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Just returned from Big Indochina Adventure....

17 Jul 2012 MaryMo said


Hey all who are looking for some insight as to what to expect for the Big Indochina Adventure (Which also encompasses the Asian Adventure, and Vietnam tours). I have recently returned. It was an amazing experience! DO THE WHOLE THING IF TIME ALLOWS YOU TO! Anyways, I know when I was getting ready for my trip I tried to find blogs or other things about the trip. gives good insight to the tour. I also wrote a blog about my trip (which also includes my few days in Koh Phi Phi before my tour started) Feel free to ask questions, or shoot me an email as well.

Here is my blog---

and YES we did do quite a bit of partying, but it is not included in the blog (had to keep it relatively PG for my grandma)


  • Read the responses 7 responses so far
  • 17 Jul 2012 KingPatrick7 said


    I’m planning to do this tour later this year and will definitely check out your blog! Thanks for writing, I’m sure I’ll have some questions for you!

  • 18 Jul 2012 daniellea10 said


    great blog!

    i am booked for this trip at the end of november…very much looking forward to it.

    Any tips as to packing (what is a must, and what can be left at home?) as well as any other general advice you might have would be great!

    Also, if you don’t mind me asking- how much spending money did you take along and use?



  • 18 Jul 2012 MaryMo said


    As to packing make sure you bring temple dress (either long pants and t shirt that you can throw in your purse or day bag)(because it is hot) or I just wore a maxi dress and brought a little sweater to put over it. As for packing- pack light, shirts, tanks, swimsuits, shorts. Make sure everything is COMFORTABLE. I’d bring a light jacket too, just in case. I packed VERY light, and it was the best choice- you can buy super cheap clothes in all the countries, and there are hotels where you can get your laundry done for really cheap as well. Don’t bring a straightener, your hair will be curly all the time. Just embrace it. Hairdryers are in most hotels, but they suck. I brought one, and my roommate and I used it most places.

    Bring hand sanitizer, most hotels have shampoo and body wash, so bring just travel bottles if your aren’t super attached to your products. I only wore flip flops abroad. and most people did the same. Unless you need the extra support, I wouldn’t take tennis shoes, because they take up a lot of room. Bring minimal make up- you will sweat it off, But there are nights when we go out, so bring comfy dresses. Bring things that don’t wrinkle easy. I was able to bring everything I needed for the trip in a carry on roll bag, and day bag (Impressive I know!) I wanted to be able to do this, because I had SO many flight layovers, and didn’t want to take a chance that my bag wouldn’t get there.

    Don’t bring a laptop- they take up too much room. Some people brought iPads. I just had my iPhone. Wifi is available in most of the hotels. And a few have computers to use. But if you have a smartphone, I would bring it. Just keep it in airplane mode the entire time you are there (to avoid roaming charges and data usage), and keep in touch over Viber or Skype. I used Viber, which you can text and call other people who have downloaded this app, all over WiFi. It worked great!

    with regards to spending money- it kind of depends on how much you plan to shop, if you plan on getting clothes made, and if you drink. I shopped a little, didn’t get clothes made, and drank a lot. You need to remember to budget for visa fees which is i think 25 for cambodia and 35 for laos if i remember correctly. and depending if you get your visa for vietnam before, or just get your visa on arrival, you may have to pay for that as well- which is 30-50 dollars I believe. Food is relatively cheap, but sometimes groups go to more expensive places- with that being said maybe 10-20 dollars a day for food that isnt provided. Drinks are anywhere from 30 cents to 5 dollars wherever you go, so again pretty cheap. Also remember to budget for your optionals (which most people do all) which i think is about 70-100 dollars total for the whole trip.

    My recomendation is bring about 800-1000 USD (to cover all food, souvenirs, drinks, etc) and a debit card. Money exchanges and ATMs are widely availiable. Also, if you do plan on making larger purchases (like getting clothes made) they take credit cards.

    Thailand is the cheapest place for clothes. So if you see something- BUY IT. You can most likely find it again in Vietnam or Laos, but BUY IT if you like it, I figure that the further you get along on the trip, the more expensive clothes and souviners are. Leave some room in your suitcase it you plan on buying a lot of things, it costs quite a bit to ship stuff, and up to 3 months. (I didn’t shop very much, but some people on tour did, and spent a lot of money getting items home.)

    My general rule to traveling is lay out all your money and all your clothes. Then take half the clothes, and double the money. SE Asia can be really cheap, but be careful, since you don’t feel like you are spending a lot, little purchases can add up quickly.

    let me know if you need any other advice :)

  • 26 Jul 2012 Happydays said


    Hi can I just ask a couple of questions. When u were in Vietnam and u went on the overnight to Mekong river and halong bay did u leave your suitcase at the hotel and just took an overnight bag?

  • 27 Sep 2012 daniellea10 said


    hey mary- another question that came to mind (hopefully you still are checking your contiki :p)

    How did you sort out your counrty visas? Was it a problem to get them upon arrival in the countries? As far as I can understand all you need before you leave is a approval letter (or whatever they call it) for your vietnamese visa.

    thanks again :)

  • 27 Sep 2012 MaryMo said


    Hey! All you have to do for Thailand, Cambodia and Laos, is show up (and for cambo and laos, there is a visa fee) (i think 25, and 35 USD if i remember correctly.) Vietnam, you need your approval letter, and your visa fee (i think 50-60 USD)

    You also need passport pics for vietnam.

    Make sure your arrival and departure dates for vietnam are CORRECT on your visa application. If not, you can’t go through.

    Hope that answers your question! you will have so much fun!

  • 1 Feb 2013 jconcetta said


    I am doing the big indochina in May and I’ve been to China so i know that you do have to dress conservatively in some parts. I really liked your maxi dress idea for the temples and then just throw on a wrap. I am wondering if you, and most of the girls in your group seemed to wear more tshirts and longer pants or if there were times when everyone wore shorts and tank tops. I guess i am wondering if I should pack more pants/tshirts or more tank tops/shorts (and then just bring 1-2 “temple” outfits). I would really appreciate your insight! Thanks!

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