During a Working Holiday in Australia or New Zealand, many of us choose to travel in Asia or the Pacific Islands. As you surely know, the Working Holiday Visa allows you to leave and re-enter the country as many times as you like as long as your visa is valid. Therefore, it makes sense to pay a visit to the neighboring countries. Many of them can be reached in just a few hours by plane. We would like to introduce you to the most popular destinations in Asia and the Pacific. To help you with your travel arrangements, we’ve put together a lot of interesting information so you can get the most out of your trip.
Many of you are likely to break the journey to the red continent with a stopover. If you are traveling from the UK, Indonesia is just on the way. If you are already in Australia, you just hop on a plane for a few hours. Many airlines offer good prices, making Bali the most popular destination for working holiday makers in Oceania.
– Go out to the popular bars and clubs in Kuta and Canggu
– Admire corals and wonderfully colored fish in the fishing village of Ahmed
– View the temples in Uluwatu, Tanah Lot and Bedugul
– Experience the traditional culture of Ubud
If you want to stay longer than 30 days, you can apply for a VOA over 60 days, also on site. This costs about 35 AUD and can be extended for another 30 days.
Easy to get to and very cheap, these are just two reasons why Thailand is one of the most popular backpacker destinations. After a few hours on a plane you are already there. Due to the low cost of living (especially in comparison to Australia), you can actually afford life there despite a tight budget.
– Experience the traditional culture in Chiang Mai and hike through the jungle
– Dive into the turquoise ocean on Koh Tao Island – Celebrate the Full Moon on Koh Samui
– Kayak in the bay of Phang Nga and admire the spectacular limestone cliffs
In Thailand, you don’t need to apply for a visa for stays under 30 days in advance either. You get a stamp in your passport on the spot, as long as it is valid for at least 6 more months, from the day of entry.
However, if you plan to stay in Thailand for more than 30 days, you have to apply for and receive a visa from a Thai consulate prior to entry.
The peak season in Thailand runs from November to February. In the north of the country, the dry season is between November and May. It is also slightly cooler between October and January. From June to October there may be heavy rains.
In the south-west, the wettest months are between April and October. In the south-east, it rains a lot between October and January. The rest of the year should be sunny and dry without exception.
Until a few years ago, Vanuatu was a little-known destination. Today, this attractive destination is very popular among travelers from Oceania and affordable even for tight travel budgets. A true paradise on earth! Port Vila is just a 3.5-hour flight from Sydney and you find numerous low-cost flights to get there relatively cheaply.
– Shopping in Port Vila – Experience the marine life on the island of Espiritu Santo
– Watch traditional dances
– Admire the active volcano Yanur on the island of Tanna
– Swim in the “millenium cave” in Santo
Since Vanuatu has a tropical climate, you can get acquainted with the land and its people throughout the year. Especially good are the conditions between April and October (between 18 and 28°C).
There are a few showers between November and March, but that should not affect your stay.
In the south-west of the Pacific Ocean, the island group Fiji is spread over 300 islands. Some of these islands are inaccessible for many travelers, as they are exclusive for guests of luxurious resorts. Nadi Airport (on the West Coast of Viti Levu) is the gateway to the Fiji Islands.
– Visit one of the local clubs in Suva
– Enjoy the sublime beaches of the islands of Mamanuca and Yasawa
– Experience the local culture in Navala
– Admire the caves of Sawa-i-lau
The only condition is that your passport is valid for at least 6 months after your departure. On arrival, you will also show proof of accommodation and a return ticket.
The rainy season lasts from November to April with heavy local showers and a risk of (mild) cyclones.
There are two different parts of Malaysia. In the west, you find a modern and sophisticated country with skyscrapers and an oil industry. In the east, however, the country is still wild with sublime beaches, tropical islands and small fishing villages. These two sides are separated by a gigantic mountain jungle (Taman Negara), one of the oldest forests in the world.
– Climb the Petronas Tower in Kuala Lumpur (KL)
– Tea tasting in the Camerons Highlands
– Admire the street art in Penang
– Immerse yourself in the history of the colonial era in Malacca
– Climb Mount Kinabalu on Borneo
For the Sarawak State, you have to purchase a one-month permit upon arrival at one of the airports, Kuching, Miri or Sibu. If you stay longer than 3 months, you need a long-term visa, which you can apply for at the Malaysian Embassy in your home country.
Only in 1990, Vietnam opened their doors to tourism. A wonderful country that has kept its authenticity and still lives mainly from agriculture. There you find the famous Ha Long bay and the Mekong Delta. Vietnam is fantastic for everyone who loves culture and nature, but is on a tight budget.
– Spend a few days in the Sapa mountains
– Stroll the streets of Hanoïs (Temple of Philosophy, Ho Chi Minh Museum, Old City) – Admire Ha Long Bay from Tam Coc
– Tour on the Mekong Delta
If you want to stay in Vietnam for longer, you apply in advance for a visa at the Vietnamese Embassy. This costs about USD 25.
If you want to travel to more rural areas (especially during the rainy season), you should probably get vaccination against Japanese Encephalitis as well.
The best time to visit Vietnam is during spring (February to March) and autumn (August to October). The temperatures are pleasant and it rains only a little.
Note: The Vietnamese celebrate the New Year’s Moon between 21 January and 20 February. During this time, the country is moving in slow motion. Most local authorities, infrastructure, health care, banks, ticket counters and museums are closed.
Laos & Cambodia
Laos is a land of water, with fertile plains, mountains, and a multitude of temples.
Cambodia, on the other hand, will intrigue you with its authenticity and the contagious and benevolent smiles of its inhabitants.
These two less touristy countries are amazing for travellers looking for authenticity and wild nature.
– Explore the city of Luang Prabang, UNESCO World Heritage Site
– Discover the Thakek Loop and the serpentines of the plateau on a scooter
– Boat trip on Mekong
– Stroll through the KARSTIQUE region in Vang Vieng
– Relax on the 4,000 islands of Cambodia
– Visit the islands of Koh Russei, Koh Rong Samoleom and Koh Rong
– Discover the ruins of Angkor Wat, Khmer, former capital
– Walk through Phnom Penh, capital of Cambodia
– Experience the nightlife of Siem Reap
– Try windsurfing on the beaches of Sihanoukville
Since the country started moving towards democracy and opened their doors to tourism, Myanmar has become an increasingly popular destination. In Myanmar, you will discover some of the most magical places on earth.
– Enjoy the sunset from the pagoda (temple) Paya Shwedagon, in Yangon
– Take a boat trip on the Inle lake and visit the stilted fishing village
– Explore the sites of Bagan by bike or on a hot air balloon
– Climb Kyaiktiyo Mountain
– Explore the beaches in the south of the country
– Passport (valid for at least 6 months after the date of departure and at least 3 free pages)
– Plane ticket or proof of departure within 4 weeks
– Completed application form
– Proof of accommodation, itinerary or travel agency, on an organised trip
Updated on the 15/01/2020. Initially published on the 30/11/2018.