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#108794 - 01/05/09 10:04 AM Backpacking, East or West
mr_bob Offline

Registered: 01/05/09
Posts: 2
Loc: Dublin, Ireland
Hi all!

I have a bit issue somebody might be able to help me with!

My girlfriend and I have been saving for quite a while to go round the world backpacking. We plan to go this summer, June/July. The basic outline of trip will be China/Japan, South East Asia, Australia/New Zealand and South America.

The problem is we don't know whether to Asia or South America first!

Here is what I have so far!
- I believe it is the rainy season in SE Asia around that time would be better to go to South America first.
- I know that Asia will be a lot cheaper and therefore would be better to do that bit last.

- A lot of people recommend going to Asia first because it is, by several accounts, a bit safer than South America. The idea being that we will have gained quite a bit of backpacking experience before we get to the most dangerous part of our trip.
- If we manage to still have some money at the end of our journey, and we are in South America, we would try to squeeze in some of the States before heading home.

Does anybody have any other arguments for me to consider?

Any opinions are greatly appreciated!!

#108839 - 01/05/09 11:46 PM Re: Backpacking, East or West [Re: mr_bob]
aimless Offline

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 2964
Loc: Portland, OR
Hello mr_bob,

You may get some good advice in regard to your dilemma from the good people who frequent this website. They are unfailingly helpful, in my experience.

However, despite several clues strewn about, you seem not to have discovered that the main thrust of this forum is to discuss what most Europeans (and Irish, too, I presume) would call trekking - that is, wandering off on walking tracks that lead into remote wilderness.

If that was the sort of discussion you were seeking, then please excuse my misimpression. There is much fine trekking to be had in both Asia (especially if you include New Zealand) and in South America.

If you had in mind something more alomg the lines of staying in hostels and sightseeing, then sit tight. Your answers may come in a bit more slowly, but among our several thousand trekking enthusiasts we undoubtedly have some members who know a thing or two about your kind of backpacking and can share it.

Good luck. smile

#108970 - 01/08/09 09:33 AM Re: Backpacking, East or West [Re: aimless]
mr_bob Offline

Registered: 01/05/09
Posts: 2
Loc: Dublin, Ireland
Thanks Aimless,

I am sure that there is a wealth of travelling experience around this sight... thought I might try my luck!

#108979 - 01/08/09 12:56 PM Re: Backpacking, East or West [Re: mr_bob]
OregonMouse Offline

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6562
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
You might have better results on the Lonely Planet board. While most of us have traveled, not all of us have done so recently. As mentioned, this board is for US style backpacking, which is really wilderness trekking.

Good luck, and happy travels!
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

#109009 - 01/08/09 07:33 PM Re: Backpacking, East or West [Re: OregonMouse]
kevonionia Offline

Registered: 04/17/06
Posts: 1322
Loc: Dallas, TX
Two months, three continents (with a couple of islands thrown in) is going to be a whirlwind tour, especially if you do plan to do any European trekking (aka American backpacking). South America is a big place, and if it's going to be June/July, you might want to forego the southern parts, say south of the Bio Bio Valley in Chile or south of Bariloche in Argentina cause it will be the dead of winter there. But up north, doing Machu Picchu or the rain forest, no problem with that time unless it's the rainy season -- I don't know.

In the twenty-something years of being an airline ticket agent in Miami talking with backpackers (Euro-term) using round-the-world tickets, my observation was that those taking 6 months to a year to do it were having the best time. Some were actually going round the world using much LESS time than you've got planned, and no doubt they became intimately familiar with the inside of an aging 747 -- and that's about all.

Don't cram too much into the trip. Being there -- especially in today's world of air travel -- is so much more rewarding than getting there.

I'm sure you're going to have an incredible trip!

(Sidenote: I'm continually impressed with the thoughtful and considerate posts by the Oregonians -- especially the two above -- on this forum. Might be another reason so many of us want to move there -- in the hopes that some of that might rub off on us.)
- kevon

(avatar: raptor, Lake Dillon)

#109195 - 01/12/09 10:02 AM Re: Backpacking, East or West [Re: kevonionia]
finallyME Offline

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
I'd take Kevon's advice seriously. In my own humble experience, I have only been to Europe (Poland) once, and a little jaunt to the middle east. I really enjoyed my stay in Poland and that I was there long enough to learn the language, and really see and try to understand the people. It change my way of seeing things to see people who thought completely different than I did. But, I wouldn't have noticed that in a few days, or even months.

On the opposite end, here is a video on youtube, Where is Matt? This guy went to all kinds of places in a relatively short time. If you look on the side bar, he did a lecture at a university. When people ask him specific questions about the places he was at, sometimes he would say, "I don't know, I wasn't there very long". Anyways, food for thought.
I've taken a vow of poverty. To annoy me, send money.

#109585 - 01/18/09 04:45 PM Re: Backpacking, East or West [Re: finallyME]
Geo Offline

Registered: 12/29/03
Posts: 32
Loc: 45 South
Hello Mr. Bob,
Those are a lot of areas to cover in 8 weeks. I'd consider pruning it down a bit so as to get a better look at chosen places and maybe enjoy a less frenetic trip.
For what it's worth, there are many worthwhile hiking (or tramping as they call it) trails or routes of varying difficulty in New Zealand, so if you decided to make NZ a destination, then bear in mind that the seasons are exactly opposite to what you get in the northern hemisphere. Probably the warmest weather months as far as can be predicted, are Jan, Feb, March.
If your journey is more 'sightseeing' than actual hiking then maybe warmer weather is not so important. Possibly actual scenic views in many areas of NZ can be a bit more spectacular in the colder months, (provided they are not clouded in!) as snow cover on ranges will be lower and more prevalent and that makes for some nice views. NZ being a relatively narrow strip and the only appreciable land mass in a vast ocean, the weather can be rapidly changeable, so if you're on a short visit then regardless of time of year, keep fingers crossed for good weather! smile
Good luck on your travels.
Dances With Marmots

#110174 - 01/27/09 05:10 PM Re: Backpacking, East or West [Re: Geo]
Becks Offline

Registered: 01/27/09
Posts: 18
Loc: Switzerland
just in case you need some additional help you might also consider to ask some guys here:
-> mostly specialized in trekking/climbing Asia (like Himalaya), a bit inactive at the moment
-> A lot about European areas, especially Scandinavia.

here is a short "good bye" of two users who just have started their trip:

And their route:
Argentinien >> Chile >> Bolivien >> Peru >> Ecuador >> Australien >> Neuseeland >> Singapur >> Malaysia

About the boards: Almost all discussions are in german, but you can also write in english. Might be worth a look in case someone else needs info about a trip in Europe.


Btw.: yep, I am also there.

Edited by Becks (01/27/09 05:28 PM)


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