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SE Asia and New Zeland - 6 months

Hello. My friend and I are planning to go to Bangkok on the 1st of november. Were planing to travel Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and possibly even Laos.
Here comes my first set of questions:
How to most effeciently travel around all of these and than end up in Ho Chí Minh - I would like to take a flight from there to Philliphines. I'm not planning on partying, sky diving or any crazy expensive adventures - we simply want to see the nature and the popular temples. How much time would I need to see all of these countries so I can buy the flight ticket (Vietnam - Philliphines). Also, how much money Should i expect to spend in this period( So far I'm thinking 2 months?) .. I've read stories of people spending as little as 20 pounds and as much as 35 or possibly even more per day. Meaning the monthly budget ranges from 350-700 pounds. Realisticaly how much would that be? How long should i stay in Philliphines? Tips?
From Philliphines I'm thinkin to fly to Singapur for 2-3 nights (any tips for cheap sights in singapur?) - and than New Zeland. This is obiviously different price range and brings all different problems and questions.
On New Zeland were mostly planning to work as workaways - probably stay there about 2 months in different places (This would be around Febuary, March).
I dont have an international driving license as it's expired(cause it lasts a year and I dont have the means to renew it), only European one. Would I get into trouble without it?
How strict is New Zelands visa control? What do I need to know before goin there?
From New zeland I'm planning Kuala Lumpur - Malaysia and than eventually back to London.

We're very open to ideas and suggestions so please tell me if this is realistic with a 6000 pounds/person budget. 4500 after paying flights.

Summary

Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos - 2 months? - ideas please?

- budget 500 pounds/month?
Philliphines - 3 weeks? - ideas?
-400 pounds?
New zeland - 2 months - 70% of the time as workaways - 1000 pounds?(Hopefully less with free accomodation and food)
Malaysia - 2-3 weeks? - 350 pounds?

I've also got safety concerns - visas, transportation, What kind of luggage to take, anything honestly.

Answers to atleast any of these questions greatly appreciated!
Thank you,
Lukas and Katerina

Posted by
3319 posts

OK...you have a lot here but I'll speak to what I know.
The first thought that comes to mind when I read about your plans is that you need to be sure to research the maximum amount of time you are allowed to stay in each country as a tourist. As an American I can only stay in Thailand, for example, for a maximum of 30 days without getting a special visa. They check the date when you leave and will fine you big-time if you overstay. I'm not sure what your limitations are as a British citizen.
Most countries don't allow you to work while there...even volunteering, like Woofing, is considered work since you are receiving something in return...make sure to research this since you can be ejected from a country for this! You probably won't have a problem as a Brit though! You are so lucky to be able to work in so many places around the world!
The Philippines is one of my favorite southeast Asian countries but it is very undeveloped and can be quite rough. I've only been there for about a month with friends who live there. Manila is not a beautiful city and can be rather depressing with abject poverty and wild dogs everywhere. I would head out to some of the islands - some of the most gorgeous I've ever seen. Be aware that there are militant groups in some areas of the country that you want to avoid. You'll have to look into this as the situation changes frequently.
Thailand is also fantastic and much easier to navigate as a tourist. Bangkok has so much to see and do. Take the time to go north of the city (you can do this by train) and see the Khmer ruins in and around Ayutthuya. The islands out in the Andaman Sea are amazing, and Chiang Mai is also quite interesting.
Here are my personal travel rules for southeast Asia...
1) If a taxi doesn't have a meter don't get in. You're about to be ripped off.
2) Don't ride trains after dark. You will be aggressively harassed by beggars.
3) When taking a tuk-tuk always agree on price first.
4) Splurge on a nice hotel...southeast Asian cities are gritty, polluted, crowded, and hot. You'll be glad to retire to an air conditioned room and a pool at the end of the day.
5) Overly friendly strangers are ALWAYS trying to sell you something, even in temples. If someone starts sharing information in a friendly way the next thing they'll do is be leading you to their uncle's tailor shop to have a suit made.
6) Eat everything! The food is amazing and cheap. Little thatched places floating on rivers at the end of dirt roads are the best thing on earth!
I think your budget will work for you in southeast Asia...not so sure about New Zealand.
That's about all I have...I'm sure others will chime in for your other questions!