FAQ Thread for Mainland SE Asia
Replies: 91 - Last Post: Nov 11, 2013 2:00 PM Last Post By: missred
Jun 24, 2011 2:54 AM
75SEA Itinary for Itinerates 1,3 to6 mths
Why? cos we answer this every day so its easier this way, as a suggestion only, but just do as you are told OK!
One mth Basics & cheapest routes
Bangkok –Changmai 3 day trek ethnic minorities + elephant ride+ bamboo rafting onto Changkong/ Houyxai,
Laos maps VOA $35 speedboat Luam Phrabang/ waterfalls Palace & palace theatre –Ponsivon Plain of Jars-Vang Vianne tubing + reclining Bhudda cave- Vientianne , overnight bus Pakse –Don det-
Cambodia VOA $20-Phnom Pen te sleung + Russian mkt +National museum –Siem Reap Angkor wat and old mkt minivan – Thailand Visa exempt 15 days but count 14 as 15 includes day of arrival and overstay 500baht per day OK - Koh Chang white sands beach etc If you can spare 2 - 4 weeks more add Burma (Myanmar) 28 day Visa BK
Bankok – Siem reap (Angkor wat) - Phnom Pen (Get Vietnam visa here) – HCMC- Hanoi with Open tour bus stopping Dalat - Nhatrang (afternoon enough for some if time ltd) - Hoi An tailoring and beach by bike - Hue citadel+ perfume river – Hanoi see uncle Ho + water puppet theatre – overnight trip Halong Bay – Hanoi overnight to Sapa – then choice either return to Hanoi for fun bus$23 to Vientianne or alternatively bus to Dien Bien Phuu and cross to Laos VOA Muang Khua boat down to Mong noi/ Nong Khiaw and from Nong Khiaw to Luam Phrabang Alternatively bus to Oudamsai and onto Nong Khiaw/ Mong Noi - LuamPhrabang – Ponsivon – Vang Vianne-Vientianne – Changmai 15 days visa exempt =14 days –BKK-Islands etc Add burma 2-4 weeks
6Mths basics; now from Sapa enter
Yunnan China (Lao Cai to Kumming) visa BK, PP or on way check out first. Kumming –Dali lake trip, cable car stay old town –Lijiang snowy dragon Mtn cable car 5,300m, -Shangri La (Xongdian very Tibetan) –Chau Tau Tiger leaping gorge trek- Kumming overnight bus to Oudamsai Laos VOA Mohan/Boten border down through Laos as above.
Plus 2 -4 weeks
Myanmar FAQ73 (if November balloon festival Taungyyi is a must)
From bangkok airasia-KL red Palm Bukit bitang / Singapore stay little India underground from airport. Onwards airasia or Indonesian airline VOA - Sumatra Bukit Lawang (orangutans) + lake Tobah.- Yog Jakarta Borrabador + Phramakhan + Mt Bromo to Bali Kuta
Or fly to Suluwesi Makassah -Tana Torajah (burial ceremony)- Borneo east kalimantan- Sabah mt Kinabalu etcfly airasia to Kuching
Thailand from 1 to 4 weeks
Laos 2 weeks
Cambodia 1 -3 weeks
Vietnam 3-4 weeks
Yunnan 3-4 weeks
Sumatra –Bali 3 -4 weeks flights in between.
Suluwesi – Borneo 2-4 weeks
HK /KL/ Singapore 3 or 4 days each with cheap airasia flights from Bangkok which is cheapest flight centre from EU etc
budget costs this year 3 mths was £1,500 =$2,200 for 2 persons reckpon on £3,000 + $1,000 approximately I always take cash as ATM charges are expensive ie 150baht in Thailand =£3 + home charges at "commercial rip of rate"
Nov 1, 2011 1:25 AM
76Always check the prices of the visa's on arrival, they are always different prices depending on your nationality.
And they will accept payments in different currencies. Always ask for the prices for each currency. For example crossing into Cambodia from Thailand I think it was an extra $10-15 if you paid in Thai Baht or Riel. Paying in dollars is normally the better deal. Also don't change your money at the border currency exchanges the rates are ridiculously lower than they should be.
Dec 22, 2011 1:09 AM
77Currently the most up to date information on Cambodia visas and Cambodia Crossings as of Dec.2011.
Check out the link Cambodia visa out for loads of information about Cambodia visas and entry/exit points.
