In this second post i will share my tips on how to plan your itinerary. The most important aspect is when you plan your trip. If you are heading to Thailand the best time to visit is between November and January. If you plan to visit Bali the best time is June to September. I was there from 22 September to 22 October, right in the middle of the ‘grey’ area, but the flights tickets were cheaper and the cities were less crowded. As I mostly like to travel in September, I always take into account the possibility of encountering a bad weather.
I got the ticket to Thailand about 6 months before the travel and needless to say that for such long flights is imperative to plan ahead. When I started looking for hotels to book it all got crazy. I really had no idea in which city I wanted to visit and for how long. After spending so much time checking all the options and read reviews and blogs trying to make the right choices, I decided to make the plans as I went by. So I did. It was a risky move, but it totally paid off.
How long to stay in each city?
My flight was from Brussels via Amsterdam to Bangkok. To avoid complete confusion I had only booked the hotel in Bangkok for 4 nights. Ironically, this was the only one hotel I liked the least. In Bangkok 4 nights are enough to explore the main attractions but I stayed 2 more nights on return from Bali.
Because of the bad weather in the Thai islands, I decided to head north, and visit Chiang Mai. I booked two days in Chiang Mai, but I really liked it, so I decided to add up two more nights. Chiang Mai is a very beautiful city with a lot to explore, so I think 4 nights are enough there too.
From Chiang Mai I went to Kuala Lumpur. Kuala Lumpur is a big city and you can spend as much time as you want but I think that 3 to 4 days are enough (I stayed 4 nights). If you like shopping KL has amazing shopping malls worth visiting.
From there I flew to Bali. In Bali my first destination was Ubud, where I had planned to stay 4 nights. But I fell so much in love with Ubud, that I requested the host to add 4 more nights. In Ubud there are so many things to explore that I would highly recommend to stay 5-7 nights.
By the time I left Ubud, I had only 10 days left from the end of my trip. I wanted to go the beach but I also wanted to avoid the crowded and mainstream areas such as Seminyak, and Canggu seemed like a good option.
Canggu is mostly known for its hipster attitude and the large sandy beaches to surf. In Canggu I stayed 4 nights and I really loved the vibe, the amazing cafés and the great people you meet along the way.
I spent my last 4 nights in Uluwatu, in the southern part of the island. In Uluwatu the ocean is so beautiful and the wide, white sandy beaches are perfect to surf. I couldn’t really ask for a better closure of this amazing trip.
Looking back, I am so happy I planned everything step by step, because I was able to add more days in places I really loved. Obviously, making plans as you go works only if you are traveling off season, want to be spontaneous and are able to afford any extra expense that comes with the short term planning.
This first time, it worked for me. Next time, I know exactly when and where to go.