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Laos or Cambodia?

  • GermanCoast-
    girl

    Joined Travelfish
    16th February, 2011
    Posts: 23

    Hi All,
    I have already posted in the Laos forum and would like your input on the following route planning:
    I will be travelling SEA for 6 weeks in Feb/March 2012. First three weeks with my son, last 3 weeks my husband will join.
    I have now taken some weeks (besides working/family life) to think of further planning and would like you to give me your feedback on the following planned route (I know, I still have sooo much tíme left but planning is also soooo much fun !)

    3 weeks alone with my son:
    --> Arrival in BKK (stay 2 days)
    --> train to Vientiane (stay ~2 days)
    --> bus to VangVieng (stay ~2 days)
    --> bus to LP (stay 4-5 days)
    --> Any suggestions for the rest of the trip from LP on until we pick up my husband after 3 weeks in BKK?
    --> LP to Chiang Mai ?? Then train to BKK and 2 days on the beach in Pattaya for kid to relax and see some sea?

    another 3 weeks with the family:
    --> back to BKK to pick up Daddy (stay 2 days)
    --> fly to Siem Reap (stay ~5 days with Angkor Wat)
    --> bus to Battambang (~2 days including Bamboo train)
    --> anything else around?
    --> bus to Trat
    --> KoChang (~5 days)
    --> back to BKK and back home ;-(

    Now, here are my questions and my dilemma:
    Facts: My husband is really tall, he has never been to Asia before (and I don't want to spoil it, grin!!), he wants culture/history but also relaxing times....

    This is my current understanding from the countless threats I read:
    Laos seems to be extremely beautiful and relaxing, perfect landscape, stuff for kids,.... but uncomfortable in travelling. I definitely want to go there...
    Cambodia is extremely interesting regarding temples (Angkor Wat a MUST) and history, close to the Beach.

    I am now not sure at all whether it would be a pity for my husband not to see Laos as this could be a good introduction into Asia or if the currently planned route is fine because Cambodia is as beautiful as Laos....
    I could also completely drop Cambodia and just travel Thailand with my son and travel up to North Laos with the family.... But, I suppose, I would find it a pity not to travel to Cambodia at all....

    Do I sound confusing? Well, I am ;-)

    Thanks for your thoughts and ideas !!
    Birgit

    #1 Posted: 19/4/2011 - 20:15

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  • caseyprich

    Joined Travelfish
    3rd March, 2010
    Location China
    Posts: 1225
    Total reviews: 53
    Places visited:
    At least 48

    --> LP to Chiang Mai ?? Then train to BKK and 2 days on the beach in Pattaya for kid to relax and see some sea?

    Definitely fly from LP to Chiang Mai, if you have a kid that is going to be the only reasonable thing to do. Also, you may want to look into somewhere other than Pattaya, I've only heard bad things about that place.

    Northenrn Laos has a lot of interesting history if you think about Luang Prabang and Phonsavan (Plain of Jars and UXO). However, Cambodia is also chuck full of history with both the temples and things in Phnom Penh- though you aren't going there? Another good place for history is Kanchanaburi - have you considered it? If he really wants relaxing time, then it is good to not go to Northern Laos so that he can also get that beach time in at the end.

    If you're really interested in Laos just go with your son at the start of the trip. I know a lot of people who've lived in Thailand, China, and Vietnam and who love Asia but have never been to Laos - you can really get introduced to SE Asia without seeing Laos. However, if you're experienced at traveling the area I don't think you should keep putting off going to see it.

    #2 Posted: 20/4/2011 - 13:33

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6281
    Total reviews: 10

    "Also, you may want to look into somewhere other than Pattaya, I've only heard bad things about that place."

    I did too Casey, but my wife, mother and daughter and I stayed there for five days last month, and it was a surprisingly good time. The beaches are not great, except in the hotel I stayed at where they kept the private beach clean. The pool was great.

    Along beach road there are hookers everywhere - thousands of them. If that bothers you, don't go. But they are not pushy or obnoxious. They will leave you alone, and leave your husband alone in your company.