Also check out the Siem Reap Weather before you travel.
Edited by: siemreaprooms
Edited by: siemreaprooms
Jan 10, 2012 6:16 AM
Myanmar Visa Office in Bangkok is now only open in the mornings (9-12) for Visa applications.
Thanks again for your useful info Monty.
(Hey, would you care to PM me a list of your cheapskate hotels? They all seem to have shot up in price lately!)
Mar 21, 2012 11:16 AM
80Kalaw – Inle area Trekking
Did 5 days of trekking in January 2012 and wish to share experience.
It’s very easy and very rewarding to trek around Kalaw. You can contact a guide in advance or just show up and leave the next morning.
It seems that most visitors take 2-3 day trek Kalaw to Inle. I would advise against that.
If you take the short trek from Kalaw to Inthein (by Inle Lake) you walk in rather dry land, rather flat, most of the time with very little shade. There’ll be many other tourists walking the same trail, the last day you’ll mainly walk on a road and you’ll stay overnight at a monastery in a dorm with other tourist.
Trekking around Kalaw gives a lot of possibilities for very varied landscape, varied land use, walking up and down, fertile areas (i.l. shade, things to look at, villages and solo houses), people of many different tribes.
You stay overnight with families in private houses.
We especially liked visiting Yaunggone (Paluang people) and Myin Task (Danu people) and the trekking in the areas around there.
First day we met no other foreigners and second day only a few. Night of third day we came on to the Kalaw- Inthein trail and from then on there were many foriegners all of the time.
Many people recommend trekking around Pindaya, which seems to have the same kind of landscape, but fewer visitors. But I have not been there.
Talk to a guide and set up a tour that suits you. Also many people stay in Kalaw and do only day-hikes out of town.
To get there: Take the train to Thazi, stay overnight and then the slow train over the mountains to Kalaw, or take the bus, or fly to Heho and take a taxi (30.000 K for 1½ hours drive).
As for guides, there seems to be many. Check the guidebooks and here on Thorn Tree. Some end up putting you in a large group, even though you’ve been promised something else.
I would warmly recommend pho kyaw (nicknamed Alex) – website in English and French: http://kalawtrekking.byethost32.com He’s rather quick at answering his mail: firstname.lastname@example.org . He doesn’t have a phone, since it’s too expensive. He can also be contacted at Parami Motel in Kalaw. They are four friends working together, so it might not be Alex who will actually accompany you. Our guide was his friend Hlaw Soe Tun email@example.com, very friendly and knowing of the area. Also we decided to have a porter, who also turned out to be an excellent cook.
Prices were more than reasonable. We ended up paying about 50$ a day for a group of two persons, with a guide, a porter, very good food and lodging and paying for the boat and transport of the rest of our luggage. You can do it cheaper – but what you pay is what you get.
Alex will also book lodging for you in Kalaw and at Inle.
In the same area is a group of four young women, doing the same kind of trekking.
You can do the Kalaw-Inthein trip without a guide, but I would recommend against it.
You can see photos from the treks at Alex’s website or here: http://www.hsdejong.nl/myanmar/
Earlier quotes from Thorn Tree:
Kalaw is the only place in Myanmar where you can just show up and trek – there’s no need to spend time and money on acquiring various permits.
I think prices are more or less fixed. We paid US$ 10 pp/pd. In addition you pay US$ 4 pp for the transport of your backpack (if you don't want to carry the full load but only a daypack insted) and you (as a group) will have to pay for the boat ride across the lake (US$ 15 per boat...a boat can take approximately 7-8 people).
Jul 3, 2012 9:08 PM
81List of tips about changing money in Myanmar / Burma:
Up to date as of July 2, 2012. Be aware that ATMs there do not accept any foreign bank cards, so you must bring cash.
Jul 3, 2012 9:44 PM
82Frontirenvro - a non profit organisation when you are charging 995 pounds for voluntourism in Lao. What a rip off your organisation seems to be.
Laos Teaching & Organic Farm
Teach English in the local schools, and help out on the local farm with organic farming, sustainable building, feeding baby animals or even helping out at the fruit shack.
latest review ...
prices from £995"
Jul 4, 2012 3:19 PM
Aug 13, 2012 11:39 PM
Aug 14, 2012 1:35 AM
Aug 14, 2012 11:54 PM
86For Burma basics clcik back to FAQ thread 73, but this is for this years info.
