My backpack route of 113 days in this order: Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia.
My trip in Southeast Asia went down pretty much as planned. I mostly stuck to the Banana Pancake Trail and getting around as well as booking activities was really easy. Anything can be booked from the hostel desks, though the diving school of your choice and the hot air balloon ride in Bagan should be booked in advance due to high demand. People are friendly and understand enough English to get around as a tourist. At the hostels, there is often a mix of local and Western staff. That may not sound authentic, but it really helps to make the most of your precious time.
All in all, I spent exactly 10k EUR for this trip. If you plan to do a similar trip, my budget sheet might help you (Ignore the dollar sign: all totals are in EUR, spendings are in local currency). Thanks to https://alittleadrift.com/ for sharing the template
These costs include
* intercontinental and domestic flights
* all gear I had to buy (not the backpack, had that one already), including the new camera and tablet PC
* the high cost activities: my three diving licenses, the balloon flight over Bagan, the power delta wing flight in Vang Vieng
* generally all activities, accomodation and food
* visas and pre-trip organization like passport photos, international drivers license, foreign health insurance
My backpack and its contents at the beginning of the trip. That changed a bit in the course of my travel.
Things I was really glad to have with me:
* a small day backpack for hiking and city tours (the shoulder bag proved to be ill suited)
* the see through zip log and vacuum bags: helped to keep the backpack in order
* lots of band aids and disinfectant for blisters in the first weeks, and generally scratches from the nature activities
* the power bank for charging devices on the road
* table and phone for entertainment on long bus and ferry rides and general internet/wifi usage
* inflatable cushion for long rides and hoodie for cold A/C busses
* ear plugs (wax), sleeping mask and a number pad lock for the hostels
* toilette paper and a small bottle of liquid soap, in case the rest rooms ran out it and you feel uneasy using the bum gun
As a reward, I brought back these memories:
Sunset Beach, Koh Lipe, Thailand.
Long Beach, Koh Lanta, Thailand.
Actually the sunrise over Bagan, Myanmar.
A fisherman at sunset on Inle Lake, Myanmar.
Rajah Brooke's birdwing is the national butterfly of Malaysia and quite a beauty.
A hermit crab at Charlie Beach, Koh Mook, Thailand.
Holding snakes at the Snake Temple in Georgetown, Malaysia.
A starfish chilling on the sandbank in Krabi, Thailand.
The 5 month old baby elephant at the Doi Inthanon Elephant Park, Chiang Mai, Thailand.
A spider we found while hiking in the Doi Inthanon National Park, Chiang Mai, Thailand.
At Inle Lake, Myanmar, some birds rest on wooden poles or patches of water lillies like this, with their wings spread --- I have no idea why. Maybe to keep their balance?
Strange white insects fall from the trees at Kuang Si waterfall, Laos
Water buffaloes chilling in Sa Pa, Vietnam.
Fruit bats in Battambang, Cambodia.
The bat cave of Battambang, Cambodia.
Petting an albino python at the Snake Temple, Georgetown, Malaysia.
An ant tribe built their hive by rolling up a leaf in Doi Inthanon National Park, Thailand.
You can find wild carnivorous pitcher plants (Nepenthes) on the trails around Tanah Rata in Malaysia.
The stairs leading up to Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep, Chiang Mai, Thailand.
The interior of Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep, Chiang Mai, Thailand.
The magnificent Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, Myanmar.
Another impressive view of the gold-and-white stupa towers of a typical pagoda at Inle Lake, Myanmar.
Linh Ung Pagoda in Da Nang, Vietnam.
Buddhas in Wat Xieng Thong Buddhist Temple in Luang Prabang, Laos.
Angkor Wat in Siam Reap, Cambodia.
Banteay Samre in Siam Reap, Cambodia.
Wat Ek Phnom, Battambang, Cambodia.
Inside Umin Thounzeh at Sagaing Hill, Myanmar, in front of the 30 Buddha statues.
Outside Umin Thounzeh at Sagaing Hill, Myanmar. The Buddhas sit inside the arcades.
The financial district of Singapore at night provides a stunning view.
Kuala Lumpur tourist picture time at the Petronas Twin Towers.
Street art in Georgetown, Malaysia
Khoo Kongsi Clan House in Georgetown, Malaysia
Grand Palace in Bangkok, Thailand.
Our night quarter while trekking in Doi Inthanon National Park, Chiang Mai, Thailand.
A stone monastery before sunset in Mandalay, Myanmar.
The U Bein teak wood bridge at sunset in Mandalay, Myanmar.
Probably the best photo spot on the ground in Bagan, Myanmar.
The pole houses of Inle Lake, Myanmar.
Chinese assembly houses in Hoi An, Vietnam.
Ta Prohm in Angkor Archeological Park, Cambodia.
The SSI OWD graduation video, password is "scuba"
Gearing up for the dive in Koh Tao, Thailand.
I find the backwards entry method to be the most convenient.
Diving really puts you right in the middle of the action.
