I've got a bit of time and a bit of money, where should I go?
November 5, 2012 9:36 PM   Subscribe

I want to spend some time in SE Asia. I have three or four months to do this (January through April). I could spend up to $5k-6k on this, though much cheaper would be better. Help me sort this out.

I'm thinking Indonesia and Malaysia (including Borneo) with maybe more of an emphasis on Indonesia. Should I be looking elsewhere? What kind of budget should I realistically plan for? I've found conflicting info. At this point I'm looking at flying into Jakarta in early January and flying out of Kuala Lumpur towards the middle or end of April. That's about all I have as a plan now, and I'm not especially tied to that.

Bonus Points: I wouldn't mind spending a couple of months somewhere teaching or doing other work/volunteering. I am TEFL certified with some experience teaching in Peru. Any recommendations?
posted by piedmont to Travel & Transportation (7 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Indonesia can be slow and relatively expensive because of the need to travel between the various islands (either slow or expensive I suppose, really, but the planes can be quite delayed too).

Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam are beautiful places with rich histories.

Malaysia and Indo are relatively similar, too- similar languages and a lot of cuisine crossover. They are great places to visit. Perhaps you could be more specific about your interests?

On a 6 week trip I spent about 100$/day. There was a very similar question posted recently on this subject, I believe.
posted by jojobobo at 9:56 PM on November 5, 2012

Does that sum include transportation to and from, and if so where is your home base?
posted by croutonsupafreak at 10:31 PM on November 5, 2012

Yeah, that sum includes transport from Kansas City/Chicago. The Jakarta/Kuala Lumpur itinerary is running about $1600 US now, and I could stay in Hong Kong for a few days for the same ticket price. I could probably come up with closer to $8k US should something be extremely worthwhile.

Interests? I'm just as excited about the prospect of history as nature, about city life as about the back country. I have thought about picking up a motorbike somewhere and tooling around, but I think that might be out of the budget this time around. I'm pretty open to anything.
posted by piedmont at 10:48 PM on November 5, 2012

My favourite country in SEA is Thailand. Tasty food, cheap, great beaches, friendly people. The southwest coast of Thailand is very beautiful--paradise almost. Indonesia and Malaysia are interesting too, but there are extra layers of nonsense you have to deal with such as the conserative religious element, and in Indonesia's case bad infrastructure, desperate touts and a language barrier. YMMV
posted by dydecker at 1:56 AM on November 6, 2012

Myanmar's currently hurtling towards modernity at lightspeed - I've been advising all my friends to visit Yangon before commercialisation and the property boom strip it of most of its charm and elegant old buildings. You can get direct flights from Bangkok, KL, or Singapore.
posted by hellopanda at 5:11 AM on November 6, 2012

I live in Kuching, Sarawak, which you would probably pass through if you plan to visit Borneo. Between flying in to Kuching or Kota Kinabalu, my feeling is Kuching would be more cost effective as a tourist. The city itself is smaller but more geared toward tourism. (50% of Malaysia's tourists pass through here.) The historic downtown/waterfront is all walkable and has hotels and attractions close in. In an hour's drive you can be out in the jungle, at Bako National Park, Santubong Cultural Village, or the orangutan rehab center. Longhouse tours and expeditions deeper in to the state are available. You could budget RM10 per meal and RM100 per night, or say $40-50 USD a day, for room and board and you'd have plenty of choices. My email is in my profile if you'd like more info.
posted by BinGregory at 5:16 PM on November 6, 2012

AirAsia.com is best for flying around the region, significantly cheaper than the national carrier, especially if you book in advance.
posted by BinGregory at 5:18 PM on November 6, 2012

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