Travel Southeast Asia in a month

Old Nov 17th, 2015, 07:21 PM
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Travel Southeast Asia in a month

Right now I have a contract working in South Korea. When it ends in July, I was planning on taking a ferry from Busan to Japan. I also have a volunteer opportunity for the end of July, so I decided that I really want to travel Asia. I was planning on spending a week in Japan, maybe 2-3 days in Beijing, 2 days in Hong Kong, a day in Macau (to try bungee jumping at the Macau Tower), and then spending a week in Northern Vietnam before flying to Thailand for volunteer work. I don't know if this itinerary is realistic though, since it is my first time doing this. I will also be travelling solo (and I am a twenty-something year old woman). Any tips, suggested places to see, or advice (if places should be cut) are greatly appreciated.
ellisbell12 is offline  
Old Nov 17th, 2015, 09:36 PM
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No reason you shouldn't do fine in Asia traveling solo, especially if you've been practicing in south Korea. However, that is very short for Beijing - hardly worth the visa hassle. And a week for Japan is short too, you barely have time for Tokyo and Kyoto plus day trips. (BTW, Japan and China aren't in SEA, your title is misleading.)
thursdaysd is offline  
Old Nov 17th, 2015, 10:02 PM
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I agree with everything thursdaysd said.

Do some research, figure out what you want to see in each location, check opening / closing hours on the internet, and mark up a calendar. Pencil in your transportation, add some time on either side (for getting to/from your lodging, checking in/out, packing/unpacking, getting oriented, etc.). Then see how things fit together. Only then can you decide what will work for your interests.
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Old Nov 18th, 2015, 08:02 AM
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It's not that I think you can't do it, I'm sure you would be able to find flights, and physically do the itinerary you're suggesting. My reaction is that you may be trying to squeeze in too much into too short a time, thereby shortchanging yourself on every destination, and wasting a lot of your precious time in travelling/ transfers rather than enjoying.

I know some people do prefer to do a more superficial style of travel (I don't mean that as an insult) and then come back again to places they liked during the overview trip, so perhaps that's the intention here.

But I confess, I think you may have a better experience if you narrow the list just a little and give yourself more time in the places you visit.

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Old Nov 18th, 2015, 10:46 AM
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I've been to all the places you mentioned, but on three separate trips. I would choose one country that is "calling" you the most and see it in depth.

You are close to Japan, particularly Kyushu, so it would be logical to go there. I have mixed feelings about taking a ferry because of that fatal tragedy a few years ago. However, you can find plenty in Japan to keep you busy.

Alternatively, you could choose to go to China, but it is farther. I would see Xi'An in addition to Beijing, and I would skip Hong Kong entirely.

Hanoi is quite a schlep from Bangkok, and to me, not as interesting as other SEA countries such as Cambodia and Malaysia. Will you have time to visit this region while you are doing volunteer work?
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Old Nov 19th, 2015, 03:49 PM
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The caveat to other posters saying that 2-3 days is too short for Beijing, is that this is a perfect amount of time if you want to see the capital of China without visa hassle: Beijing is one of several cities where this is an option.

In order to be granted the 72 hr visa, you do need a ticket to a third region/country as stated, but Hong Kong and Macau count as third regions for this visa policy. So you can fly Tokyo-Beijing or Osaka-Beijing, spend your 72 hours there, and then fly Beijing-Hong Kong.

My first trip to Japan was a week split between Tokyo and Kyoto: it was fast paced and I would have benefited from more time because I LOVED Japan, but even though the country deserves more time, I am happy I spent the week there and didn't miss it entirely. The bullet trains and public transportation significantly cut down on in country travel time too.

Your logistics are feasible and while your pace may be fast, I think this could be an enjoyable transition to your next volunteer position. Just be realistic about what you're hoping to do, see, and experience in each place.
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