Around Christmas, the boyfriend and I were wondering what to do in our summer holiday, discussing options such as kite surfing in Africa, surf-riding in France, or going to the United States for a road trip from New England to Florida. My sister had been in Thailand the year before, on a six-week holiday, and shown some pictures of the trip on Christmas Eve. That was when it occurred to me that Asia might be the place to go. Apart from a short visit to Sri Lanka, I had never been on the continent, and it actually never was too high on my list. But then again, South-East Asia meant a budget holiday, and a budget holiday was what I was looking for, for the year before, our four-week stay in Australia had been everything but cheap. S was all excited about the idea, and the decision was made.
Agreeing that we both wanted to see more of Vietnam, Laos, and maybe part of Cambodia than of Thailand, we got ourselves a Lonely Planet guide and roughly sketched out our route before booking flights from Frankfurt to Hanoi in mid-October and from Bangkok back to Frankfurt in mid-November. Starting in Vietnam, we definitely want to visit Halong Bay and some parts of Northern Vietnam before heading over to Laos and travel down south until we reach Cambodia. From there, we will head over to Bangkok where we want to stay the last three to four days. Our plan is to travel by bus and train mostly, booking rooms for the night along the way. I am thinking about looking for a place in Hanoi beforehand as we both might be kinda jet lagged upon arrival, but then again, I am not a fan of making too many plans beforehand – especially in a country where it will definitely be possible to find a room without pre-booking.
By now, I have started to study the guide we bought more closely in order to determine a route between our points of interest. I am not much of a planner, but at least I want to know what I might miss if I skip a certain place. Isn’t that ironic? Some weeks ago, I wrote about our need of control and how we should be more open for surprise – and now I am acting opposed to what I suggested we travelers should do. Other than in theory, I guess that in real life scheduling travels does matter. Maybe if we had more time than four weeks, we could perfectly act on the maxim of surprise. But our holidays are fitted into a certain period of time and we want to make the best out of it. And maybe that’s just an excuse.
Anyhow, I will still try to keep planning to a minimum and hope to be surprised along my way. But I am always looking for tips from other travelers like me. Have any of you been to the area?