This week marks the halfway point of our trip! We’ve flown enough miles to circle the earth 1.7 times and crammed into countless buses, ferries and vans along the way. Our next stop in Indonesia will wrap up our travels in Southeast Asia and we are already sad about moving on.
-A couple sweet views from our many airplane rides-
With so much ground to cover, we have just touched on the highlights of each Southeast Asia country, making mental notes about the places we’ll return to one day. If we hadn’t done this trip we would have spent over a decade crisscrossing the globe to check off one country at a time so we don’t take for granted how fortunate we are to have ample time to explore the region in depth.
The strong dollar has made this notoriously affordable region, even more budget friendly, which has allowed us to travel more like business people than backpackers. We’ve found flights as cheap as $18 and hotels have averaged $31/night for accommodations, most of which include breakfast. This number may sound astoundingly low to you but it’s possible to sleep a lot cheaper on a tight budget. We chose mid-range offerings that rival any hotel rooms we’ve had for over $100. Traveling on a budget need not restrict one to sleeping in hostels and eating ramen!
After five months on the road, we made the long trip across the pond to visit friends and family. It was great to be back home to catch up with everyone and tie up some outstanding odds and ends. We were able to stay for three weeks thanks to landing our first housesitting gig located within minutes of our condo which is being rented. We watched Petunia, a mini Maltese, who was a breeze to care for while her parents took a trip to Hawaii. The experience could not have been better.
Airline miles got us home and back, saving us thousands of dollars in airfare. We also redeemed some hotel rooms with points, most notably Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur for New Year’s Eve and Le Meridien Phuket, a mega resort with private beach. The majority of our flights and hotels have been out of pocket as the low prices don’t warrant using miles so our best redemptions are yet to come.
Below is an update to our stats we shared at the 80-day mark:
- Number of countries visited (outside the USA): 12 (Kenya, United Arab Emirates, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore)
- Number of different currencies: 13 (Kenya and Cambodia also accepted USD)
- Air Miles Traveled: 41,881
- Number of flights: 23
- Number of Accommodations: 55
- Hotel points redeemed: 52,000 (11 nights)
- Airline points redeemed: 157,709 (4 flights)
- Loads of laundry done: 11
- The best new dish we’ve tried: Khao Soi – a specialty of Northern Thailand.
- Best Hotel: Dream Mango Villa (Siem Reap, Cambodia)
- Favorite memory: Launching a sky lantern at Yee Ping Lantern Festival (see video)
- Nail biting moment: Tuk Tuk ride to the airport in Sri Lanka (see video). Our driver got a ticket for no lights and a missing mirror, which wasn’t as scary as the weaving in and out of traffic and driving on the sidewalk.
- Hotel nightmare: Bagan, Myanmar. Water was brown and Kerri got a stomach bug.
- Hotel home run: Nightly pool party at Dream Mango Villa
- Number of times scammed: 0 (at least we think)
- The place we are most excited to go to next: We are so excited to get back to BALI, it will be four years since we honeymooned there.
- Place we’d love to return to: Africa. It was so visually stunning and so much more to see.
- Place we wouldn’t return to: Penang, Malaysia
- Biggest language barrier: Tokyo, Japan
- Biggest annoyance: Brushing our teeth with bottled water.
- Squatty potties used: 1…and boy is there a story behind that 1 time.
- Most pleasantly surprising place: Phu Quoc, Vietnam. An island paradise we knew nothing about before this trip.
- Live Penguin encounters: 1
- Biggest Unexpected Expense: Having to purchase airfare we expected to use our Air Asia Asean passes for.
- Countries that were covered under T-Mobile Service: 9 of 12 (not Laos, Myanmar or Vietnam)
- Sick Days: 4 (3 Kerri, 1 Chris)
- Times we wanted to kill each other: 0 (so far)
- Most Unique Transport: Motorbike with side-cart (and Chris riding on the back of the motorbike with Thai gentleman half his size as the pilot)
- Cheapest Beer: Hanoi, Vietnam (5,000 Dong ~$0.23 USD)
- Most Expensive Beer: Sheraton Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 38 Ringgits at hotel bar = $8.68
Thanks for following along on our trip! We love to read your comments and get feedback. Leave us a comment if there are any topics you want to see us write about in the future or have any questions about long-term travel or the great destinations we’ve already been to.