Old Apr 20th, 2016, 06:54 AM
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Hello dear friends,

My best friend and I are planning our very first trip to Asia.

Timeline: 6 Weeks. Sept-Mid Oct
Budget: None, but want to stay modest.
Destinations: Not limited or finalized: Thailand, Bali, Vietnam, Cambodia, Loas.. suggestions welcome!

From my understanding, rainy season begins in October but how bad is it? Are we still OK to go during this time? Which destination should we leave towards the end that is least affected?

Where should we fly in and out of if we live in Toronto?

Thanks for all your help and suggestions!! Cant wait to do this!!
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Old Apr 20th, 2016, 06:55 AM
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I should also note that we are two females in our early 20's. THANKS
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Old Apr 20th, 2016, 07:16 AM
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You have a lot of research to do before your trip!

In some areas of SE Asia, the rainy season starts in October, but you are taking about a huge area that is affected by three or four different monsoon systems. So you need to take a good look at the weather in each location that interests you so you can plan well. Check out and look at each city you want to visit. An earlier trip or a later one would give you better weather.

You already have 5 countries listed and just 6 weeks to travel. At this point you need to be cutting destinations, not adding destinations.

You have a modest budget, so I expect you want to do a fair amount of overland travel. Be aware that overland travel can be slow in this part of the world. There are some excellent budget airlines that can help.

From the US, Bangkok is usually the least expensive gateway to SE Asia, but check prices from Toronto. Bangkok is a transportation hub, so has some advantages.

I recommend that you get a guidebook for each country you are considering. Start with your local library, then decide which books are most helpful before you buy.

While Bali may well have the best weather in October, it's a long distance from your other destinations and you would have to fly. Generally, I recommend that people stick to one general area, as it cuts down on travel time and travel expense.

Have you done your research on visas? Some of the countries you list require a visa in advance, others allow you to purchase a visa upon entry, and one (Thailand) allows visa-free entry.

Happy planning!
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Old Apr 20th, 2016, 08:36 AM
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As Kathie mentions, the weather systems in Asia are complex and varied. South of the equator, October is a good time for much of Indonesia but not great for south east Asia. The rainy season there doesn't "begin" in October it is towards the end of it in most place. No getting away from the fact that September and October are not the best for sunshine and blue skies.

However, it is not all doom and gloom. Places are less crowded, hotel rates are cheaper and it rarely rains all day. Is a tour companies website but has a pretty useful, easy to use tool for identifying where to go for the best weather.

You do need to do a LOT of research to get the most out of your trip. One of the best online resources for travel in the region is . Guidebooks are fine but I wouldn't go to the expense of buying until you have narrowed down your choices somewhat. Borrow from a library if you can.

Accomodation is cheap and plentiful in Asia. and are great booking sites and usually get the best rates. I would budget for $20-30 US for a double room with private facilities. Food is incredibly good and inexpensive, particularly if you eat local and avoid the tourist restaurants.

As Kathie says, don't add anymore places. Less really is more when it comes to travel. If it were me, I would be thinking of limiting myself to Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos

Have a great trip and do come back with any more questions you may have
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Old Apr 20th, 2016, 09:34 AM
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Thank you,

Would it be wise to begin with Thailand and do the islands beg-mid Sept and end in Bali mid October with Cambodia, Vietnam, and Loas in between?
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Old Apr 20th, 2016, 07:13 PM
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jelsbells, you're looking at four large countries and one (small) island. Even with six weeks you'd be better off narrowing in on which places -- towns or areas -- that you most want to visit and then figuring out how to get from place to place.

September to mid-October is a great time to visit Bali. The weather is good and tourism is low. September 7 to 17 is a major Balinese Hindu holiday period, and you will see many temple ceremonies and village celebrations all over the island.

I would suggest that you plan to spend a few days inland in the Ubud area and a few days at the beach. I'd suggest the Seminyak/Petitenget neighborhood for your beach location.

You might also consider spending some time on Java -- Central Java for Borobudur and Yogyakarta and East Java for Mount Bromo. The weekend of September 10-12 is a major Islamic holdiay; in this case NOT a good time to visit Java.

Both Bangkok and Singapore are good hubs for flying in and out of Southeast Asian countries. Since you're planning in advance you should be able to get a good deal on the long haul flights. I especially like Singapore Airlines, but there may be other cheaper options. Starting or ending in Bali instead of backtracking from Indonesia to mainland SE Asia would make sense logistically

Within SE Asia look at AirAsia for cheap, reliable flights. Bear in mind that there's a cancellation fee on the lower priced AA tickets, so don't book until your itinerary is set.

I would also recommend that you make sure you have insurance for medical evacuation -- just in case.
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Old Apr 20th, 2016, 10:30 PM
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I would only set in concrete where I intend to start and where I intend finishing off, and get those flights booked. Make sure you spend your last night in the city [Bangkok?] where you are making your outward international flight from.

Everything else I'd leave fairly fluid, have several doable itineraries, some places you visit you'll want to stay a bit longer, or even a bit less.

Taking the weather into consideration, there might be some places you want to go to but the forecast might put you off. During the rainy season lots of flights in SE Asia are delayed or cancelled. You might even catch a tummy bug, and that'll slow you down for a few days.

It's out of the main tourist season, so you can easily book accommodation when you arrive at the different destinations.

I think you are trying to cover too much ground. While budget airlines will get you around quickly, you'll be missing everything in-between at ground level, and has mentioned earlier trying to do too much = achieving too little.

Taking trains in Thailand and Vietnam is good fun, and gets you close to the people you've travelled all that way to see...

Avoid overnight bus travel.

Be very careful if you plan on hiring a scooter, lots of horror stories.

Travel light.
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Old Apr 21st, 2016, 09:27 AM
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Thanks everyone... will begin the planning process today!
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Old Apr 23rd, 2016, 12:58 PM
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From Toronto you can fly Air Canada non-stop to Japan and then connect from there, buying the itinerary on a multi-city search function. Or fly to a major European gateway and on to Vietnam. Or -- well, there are many possible connections. To research, try which covers many, not all, international airlines (but it doesn't sell tickets.) In southeast Asia you can use budget airlines that don't show up on that site so you will have to do more research. In sketching out possibilities, remember that some countries require a visa and the arrangements sometimes can be tricky. And think about your health; both the US and Canadian governments have good sites explaining what precautions, and shots, you may need in advance.
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Old Apr 28th, 2016, 10:39 AM
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I'd head to Bali first, then go to Singapore (good air connections on Air Asia) or Bangkok, then Cambodia, Laos or Vietnam. The weather in those countries gets better in October and even better in November. I love the rainy season in September, but flights can be delayed, and if you will be doing any land travel in less developed areas, roads often get flooded or closed.

Personally, I'd eliminate either Bali OR Vietnam, in order to have time to really enjoy and not rush through your destinations.
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