I’ve still got about 35 content-based posts to write and publish before I will have finished filling you guys in on everything I got up to on my 15 months of travel around the world. You can expect posts on Mexico, Cuba, Colombia and the rest of South America over the next month or so. My goal is to have half of them finished before I leave Melbourne, and hopefully the other half done in the month after that.
But for now, I’m interrupting my regularly scheduled travel posts to fill you in on my upcoming travel plans. If you have been following me on Instagram you might know that even before I finished my last epic trip, I was already contemplating going on another one. But I’m super happy to officially announce on the blog that I’ll be leaving for another adventure on the 27th of June. This time to explore South East Asia for 8 months.
Given it is only a month until I’ll be off again I thought I’d write a post on my general plan for those 8 months. If you ever looked closely at my original plan for my 15-month trip, and compared it to what I did you will know that my plans change all the time. And this SE Asia itinerary is even more flexible. I’m lucky that SE Asia is the type of region where I can book most things last minute without any extra cost so I just want to go with the flow and see where the road takes me.
But this is my rough idea about the direction I’ll be going in and the places I’ll tick off my list.
July- August – Kuala Lumpur , Malaysia
The whole reason I’m embarking on this new trip is that I got given the opportunity to complete another study abroad program at my university’s campus in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. My units will run from the 28th of June to the 18th of August, although I’ll probably stick around another week after that to get some of my assignments completed.
I’m super excited to be settling down in another city, especially one with such a vibrant culture and amazing street food. I’ve visited KL before and I’m sure I’ll love it just as much the second time around.
Of course, I won’t be sitting completely still for almost two months. I’ve already got two weekends of travel planned and booked; one to the Perhentian Islands and another to Borneo to go on an Orangutan safari. I’m hoping to also get to the Cameron Highlands, Langkawi, Penang and Singapore during this time as well. Whatever I can’t squeeze into my weekends I’ll do after I finish my studies at the end of August.
August-September – Indonesia
I want to spend a minimum of 6 weeks in Indonesia. Unfortunately, with visa requirements it is going to be tricky to extend that beyond 8 weeks without doing a visa run in and out of the country.
Indonesia is such a diverse country, and a lot of people I know have only ever been to Bali. So I’m really hoping to showcase more of the country and more of the amazing islands. Places I definitely want to get to include Yogyakarta, Mount Bromo, Bali (the less crazy places such as Ubud), the Gilli Islands, Lombok, Flores and Komodo Island to see the famous dragons. I’m hoping to have done, or be doing my PADI dive course while I’m in Indonesia because I’ve heard the diving is amazing and I’d love to be able to squeeze lots of diving in.
October- Myanmar and Northern Thailand
I’m indecisive about whether I want to go to Myanmar. For me, it is still a morally questionable destination given how the Burmese are currently treating the Rohingyan minority. But refusing to visit a destination on moral grounds can be a tricky call, given that most countries in SE Asia have some serious problems. I think I’ll probably end up visiting, but only for a short period of time. Maybe 10 days so that I can visit the famous temples of Bagan and hike to Lake Inle.
Land border crossings to and from Myanmar are especially difficult so the easiest and cheapest way to get to and from Myanmar is through Thailand. Hence after Myanmar I’ll fly to Bangkok and then spend a good chunk of time travelling northern Thailand en route to Laos. If you have been reading for a while you know that Thailand is one of my favourite countries in the world so I’m so excited to return.
November- Laos and Vietnam
I’m still not sure how long to spend in Laos. But I’m thinking probably around 2 weeks. I might return to do places in the south of the country after I travel through Vietnam. I’m thinking I’ll spend quite a lot of time in Vietnam- maybe close to a month. I’ve visited the North before but there are so many places I haven’t got to and I really want to take my time. Vietnam is super cheap and the food is delicious so I’d love to be stuck in this country for a bit.
December- Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia
Things get a little murky around December because it all depends on how much time I spend in Vietnam and if I cross back into Laos to do the South. But I’m hoping to spend 2-3 weeks in Cambodia. Of course I need to get to Angkor, but I’d also love to visit some of the beaches and islands that so many people have raved about.
January- The Philippines
I’ve been wanting to visit the Philippines for as long as I can remember! I love the idea of island hopping from one beautiful island to another and just soaking in the culture, sun and stunning natural landscape. One of my friends is a schoolteacher and she has January off work so I’m really hoping she will be able to join me for this leg of the trip. January is holiday month in Australia so I might have even more than one visitor at this time.
I can’t think of any better way to finish 8 months of travel than by spending a whole month island hopping the south of Thailand. I want to check out the full moon party on Koh Phangan and head to islands such as Koh Tao, Koh Samui, Koh Lipe, Phi Phi Island and Krabi. And of course I couldn’t leave Thailand without returning to Ko Lanta, one of my favourite places in the world.
How am I affording an 8-month trip after just returning from a 15 month one?
I came back from my 15 month trip almost all out of cash. And I haven’t had a lot of opportunity to regenerate any travel savings. But I’m extremely lucky that my university is really pushing the Malaysia study abroad program at the moment. That means that they are giving me a lot of funding to go.
I’m getting $1500 AUD from Monash University and $2000 under the Australia government’s New Colombo Funding scheme to encourage student travel to Asia. I’m also able to take $7880 out on my student loans and if you know anything about Australian student loans that’s good.
We only get charged inflation rates in terms of interest and we pay them back only when we earn a decent wage and the repayments come out like an extra tax. I’m also on a scholarship for my course so I’ll get my $2250 scholarship payment for the three units I’m doing overseas. In addition, my Centrelink (Australian welfare) student payments will still be paid to be for the period I’m studying. So that is probably another $1500 there.
Essentially without even having to save I’m finding myself with just over $15,000 of travel money. And if you know anything about South East Asia you’ll know that that is more than enough for 15 months of travel. I’m extremely lucky to go to a university and live in a country that gives me such opportunities. But as I’ve always said- achieving your travel dreams isn’t just about the opportunities given to you, but your ability to take them when they are presented to you.
Anyone have any tips or must visit places in South East Asia? Are you planning on visiting the region at the same time as me and want to catch up? Comment below!