    There are tons of different kinds of restaraunts there, parks, water parks, golf course, zoos, hotels in every range and category... it does have a lot to offer. Some people are put off by sex tourism, but if you don't care, then it's a place which offers a great deal. And you can easily avoid the sex tourist areas as they only occupy a narrow part of the city in force.

    #3 Posted: 20/4/2011 - 13:52

  • GermanCoast-
    girl

    Joined Travelfish
    16th February, 2011
    Posts: 23

    Hi Casey, Hi Madmac, Thanks for your feedback ! Yeah, I think I will do Laos with my son, fly from LP to ChiangMai and check out for something beachy around BKK just for my son to relax after all that traveling and before we continue with Daddy doing Cambodia. (Pattaya could be fine as I will be alone with my son and we won't do bars.Or I find an alternative close to BKK. ;-)) As my husband wants beach, you are right: Laos won't do....
    I will check for Kanchanaburi and yes, I currently have not considered PP as we only have ~2 weeks for Cambodia and that will be tight....
    Can you guys recommend KoChang? Or any other island/beach that we could relax being quite close to BKK but still as away as possible from the tourist bunch?

    Cheers, Birgit

    #4 Posted: 21/4/2011 - 01:20

  • caseyprich

    Joined Travelfish
    3rd March, 2010
    Location China
    Posts: 1225
    Total reviews: 53
    Places visited:
    At least 48

    I'd say you're not going to find an island far away from the tourist bunch - but Ko Chang is nice. Ko Mak was a nice spot for relaxing on the beach, but the beach we were on was very shallow and much of the area rocky. For good snorkeling Ko Wai was the best spot in the area, Paradise is a bit of a party scene - the island is small so I don't know if you're son would feel too stuck in the resort. Ko Chang has a lot of good options, hard to know where to start - but if you want to be away from the tourist I'd recommend going down to the beaches in the Southwest part of the island. The last is Ko Kut, which I did not visit but I hear it is good.

    #5 Posted: 21/4/2011 - 07:48

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6281
    Total reviews: 10

    There is no decent beach that is "close" (within driving distance) to BKK that is not overrun. Bangkok has some 12 million people living there, plus it's the primary entry point for a large number of tourists coming to SEA. Koh Chang isn't a bad option, but it will take a full day to get there - between bus and boat. Hua Hin is about four hours from Bangkok, and it's OK, but it's loaded with Thai tourists, and therefore doesn't have as much in the way of western food and convenience (although perhaps this isn't as important to you). Cha'am is closer to Bangkok than Hua Hin, and my son swears by it. He's been there a couple of times and loves it. But again, it caters to the Thai tourist crowd, so it's not going to be a quiet beach. But it is inexpensive, which for him is a major factor (being a poor university student).

    #6 Posted: 21/4/2011 - 10:43

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6281
    Total reviews: 10

    Sorry, one other adendum, while the naughty nightlife dominates beach road and second road in Pattaya, it's important to understand that a lot of the bars are open air and there are A LOT of freelancers working out there as well. In short, unless you confine yourself to the outskirts of town or your hotel / resprt, there is no way to avoid visual exposure to prostitution in Pattaya. It's pretty full on there. Even in the hotels, a lot of guys, and some couples, bring working girls back with them. If prostitution is a problem for you, then it's a place best avoided.

    #7 Posted: 21/4/2011 - 10:52

  • mrdome

    Joined Travelfish
    3rd May, 2008
    Posts: 42
    Total reviews: 2

    How old is your son?

    #8 Posted: 22/4/2011 - 16:45

  • GermanCoast-
    girl

    Joined Travelfish
    16th February, 2011
    Posts: 23

    He will then be almost 6 years old....

    #9 Posted: 26/4/2011 - 01:47

  • asiaindia

    Joined Travelfish
    6th May, 2011
    Posts: 3

    I really dream to go to cambodia, Nice post by the way. It give me more info about cambodia, I also read some post about cambodia and it really help me try also this sites
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    Keep up the good work, ill be expecting more Forum in this site

    #10 Posted: 6/5/2011 - 12:22

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  • mrdome

    Joined Travelfish
    3rd May, 2008
    Posts: 42
    Total reviews: 2

    Thanks for the spam, asiaindia.

    #11 Posted: 6/5/2011 - 13:28

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