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Best route Thailand, Laos, Cambodia 65 days

  • marianwarren

    Joined Travelfish
    12th March, 2006
    Posts: 270
    Total reviews: 13

    Hi
    Am traveling mid nov to mid jan (65days) with hubby and 15yr daughter. Daughter and i have been to Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai before and did the normal trek, tours etc, but hubby travel newbie.
    Will fly direct to Chiang Mai, spend 1 week then to Chiang Kong for 2 day boat to Luang Prabang then no plans. I think we would prefer to stay in fewer places longer than sit on transport, would like to avoid hoards of other travelers too. What about the Sth Laos Nth Cambodia region? Will we have trouble finding accommodation for 3 people.
    Love to hear any recommendations
    Kind Reagards

    #1 Posted: 12/3/2006 - 06:16

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  • somtam2000

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    What a terrific time of the year to be travelling in Cambodia, Laos and Thailand.

    Assuming you're planning on spending a full month in Laos, I'd suggest considering around two to three weeks in the north and ten days in the south:
    From Luang Prabang, you can backtrack north a little to Muang Ngoi and Nong Khiow -- both are well worth a few days with a book or two.

    Heading south from Luang Prabang, you've got Vang Vieng, which, while a total tourist-trap is particularly beautiful and worth at elast an overnight stay. Then onwards to the capital. Heading south from Vientiane, many opt for doing the trip down to Pakse in one hit. I'd say breaking up the trip is a far better idea. Both Tha Khaek and Savannakhet have good sights in the hinterland around each city - you could easily spend a couple of nights in each, though if you had to pick one, I'd lean towards Tha Khaek as it gets less tourists.

    South again to Pakse, for an overnight stop, then on to Champassak and Si Phan Don (the four thousand islands) where you can spend a few days lolling about, recharging the batteries before Cambodia.

    Once you cross into Cambodia to the town of Stung Treng, you could head east to the remote town of Ban Lung, around which has some excellent sightseeing possibilities, including the volcanic lake and some good trekking possibilities. You'll then need to back track to Stung Treng, south to Kratie for a night or two to see the dolphins, then onwards again to Kompong Cham for at least one night, then Phnom Penh.

    After that, depending on how much time you have left you could strike south to Kep and Kampot, or west to Siem Reap for Angkor.

    That should get you started!

    #2 Posted: 12/3/2006 - 08:33

  • exacto

    Joined Travelfish
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    marian, wow. i wish i could get the time to travel at that time of year as you have. it is absoutely the best time to go. one thing to keep in mind on your intinerary is your visas. for example, a holder of a U.S. passport typically only gets a 30-day visa on arrival in thailand and 15-days in laos. so, depending on what your nationality typically gets, you'll either want to sort out the longer tourist visas in advance, or plan your itinerary to account for those shorter visa on arrival limits. one thing you might want to do is hang out in thailand a bit before you head into laos, visiting places like ayutthaya or kanchanaburi or even an island. another thing many folks do is break up the trip into laos by crossing the friendship bridge into nong khai thailand from vientiane to renew their visas. that also gives you a chance to hit an ATM, mail a package home, etc. you can then re-enter laos at vientiane again, or farther down the river at savannakhet, etc. it is a bit of a pain and extra expense, but probably no more than sorting out your visas ahead of time. hope this helps.

    #3 Posted: 13/3/2006 - 01:07

  • marianwarren

    Joined Travelfish
    12th March, 2006
    Posts: 270
    Total reviews: 13

    thank you both for your advice. thinking to cross from vientiane to nong khai for visa stuff (or is it cheaper to arrange 60 tourist visa in australia), bus to khon kaen spend a few days, then to sakon nakhon, nakon phanom, cross border to tha khaek and continue with suggested itinerary. should be an interesting side trip. do you know if 30 day laos visitor visas can be obtained in chiang mai
    kind regards

    #4 Posted: 13/3/2006 - 05:09

  • exacto

    Joined Travelfish
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    hi again. there is a lao consulate in khon kaen, thailand, but not in chiang mai so far as i know, so you'd best apply for your 30-day lao visa from the lao embassy in canberra before you leave home. you can also get a 30-day visa from the lao embassy in bangkok, but why spend holiday time sorting out visas and such if you don't have to. the visa on arrival is definitely for only 15 days, and since the cost is the same as the 30-day advance visas (about USD 30 or so), it makes sense to get it before you leave. keep in mind that either way is a single entry visa only. the ONLY reason i mentioned crossing back into thailand at nong khai is that it makes for a great logistics stop to sort out money and mail a package back home. plus, i really like nong khai :). but it does add costs to your trip, including having to buy a new 15-day visa on arrival when you head back into laos. now, the only other thing i was trying to point out is that you want to arrange your itinerary so that when you pop back into thailand for the last time, you don't have more than 30 days to go before you fly back to australia. australians are eligible for 30 day on arrival visas in thailand. there are warnings posted on the talk of asia website that while it is normally not a problem to overstay a visa in thailand, it can be a problem if you are caught somewhere other than at the airport on your way out of the country. the fine is rumored to be increasing to as much as 500 baht per day of overstay. sorry to be so long-winded here. enjoy your trip. regards.

    #5 Posted: 13/3/2006 - 06:13

  • marianwarren

    Joined Travelfish
    12th March, 2006
    Posts: 270
    Total reviews: 13

    great info. the visa stuff is tricky. hard to anticipate needs and timing ahead and out of the country. once we leave cambodia only expect to spend a few days in bangkok so husband can experience a large asian city. personally i would prefer to skip it, we live in small country town of 3000 people. best wishes

    #6 Posted: 13/3/2006 - 07:15

  • marianwarren

    Joined Travelfish
    12th March, 2006
    Posts: 270
    Total reviews: 13

    great info. the visa stuff is tricky. hard to anticipate needs and timing ahead and out of the country. once we leave cambodia only expect to spend a few days in bangkok so husband can experience a large asian city. personally i would prefer to skip it, we live in small country town of 3000 people. best wishes

    #7 Posted: 13/3/2006 - 07:16

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