Trekking between Kalow & Inle (also other way around) many recommend either Sams or Joseph Andrews, but they have had some negative even court cases against them in recent times so I would personally recommend Thiri (Thiri Pa Pa Linn) tel 081-50199 email: firstname.lastname@example.org or alternative ever smile I always say to avoid those rogues Harri Singh and family at Golden Lilly just check them out on tripadvisor bad bad!.
In Kalow Ruby Wynn of winner hotel has now her own agency opposite pineland restaurant (good food) in the small family shop there. She is great for taxis to and from Heho and Pindaya caves day trips and also bus tickets etc etc. She is very honest and trustworthy and trusting so if you contact her for a taxi please ensure you do not let her down Tel: 052- 80288 email: email@example.com and also great noodle place when the barber shop shuts next door. turn left and first tea shoppe on left great Taratas and ley peye with samosas etc
I also stay Teakwood at Inle because I love the family and the atmosphere and breakfast on the terrace. If you want to book or share a boat for day trip on Inle walk down to river and see 'Ma' (MA Htwe Nge) and her husband or tel: 081- 209721 and include Indein as a must. there are some boat drivers who will overcharge
next to smiling moon restaurant, is the recently widowed Mrs Tun (name Mu Kye) with her two small children and she too runs her deceased husbands small travel agency for boats and tickets and treks and also especially for those who will be there for the balloon festival a shared pick up to the balloon festival each night leaves around 630 am and for best ask to return with everyones agreement at 1am not before. book and prepay ASAP she has also tables now for drinks and snacks etc. telephone 95 943197443 email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have would like a guide to join you for your trip, especially as child minder for your small kids please contact Jasmine Limboo email: email@example.com she will meet you in Yangon and share your journey at reasonable price.
Kalow; Thazin opp winner hotel on main rd up temple steps left 100m plus as already said t & noodle shop
Inle; Aurora restaurant and smiling moon
Mandalay: opposite ET is great curry stall very reasonable also 83rd st forgotten name for now is opposite Nylon Ice cream bar 100m to right great restaurant + of course for good night out BBB restaurant.
Bagan; Shwe Moe in Naung U on road to shwezigon is my favourite plus now for a bit of UK great western escape at Weatherspoons opposite pan cherry near to shwezigon. before you reach food street.
I hope this helps as an update along with my FAQ 73 Burma basics click here for FAQ73
for Bhamo eat sein sein near boat ticket office great food and Myiktyina next to YMCA is Orient restaurant
Ngapali first rst to left of Lyn Thar OO Hotel and opposite also good Sittwe next to Palace Hotel, riverview rest great King Prawns in Batter with chips (can taste them now)
Chaungtha Shwe Min Thar is the first GH on Chaungtha I stayed for $7 single but from $12 doubles B&B eat Top 2 restaurant on main rd
hope this helps. montyman
Dec 11, 2012 8:17 AM
87Since the question of computer security in internet cafe comes up over and over, I thought I would share this link on how to turn on two-step verification for gmail:
The same can be done for many other sorts of websites, but as typical, Google seems to have the best implementation of it.
Essentially, 'two-step verification' makes it so that you need more than just your password to get into your account, which makes it quite difficult for thieves to get access to it. The second step is either a single use code that you can print out before leaving home (which might be ideal for access in Burma) or a time-sensitive key that you would need a device (like a smartphone) to generate up to the minute codes to enable access.
Mar 7, 2013 7:19 AM
Be aware that room prices have escalated dramatically and reservations are required in many places. In Kalaw, Mandalay and Nyaung Shwe, we saw people sleeping on GH floors for want of a room.
Fake jewels or bait and switch scams abound around temples for gems and 'relics.' My travel companion bought a decent looking ruby and it was switched during the wrapping process. Once you have decided on a stone (and you are silly enough to believe anything the seller says) do not let it leave your hand.
Oct 24, 2013 7:08 AM
89Wow, lots of great information. Thanks, I have to copy and keep it with me...I live in Japan and take cold water showers from May to Oct. Hey my gas bill is about $15.00 during that time plus the cooking stove...so cold water showers are no problem for me. The more I read and the more time that passes the stories and info changes....Can one get up towards the Laos border area without trouble? I'm afraid I'll always end up in the most restricted areas cause I just go! Thank you so much...
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