year. And do some more travel. Maybe work in Ireland as well. Willing to do anything really, but I will have administration experience and qualifications so hope to utilise that.

Places that would be left on my list to see are:

Obviously England, Ireland and Scotland, Paris, Belgium, The Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Svalbard and Jan Mayen, Sweden, Finland and Lapland.
I would also revisit anything that I really loved during that first 6 months.

If I somehow got a well paying job in the UK, I would also keep some money aside to go to Africa before coming back to Australia. Morocco, Egypt, Nigeria (friends there), Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa. Possibly do some volunteering.

What do you think? Pretty elaborate and crazy, but for me it would be the trip of a lifetime and I could die happy after that.
KaraM86 is offline  
Old Feb 22nd, 2015, 09:00 AM
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That is not much time for Japan, or for China. Can't help with the ferries, I presume you have checked them. South Korea has a good bus system in addition to the trains.

I would recommend more time in China, outside Beijing. I loved Beijing in the past, but you have a high probability now of having to cope with horrendous pollution. At least consider going south to Shanghai (and Hangzhou and Suzhou) and/or going west to Xi'an. You might also stop off in Datong on the way to Mongolia.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2015, 12:19 PM
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Your ideas for japan are unrealistic. you have listed 10 destinations for 14 days. You will spend all of your time on the train. While train travel in Japan is nice, it isn't seeing Japan. You need two nights somewhere just to have a full day for sightseeing. If you are really interested in a places, you will, of course, want more time. If you must restrict your time in Japan to 2 weeks, choose 4 or at most 5 destinations. Also, if you are traveling at cherry blossom time, you will need to make lodging reservations far in advance.

I will note that you re missing the most interesting (IMO) places in Asia.

Take a good look at your whole trip. You are trying to cram in so much, you'll end up seeing very little. Count night not days. 3 nights = 2 days You have places where you think you will see a whole country in 5 days - not possible. Remember that each time you change locations, you'll lose most of a day (think of the time from checking out of lodging in one place until you check in at the next place). Slow down and enjoy your trip.

Also, have you checked on visa requirements?
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Old Feb 22nd, 2015, 12:46 PM
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Thanks. I'll have a look at going to some other places in China and narrowing down the places in Japan. Or extend my time to 3 weeks. Or both. I've checked out the ferry options between the countries. And I'll be sure to book in advance for Japan especially because it's my first destination.

I am interested in going to more of the SE Asian countries at some point but this trip is more focused on Russia and Europe, so I just thought it would be nice to begin with the countries close to Russia. SE Asia is very easy to do from Australia any time.

That is the sort of feedback I was after. I am in the early stages so there is likely to be some narrowing down and obviously a lot of fine tuning.

I have checked out visa requirements. From memory I'd need visas for China, Mongolia, Russia, the Ukraine and Turkey. As well as the youth mobility visa for the UK.
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Old Feb 27th, 2015, 11:56 PM
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I have not been to many of the places you list, but I have been to a number of them -- and in each case, my preference would be to spend AT LEAST twice as much time as you seem to be planning. And I travel HARD!

If your goal is to actually SEE any of these places, then I think you may be seriously underestimating the amount of time you will spend in transit. I could be wrong, but two experienced travelers who are FAR more knowledgeable than I seem to be saying the same thing...

I recommend that you get some good guidebooks (or spend some time with a few in your local library), identify the things you most want to see in each location, note their opening/closing times, and mark them on a calendar. Then pencil in your transportation, add some time on either side (for getting to/from the train/bus station or whatever, checking in/out, packing/unpacking, getting oriented, etc.). Then see how things fit together.

I'm sure you can construct a wonderful journey. Good luck!
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Old Feb 28th, 2015, 01:22 AM
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I would agree, better to see fewer places in a way that allows you to enjoy them properly than to tick off hundreds of places but miss the essence of all of them because of an unrealistic schedule.

Regarding Japan, I'd suggest at least 6 nights for Kyoto, plus an additional overnight for Hiroshima/ Miyajima. Given that Osaka, Nara and Kobe could each be a day trip from a Kyoto base, 6 nights would still only give you 3 days for Kyoto itself and there's a LOT to see and do in Kyoto. A lot. Don't shortchange yourself on Kyoto!

Tokyo too has a lot to see and do, most of which is physically pretty spread out, this isn't like Paris where a 5 minute hop on the metro will take you between most core sights.

