When a dream is bound to happen, the universe will conspire to make it happen.
I have been wanting to travel internationally again but work schedules and personal happenings (even local travels) never collided to give way for it.
Back then, I “practiced” to travel solo within Philippines – Zamboanga City and Coron, Palawan and also used to travelling with my boyfriend, or with friends and very often with my family to some other parts of the country most of the time.
But early this year, I just booked a flight on an unknowingly dates. I just did it for the sake of securing the promo plane tickets and to have something to compel me to really travel.
And so, here I am! Already traveled around some parts of Southeast Asia – Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand for approximately 8 days and 7 nights. So far, it is the most fulfilling and the wildest thing I ever did in my entire life. Spontaneity at its finest!
This Vietnam + Cambodia + Thailand trip was, by far, the longest trip I had. It was so unlikely that I left the country unprepared. What I only have were my plane tickets, my hotel reservations that I booked 2 days before my flight and my offline maps in my phone.
It’s risky! Yes, but I decided to go because I don’t want to lose the chance again this year and allow myself to be stuck in doing the usual errands every day.
I am off to this…
8 days and
7 nights of travel adventure with
6 Bucket list to tick off on
(Cu Chi Tunnel, Mekong River, The Royal Palace, Angkor Wat, Reclining Buddha, Floating Market)
5 Cities/Major Places with
(Ho Chi Minh City, Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Ayutthaya, Bangkok)
4 First Time experiences in
(First Solo International Travel, First Tuktuk Ride, First Flight from/to Int’l Country, First Land Trip Border Crossing)
3 Countries with only
(Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand)
2 Bags and
1 Big Dream to come true: To travel solo internationally
I will be sharing to you separately the detailed activities I had for each country (in case you want to travel one by one and not this Southeast Asian backpacking journey), a separate blogpost also for the must do’s and don’ts and some travel hacks and tips for you to be well-prepared (unlike me, who is unprepared) and here, my full 8 day – 7 nights itinerary, where I stayed and bits of how much I spend for it.
Here’s my 8 days and 7 nights DIY Itinerary:
Where did I stay during my travel?
Right now, I will be sharing to you the places where I stayed and my reviews on them.
I booked my hotels through Booking.com. The app fascinated me because unlike other booking sites, they do not require credit cards and you can just easily cancel your booking until a specific period of time in case you change your mind. It has also downloadable travel guides and contacting your hotel is very easy.
My must-haves for the hotel are the following:
- I prefer a private room than dorms because I am travelling alone and I don’t want to think about my stuff that I left in the dorm. Price difference is not as big as it is, so I don’t mind spending a bit for a private space. Dorms are okay if you are travelling with friends.
- Low-Mid average price. I don’t want to splurge so much for hotel since I will be only staying there to sleep.
- Location must be within the backpackers area or at the center.
- With free breakfast. Because I don’t want to think about what to eat early in the morning.
- WIFI! No explanation needed.
- With aircon and hot shower so I can rest after a tiring day. But can live without it.
All in all, I spent P5,664 in my accommodation for 8 nights (including my first night in Ho Chi Minh even though I arrived at 2am). That’s around Php708 or $15 per night for a comfortable and private stay. This cost is good for 2 people. The rooms I booked are all good for 2. Since I am travelling alone, I shouldered everything so it’s a bit expensive for me. So if you compute when you travel with someone, you can just spend around P2,800 or about Php350/$7 per night per person. Quite a good deal already.
How I traveled from one country to another and how much did I spend for it?
I travelled through plane and bus. Below I placed the time, what company and how much I spend. In total, I spent P8,866.
I think the Cebu Pacific fares are already the minimum. I booked it 8 months before I travel. For the Airasia ticket, I booked it less than a month before I travel that’s why the price is a bit expensive. The regular bus fare is around $28, approximately around Php 1,300 excluding the border fee and the food. I opted to travel via plane because I don’t want to travel again for another 7 hours from SR to BKK. And I saw a lot of blogs and a friend also warned me about scams in border crossing. So to be safe, I opted to take the flight than the road. The plane fare might be two times the price but if you opted a hassle free, time saving and more comfortable trip then you may check flight fares. If you can book earlier, you might ace a cheaper price.
