Planning my backpacking trip


Not a week would go by when I would not have randomly searched some locations on rome2rio & waytogo (was by cleartrip)


Always wanted to do a backpacking trip across Asia. Used to keep bugging all around me with my intentions to do the trip. Colleagues used to sometimes say “What’s in China? It’s always China for you…”


Come May 2017 and Air Asia launched in Mumbai and was offering cheap flights to Bali


Started searching for cheap flights from Mumbai to different locations in Asia. The search took me looking for destinations to fly out from Kochi. Bumped upon Kochi - Hong Kong for 9300 Rs. all inclusive. Started researching for further locations to Asia. Including major destinations and had drilled down to this…


Plan 1: Mumbai – Hong Kong – China - Singapore – Mumbai

Plan 2: Mumbai – Hong Kong – China – Taiwan – China – South Korea - Singapore – Mumbai


Taiwan was just 1 hour away by ferry from my first destination in China but could be included if I got a multiple entry visa in China. Same was for South Korea. Plans were to be altered if I got the multiple entry visa into China. The probability was less as first timers don’t get multiple visit visas to China


Omitted Japan at first


Japan was omitted in my first draft itinerary. Like millions I too thought Japan is expensive so better skip. Little research and I found it to be just another country with an expensive travel budget


This can be handled if proper travel passes and stay were done. Japan was included


Final Itinerary


Plan 3: Mumbai – Hong Kong – China – Japan - Singapore – Mumbai


If I get multiple China Visa then

Plan 4: Mumbai – Hong Kong – China – Taiwan – China – South Korea – Japan - Singapore – Mumbai


Paisa Kitna Lagega


Flights is major cost in travelling. Sorted the cost in the below subheads


Flights + land Travel – 48000 Rs.

Approx.Visas – 8900 Rs.

Accommodations – 36000 Rs. (1200 Rs. X 30 days)

Sight seeing + local conveyance – 30000 Rs. (1000 Rs. (per day) X 30)

Food – 15000 Rs. (500 per day X 30)

Extras – 20000 Rs.


Visa


Started out with sorting visa for the locations. Did not want to go via agents and spend excess money as all the visiting countries visas could be applied in Mumbai


Below are websites which have accurate information about visa forms and documents needed. Made a list of all required documents for each country by referring them.

http://www.thomascook.in/tcportal/visa

https://www.makemytrip.com/holidays-international/visa-information.html


Detailed planning


30000 feet plans


Hong Kong – 5 days (Still don’t know what made me block 5 days here)

Macau City sight seeing - Lantau Island

Macau – 1 day

China – 12 days (Travelled along the coast)

Guangzhou - Shenzen - Xiamen - Shanghai - Beijing

Japan – 8 days (Had to Paisa Vasool 7 days JR Pass)

Tokyo - Mt. Fuji Climb plans. Reserve hut - Kyoto - Yokohama - Hiroshima

Singapore – 3 days (Flew my parents from India to join me here)


Train & Flights


Started out with major flight booking and Hostel bookings (Needed for Visa)


Mumbai – Kochi @ 2100 Rs. – Jet Airways

Kochi – Hong Kong @ 9180 Rs. – Air Asia (With halt @ Malaysia)

This was the easiest part as cheap tickets


Travel within China was by train and one flight


Costly flying to from China to Japan


While I was planning the rates of the tickets to Japan increased. Needed to fly from Beijing to Tokyo and it was getting a costly affair. Started with reviewing airports in 100 kms radius from Beijing.


Useful website to search such scenarios: https://matrix.itasoftware.com/

Select the option nearby & the radius from the city

This options helped me find Tianjin Airport which is 130 km from Beijing

Tianjin to Tokyo was @ 11000 Rs. (50% of the fare what’s from Bejijn)

Phew...saved...Booked it :)


Train travel in China


Train travel can be booked in China from various websites for an additional fee. Tickets sell fast so it’s better to pay for the additional fees and book early. As I was on budget I booked hard seats on trains. This is basically economy class.

China train tickets booking via

https://www.travelchinaguide.com/china-trains/

http://english.ctrip.com/trains/


Stay


Visa applications require hotel bookings. All my stays were all at hostels. The best site I found for booking was Hostel World http://www.hostelworld.com/


Tip: When booking hostels vis Hostel World pay additional 1$ by selecting Standard Flexible Booking option. This saves your money in case of cancellation. Totally worth for the Rs. 63 spent extra

Tick Standard Flexible Booking