With 2 weeks, I'd focus on those two plus your side trip out for Mount Fuji.

If you expand to 3 weeks, you could add in some of the other places in your list.

Personally I wouldn't expand to 3 weeks and then try and squeeze more places in than are already in your list, otherwise you'll have the same problem as now, too much time running from place to place, not enough time to stop and see any of it.

Turkey, don't know how long you're giving yourself to do all those things, but again, don't underestimate time lost to travelling.

Croatia, again, don't know how much time you're giving yourself. Dubrovnik and immediate area can easily take 2 days (3 nights) and you need to look into the ferry and bus schedules to put together a realistic plan for which islands and places you can visit in the time you have.

We went to Dubrovnik last summer, thinking to combine with Split but realised it was a longer transfer than we'd thought.

Also, when you're doing this much travelling, surely you'll need occasional downtime days to catch up on laundry, give yourself a rest, have a day just to chill, read a book and relax?
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Old Mar 1st, 2015, 12:45 PM
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Your Japan itinerary is ambitious. You have a lot of destination on your menu to choose from and you have them in a good order, except for Gifu.

Gifu fits around the Kyoto- Osaka part of the trip. It is a little more than an hour from Kyoto to Gifu. Plus a little bit of time from JR Gifu station to the cherry blossoms and castle that you want to visit. (the Meitetsu Gifu station is closer). Would be a pretty easy day trip from Kyoto. Longer from Osaka or Nara. I don't know if that is cormorant fishing time or not, which I think is in the evening and not so late that you would have to spend the night there.

Why Nagano?

>>Kyoto, Osaka, Nara, Kobe
None of that requires much travel time between locations. So its not like you would have to spend a night in each.

You can drop Kobe. Add Himeji as a stop enroute to Hiroshima to see Himeji castle.

I suggest a minimum of 3 nights, two full days, for Tokyo and another 3 for Kyoto. That is for just those two cities with no day trips. One night for Fuji-san. Nagano can be 0 to 3 nights depending on your interests.

That's 7 to 10 days. "Ishikawa" means not just Kanazawa, so for that you would need a minimum of 2 nights Kanazawa and two nights elsewhere in Ishikawa.

Now we are at 9 to 14 days. After that you have Osaka, Nara, and Gifu. Those are one day each. Add one-two more days for Hiroshima. Now that's 13-19 days.

Add one night in Fukuoka before your ferry from there to Busan.

You have an itinerary of 14-20 days with MINIMUM times in each destination.

You can drop Gifu if your interest there is the cherry blossoms and castle as you would be visiting Osaka-jo Koen when you visit Osaka. Gifu is the most famous place in Japan for cormorant fishing but it is practiced elsewhere: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cormorant_fishing
including Kyoto and Uji.
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Old Mar 1st, 2015, 04:30 PM
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Sound like a very exciting trip and I wish you well with the planning. I do agree with a lot of the advice given already in that you are trying to fit way to much into the time you have available. We have been travelling for extended periods for a number of years now and are currently on a year long trip through Asia down to Australia and I doubt we plan to see half the number of places you have listed!

For me, the journey is almost as important as the destination, but there are limits. Spending a day or two in each place will not give you enough time to get anything other than a brief feel for the location and will mean you spend a very high proportion of your total time in transit. Great if you really like the inside of buses and trains, but not if you want to experience the culture, and sights of palces along the way.

It is all very well to micro manage the individual country travel plans, but I do think you need to rethink your overall plan somewhat as there is simply too much in there. Something will have to give but only you can prioritise what you want to see. Allow some flexibility so you can change plans completely if you choose.

Good luck with your planning and your trip and do keep us updated on how it all goes.
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Old Mar 6th, 2015, 08:52 AM
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There is no panda base in Beijing, you have to go to western China to see them.
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Old Mar 6th, 2015, 09:20 AM
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KaraM86 "is no longer available on Fodors.com".
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Old Mar 6th, 2015, 09:34 AM
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Their account may have been auto-removed for posting similar thread on multiple boards -- I had same a few months back when looking for potential honeymoon destinations for a family member with a health issue. I got in touch with the moderators, explained the situation and they resurrected my account etc.
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Old Mar 6th, 2015, 09:36 AM
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(I dropped a note to the site admin to ask them to take a look and potentially resurrect -- a new user to the site might not think to do that and would be shame for them to miss out on the advice they've already garnered here).
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