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PriceisRightx26's avatar

How practical is it to backpack from Bali to mainland SE Asian countries?

Asked by PriceisRightx26 (266 points ) April 16th, 2014

I’m looking at booking a trip to Bali, and I would really love to just backpack up through Southeast Asia. I only have about two weeks to do so. It seems like a good path would take this order: Bali – Singapore – Kuala Lumpur – Bangkok – Yangon – Laos – Vietnam – Cambodia. If I happen to catch somewhere in southern China, I wouldn’t complain either. While it all sounds nice in theory, I’m actually quite unfamiliar with the entire area. I’m not even sure if it’s practical to cover that much area “on foot” in two weeks. Also, I’m open to all suggestions when it comes to travel in the areas mentioned; safety, recommendations, anything, really.

One last thing, if someone could brief me on crossing borders while on foot, that would also be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance!

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10 Answers

janbb's avatar

Are you a woman or a man and are you planning to do it alone? If you are a woman traveling alone, I might be concerned for safety.

PriceisRightx26's avatar

I am a woman, but I will not be travelling alone.

zenvelo's avatar

Quite a bit of that is across open water borders. From Bali to Singapore is a three hour or so flight, and Singapore is not the most friendly nation to visit of you are at all out of the mainstream, i.e., “no hippies, no druggies”.

Would you be in cities or in the countryside? Most of the large cities are not in proximity to borders, so you’d be taking buses from one country to another.

janbb's avatar

I think, listening to what @zenvelo says, I’d be inclined to zero in on one of the countries, perhaps Vietnam and travel around that, perhaps combining backpacking with public buses. Maybe you could go to Bali for a few days, then fly to another country and travel around that.

PriceisRightx26's avatar

I was hoping that I’d be able to take ferries across the islands near Singapore (Pulau etc.) and then backpack/bus/taxi my way through the rest (but this is why I’m asking, because I have no idea how far the locations are from each other). If the prices aren’t bad, I wouldn’t object to flying from Bali to Singapore. I’d like to do normal tourist-y things, naturally. So, I’ll go wherever I need to (country or city) to see what I’d like.

As for zeroing in on one country, call me greedy, though I’d like to cover as much ground as possible. It would be awesome to spend extended time in any of the aforementioned countries, but the odds of me being on this side of the world again are relatively slim, and I don’t want to miss the opportunity if I have it.

janbb's avatar

Have you looked at maps and mileages? Consulted some guide books. I realize you’re asking for personal advice in addition but unless someone else has actually done it, our advice is somewhat speculative.

One tip is to look into the availability of hostels in various places as cheap, clean places to stay and a way to meet other travelers.

johnpowell's avatar

I did the see as many places as possible in a short amount of time thing in Europe. Looking back it was the worst possible decision I could have made. Half of my time was spent on a train, trying to find a hotel, getting money, and so on. I would have had a lot more fun if I had three times as much time in half the places.

I did 11 countries in 21 days.

dappled_leaves's avatar

I would recommend finding a forum that focuses on international backpacking to ask this question. Talk to people who have done this, or similar things, and see what their experiences were, or if they can recommend adjustments to your proposed route. I have a feeling Fluther is not the best place to find advice on adventurous travel.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

1. You must fly from Bali to Singapore. It’s too far, and they are both islands.

2. I have lived in some of the places you listed, and I have visited most of the others. You must not walk around Myanmar (Burma). You must not cross the border on foot there. You will be kidnapped and sold into slavery. I am not exaggerating.

3. All the places you wish to visit are lovely and have many wonderful things to see and experience. The geographical area you are suggesting you walk around is vast. It is too big to do on foot, and it is not safe.

4. I recommend you begin to investigate the cost of air travel and buses between the places you want to see and also taxis in the areas where you want to spend some time.

5. Lonely Planet

PriceisRightx26's avatar

Thank you so much for the responses!

I have an STA travel book that I’ve been thumbing through, checking for hostels and sights, and I have been checking costs for travel by bus. Also, I will cross Burma off my list, haha. Assuming this all goes through, I plan to set up hostels and major transport ahead of time.

Thanks again :)

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