A friend and I were planning a trip to south-east Asia, but we also wanted to see Nepal, India, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and maybe even Bhutan. We were thinking of taking about 6 or seven months to travel through there, mainly backpacking and catching local transport. Has anybody done this? or know of any tips on travelling through these countries?
For your travelling, you may need to break it into sections first. Some countries can't be accessed easily from the other. For example to travel in Bhutan, you must enter via air (via Drukair or Bhutan Airlines usually via Kathmandu, Delhi, Singapore or Bangkok) and you must have a visa [http://www.tourism.gov.bt/plan/travel-requirements]. A visa won't be given unless you book through a local travel agency - but absolutely worth every penny... but may need to be when you're not on a backpackers daily allowance. One of the most amazing countries in the world though!
For Nepal, you can enter via bus from India but it is usually easier to fly into Kathmandu. The roads in Nepal are still full of potholes and take a long time to get anywhere. The hotels and cafes/restaurants in KTM (even in Thamel where you can get everything you need) are cheap. If you eat local food it will be even cheaper eg momos (dumplings) are about $2 for 15. Plus some good cafes that make proper coffee!
For India, the area around Dehli, Jaipur and across to Agra (Taj Mahal) and Varanassi and amazing... not to be missed. (Get a train for the long stretches - best chai tea ever from the chaiwallah at the train stops!) If you look online, there are lots of good backpacking spots down near Goa and along the coast too. For guys, India is much easier - women do get stared at which can be un-nerving: less safe in the smaller towns.
As for Cambodia, Thailand and Myanmar - local travel is OK eg you can travel by bus or boat from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap in Cambodia. The border up to Thailand used to have land mines (remains from the Pol Pot and Khmer Rouge atrocities) so would suggest a short flight from Cambodia to Bangkok instead. But Siem Reap mustn't be missed - pay for a car/guide (very cheap) so you see the best bits and see things at the best times (without hundreds of other tourists).
Myanmar is still opening up to tourism (they only just got banks in Yangon and internet is patchy) so check other websites for the latest.
Hope that helps... safe travels! over 2 years ago
No. India, alone, deserves many months! Don't do the so common mistake of trying to see as much as possible in the shortest time: you'll end up seeing a little bit of nothing at all! Focus in on one region, like Rajasthan or Kerala, in India, for instance. Or do a themed trip, like the Himalayas or the islands of the Indian Ocean, or Hindu temples, or Buddhist monasteries in Nepal, etc. There is so much to see and digest in Southern Asia that your brains would require time to truly appreciate everything you'll find in each country/region. over 2 years agoAnswered by Diego Echeagaray via WorldNomads.com
You will need visas for places like Bhutan well ahead of time so make sure you plan for that.
But 6-7 months is lots of time to see quite a bit of each country you want to see. It all depends how much you want to absorb and become a part of each culture and city. I've traveled to 50 countries so far and I think how much you kick back and melt into a country is up to you! Don't let people sway you by saying definitively "no that isn't enough time" - it's plenty!
That said, totally agree with other posters about taking extra precautions in India. It's not only unnerving to get stared at but you can be outright harassed and touched so take good care and I do not recommend hitchiking or taking overnight trains in some parts of India, for personal safety and security reasons.
In fact I would take extra precautions in most countries you mention and not plan on hitchhiking if at all possible. I would rather travel 5 months instead of 6 and be able to pay for trains or flights - SE Asia has incredibly cheap short flights between the countries you want to visit!
Have fun, stay safe, enjoy the heck out of it!
PS Vietnam is incredibly and probably the easiest to travel besides Thailand on your list. In Vietnam make sure you take a full 3 days in Hlong Bay, travel from theee down the coast is super easy backpacking -- heads up Ho Chi Minh is a bit too chaotic for my taste but many love it. over 2 years agoAnswered by Elaine via WorldNomads.com
I had 5 months in India alone and i still didn't manage to fit it all in. When travelling Asia you will need and even have to take it slower. I would do SE Asia first as this will prepare you for India & Nepal - also note that the north is freezing when the south is super hot. I had 13 months in total - about 4 months were for NZ & Australia. The rest was Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, China (just a week) - then India... i didn't plan my time - just went with the flow but with hindsight i could have done less time in Thailand as it left me compromised for Vietnam, which has left me still wanting to return 10 years later.. over 2 years agoAnswered by Tanya via WorldNomads.com
Watch out with Myanmar too - last I heard if you travelled across the border, you could only get as far as the border towns - to get properly into the country you needed to fly in to Yangon. However, I've not been over that way since it started to open up, so might have changed since then!
If you're keen for non-stop travelling, you should be OK with six months. You should definitely add Laos onto your list too if you can, even for a little. I'm still gutted not to have made it to Luang Prabang!
Check out what festivals are going on in the different countries at the time, which might help you work out how you want to split your time (eg Loy Kratong on the Mekong or Songkran in Chiang Mai are definitely not to miss).
The Cambodia-Thai border can be a bit dodgy, but not enough to bother flying. Check out Kao Yai and Erawan NPs for sure on your way through.
Chok dee! over 2 years agoAnswered by Caitlin via WorldNomads.com
Of course,6 months is plenty. You'll never be able to see everything anywhere.In my backpacking days I had 4 days worth of clothes,then a local laundromat,and on to the next city.Athens & Cairo got way more but you can't stay forever. over 2 years agoAnswered by rick be via WorldNomads.com