5 month itinerary for China, SE Asia & Japan
Replies: 5 - Last Post: Sep 30, 2013 7:46 AM Last Post By: drumbrake
Sep 27, 2013 4:27 AM
5 month itinerary for China, SE Asia & JapanHello all
I plan on backpacking Asia for 5-6months at the beginning of 2014, I am looking to book my flights tomorrow and with Sta travel I have found a multi-stop deal from LDN Heathrow to Beijing, Kuala Lumpur to Tokyo, and finally Tokyo to Heathrow all for just over £800. Whats more for an additional £70 I can include a flexible flights option which will allow me to change my flight dates up to 3 times at no extra cost.
So basically I am looking to taylor my itinerary to these flights.
I estimate to have a total budget of between £5000/5500 for the trip, excluding the above flights and travel insurance.
I will be staying at modest guest houses & hostels, eating simplistic local foods & drinking local beers (and not too often at that)
My plan so far is to apply for my Chinese visa in Oct/November (I intend to fly out on New Years eve) and then once I've arrived, start to slowly work my way south west from Beijing, using trains as my main method of transport, until eventually entering Hong Kong and then reentering China.
Afterwards I plan on catching a train into Laos where I will visit Luang Prabang, then Eastwards into Vietnam, gradually working my way down to Ho Chi Minh. From there I'll cross the Cambodian border into Siem Reap and then out the other side in to Thailand. Next it's up towards Chaing Mai and then back south through Bangkok, heading towards Malysia whilst visiting the infamous party islands along the way. From there I'll look to board my flight into Japan from Kuala Lumpur.
I intend on spending 6 weeks in China, 6 weeks in Laos (LP), Vietnam & Cambodia, 1 month in Thailand & 1 month in Japan, If affordable I would like to spend longer in Japan.
Does this itierary seem reasonable/affordable?
Should I be ok to obtain all my visas upon arriving in Asia, excluding China?
Are they're any vaccinations that are a must for any other countries I intend on visiting?
If you can offer any advice i'd appreciate you taking the time to do so.
(apologies for any poor grammer and the lack of structure to this post, the broadband where I live is shocking and so I am typing this out at the end of a long night shift)
Sep 27, 2013 6:57 AM
1China and Beijing will be cold in January. SE Asia - Southern Thailand and Malaysia will be warm to hot. Places like northern Laos and Vietnam will be cool to warm. This means taking different types of clothing, which adds weight to your baggage. So, personally, I'd be looking at sticking to SE Asia at that time of year (China is too cold).
If you do go to China, and you plan to go to Hong Kong, you will need a double entry China visa. If you get 30 days for each entry, then that should be enough for your time in China. Getting a Chinese visa is becoming more difficult.
There is no train in Laos from China. There are buses. You can get a Laos visa at the border, but I think it is only 30 days.
You need a Vietnam visa in advance. You can get in Hong Kong or in Chinese cities such as Kunming or Nanning. Cambodia you can get at the border. If you go overland in Thailand, you just get a 15 day visa. Malaysia is ok - I think 30 days when you cross overland.
Japan can be expensive. You might want to look at getting a rail pass in advance, or at least research thoroughly about where you want to go and stay in order to cut costs.
Sep 27, 2013 9:45 AM
2Thanks for all the visa info, I do definitely intend on visiting Hong Kong, and so it looks like i'll be applying for a double. Why is it getting harder? Is there a particular way which is more streamlined?
My flights are now booked, i'll be in Japan throughout January, then China in Feb + early March and then the rest of my time will be spent in SE Asia.
I've set myself a budget of £50 per day in Japan, £30-40 per day in China and £30 throughout SEA. I'll be looking to extend my trip into June if the budgeting goes better than expected.
Is Japan doable by Bus? I mean at least the main areas of Tokyo - Osaka/Kyoto?
Sep 27, 2013 5:14 PM
3Probably best to post a new question on the Japan forum to get answers about Japan.
Chinese New Year is from 31 January to 3 February in 2014. You do NOT want to be travelling in the days before the holiday, and many places will be closed in the first week of February.
To get the Chinese visa you will need to provide flight information, some accommodation bookings, and an itinerary that shows going to Hong Kong and re-entering China.
GBP30-40 is around Chinese Rmb 300-400. If you want a single room with bathroom, that will be half your daily budget gone (more in the big cities). If you stay in a dorm and shared bathroom, then costs will be much cheaper. To see even basic attractions often costs 60 Rmb to enter, some cost 150-200 rmb. Food is cheap. Travelling is fairly cheap, but the long distances that you will travel will mean costs rise.
Look on http://www.travelchinaguide.com/china-trains/ for an indication of travel costs by train.
Sep 29, 2013 7:40 PM
4Flights are booked, i'll be flying from London to Tokyo on New Years Eve, then Tokyo - Beijing 28th Jan & then Kuala Lumpur - London in late May.
Will my arrival time in Beijing be a problem for me?
When is the best time to apply for the Visa? I was thinking of getting one before leaving for Japan, but I wasn't planning on pre booking any accommodation in China so soon. So will it be best if I arrange my first weeks accommodation in China before flying out to Japan, as well as my visa, or just wait and do both while in Japan?
Sep 30, 2013 7:46 AM
5Stay in Beijing for the first few days.
You can book accommodation in China, get the visa, and then cancel the accommodation. Use online services to book hotels such as booking.com and elong.net and ctrip.com and you should not need to pay any fees.
Get the Chinese visa before you go to Japan. You will have great difficulty getting a Chinese visa in Japan.
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