Before I start with my travel posts for my recent India & Southeast Asia trip, I thought it would be a good idea to start off explaining my travel route and talk about more about my preparations for this trip!
I visited 42 different cities and places in 7 countries in 145 days and stayed in no place longer than 5 nights. Obviously that means that I moved around A LOT and soaked up so many cultural diversities with a keen urge to explore more of the country I was in. I originally planned on travelling India for one month and then go back home with sufficient funds to start a new life, oh well how fast plans can change…
Starting my journey in Frankfurt, I flew to Delhi via Dubai. I spend one month in India and visited Delhi, Rajasthan (Jaipur and Pushkar), Agra, Himchal Pradesh (Palampur and McLeod Ganj) before heading to Goa for a week and finishing off with a weekend in Mumbai to see my Indian friends from Uni!
After three weeks in India I realised that I wasn’t at all ready to go home. I looked at a map and realised that Thailand is pretty close to India. Flights weren’t expensive and woops, I booked a flight to Thailand. I arrived in Bangkok and had a huge cultural shock. To most people coming from Europe, Bangkok is noisy, dirty and chaotic but to me it was so quiet and clean! The whole taxi journey to my hostel I was wondering why it was so quiet and why no one was honking! In my one month in Thailand, I visited Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Koh Phangan, Phuket, Koh Yao Noi (where I did a yoga retreat) and Krabi.
After Thailand, I flew from Krabi to Kuala Lumpur, to meet another friend from uni (the advantages of doing an international Master’s) and to explore Malaysia. I decided to stay in Malaysia for 2 weeks and spent time in Kuala Lumpur, the Cameron Highlands and Melaka. Looking back I wish I would have stayed longer to go to Georgetown and Langkawi. Unfortunately, due to the monsoon season, the Perhentian Islands were closed but well, that makes a reason to come back doesn’t it?
Missing the beach, I spontaneously booked a flight to Indonesia. I heard that another friend from uni who is now living in Australia was also in Bali which was great as I got to spend my birthday hiking up a volcano with her (and 300 other people). I arrived in Denpasar and then made my way to Canggu, a hipster surf town and then moved on to Ubud, a yoga-influenced hippie town in the middle of Bali. My friend convinced me to go and visit Gili Trawangan. This island belongs to the Gili Islands just off Lombok and is the biggest of the three islands.
After two weeks in Indonesia I flew over to Singapore where I stopped for 16 hours before heading to Vietnam. Singapore is a very nice city, probably the cleanest I’ve seen in Southeast Asia but it is also very expensive compared to the rest of Southeast Asia!
I arrived in Hanoi in the north of Vietnam and from there any route is pretty self-explanatory. If you arrive in the south, you make your way up to the north and vice-versa. From Hanoi I went to Cat Ba Island which is next to Ha Long Bay and then made my way down to Phong Nha via Ninh Binh. I wanted to go to Sapa but since it was snowing and I didn’t have the right clothes for super cold weather, I decided to skip it. From Phong Nha I went to Hue and to Hoi An where I spent the most time in Vietnam. I then went south to Nha Trang, Dalat, Mui Ne and finished in Ho-Chi-Minh City.
An interesting bus journey later, I found myself in Cambodia! I started in the capital, Phnom Penh and then went south to Otres and visited Koh Rong Island before making my way to Koh Kong City further north. I took a detour to Kampot and Kep before heading to Battambang and finally Siem Reap.
From Siem Reap I took the bus to Koh Chang Island in Thailand to get some last beach time and top up my tan before I flew back to Frankfurt from Bangkok!
This might not be the conventional Southeast Asia route, but for me it worked pretty good. I’m happy I choose this route and got to see and experience so many different cultures in five months! If you have any questions about my travel route, please let me know and I’ll be happy to help!