RTW trip: How we planned the Itinerary!

In BLOG by Clelia Mattana9 Comments


“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” 


Saint Augustine was right. I indeed want to read more pages of this fascinating book. In my case a very specific book: THE SOUTH EAST ASIA TRAVEL GUIDE!  But today I’m stealing Saint Augustine’s metaphor to introduce you to the next few chapters on my own book:




Of all the planning I did in the past few months the Itinerary has been one of the most difficult/Confusing yet exciting  tasks!

I still remember when Paolino and I took the serious decision to travel the world: we were on a beach in Sardinia,  maybe we were inspired by the beautiful scenery who knows, but we  immediately agreed that South East Asia was the right place to visit! OK, technically this is not a RTW trip, but stay tuned!


piscinas beach sardinia

I took this picture on the same day we decided to leave everything behind and go to Asia!


While picking the continent was pretty smooth (at least we had limited choice there!) deciding  the exact countries/ route/cities and places to visit (even if it was just a rough plan) was much more complex.

On the bright side I must admit that I am really lucky since my travel buddy Paolino patiently agreed on ALMOST (hello Burma!) every single place I picked, and considering that I changed my mind on a daily basis it is quite impressive.

Even now that the guidelines are set sometimes I burst out with random crazy ideas (i.e “why don’t we add South America and Mexico??” or “I REALLY want to go to Papua New Guinea!


In the beginning, I looked at the map and I  randomly jumped from Bangkok to Manila, with a step on the Himalayas and a visit to the residence of the Dalai Lama (of course), adding a stop in Bali.

You don’t need to look at the Map to see that this was just crazy! So I forced myself to calm down and set at least a couple of rules (even if this random jumping was so much fun!) in the end we needed to go back to earth and consider at least 3 main factors:


  • Budget
  • Main attraction we wanted to visit
  • Seasonality


The Budget:

Budget is obviously our main factor to consider and deeply influenced many of our decisions so far.

As a general rule, when I was estimating how expensive a country was compared to our European standards, I went online and checked the prices for the hostels and WOW, in Asia (Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos in particular) a twin bedroom with private bathroom can cost from 4£ up, not bad.

Even the bungalows on the beach are not too expensive.



Based on this assumption we narrowed down the list to the cheapest countries. Places like Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan are still on hold for now.


Main attractions:

We were overwhelmed by the choices, so to keep it simple we pinned just a few “must see” things:

  • Angkor Wat temples (Cambodia)
  • Phi Phi Leh –  Maya Beach (Thailand)
  • Boracay, where we are planning to stay as a base for our island hopping (Philippines)
  • Ha long Bay (Vietnam)

We really want to see these places, and in 8/10 months we will have plenty of time, but if we want to stay longer in a country, or change the itinerary for some reason, we still can do that without messing up the original plan too much.

After all our travel rule is to experience the FREEDOM of doing whatever inspire us right then and there, but most importantly: SLOW TRAVEL.




Picking too many spots  just translates into a crazy race against time to be able to tick as many places as possible. Not my idea of travel at all.



We tried to take into account the rainy season and we are planning to do the “island hopping” in Thailand/Indonesia before that, if possible. We use this factor as a general guidance.


So, wrapping it up, the main itinerary is simply a guide of the countries we want to visit and the order in which we’d like to visit them (we also wrote down the time we will be spending in each place). But this is NOT set in stone.

The underlined places are the ones for which we already have booked flights/accommodation and the remaining of them is just an idea:


  • 10-02-2013 Day of our RTW trip Departure Starting in Thailand/Bangkok
  • Thailand (1 month)- Kanchanaburi Area Exploration
  • Angkor Wat Temples trip( 5 days)
  • Thailand (1 month) -South of Thailand- Phuket/Phi Phi/Krabi/Various Islands
  • Malaysia (2 weeks)- Kuala Lumpur/other details still tbc
  • Indonesia(1 month) -Sumatra/Bali/Borneo
  • Philippines (1-2 months)- Boracay/Palawan/Island hopping
  • Vietnam (1 month)- Ha long Bay/Hanoi/Hoi an/ Ho chi min City
  • Cambodia/Laos (1 month)-details still tbc
  • Nepal( 2 weeks) details still tbc
  • India (1 month)- New Deli/Calcutta/Dharamshala


So this is it:  OUR ITINERARY! Reading it sounds pretty awesome to me, it looks like we covered almost everything we wanted to see but leaving it OPEN to the unknown, like a gourmet menu in a fancy restaurant  with a surprise dish, and I just cant wait to taste it!

Twenty-nine  days and all this will became reality! I’m Freaking happy, scared, excited but most of all IMPATIENT!

Cheers everyone, and thanks for reading. If you have any suggestion, comment or idea, please drop a line!


  1. Better late than never, but this post is great. It’s nice to see a breakdown of how long you spent in each country!

  2. What a great list of countries! I’m leaving for SEA in a few weeks, to volunteer long term in rural Cambodia, visit friends in Vietnam, and hopefully travel around the whole region. Have a wonderful trip! I’m following you on twitter now, so I can’t wait to be a part of your adventures.

    1. Hey Mary,Thanks for stopping by! what you’re going to do sounds Amazing,i want to volunteer in Cambodia too at some point, let me know how it goes for you and we could share some useful informations! Good Luck for everything and enjoy your trip!

  3. Good planning Kle. This trip is going to be very memorable with Thailand and India on the list. Wishing you a very happy and safe journey.

  4. Make sure you go to Philippines, they are Amazing!.Let me know if you need some more info, i’d be more than happy to help! Safe travels

    1. Hey Lennie! Yes i will totally go to the Philippines!i’ve heard a lot about it and i’m planning to stay in there as much as i can..Thanks for your help i’ll write u an email with some questions 🙂

  5. Hey Kle, your itinerary sounds pretty cool! But i love the idea of keeping it open, i think it’s the best way to go. I’m planning my RTW trip for 2014(now in the process of saving money) and i still didn’t decide the continent. It is not an easy decision.. too many options, but South America is for now on top of my dream list! Good luck for your trip.

    1. Hi Becky! South America is another dream country for me too! not sure i’m gonna make it there but i wll try! i know it’s hard to make decisions sometimes, but wherever you decide to go, it’s gonna be amazing! The worst part is the waiting (and saving the money..)
      Best of Luck to u!

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