Route and itinerary, and safety advice for lone female traveller in South East Asia, in 3 weeks starting from Shanghai
Hello! I am a lone female traveler finishing up a year contract in China. I am very keen on back packing SEA. I will be departing Shanghai around September 8 2012. I have also just decided to meet up with friends in Bali for October 1, give or take a few days. So now my schedule is very cramped and I am stressing over which locations to cut out of my original plan.
I absolutely want to end up in Koh Tao, Thailand for the Full moon party on September 8 and spend a few days diving there, but also willing to attend the Half moon party a week before. This would be perfect as a friend is willing to meet me here before flying down to Bali. So this already takes about 5-6 days here to get my diving certification and what not.
I want to see the Angkor temples in Cambodia, Vang Vieng in Laos for tubing and caving, Bangkok, Chang Mai (since it's on route to Laos anyway) and if there is time - Kanchanaburi in Thailand.
I also want to see Vietnam, but so confused about which places are must sees and how to map out my route. I am interested in Halong Bay, but seems to be out of the way and wondering if it is worth seeing, or of there are similar landscapes in South Vietnam, closer to Cambodia?
I know most backpackers fly to Bangkok, them make their way to Laos, then Vietnam, Cambodia, back to Bangkok. Is this possible for me if I start on the 8th of September and try to be in Koh Tao by the 25th? I am flying from Shanghai and closer to Vietnam, so wondering if there would be a better route for me to start there? And which parts of Vietnam should I see an leave out to make my trip more efficient, cost effective, and worth while?
I am more interested in beautiful scenery, meeting fellow travelers and food, then museums. Also I keep hearing I should check out Phnom Penh in Cambodia to see the Killing Fields, but I have already seen massacre museums and sights and know it will just make me depressed, is it really worth seeing on a tight schedule?
Any tips on which locations are unsafe for females?
Sorry for the many questions, trying to whittle down my locations! Thank you for taking the time to read this, I look forward to your reply!
Hey Julie, I'll try to answer your questions as best as I can. Is this possible for me if I start on the 8th of September and try to be in Koh Tao by the 25th? I am flying from Shanghai and closer to Vietnam, so wondering if there would be a better route for me to start there? And which parts of Vietnam should I see an leave out to make my trip more efficient, cost effective, and worth while?
It is possible to be in Koh Tao by the 25th, but you'd have time constraints that's for sure. And for a more efficient route, I think it's better you skip Laos and Chiang Mai since they're less straightforward to travel to. If you have the budget, you should fly as much as possible or take night trains/buses.
I haven't been to Halong Bay, so don't know if it's worth it. But I do know that Mekong Delta in the south is supposed to be smashing, according to other travelers. The Mekong Delta is a lot closer to the Cambodian border, and from there easy access to Cambodia by land.
If I were you I would probably skip north Vietnam and focus on south and/or central Vietnam. Hue and Hoi An in central Vietnam are good places to visit since you're into the cultural scene, while there are opportunities to visit Mekong Delta in the south. I have some suggestions:
A) Fly from Shanghai to Hanoi (to see Halong Bay) Sep 8-11 --> flight to Hue (cultural center) Sep 11-13 --> work your way to Hoi An (very nice colonial town) Sep 13-16 --> fly from Da Nang to Saigon/HCM Sep 16-18 --> cross the border to Cambodia to Phnom Penh, via Bavet/Moc border crossing Sep 18-21 --> bus to Siem Reap (Angkor) Sep 21-23 --> fly to Bangkok Sep 23-25 --> Bus/train and ferry to Koh Tao on the 25th
B) Fly from Shanghai to Saigon Sep 8-11 (Cu Chi channel) --> Mekong Delta Sep 11-14 --> border cross to Cambodia, via Ha Tien crossing, to Kampot (beautiful scenery) Sep 14-18 --> bus to Siem Reap/Angkor Sep 18-Sep 21 --> fly to Bangkok - stay in Bangkok Sep 21-24 --> bus/train and ferry to Koh Tao (or fly from Bangkok to Koh Samui) on the 24th(...)but I have already seen massacre museums and sights and know it will just make me depressed, is it really worth seeing on a tight schedule?
Killing Fields is a sad attraction, yes. Lots of travelers consider it as a must-do when you're in Phnom Penh, but this depends on your interest. If you're visiting Phnom Penh anyway, I would stop by Killing Fields. It doesn't take more than half a day to visit the site. Any tips on which locations are unsafe for females?
I've traveled alone in many parts of Southeast Asia, including the countries you've mentioned. I can't pinpoint any specific locations because I don't feel like there's one place that's more dangerous than others. It might sound lame, but just use your common sense and follow your gut.
When I'm traveling, I'm more worried about getting scammed especially at the border crossings.
Hope this helps! :)
Amanda - editorPosted:
June 26, 2012