Carla’s South East Asian Adventure – Part 1

In the first of this series Carla ter Maat talks about preparing for her journey

So, enough talking about this trip now. It was time to start planning.

Wat Arun, Bangkok – Image (c)Tourism Authority of Thailand

After all, I have only 3 months of evenings and weekends to do it in (the wonderful announcement of the arrival of my first grandchild in June has caused me to realize I need to go before he arrives as wild horses would not pull me away after that.)

I knew I wanted to go to South East Asia (Bali has drawn me like a beckoning finger for years now) but which other countries would I include? Of course the Internet would tell me everything I needed to know!…which airlines fly where and which is the most favourably priced? Which hotel/guest accommodation should I book and despite what Trip Advisor tells me, was it really the location/standard/price I sought? What visas were needed for which country/should I apply on arrival or anxiously send my passport through the post to the relevant embassies (eek!) What vaccinations were actually required? (there are so many recommended!) What about the not-to-be-missed festivals and events that were on during my trip, let alone making sure the weather!? Could I really manage to co-ordinate this all on my own??

After the first week of trawling through so any websites and way too much information, the anxiety and doubt set in…perhaps I wouldn’t go; after all, I wasn’t in my 20’s anymore…

Watching me turn into a nervous wreck over it all (wasn’t this supposed to be part of the fun?) one of my dearest friends suggested I contact someone we had both worked with previously and was now employed by Travelbag.

Well, that was by far the best advice I could have taken! I was put in touch with Brighton Branch Manager, Zara, and I literally felt the stress drain away to be replaced with excitement. By the end of our first meeting, dates were in place, international flights booked, a selection of tours, activities and highlights discussed, visas and vaccinations clarified.

I am sure there are many people out there that would manage perfectly fine booking their own trip on the internet, but given my different destinations, available time (isn’t time limited and previous to us all?) and flexibility I required, Travelbag really did help me fully fill this dream.

I was really on my way! Phew, my relief was palpable and equilibrium restored.

Departure date was March 31st, returning exactly two months later on May 31st. Destinations: Thailand (Bangkok and the North), Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and Malaysia.

Bali will have to wait till next time!

Carla ter Maat

Carla ter Maat has worked in food related businesses all her working life, from running an award winning delicatessen and catering business in Virginia Water to owning and managing a sea front Italian restaurant in Sussex. This has produced in her a wealth of experience in the Food, Drink and Hospitality industries. Now, as Sales Manager for the impeccable drakes boutique hotel and restaurant in Brighton, Carla continues to impart her knowledge and delights in discovering the hidden gems, whether fine food importers, local wine producers or excellent restaurants; and she’s travelling far and wide to do so.

Carla’s journey was organised by