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Old 05-18-2011, 05:59 PM
 
Location: City of Angels
2,935 posts, read 4,770,984 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sponger42 View Post
Trains...

The Vietnamese Reunion Express? Are you kidding me? That might very well be the worst train in all of SE asia, and that includes the grueling 20-hour Chinese K-train from Guilin to Kunming. Avoid it unless service has drastically improved.
uh ya ... i've actually taken the guilin to kunming train, and probably did it before you did. if you consider that "grueling" compared to a long distance bus ride i don't know what to tell you. there is no comparison. trains are the way to go in china. buses are awful. things have probably gotten better in the last few years ( actually haven't ridden on any trains in china since 2005) but buses never improve no matter how good the roads are. especially if you're a tall person like myself. buses are hell on earth.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sponger42 View Post
Taiwan is only boring in some areas outside of Taipei or if you don't go exploring. In the city there's weeks worth of diversions.
i'm not saying there is no fun to be had in taiwan, but i wouldn't go out of my way to travel there. much better destinations in asia, most of which can be done in one continious overland trip. taiwan is a diversion if anything.
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Old 05-18-2011, 07:26 PM
 
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I agree foadi, I'll take a train over a bus anyday.
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Old 05-19-2011, 08:26 AM
 
Location: Bike to Surf!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foadi View Post
especially if you're a tall person like myself. buses are hell on earth.
Well there's your problem, you're just too long. For normal-sized people busses can be fine. The Vietnamese tourist busses include sleepers which give you a nice reclined seat/bed. The day busses aren't terrible either.

Some Indian busses (Jaipur to Agra comes to mind) and Chinese short-range inter-city in the countryside aren't much fun. My favorite was the Cambodian bus from Poipet to Siem Rep where the driver made the entire trip with a cigarette in one hand and a beer in the other.

Which class did you ride? Maybe I'm overstating the difficulty of the journey. The train was only 19 hours out of 30-ish, which included a string of local busses (and hiking across town) Kunming>Dali>Lijiang. I can't even remember which route I did the sleeper on, I just remember it being much worse than an equivalent Indian train.

Most comfortable way to travel, IMO, is by boat. The bigger the better.
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Old 05-19-2011, 10:58 PM
 
Location: Victoria TX
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I was there for nine months. Started in Korea, went to Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macao, China, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia. Then had to backtrack and fly over Myanmar, from Bangkok to Nepal, then India and Bangladesh. We got a nice rest by staying for six weeks on a tiny Indonesian island. It's pretty brutal to try to keep on moving all the time.

You'll keep meeting people along the way doing the same thing you are, exchanging stories, you'll catch on pretty quick. Travel light. If your pack weighs more than 20 pounds, you've got a lot of stuff you don't need.
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Old 05-21-2011, 11:49 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtur88 View Post
Travel light. If your pack weighs more than 20 pounds, you've got a lot of stuff you don't need.
Sage advice, especially with more and more products available in rural areas. There really isn't much that you couldn't buy if you needed, usually for pretty cheap.
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Old 05-21-2011, 11:51 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sponger42 View Post
Some Indian busses (Jaipur to Agra comes to mind)
I did near that route once (but farther West) and the bus blew a tire in the middle of nowhere, but they lacked some piece of equipment needed to change it. So we all got off and sat there in the sun until a bus of same make/model came driving along in the other direction, which they flagged down and borrowed what they needed.

Good times.
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Old 05-21-2011, 10:07 PM
 
Location: University City, Philadelphia
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The only country I have not been to in your list is Bhutan.

If you are interested in Buddhism and The Tathagata (something I extrapolated from your user name) I would enthusiastically recommend visiting the Buddha's birthplace at Lumbini in Nepal and the glorious stupas in the city of Kathmandu as well.

Of course a great pilgrimage is Bodh Gaya, India - the holiest place in the world for Buddhists - where the Buddha meditated under the Bodhi Tree and attained Supreme Enlightenment. The city of Sarnath is just outside Varansi (formally Benares, India) where the Buddha's first sermon was preached in the deer park. A historic 3rd Century BCE stupa built by King Ashoka The Great marks the spot.

In Yangon, Myanmar there is the glorious Shwedagon Pagoda; and Bangkok has too many magnificent temples to even mention!

Good luck!
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Old 05-23-2011, 07:31 PM
 
Location: City of Angels
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slackjaw View Post
Sage advice, especially with more and more products available in rural areas. There really isn't much that you couldn't buy if you needed, usually for pretty cheap.
never understood why backpackers bring so much stuff w them when they travel. looks uncomfortable as hell when theyre walking around and stuff. a small backpack (the type you wear at school) is more than enough for travel. i can't even fill that. what type of stuff do ppl bring when they travel?!
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Old 05-24-2011, 10:08 AM
 
Location: Bike to Surf!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foadi View Post
what type of stuff do ppl bring when they travel?!
Quick-dry towel.
Two weeks worth of underwear (double duty) and clothing (3-4 days per shirt, 4+ days per pant) and socks (maybe double duty, but that's a recipe for rotten feet).
Heavy plastic bag for clothes-washing in sinks or buckets.
Small bag of detergent.
Nylon rope for clotheslines or other.
Duct Tape-wrapped sharpie.
flip-flops for shower/beach.
Travel documents/copies.
Fishing line, pocket knife, sundry small equipment.
Food/water.

Clothing takes up the most space and weight. The faster you move, the more you have to carry. You generally need to stay somewhere at least two nights to be able to wash your clothes and then hang them to dry. If you're visiting a big city at some point, you want to carry something presentable so you can hit a world-renown nightclub or somewhere else fancy.

Hot climates mean less clothing, but also more frequent need to wash it.

Between two people, we usually traveled with one full-sized pack and a school-backpack sized daypack. Or two medium-sized backpacks (think 60% of a large airline carry-on.)

A lot of what you end up hauling might not be necessary, but it can make the experience more fun. 30% of the pack was usually trinkets or keepsakes we were hauling to the next reliable post office to send home. You can usually stop and buy food and water, but some good bread and cheese (and crap wine) or whatever the local specialties are, can help long journeys pass more enjoyably aboard local trains (slower/cheaper) or long-range busses.

I did come to dread each departure, as it meant hefting the pack and hauling it around/babysitting the gdmn thing for the next XX hours.
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Old 11-29-2011, 12:06 AM
 
Location: Hollywood, CA
258 posts, read 1,411,775 times
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Thanks for all the help and advice. This trip will now begin in January/February of 2012. When i backpack I generally don't like to make much of any plans. I do however like to have a general outline of countries that I want to visit, which is what I've been working on. My current list of countries has been a little modified.

Here is the new revised list of definite countries: Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, and Indonesia.

Here are the countries I'm trying to fit in and decide if they are worth traveling to considering some are out of the way: India, Burma, China, Taiwan, Malaysia,Singapore, and Philippines.

I know a lot of people already said they don't recommend Taiwan. But what about india, Burma, China, Malaysia, Singapore, and Philippines? If I throw these 6 countries in, does anyone have a good route or order to take? And can anyone comment on India, Burma, China, Singapore, Malaysia, and Philippines? Are these must see countries? I have been recommended by more than a few people not to miss out on these countries. Also if anyone has good recommendations of routes or things to see in these 6 countries that would be great.


Thanks for the help.

Last edited by SiddharthaGautama; 11-29-2011 at 12:31 AM..
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