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First trip to SE Asia... Help required!!

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First trip to SE Asia... Help required!!

Old May 31st, 2013, 11:20 PM
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First trip to SE Asia... Help required!!

Hi everyone!!
Myself (20yrs) and my sister (23yrs) are planning our first backpacking trip and are in serious need of some tips, guidance and ideas from some more experienced travellers!!

We are planning to leave the UK and head to Thailand March 2014. We have already seen an organised tour that we would like to do for our first week that has been recommended by friends but would like some suggestions of other things to see and do for our second/third week. Would also appreciate anyone's thoughts on travelling around whilst there and any things we need to consider to keep us safe whilst there!
After this we will head to Hong Kong for a week to stay with family on their but suggestions of things to so here will be again, very appreciated.

Thanks in advance,

(VERY) novice traveller x
rbrown93 is offline  
Old Jun 1st, 2013, 04:09 AM
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Hi rb, welcome to Fodors.

Firstly, organised tours are an expensive way of seeing Thailand and really are unnecessary as it is so easy to DIY. Get a guide book and do some research before you go and you will be well rewarded. By all means use the trip you have found as a base. That said if indeed you are " novice traveller, nothing wrong in getting an organised tour for a few days until you get comfortable with a new country. You will however probably find the same tour when in Thailand a t a lower cost. I don't use tour operators or travel agents so can't really suggest one to you but I am sure others will. If you provide info on your interests etc. this would help others to give specific advice on what to do/ see etc.

For travel safety, mostly just use your common sense as SE Asia is a safe place to travel. This website provides some great advice on how to stay safe:

http://www.artoftravel.com/

Get a decent comprehensive travel insurance policy which will cover you for lost baggage, flight delays, medical treatment etc. Policies are cheap in the UK and i usually use www.trailfinders.com and www.statravel.co.uk who are both inexpensive and highly regarded. Do check your parents home contents policy if you are still living at home as many will already include travel cover for everyone living in the same house.

This site provides lots of ideas for things to do, sights to see etc.

http://www.travelfish.org/country/thailand

www.hostelworld.com and www.hostebookers.com are great sights for booking cheap but good accomodation and their reviews are excellent.

Have a great time planning your trip and do come back with any specific questions you may have on places to go etc.
crellston is offline  
Old Jun 1st, 2013, 08:20 AM
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Pause and consider what you want to do/see/experience in your time in Thailand. I agree with crellston that there is absolutely no need for a group tour in Thailand. It's more expensive than doing it on your own and it means you will be herded from places to place on a bus.

Start with a guidebook, and see what interests you. You''ll want some time in Bangkok, perhaps some time in the north and some time at a beach. Once you have an idea of what you want from your trip we can be more helpful. Fodors has an excellent guidebook, as does Lonely Planet.
Kathie is offline  
Old Jun 1st, 2013, 09:36 AM
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Start with looking at different web sites.......try Thorn Tree Lonely Planet, Rough Guides Travelfish Travellerspoint even Tripadvisor all these have experienced backpackers - with current experience - the average age on this site is way over the backpacker age!
khunwilko is offline  
Old Jun 17th, 2013, 04:17 AM
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Are you going to be travelling all over Thailand?

Like others have said, it is best not to go with a tour guide but if you would feel more comfortable in doing so then go ahead.

You will find that when you arrive in Thailand you will benefit greatly by learning the art of haggling. Most tour operators will over charge you. Don't feel bad about asking for a cheaper price also, they are very use to this.
Simond01 is offline  
Old Jun 17th, 2013, 06:03 AM
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my 2 basic rules for Thailand: always have air conditioning in all rooms, and have a swimming pool at all hotels...

Thailand is easy to do on your own. identify a budget for hotels and then seek out attractive places within that budget on sites like: www.asiarooms.com; www.sawadee.com; www.kayak.com; www.expedia.com... also check directly with hotels you might have found....

I never get insurance.
rhkkmk is offline  
Old Jun 22nd, 2013, 07:19 AM
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Millions of young tourists visit Thailand on their own. Many of these "backpackers"and "thrift/economy" travelers arrange their own flights, own hotels and book tours locally to save money.

You have to work up some sort of a budget to see how much you can afford for hotels. Usually hotels are the most expensive thing you pay for unless you go out of your way to choose expensive restaurants and nightclubs for dining and drinking.

In March you shouldn't have much of a problem finding hotels. Some "backpackers" stay in $10 a night places and other travelers with backpacks stay in $50 - $100 a night places. In Bangkok you can find a room with A/C, private toilet, TV and hot water between 700 baht to 1200 baht if you want. Depends on what you want to spend.

In Bangkok and major cities you can sign on to tours through local travel agencies. Choose a tour one day and leave the next morning. Tour company picks you up at your hotel and brings you back at the end of the day.

Book a hotel or hostel for the first couple nights then check out some other places to stay at for variety or if you just want to change neighborhoods. For some hotels you can even call from within Thailand and reserve a room that way.

As far as safety goes that also depends on you! If you routinely get drunk and take chances with guys you just meet you could get in trouble! If something is stolen from a hotel room too often it is the guest you invite in. You still have to take the normal precautions you would in a big city back in your own country.

Check out some travel guides on the countries you want to visit and see what interests you. If you are on a tight budget, like some real backpackers, the Lonely Planet TG will come in handy. Even a simple Google check will give you some of the things to see and do.

Read up on how to handle money overseas too. For cheap items I use cash! No problem changing UK pounds, travelers checks and use debit cards in THAILAND. There are many bank ATM's available but tell your bank you will be overseas before you leave home. At the Bangkok airports there are bank money changers available 24 hours a day. Other countries than Thailand travelers checks may have less favorable rates but not impossible to cash.


Good luck.
SirHalberd is offline  
Old Jun 29th, 2013, 12:49 PM
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I have travelled all over Thailand, and Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos alone, last year in 2012. I'm a single female traveller and had no problems at all in any of these counties. Even taking night trains and night buses.

Thailand is SO easy to get around, they all speak good English, transport is quite good and punctual and theres millions of tourists and backpackers all year around, so you wont really be alone or short of company (I kept bumping into the same people in fact!) I wouldn't suggest a tour in any of Thailand or much of SE Asia for that matter. Get a good guidebook (I like Lonely planet best), read up on the sort of things you'd like to see/do and make the rest up when you get there. Just a word of advice: book bus/train tickets yourself in the station, NEVER in Kao San road (I heard you get scammed there so I avoided it). Or book them with your hostel (plus a small booking fee). The bus/train has the time and destination in English, the roads are well paved and most have air con. Only advice is that most scams that happen in Bangkok, but if you're aware of them and savvy enough, its not bad in Thailand really. Thai people are very friendly and helpful despite all the scams..

Check hostelworld.com and hostelbookers.com. You can get a private room for less than £10 a night, with air con, but in Bangkok, prices are a bit more so expect to pay more. Or stay in a shared hostel if you're on a tight budget. You can easily get by on £7 or £10 a day on accommodation, all meals, drinks etc. But for entrance fees to temples, transport, etc will be a bit more. I think I paid about £23 for a one way train ticket from Bangkok to Chang Mai.

Generally, Thailand and SE Asia is quite cheap. In the 3 months I spent in SE Asia, I spent about £2500, and I did everything in 4 counries (temples, chang mai, siemp reap, halong bay, sapa, etc etc)

Being two females regardless of race or age, you shouldnt have any problems in Thailand or Asia. Use your common sense and you'll be fine
If you want more advice, feel free to PM me
son12345 is offline  
Old Jun 29th, 2013, 01:04 PM
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Sorry I am assuming you're female?
son12345 is offline  
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