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An Essex girl's advice to SE Asia

by Charlie Johnson 13 days ago in asia

The do's the dont's the ins the outs. A heads up so you don't make the same mistakes we did.

Oh hey doll....

I have been on the most amazing journey. 9 ferry's, 12 buses, an overnight train, an overnight bus (with a bed) 5 countries, 21 cities, 3 Intro Travel Tours all with my best friend by my side. Meeting some of the coolest people, and friends for life. I just had a real URGE. To share everything with you guys. Whether you want to go, need that push, or just being nosey, enjoyyyyyy.

Bali Dreams...


So what made me up leave my job? Leave my family? Leave my life in England? Well apart from going to work in the dark and getting home in the dark... I have always wanted to go travelling, but never had it in me to to just make the decision I never believed that I could ever save that much, that anyone else would come with me.

Until we changed up our girls holiday one year and decided to travel around Thailand with Intro Travel. That changed everything. That was a peak into what travelling would be like, and I just knew this is what I wanted. We went as a tour group, the majority of the people was only on the start of their travelling.

I fell IN LOVE with Thailand the culture, the freedom, meeting new people, the lack of stress, I had no cares no worries, wasn't obsessed with my phone, I didn't care what people thought of me, I felt free. I knew that I wanted more of that. So as soon as I got back to England, and was out of that bubble I just did it. Me and Stac booked 2 tours with intro a flight and started planning.

By far the best decision I have EVER made.

Intro Travel - Thailand


I absolutely LOVED planning the route for our travels. I was just so excited just wanted to know everything and get more excited about the places we were going. As soon as the tours and the flight was booked it was full steam ahead. We booked the Vietnam and Cambodia and Bali tour. We used that as our base.

So I printed a map, I had the tours and then started researching places around it in Asia. We decided to start in Thailand as we had been there and knew it. I drew a line From Thailand to Laos to Vietnam to Cambodia to Bail to Philippines to Kuala Lumpur to Singapore. (Btw everything changes so much when you travel). Then we used the tours to work out the dates and how long we would spend in each place.

We never had an exact amount of time we would be in Asia. This is IMPORTANT to know in my opinion booking everything in one go is the BIGGEST mistake.

If you decide to go travelling don't pre book to much, if your booking tours that's fine, but if not DON'T pre book flights, hotels internal travel, too many events and excursions. As explained above things change constantly.

Me and Stac booked one flight to Thailand we booked our hotel when we got there & our first hostel in Phi Phi apart from that, we booked everything else as we went.

If you want to stay somewhere longer you can, if you want to leave earlier you can. Also the unknown is my fav part of travelling.

When planning what to do in each country I stalked the sh*t out of people and places in Instagram. I would search a tagged place for example Note Cafe Vietnam, it would then come up with loads of people mostly travellers that had been there.

So I would go through and see where these people had travelled. This helped me massively seeing where was the best places to go. I created the below list.

Plan of places to go.

After a few months of researching the best places to go in the locationswe was travelling to we have a SOLID plan. Feel free to have a look at my Insta as I tagged everywhere along the way.

WHERE I ACTUALLY WENT! (Click on the places to see the best pic from each place)

  • Thailand
  • Laos
  • Vietnam
  • Cambodia
  • Bali
  • Sydney (Current Location)


Typical Essex's girls we are we strolled through Asia with 20kg worth of clothes on our back NO NO NO. I am so glad I have made the mistake for you HA! Even though I was told by plenty of people 'NO YOU DO NOT NEED 15 BIKINIS AND 30 OUTFITS' but course me being me, I needed all of it! What a mistake!

4th September 2019

but.... as they say you live and you LEARN, the moment we had to walk along Phi Phi beach with 20kg on our back in 40 degree heat (Which was 3 days in) was the moment I wish I would have just listened.

See when your in Asia fashion isn't a thing, you end up wearing the same pair of shorts for 2 weeks running, after 9 and half months and I still have clothes I HAVE NOT & WILL NOT wear! I would take less that the next time I go, because carrying hat bloody thing + unpacking and packing again is not what you want sister! TAKE IT FROM ME!


So the question I am asked all the time... How much did you save? How long did it take you? How did you get all that money? THE ANSWER

I made a decision, I worked my butt off, & I made it happen! From a girl that could never save to a girl with 10k in her bank in 8 months. If I can do it, TRUST ME you can. Me and Stac both were the girls in the group that lived pay check to pay check, we just loved spending money.

We loved a good time and saving didn't matter to us. UNTIL we decided we wanted to see the world.

From the day we booked the tour, that was it. We both worked 2 jobs, 7 days a week and stopped spending.

THAT WAS IT GUYS. It might seem impossible but I'M TELLING YOU (from 2 girls that never knew how to save you can) All you have to do is make it a priority.


All that saving paid off we have had the BEST 9 months ever. & if your going to save money for anything this is the thing to save it for!

Koh Rong sunset island


Apart from seeing all this AMAZING places in the world.. It's the PEOPLE you meet. It's the RELATIONSHIPS you create. The BONDS & FRIENDSHIPS are like nothing else. I have made some of my BEST BEST BEST friends since travelling.


(cliche BUT..... I promise you it will be one of the most UNREAL experiences, you will learn so much and the memories you make with the people you didn't know a year ago CLASSSSSS)

Please follow me on the below

Oh Hey Doll

Oh Hey Doll Instagram

Days in the sun 🌞


Charlie Johnson

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