How much did I spend for the tour?
I spent around Php9,600 for the tours and other transfers during my trip. I did walking tours most of the time to save money and since most of the areas are just accessible from where I stay. I will post separately a more detailed itinerary per country.
When in Vietnam, I booked it through my hotel. Cu Chi Tunnel is half day tour. Mekong River tour is full day with lunch. You can catch cheaper rates directly from the tour agencies along De Tham Street.
In Phnom Penh, I just rode the tuktuk and cyclo when going to places and walked following my map.
In Siem Reap, I got very high expenses because I bought a 3-day pass for Angkor Wat and need to pay the tuktuk for 2 days. The time I stayed in Siem Reap can’t make it for a one full day tour in Angkor Wat. I arrived late in the afternoon from PP and continued the tour the following morning. That’s why, I highlighted in gray the rates in SR. I showed here how much you can save, which is around P1,600, if you will do the tour on a full day only.
I chose the Siem Reap sked which was half day on each day for 2 days because I wanted to see Phnom Penh. I decided to cut the travel time by 6 hours each (HCM – PP and PP -SR) instead of travelling directly to Siem Reap which will ran for 12 hours straight bus trip. I don’t want to consume my full day in the bus and arrive in Siem Reap late at night which is very tiring, especially if you plan to do sunrise tour the next day. If you want to save money, you may adjust your sked to go straight to Siem Reap from Vietnam and have a full one day tour in Angkor Wat. But for me, P1,600 is okay already at least I have ticked off Phnom Penh from my list. And also, I was not really that tired for the 6-hour each bus trips. And my Angkor Wat tour is not really that tiring because I divided it into two days.
In Thailand, I booked the tours with my hotel – Ayutthaya (full day with free lunch) and Floating Market (half day). I just walked around the beautiful landmarks in Bangkok because it is near my hotel. Everything was easy breezy in Thailand.
How much did I spend for food?
I pegged Php200 per meal. When I travel, I eat street food because it’s one way to taste the authentic food in the country where you are. I didn’t include the breakfast because it is already part of my hotel booking and some tours offer free lunch so you can save even more.
Vietnam: Noodle soup around 50,000 VND around Php92, Water 1.5L at 15,000 VND around Php32
Cambodia (PP and SR): Meals (Viand and Rice) $3 around Php150.00
Thailand: Pat Thai is around THB 30 or Php40. Water 1.5L is at THB 30 or Php39.00
So, all in all? How much do I need to prepare to visit Vietnam + Cambodia + Thailand?
So I computed everything using basic conversion rates. You may check up to date conversion rates during the time you will travel. My conversion rates are the following:
- PHP 46 = USD 1 = VND 22,000 = KHR 4,000
- THB 1 – PHP 1.3
So all in all, I spent around Php27,000 for the 8-day trip to 3 countries including the plane ticket. Not bad, right?
I didn’t include here my expenses for the souvenirs and other food I splurge on which is just small. So, I recommend for you to bring pocket money around Php20,000 – 25,000 (excluding the plane ticket) to free up your mind from worries and also to have something for souvenirs. This pocket money is not really on a tight budget but obviously, not really for a splurging stay. Note that I walk most of the time during my tour to save even more.
I will put on my separate blogpost how you deal with currencies while in other country and what to do with the exchange rates to minimize the cost. And on my ‘per-country’ blogpost I will put the other probable cost especially for souvenirs and some must-tries.
Soooo, there you have it! My 8 days 7 nights DIY Itinerary in Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand.
More blog posts in next days about my trip. Thank you for reading my blog. If you have questions, just contact me through my Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or email, I am more than willing to help you make your trip hassle-free and budget-friendly.
Hope you can share it to your timelines and invite your friends to travel and tick off your own bucket list!