12N11D Indochina (CamVieLaoTha), Asia, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Travel, Vietnam

Indochina Backpacking Tips and Tricks


Sharing our trip at Tripzilla was good because I was able to learn a lot from the people’s comments. While I find our trip just within our budget, I realized that it may have been too much for others. Our budget was 100K excluding the flight fare and accommodation (pre-paid). We spend only 8OK for 4 countries which makes it 20K per country (10K/person/country).

We find our trip just enough but to those who find it steep on the budget here’s a list of tips and tricks in which they can compromise while we decided that they are must-haves.

Accommodation
One of our biggest expense is the accommodation since we have them all pre-booked in AirBNB around 2-3 months before the date. While I am adventurous and a daredevil, the husband wanted a sure place to stay. He couldn’t imagine us jumping from place to place without a proper accommodation at hand. Also, we have a listing in AirBNB. Using it as our main platform for accommodation is paying it forward.

Tip: In all of the four countries, there were lots of accommodations everywhere. If you are feeling brave, just booked only your starting country since you might need it at the immigration or use other platforms other than AirBNB and see if you can find a much better deal.

Transportation
Jumping from one country to the other is expensive. We’ve spent around 14K. These were all land trips since I wanted to experience the border crossings. Call it crazy but Indochina wouldn’t be the same had we flown all over. Lol Expensive and battering but worth it. We were able to experience traveling in different modes of transport plus we had a chance to immersed with the locals too. You can check on the table for our fares and cross check it with flights. You might find a better deal than we did. The table had time duration too.

Also, Laos was super stretched. It was crazy going there from Vietnam. Most of the itineraries I saw on the net exclude Laos.

There was miscalculation on the flight too. It would have been nice if we started from HCMC, Vietnam to Cambodia to Bangkok and then end in Laos. But we weren’t really thinking of the itinerary when we booked.

Tip: Don’t include Laos in your itinerary. Vang Vieng is not to be missed but you can do a trip to Laos separately. On this trip, we missed Luang Prabang so maybe you can include it in yours. In Laos alone, we’ve spent around 11K+ so if you exclude it, it’ll be cheaper.

Food
When I made the plan, I only allocated around 8K. What happened was it ballooned to almost twice. Instead of just eating in the streets, we splurged a little. Ate at cafes and some to our heart’s desires. Lol I’m a fan of thrift eating too but we’ve saved enough to eat nicely so why shouldn’t we?

Tip: Don’t eat at cafes. Be adventurous always and eat always in the streets. 

Tours and Private Transportation while checking Spots
I’m an avid DIYers but when you only have a day to spend on a city, you can’t help but splurged on the easy way or else you will be spending your day unwisely. Besides we only have 11 days of travel in between these countries. We need to make use of our time wisely.

Tip: Haggle to the max. We didn’t really haggled much for ours. 🙂

Extras
The 40K is not all spent in Indochina trip only. We spent around 15K+ in our Manila lay-over. Look at our gdocs detail to see everything that we spent per country. Also we splurged a little in buying stuffs like couple shirts and souvenirs which were not actually part of our plan. Hehe

Tip: Be firm in your budget. Don’t be tempted with couple shirts and unique skirt (wore them on our 1st day in Vang Vieng). Don’t even think of buying souvenirs even if they are too cute. Don’t give tips and the likes. Hehe We spend 9k on these extras. 

Summary
We planned this trip for almost 8 months since we booked the ticket on December 31, 2015. I’m an OC planner and always try to make travel cheap. But maybe this is not cheap enough. Haha

Tip: Next time on your next travel, make the itinerary first before the ticket. The greatest lesson I learned from this trip is to plot your itinerary first before getting a ticket especially if you plan on a multi-country route.

So is our trip expensive? Depends on whose perspective. But we’ve always been cautious travelers and we planned for things wisely. We are not some millenial traveler. For us, this is enough and money well spent. If you ever find a much cheaper version, do let us know. 🙂

Open our planning doc for more details. Just added a new sheet “Expense_Details” that has the day-to-day spending because we’ve been getting inquiries about entrances and etc.

I actually have all the data in my ever note since everyday on travel before sleeping, we tracked how much we were spending to make sure we were on track. 🙂

Cheering on you,
Miga&Migo

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4 thoughts on “Indochina Backpacking Tips and Tricks”

  1. hi! where did you exchange dollars/currency for each country? any tip on how to save from these currency conversions? thank you 🙂

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    1. Hi Beatrice! In Cambodia, USD is used. We brought from PH. VND, LAK and BAHT is withdrawn. We went to our banks (BPI and BDO) before our trip to enable international withdrawal. Sorry we are not sure if the currency exchange would have been a better option but we wanted comfort so we withdraw instead. There were transaction fee but was minimal. Around Php 300 I think. Hope this helps. Thanks!

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