we flew around the world

hong kongchina
south koreajapan

we flew from dc to paris to mumbai
then delhi then bagdogra (en route to darjeeling) then kolkata then kuala lumpur then bali then kuala lumpur then cambodia (siem reap) then taxi to thai border then bus to bangkok then bus to krabi then boat to phi phi island then boat and van to phuket airport then flew to hong kong then beijing then seoul then tokyo
and then at the end of our trip we flew from tokyo to dc. so yes, around the world. check.

it's still surreal to me that we traveled asia for five weeks. five weeks.

my five outfits got old really fast.
and also my chacos but i kind of hate my chacos anyway. ha. (they are comfortable and sensible but i hate the way they look on me, among other things.)

trip prep - takes months to plan. in our case, we had been planning for over a year. there are so many small details. all the hotels, transit, where to go once you arrive somewhere, where to eat.... luckily almost every hotel (all but one, i think) had internets so we were able to plan as we went on some of the details.
being in dc was really nice at the time because i was able to drop off and pick up our passports to get the needed visas. we only had to get cambodia, china and india beforehand (some other visas were on arrival). china and india visas are way expensive (china $140 per person, india $72 per person).
immunizations. between the two of us, we got the polio, tetanus, typhoid and hepatitis a shots. better safe than sorry.
do a trial run with packing. we had extra room in our backpacks so we could bring things home. my bag was pretty much bursting once the five weeks was over.

what we brought - a manageable, carry-on size backpack for each of us. a small day pack just big enough to carry our dslr camera, diana mini film camera, snacks and hand sanitizer.
about 5 outfits each and sheet sleeping bags in space to-go bags that compress the air out of the bag. chacos and flip flops. swimsuits. rei quick dry towels: they are super thin and dry fast. medicine (like pepto bismol, tums, malaria meds, diarrhea antibiotic, anti-itch cream, etc). a tiny sewing kit (really came in handy). all travel size toiletries we could bring (deodorant isn't common in asia and sunscreen is WAY expensive). mosquito net, which we didn't use because the hotels we stayed in all had a/c which keeps mosquitos away. headlamps (which we didn't need much either but some places turn the electricity off at night).
note: the clothes we brought we either got at goodwill for the trip or we knew we wanted to take them to goodwill eventually. i left two of my clothing items behind because i was so done with them. and the rest i am taking to goodwill soon. or burning them.

the trip was laborious like - always drinking bottled water (including brushing our teeth with bottled water), always wearing bug spray (most days sunscreen too), using hand sanitizer lots, making sure we were hydrated (hard to do), being very careful about what we ate, wearing flip flops in the shower, sleeping in homemade sheet sleeping bags (we only did this in india), mosquito net (ok, we actually didn't use ours once), taking malaria medication... et cetera.

budget - we did a good job of keeping our daily budget. the trick is, don't use credit cards, just cash and only take your daily budget with you each day :)

diet - the diet was really hard on me. ...because eating non-cooked fruits and vegetables and/or vegis and fruits without peels is not really a safe option. because of the water the produce is washed with isn't always good and the knives used to cut the produce... you get the idea.
my digestion was all messed up and we both got sick but not horribly.
my biggest fear of the trip was that one or both of us would get deathly ill. hence the reason we were super cautious.

share meals! portions are huge - really though. about three days into the trip we started sharing meals. most every meal in every country was huge. no joke.

bargaining/bartering (barter low) - do it. everywhere for basically everything. start low. but decide on your ceiling price before you start to bargain. i don't think we have any buyer's remorse.
be nice - and people will be nice back.
cabs are almost always cheaper with a meter. much cheaper.

don't always believe people - a good example is bangkok... when we were on our way to wat pho (with the reclining buddha), someone told us it was closed until the afternoon, that we needed to wear pants to go in and that he could be our guide. all lies. don't believe it for a second. we got swindled a lot in india too.

do what you can handle (rest appropriately) - when we had a really taxing day, the next day we tried to sleep in and take it slow. we still ended up being exhausted all the time, but that helped us sleep at night.


Caroline said...

Wow this all sounds amazing! And I like that you posted all of the tid bits too.

Linda M. said...

I am in awe! Thanks for sharing your plans and preparations.

communikate. said...

I'm cracking up about the clothes thing. When I backpacked Europe for two months, I was sooo ready to burn my clothes too! It sucked because it was winter and we had to have lots of layers. I remember coming home and looking at my closet so excited to wear a different outfit.

As for the trip, it sounded amazing all the way through! So glad you were able to experience it!

Anonymous said...

thanks for posting this! i love hearing all the details about a big trip. sounds like you guys had a great time :)

Brooke Shoko said...

what a great post.