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A few questions on Cambodia...

  • starfish

    Joined Travelfish
    23rd March, 2009
    Posts: 20
    Total reviews: 2

    hi!

    Just a few questions really:
    1. Getting from Vientiane to Siem Reap - is it worth going down from southern loas or going through thailand into cambodia? Travelling there last year, i heard that the southern border into Cambodia was a tricky on and so was wondering if it would be easier to get the train to Ubon Ratchathani and then possibly get a bus? We are planning on leaving Vientiane on the 12th but need to be in Cambodia by the 15th, either route is there anywhere that would be good for a day and night stop?

    2. Trekking in Cambodia - we are meeting a friend who is interested in doing some trekking probably a 2 day one night kind of thing, where could people recommend to do it?

    Thank you for ur help! x

    #1 Posted: 25/11/2009 - 22:30

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  • exacto

    Joined Travelfish
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    Location United States
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    Hi Starfish,

    If you plan on getting from Vientiane to Siem Reap via Thailand, then I don't think taking the train to Ubon is your best option. Because there is no train directly from Nong Khai to Ubon, you'd have to go almost all the way back to Bangkok to switch trains, meaning you might as well just go all the way to Bangkok and take the bus or the train to Aranyaprathet in Thailand for the overland trip to Siem Reap instead. If you did go to Ubon, your route would most likely cross into southern Laos anyway, and you'd still have those concerns about crossing the border from Laos into Cambodia.

    I've never made that crossing, but it seems to be much more common and much less of a hassle these days, at least according to folks I've met who have done it. If you do wind up going through southern Laos, Pakse or Champassak and a visit to Wat Phu would be a good warm up for Angkor. Lots of folks also enjoy a stopover at the 4,000 islands area.

    Another option, if you can afford it, is to fly from Vientiane directly to Siem Reap. It's not as romantic, but it is definitely convenient. You could also fly part of the way to either Savannakhet or Pakse and go overland from there. That would save some time and hopefully spare you the long bus trip from Vientiane to southern Laos. Hope that helps. Regards.

    #2 Posted: 25/11/2009 - 23:04

  • starfish

    Joined Travelfish
    23rd March, 2009
    Posts: 20
    Total reviews: 2

    Thank you!
    I was mistaken in thinking the train went through U.R! The trip though southern Laos was the initial plan. Unfortunately I don't think flying will be an option due to money.

    Would the 4000 islands be accessible just for a night or two or would time prefer a night in Pakse instead. I have only traveled northern Laos and would have liked to have explored more of the south but time is not on my side!

    Have you any idea of the journey length?



    Thank you for you help!

    #3 Posted: 26/11/2009 - 00:31

  • exacto

    Joined Travelfish
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    Location United States
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    Total reviews: 47
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    hi again starfish,

    the train does go through ubon, just not directly from nong khai/vientiane. :-) the thai train system is kind of a hub and spoke system with bangkok definitely as the hub. there is a good map of the thai train system here:

    http://www.travelfish.org/maps/region/thailand-railway-map.gif

    i'm afraid i've only done parts of that trip from vientiane through southern laos, so i'm really not the best person to comment on how long it would take. i do know that the bus trip from vientiane to savannakhet is 8 to 10 hours or so, and it is another 5 or so to pakse and then at least 3 more to the cambodian border. what i don't know is how long it would take to get from the lao/cambodia border to siem reap or if you can get a visa on arrival for cambodia at that checkpoint.

    if i were to do the southern laos route, i'd probably spend the first night in savannakhet, the second in pakse or champassak with maybe a quick visit to wat phu, and then see how far i got the third day. as an alternative, you could skip pakse and try to make it all the way to the 4,000 islands on the second day. either way it would be a long, tiring trip and take up all the time you had, but probably pretty good too. i imagine you'd see quite a bit.

    if i were to do the route through thailand, i'd probably catch the overnight sleeper train out of nong khai, and then when i arrived in bangkok the next morning, i'd head straight to aranyaprathet on the thai border and spend the night there. then i'd get an early start in the morning and cross into cambodia and onward to siem reap. you could arrive in SR by noon. this route leaves time for an extra night too in vientiane or nong khai or even bangkok en route. i'd also try to sort out my sleeper train reservations as soon as i could, since it can often sell out in advance. i'm pretty sure there are travel agents in vientiane who can take care of that for you.

    one other consideration is your thai visa situation. how many times do you plan to cross in and out of thailand? cheers.

    #4 Posted: 26/11/2009 - 05:33

  • starfish

    Joined Travelfish
    23rd March, 2009
    Posts: 20
    Total reviews: 2

    Thanks!

    Planning on coming up from the islands in Thailand and crossing into Laos and then into cambodia and from there flying to KL. I may be flying into Bangkok if prices are cheaper than to KL and then flying to Vietnam for a month, back to Thailand - Laos and then Cambodia (I know the order seems a little odd!)

    Any ideas on the price of the bus; if i remember correctly the train to Bangkok is around 1200B i think and then then there would be the price of the train to Cambodia which is somewhere on the forum.

    i think you can get a cambodian visa at the border, so that should be ok. I have left a couple of days in Vientiane, so I'm sure I could probably spare an extra day or two for the journey down, to try and spend a little longer in one of the stops. Which would you recommend? From Pakse, how long would the journey be to PP?

    Last question, I promise! Exacto do you know of any trekking?

    thank you for all your help

    #5 Posted: 27/11/2009 - 21:57

  • exacto

    Joined Travelfish
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    Location United States
    Posts: 2404
    Total reviews: 47
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    sorry. i can't help here. i haven't done the journey from pakse to phnom penh so i can't even guess how long it would take. but there are lots of smart folks on the message board who will hopefully chime in.

    i'm afraid i don't know of any trekking in cambodia either, although the trips out to tonle sap from siem reap have a bit of a trekking flavor. it looks like organising one through the two dragons guesthouse in siem reap has been a smart way to go. regards.

    #6 Posted: 27/11/2009 - 22:45

  • Lother

    Joined Travelfish
    12th May, 2006
    Location Earth
    Posts: 214
    Total reviews: 31

    Apparently there are "direct" buses from Pakse to Phnom Penh these days, with a bus change on the border, taking about 14 hours. However, I think it would be much more comfortable to take a bus to Stung Treng or Kratie and spend a night there, as it's still about 7 hours to Phnom Penh from Kratie, maybe about 9 h from Stung Treng.

    #7 Posted: 28/11/2009 - 03:35

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