On Nov 24th 2018 we set out on a 99 day adventure through SE Asia, a place we’ve never traveled as a family.
So how do you plan a trip through SE Asia for 99 days? Marian and I are organized, but we are not planners. When it comes to our free time we find adventure in spontaneity (it’s also hard to be disappointed when there weren’t any expectations in the first place). In 2001 we took a three week trip to New Zealand which was to be our last trip before Ellis was born. We bought airfare and a Lonely Planet guide. We landed in Aukland and opened the book…for the first time. Our decision was: do we drive north or south? We drove north and had a great time.
That approach wasn’t going to work with a family of five traveling through eight countries over three months. We probably should have called a travel agent, but that seemed so 1995 (do they still exist?). Instead we googled “six weeks in SE Asia”. This lead to searches titled “10 days in Thailand”, “where to stay in Bali”, “things to do in Laos”, etc. We watched youtube, read travel blogs and talked to friends who have traveled through the area. From this, a plan started coming together.
The first stop is South Korea. The family has never traveled to Asia and being half Korean heritage, it was the must do stop. We had tried going there several times over the past two years, but work and geopolitical factors got in the way. We put it on the front end to avoid the cold winter months and are bringing Marian’s mom, who immigrated from there many decades ago.
After Korea we are going to Japan. Why? Because everyone wanted to go there and it was so close. I went to Japan for the first time in Feb (2018) and it was amazing. I couldn’t wait to go back and take the family so it was put on the itinerary.
After Japan we are going to the Philippines. Originally we were going to go to Australia to see the Great Barrier Reef before its gone, and also be in Sydney on Boxing Day for the start of the Sydney – Hobart Yacht Race. However, Australia became challenging for a number of reasons and Ethan said “how about the Philippines?” It wasn’t even considered until he brought it up and google revealed the beautiful islands and crystal clear waters. So now we are going to the Philippines.
From the Philippines we head to Thailand to begin a mostly overland trek across Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. Ethan and I traveled to Vietnam in May as part of his school’s global studies program and I fell in love with SE Asia. It is a part of the world that the family needed to see and experience, and it also has a cost of living that would support an extended adventure.
We conclude with two weeks in Bali, a place I’ve wanted to visit since I was a kid.