Jenny\'s Southeast Asia/China Adventure

Travel time: February - June 2004  |  by Jenny Chu

Follow my travels through Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and China..........

Getting Ready-from Tevas to Typhoid

If you are interested in going on a similar trip, then I hope this section is useful. Otherwise, it is pretty boring, so please check the other chapters for details from the road!=)

Planning for a 4 month trip through S.E. Asia and China is no easy task. My biggest advice is to start out early. I had three months to plan my own trip and was glad that I did not succumb to my usual procrastination tendencies. A lot of tasks pop up that you don't even realize like filing for a tax extension.

My trip started to materialize in November 2003. The first thing I did was to buy my airplane ticket. After doing some comparision shopping, I found a roundtrip airplane ticket for $715, flying from San Francisco into Bangkok and leaving from Beijing. If you are thinking of doing a similar trip, where you fly into one city and out the other, I recommend that you go through a travel agent. I found that the online travel sites - Travelocity, Orbitz, etc. - were quoting me ridiculous rates for an open jaw ticket.

The other time consuming process was figuring out what vaccinations I needed and where to spend the least money doing it. Most travel insurance do not cover vaccinations, so you are pretty much on your own. After a lot of internet research, I ended up going to the San Francisco Department of Health (cheapest place in SF Bay Area). You tell them what countries you are going to, and their system generates profiles for each place. The places that I'm traveling to - Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and China - I ended up getting a Hep. A and Typhoid Vaccine ($110 for both). I decided not to get the rabies and Jap. E., they were too expensive and chances of getting those two diseases are pretty slim. The other thing I got was Malarone-anti-malarial pills. I'm a little wary about having to take a pill everyday, but this one is supposed to have the least side effects.

Next was figuring out what visas I needed and where to get them. After surfing the Lonely Planet discussion boards, which btw are a great, great resource, I realized that I needed to get a visa for Thailand. Some airlines (China Air) let you board without a visa because the Thai immigration officials tend to let Americans get a 30 day free visa on arrival. United and most other U.S. airlines, however, are more strict and unless you can prove that you will leave within 30 days will not let you board without a visa. So, if you are planning on being in Thailand for more than 30 days, definitely call your airline and ask them what their policy is. As for Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and China, I will be getting the visas en route: Laos and Cambodia visas in Thailand, Vietnam visa in Cambodia, China visa in Vietnam. Something like that. I read that it's best to do it on the road because for certain visas like the Vietnam's the entry date you write down, is the actual day the visa starts. Not from your date of entry.

The past three months I have been scouring Lonely Planet's Thorn tree - a very useful discussion board. I have posted my own questions there and have been reading countless others. I cut and pasted a bunch of info to print out as notes for each of the countries. Even tho traveling with a guidebook is prob sufficient, nothing beats firsthand travel advice from those that have just been there.

Here is my packing list:

  • Eagle Creek Backpack

  • Daypack

  • Canon A80 digital camera, two 256 compact flash cards, tabletop tripod, battery charger

  • Alarm clock

  • First Aid Kit - tylenol, bandaids, pepto bismol, tweezers, alcohol rubbing pads, cipro pills

  • Centrum/Malarone/Vitamin C/Echnicea

  • A pair of New Balance sneakers

  • Chaco sandals (disovered these are much more comfy than Tevas)

  • flip flops

  • compact towel

  • sunscreen, insect repellant, toothbrush, toothpaste, face wash, contact solution, contact case, eyeglasses, sunglasses, razor

  • Over-the-shoulder-Bag for camera and wallet

  • money belt and neck belt

  • 7 pairs of underwear, 3 pairs of socks

  • two tank tops, one t-shirt

  • 1 pair nylon crunchy pants

  • one long skirt

  • one bra

  • one bikini

  • one waterbottle filtration system

  • hat

  • fleece jacket

  • mini maglite

  • mini swiss army knife

I hope to spend no more than $5,000 dollars for the entire trip including my airfare. This means staying in places avg. $5/night, eating cheap meals and traveling mostly by land. I will post my avg. spending for each country as I travel. So far here is the breakdown of my pre-trip spending:

  • Airplane ticket: $715

  • Vaccinations: $110

  • Chaco Sandals: $60

  • New Balances: $75

  • Canon Digital Camera and Accessories: $510

  • Water Filter Bottle: $40

  • Backpack - I bought this one previously for $185

  • Malarone: $30 (note, if you don't have insurance these pills can run up to $8/pill, I was lucky that my insurance covered most of it)

  • Other: vitamins, suncreen, locks etc: $30

  • money belt, neck belt: $20

© Jenny Chu, 2004
You are here : Overview Asia Asia: Getting Ready-from Tevas to Typhoid
The trip
Start of journey: Feb 02, 2004
Duration: 4 months
End of journey: Jun 02, 2004
Travelled countries: Asia
The Author
Jenny Chu is an active author on break-fresh-ground. since 20 years.
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