When I met Hanča on Svalbard back in 2014 I did not have any idea that a year later we will set off for a trip of our lifetime during which we will stay on the road for five months. We started the trip on the 27th July 2015 and finished on the 27th December 2015, which means 153 days!
When we were planning our trip everybody told us we were crazy. After traveling almost 20,000 in Asia we are still alive and we’ve had a great time. We’ve learnt the russian way of drinking vodka and how to milk a cow (to get enough for a small coffee) in Mongolia. We slept in a watchtower on the Great Chinese wall and drove 1600 km on motorbikes through Vietnam. We lived on an abandoned beach on Cambodian island and swam with bioluminiscent plankton. We hugged and cuddled tigers in Thailand and hitchhiked on a highway in Myanmar, where the odds of running into an ox were higher than meeting a car. And much more…
We’ve met a bunch of amazing people who showed us how addictive travelling can be and how small the world is. This trip is over but memories will last forever.
We are trying some acro-yoga while camping on a beach in Cambodia
TRANS ASIA TRIP STATISTICS
We took a plane to Moscow and then we traveled mostly by land to Bangkok (Thailand) via Russia, Mongolia, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar and back to Thailand again, which is in total approximately 19,227 km.
We have been traveling mostly by train (8,638 km) because we took the Trans-Siberian Railway from Ekateringurg to Irkutsk and another trains to cover long distances in China. The same applies for buses, that we also used to cover long distances mainly in China and between Vietnam and Cambodia. We had the worst experience with using buses in China. In 2008 there was a big earthquake in Sichuan province and some of the roads are still not fixed even 7 years after that. So we took a bus to a town that was only 200 km away and it took us nearly 10 hours to get there. What is more some Chinese seem not to handle curvy roads very well and they get sick in the bus. Not going to talk more about it. Bad memories =)
In Vietnam we met another friend and we rented motorbikes and went for 2 weeks and 1600km long trip to Ha Giang and and Lao Cai provinces. We traveled with some friends in China, Vietnam and Cambodia so we were not hitchhiking there. But as soon as it was only the two of us, we gave thumbing a try.
We hitchhiked around 900 km in Russia, around 100km in Gobi desert in Mongolia, around 800 km in Myanmar and some distances in Thailand. We loved hitchhiking in Russia the most – probably because after some time spent in Russia we were able to understand the drivers and they were all very friendly and hospitable. In Myanmar and Thailand we were mainly sitting in the back of pick-up trucks. In Myanmar we found it very difficult to explain the concept of hitchhiking. But we managed anyway 🙂(Hitchhiking in Myanmar. The car was already full and there was no place left inside. No problem for us – you just have to hold tight 🙂
This is what hitchhiking typically looks like in Myanmar and Thailand. We loved that!
In Russia we stayed with our friends or friends of friends in Moscow and Ekaterinburg. They took such a good care of us! Apart from that we mainly camped wild. The same went for Mongolia, where we volunteered for 14 days on a farm in beautiful Orkhon valley or just camped wild.
It was not that easy in China since another 2 friends joined us and the same in Vietnam and Cambodia, where we traveled with another friend. However, we used couchsurfing in Vietnam and thanks to our host Daniel, we could leave most of our stuff at his place for 14 days, rent motorbikes and go for a 14 days trip through the northern Vietnam. We had an amazing host in Ho Chi Minh City too.
In Cambodia we camped for a week on an amazing white sand beach and blent into a Khmer family running a bar there. Actually there was a village 5km away from our tent, then this bar and then another 4 km of abandoned beach. Unfortunately, they are about to build a hotel complex there.
We absolutely enjoyed our beach life. If you look carefully you can see our tent in the background 🙂
In Mynmar we stayed in hostels and it was pretty expensive. We left most of our things in a hostel in Bangkok and traveled ultra-light for the last month. Meaning that we had only 2 T-shirts in a handbag. What we did not realize was that it is much colder in northern Thailand and Myanmar than it is in the south so we were walking around wraped in towels while Burmese were wearing their winter jackets.
volunteering on an organic farm in northern Thailand
In Thailand we combined hostels and stay on an organic farm. We spent our last days in Thailand in The Famous Cirsuc Hostel in Pai and spent amazing last days and X-mas chilling at swimming pool and walking slackline there before we flew back to cold Norway to start to work again and resurrect our bank accounts.
Camping in the northern Mongolia
Professional vagabonding at the Yangoon airport in Myanmar
Usually it’s the accommodation and transport that consume the majority of your travel budget. You can reduce costs by hitchhiking, couchsurfing and wild camping a lot. Also especially in southeast Asia the food is not only delicious but quite cheap.
However, we are budget but not ultra-cheap travellers. We do drink beer and coffee a we buy souvenirs for our friends and family sometimes. (That will probably change on our next trip because those souvenirs were making our backpacks heavier and heavier with each country that we had visited.) The most expensive country was definitely China, because of the entrances to sights and national parks. (Usually around 200 CNY – 27 Euro)
Hitchhiking in Thailand – where the hell are we? 🙂
In total we spent on our trip around 3000 € each, which makes cca 20 € per day. This amount includes the flight tickets from Prague to Moscow and the tickets from Bangkok to Oslo, also the souvenires and visa costs are included. As citizens of the Czech republic we were required to have visas to Russia, China, Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar. Maybe it is actually easier to say that we did not need to arrange visas to Mongolia and Thailand only. We spent on our visas 210 €, which is 7% of our budget!
|Price (€)||Price in original currency||Where did we get the visas|
|Russia||88||815 NOK||Russian embassy in Oslo|
|China||30||30 €||Chinese embassy in Prague|
|Vietnam||40||45 USD||Hanoi airport|
|Cambodia||27||30 USD||Border crossing Ha Tien – Kampot|
|Myanmar||25||1000 Bath||Myanmar embassy in Bangkok|