The sea turtle was the definite highlight of our last dive.
Be one with the toilet seat in the Upside Down House of Penang, Malaysia.
Sunset group photo on the kayak tour in Krabi, Thailand. I am number 3 from the left.
Preparing a spring roll for the superb cooking class in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Do as the Buddhists do at the Shwedagon Pagoda, Yangon, Myanmar.
A glance through the open windows of the breakfast area of a monastery in Mandalay, Myanmar.
Discovering Bagan, Myanmar, on Ebike.
Hot air balloon ride over Bagan, Myanmar.
A boat tour on Inle Lake, Myanmar, always passes by the fisher men.
Sampling local cigars at Inle Lake, Myanmar.
Canal tour in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam. The rice hats are an instant relief in the searing sunshine.
Having my measurments taken at the tailors for new business suits, Hoi An, Vietnam.
Caving in the Elephant Cave, Phong Nha National Park, Vietnam.
Power delta wing flight in Vang Vieng, Laos.
Tubing into a flat wet cave in Vang Vieng, Laos.
Swimming in one of the pools of Kuang Si waterfall, Laos.
Riding the bamboo train in Battambang, Cambodia.
Chinese Hot Pot dinner time in Tanah Rata, Malaysia.
Catch of the day in Koh Lipe, Thailand.
Enduring the Durian in Koh Lipe, Thailand.
Sampling palm wine in a suburb of Yangon, Myanmar.
Fresh sugar cane juice in Bagan, Myanmar.
Red wine and a cheese plate in the sunset (blue cheese and some hard cheese-very yummy) at the Red Mountain Estate, Inle Lake, Myanmar.
We visited a simple rice wine distillery at Inle Lake, Myanmar. And tasted the still warm cask strength product.
Pho in Saigon, Vietnam.
Deep fried dried squid in Saigon, Vietnam.
Mekong fish with crunchy scales, Mekong Delta, Vietnam.
Cao Lau, a noodle soup with pork in Hoi An, Vietnam.
Sweet stuff at the night market in Hue, Vietnam.
Vietnamese BBQ in Hue, Vietnam.
Night market of Luang Prabang, Laos.
Mmmh, dat rat. Battambang, Cambodia.
A Reclining Buddha at Ayutthaya Historical Park, Thailand.
The head of the Buddha overgrown by trees at Ayutthaya Historical Park, Thailand.
The Golden Rock in Myanmar.
Buddha statue in Nha Trang, Vietnam.
Land- and Cityscapes
Enjoying a cup of Broken Orange Pekoe in the BOH tea factory cafe with a stunning view on the plantation.
Peasants planting rice in Mandalay, Myanmar.
Boat ride from Myanmar to Bagan, Myanmar.
In front of the post office building in Saigon, Vietnam.
Common street view of Saigon, Vietnam.
The rice terraces of Sa Pa in Vietnam.
Beautiful rocks emerge from the water and form small islands at Hai Phong Bay, Vietnam.
Nam Song River in Vang Vieng, Laos.
The Bui Vien backpacker street and busy crossing as seen from the Air 360 Sky Bar in Saigon, Vietnam.
These boats decorated with lanterns ferry couples along the river at night in Hoi An, Vietnam.
The streets decorated with lanterns in Hoi An at night, Vietnam.
The abandoned water park of Hue, Vietnam.
Fishing boats with large nets like this are a common sight along the river leading to Tonle Sap, Cambodia.
Sleeper busses in Vietnam for overnight trips from town to town.
The in-door waterfall catches the visitor's eye directly at the entrance of Cloud Forest, Gardens by The Bay, Singapore.
The upper part of Robinson Falls in Tanah Rata, Malaysia.
Cooling down while trekking in Doi Inthanon National Park, Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Kuang Si waterfall near Luang Prabang, Laos.
The Independence Palace in Saigon, Vietnam, the office of the South Vietnamese President during the Vietnam war.
Vinh Moc tunnel bomb shelter from the Vietnam War era.
Huey helicopters in Khe Sanh Combat Base, Vietnam.
Some of the many many many bombs dropped on Vietnam. Pirate shown for scale.
One section of the VC support line crossed the Song Thach Han river.
A Viet Cong Mig-21 of the victorious North Vietnam.
Various mines and explosives disarmed by Aki Ra in the Landmine Museum, Siam Reap, Cambodia. The small ones are antipersonell mines, the large ones are anti-tank mines.
The Killing Fields of Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Half decayed pier at Penang National Park, Malaysia.
Sunrise Beach in Koh Lipe, Thailand.
Paradise Beach, Koh Kradan, Thailand.
Charlie Beach, Koh Mook, Thailand.
The hammocks at the beachfront outside my hostel in Koh Rong Sanloem, Cambodia.
National Park in Koh Lipe, Thailand.
Weatherlighting at Charlie Beach, Koh Mook, Thailand.
Vines hanging across the path in Koh Lanta, Thailand.
Paradise Cave in the Phong Nha National Park, Vietnam.