Three days to go before we board our flight to Ho Chi Minh City on Monday night! Neither of us can believe how quickly it has come around, but one thing is for sure: we’re so extremely ready for this.
We keep getting asked about what our plan is and we realised that there’s some confusion surrounding what we’re doing. When we first decided to leave Dubai, we intended to move to Vietnam so that I could work on my book and Ankit could work on his photography. We also planned to travel extensively around Southeast Asia, but Ho Chi Minh City was going to be our base.
The plan has evolved somewhat. We no longer intend to have a base, as we’ve decided that we want to see as much as possible over the next few years. We’re going to travel the world slowly so that we can really get to know the countries that we visit. As well as the usual attractions, we want to see the places you don’t read about in magazines or on blogs. We’re very much ‘off the beaten track’ people, as we’re more interested in experiences with people than anything else.
While we’re hoping to go with the flow as much as possible (that’s when the magic happens!), we do have a loose itinerary for the next five months, which goes a little something like this:
We’ve both raved about how much we loved Vietnam during our 10-day trip in May, so we decided to make this our first stop. We’ll be in Ho Chi Minh City for the first week or so, following which we aim to travel the breadth of the country to discover it better.
While the first time round we had to catch internal flights to get from one side of the country to the other, now we have all the time in the world to go as slow as we like, so we’re going to travel mainly by train!
In Ho Chi Minh City itself, we still need to pay a visit to the Mekong Delta and Cu Chi Tunnels, as we didn’t have the time (or energy) to do these trips while we were there last time.
We need to be in India for Diwali, but we want to fit in one more country in Southeast Asia before October. While we haven’t decided for sure, it will more than likely be Thailand for a number of reasons. First, Bangkok will be a good place to fly to India from in terms of flight prices. Second, I visited Koh Samui back in 2011 and I’ve been itching to get back there ever since. I instantly fell in love with the country’s vibe and there is just SO much to see there.
Our third stop will be India. We’re visiting during Diwali, so I’m incredibly excited as I’m sure it’s a great time to be there. We will be starting in Ankit’s hometown of Dehradun, which is located on the foothills of the Himalayas. Close by is the hill station of Mussorie, which looks spectacular.
We’ll also be heading to the Taj Mahal, Jaipur, Jaisalmer, and Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
I’m particularly looking forward to reporting on my experience in India, as I’ve had so many people, mainly Europeans, tell me that they are interested in hearing my opinion on it. I’ll hopefully be able to dispel some rumours and give an accurate insight in to what travel in India is like as a European woman.
We will probably fly back to Bangkok after India, so if we haven’t managed to see much before we left we’ll pick up where we left off. If not, we’ll head for another country in Southeast Asia – potentially Indonesia.
Family is very important to both of us, so we’re also using this time to visit our folks and enjoy being with them without the pressure of having to head back to work by a certain time. We’ll be making our way to Cyprus for Christmas in mid-December, where we’ll stay for three to four weeks.
In all honesty, we’re not too sure where we’ll head after Cyprus. The plan is to go back to Southeast Asia for a number of reasons. First of all, we really want to see as much of the region as possible, because it’s so varied and full of things to see and do. It is also one of the cheapest places to travel around both in terms of accommodation and food. The only downside is that we’ll be all the way in Europe, so there may be some trips in between. We’ve both wanted to check Turkey out, but we’re not sure if we fancy being there during the coldest time of year! As you can see, we’re pretty much clueless on where we’re going! But that’s the beauty of it – the world really is our oyster after all.