I'm planning on doing a career break trip, staying in Southeast Asia from early January to late March, volunteering for the first three weeks in Chiang Mai. I am 24 and have never traveled completely by myself before, though I have stayed in hostels in Europe with friends a couple of times. I've heard that hostels aren't as popular in Asia? Will I still be able to meet travelers my age in guest houses?
Here's what I'd like to do:
1. Explore, see, and create lots of art and local crafts (Chiang Mai should be great for this!)
2. Learn about Buddhism as well as Thai and Southeast Asian culture and history
3. See more city life (I'm more comfortable in cities than in nature)
4. Go to a yoga retreat (for beginners - not too intense)
5. Relax and have fun on a beach
6. If possible, see something related to ethical fashion/textiles/manufacturing etc
7. Eat AMAZING food
8. Meet fellow travelers
So far I've been thinking:
1. Fly into Chiang Mai - 3 weeks program
2. One weekend (during program) up in Pai and/or Chiang Rai (is this enough time?)
3. After the program, fly down to beaches for a week (which islands for easy transport, stuff to do, and safety?) and POSSIBLY go to Full Moon Party if I make a friend first
4. Fly to Siem Reap and go to nearby yoga retreat for 5 days - could be hard to get here from southern Thailand?
5. Spend a few days in Siem Reap and see Angkor Wat
6. Maybe go to Phnom Penh
7. Spend a week or so in Vietnam?
8. Go to Bangkok for a several days until I fly home
Singapore, Seoul, and Hong Kong are all good transfer cities for flights to NYC so I was thinking of doing an extended layover.
Overall, I feel a bit overwhelmed thinking about going to so many places and spending that length of time alone - any advice would be appreciated
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