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Cambodia Laosand Thailand itinerary

  • stollie77

    Joined Travelfish
    23rd May, 2011
    Posts: 4

    Hi!

    This is my first forum post so I hope anyone can help me. My wife and I (male; 33 years old) are planning to travel to Cambodia in August and September. As we have three weeks I presume we have time to travel parts of Laos and/or Thailand as well. Our interests are the mix of nature, cities, culture and relaxing. Less partying.

    At the moment I am considering two itineraries:

    Itenerary 1 (in this order)
    - Bangkok (4 nights; never been to Thailand before)
    - Luang Prabang (3 nights; flight)
    - Phonsovan (2 nights; bus)
    - Vientiane (2 nights;bus or flight)
    - Siem Reap (4 nights; flight)
    - Battambang (1 night; bus or boat)
    - Phnom Penh (3 nights)
    - One spare day, any suggestions?

    Itinerary 2:
    - Bangkok (4 nights)
    - River Kwai (2 nights; bus)
    - Ayutthaya (1 night; bus)
    - Back to Bangkok (1 night;bus)
    - Siem Reap (4 nights; flight)
    - Battambang (1 night; bus or boat)
    - Phnom Penh (3 nights)
    - Four spare days, any suggestions? Maybe an island?

    Does anyone have any comments on these itineraries? Too challenging for 3 weeks? Does anyone have suggestions for the spare days or changes in days?

    Furthermore, I have a couple of specific questions:
    - I read the rainy season is quite OK, but is one of the regions above worse than others?
    - I an aware that Phonsovan is a bit out of the way. Is it worth the detour? Vang Vieng could be an alternative but I read some bad stories about it on this site
    - we love nature and national parks. Is there a nice national park on the route that we should include?
    - I excluded Sihanoukville as I reas that it is raining all the time in August and September. Any experiences with this?

    Thanks for your help!

    Kind regards,
    Mark

    #1 Posted: 23/5/2011 - 04:17

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  • busylizzy

    Joined Travelfish
    31st December, 2007
    Location New Zealand
    Posts: 2043
    Total reviews: 20
    Places visited:
    At least 107

    Personally, if it's your first time there, I would suggest you stick with Itinerary 2. It will be a bit easier on you in terms of travel time and allow you to' focus' on two countries rather than 3.

    - You may also want to consider cutting back your time in Bkk to 3 nights rather than 4, and use it to add to another location - like River Kwai area or Ayutthaya.
    - If you want beach time, consider going from Bangkok to Koh Chang (east of Bkk) - and some of the islands out that way. It's about a 5-6 hour bus ride each way, or you can fly Bkk-Trat.

    If you are going with Itinerary 1, and you are keen to go go Phonsavan , maybe consider flying the Phonsavan - Vientiane leg - and make it just a bit easier on yourselves. I will be going to Laos later this year, and from everything I had read, I would definitely pick Phonsavan over VV. But that's personal choice - I'm not into the drunken obnoxious tourist scene.

    #2 Posted: 23/5/2011 - 05:40

  • caseyprich

    Joined Travelfish
    3rd March, 2010
    Location China
    Posts: 1140
    Total reviews: 50
    Places visited:
    At least 43

    Agree with Lizzy - if you've never been to Thailand and you're flying into BKK there is no reason to jump off to Laos and not see some of what Thailand has to offer. I have similar concerns in mind for next years Spring Festival when my girlfriend and I have just about two weeks for her holiday. She really wants to see Angkor Wat but the cheapest way to go is through BKK and she has never been to Thailand - so I'm torn between spending some time on the Thai beaches or exploring Cambodia more since we are going there anyway. I love Laos and had a mind to dip into Southern Laos instead of either choice but just realized that two countries in a very short time would actually be more fantastic than choosing to whiz through three.

    Also, you've picked some nice spots to see in Thailand and aren't stretching yourself too far with that itinerary. For what its worth I also think 3 nights in BKK at the start since you'll be going back for a night on the way to Siem Reap.

    I assume it is big Koh Chang island that Lizzy is talking about (?) and having been there I agree that it is a good place to relax with a variety of different beach options depending on your taste. You can cross back into BKK near Trat , though in the past there have been stories that it was not the most delightful border crossing. But in that case you might want to go SR - PP - Battambang (with the option to spend an extra night in either Battambang or Trat to slow down your roll a little).

    All that said - if you do go to Laos, Phonsovan is very interesting if you like history, with the confluence of UXO from the secret war and the plain of jars. I honestly didn't think it was the prettiest country-side or town in Laos, but a very interesting place.

    #3 Posted: 23/5/2011 - 07:19

  • exacto

    Joined Travelfish
    12th February, 2006
    Posts: 2300
    Total reviews: 47

    I can't add much here, other than to agree that itinerary #2 is the much better choice for exactly the reasons lizzy and casey mention above. It won't be too rushed, you've picked good spots, and it should be great fun. If you have the time at the end, Ko Chang is the logical choice, although it might still be a bit rainy that time of year. But maybe not too. Trat is also a great little town if you find yourself in the neighborhood. Cheers.

    #4 Posted: 23/5/2011 - 08:15

  • stollie77

    Joined Travelfish
    23rd May, 2011
    Posts: 4

    @ busylissy, caseyprich and exacto, thanks a lot for your replies!

    #5 Posted: 23/5/2011 - 23:32

  • stollie77

    Joined Travelfish
    23rd May, 2011
    Posts: 4

    Hi!

    I have done some extra research on Cambodia and am considering to include two extra regions in my trip:
    - Banlung and surroundings
    - Kampot and surroundings
    This would mean that I would exclude the Thai part of the initial trip. This leaves the following itenerary:
    - Siem Reap (4 nights; flight)
    - Battambang (2 nights; bus or boat)
    - Phnom Penh (3 nights)
    - Banlung (4 nights; bus)
    - Phnom Penh (1 night; bus)
    - Kampot (4 nights; bus)
    - Sihanoukville(2 nights; bus)

    Some questions about this:
    - How are the road conditions towards Banlung in August/ September?
    - Is the weather OK in Kampot in that period of time?
    - Are Banlung, Kampot and Sihanoukwille worth it to exclude Bangkok, River Kwai and Ayutthaya from my previuos iterarary?

    Any help is appreciated!

    Mark

    #6 Posted: 30/5/2011 - 02:10

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