Photo: Street food Phetchaburi Soi 10, Bangkok.

Southeast Asia forum

SEA – MY JOURNEY - 3 weeks - any advice?

Posted by Soumya on 25/10/2011 at 06:31

Time: 3weeks
Date:10/03/12 to 01/04/12

-SINGAPORE 11/03/12 TO 14/03/12
London to Singapore
-THAILAND14/03/12 TO 21/03/12
Singapore to Phuket
Phuket to Bangkok
Bangkok to Kanchanaburi
Back to Bangkok
-VIETNAM 20/03/12TO 25/03/12
Bangkok to Saigon/HCMC
HCMC to Nha trang
-CAMBODIA 26/03/12TO 29/03/12
Nha Trang to Siem Reap
Angkor Wat
-SINGAPORE 30/03/12 TO 01/04/12
Siem Reap toSingapore
Singapore to London
PS: I will use flights for long distance travelling to save time.What do you think? An average of 2 full days in each city. I know it's pretty packed up but my work allows me 3 wks max.
By the way, I am a woman travelling on her own is it relatively safe? I'll be cautious.

#1 Soumya has been a member since 27/9/2011. Posts: 12

Posted by altmtl on 25/10/2011 at 06:48

too planned, too rushed, not my type of "vacation", sorry

#2 altmtl has been a member since 18/5/2009. Location: Canada. Posts: 992
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Posted by tyler on 25/10/2011 at 07:19

I feel that SEA is generally safe. I have met many solo female travellers who have not had any negative experiences. That being said - use the usual precautions and don't do here what you wouldn't do at home. Avoid drugs, getting way drunk and wandering around at 2am alone!
My advice to you is to pick 1 country and chill out there. Your 3 weeks will fly by and I feel that too much of your time will be spent on buses, planes and trains. And that will wear on you. Remember - 2 days in each city...you have to travel to and from each of these places as well.
Why not fly into Bangkok? Saves some time and at least 1 flight. See BKK, Kanchanaburi, Chaing Mei and south to one of the islands. Personally, I'd check out Koh Lanta and the Krabi area. It is easy to get to and there are many different things to do. You can also fly from Krabi (airasia) to Singapore to go home. You can take a bus or fly (bit pricey) to Siem Reap (from BKK) if you want to spend a few days there.
Travelfish has heaps of useful info regarding the countries you are interested in! And I am sure that you'll get more responses and great advice from other travellers.
Have a great time!

#3 tyler has been a member since 7/12/2010. Location: Canada. Posts: 257
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Posted by altmtl on 25/10/2011 at 08:38

Sorry if I'm abrupt, but I don't see this flash packer type of travelling as very useful in a culturally fulfilling type of way, less if more, safety should not be an issue when using common sense. Skip Singapore. Land in BKK.

#4 altmtl has been a member since 18/5/2009. Location: Canada. Posts: 992
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Posted by Soumya on 26/10/2011 at 03:49

I appreciate your replies.
I know it's a lot but I wanna see as much as possible as I don't know when I will be back in SEA. It's what you call a taster.
When you have only 3 weeks and can only rely on yourself to know where to go, it is necessary to plan everyday in advance. I prefer to be prepared thoughtfully to avoid wasting time and stress later about where and how to go somewhere.

I cannot avoid Singapore as a friend, who's the 1st reason for my travel, lives in Sgp. From Travelfish, I read that it is possible to do 3 thai cities in a week. Then I'll spend 3 days in HCMC and 2 days on the beach of Nha Trang , that should be enough. To finish, in Cambodia I will only go to Siem Reap with a day trip (asI read from other travellers) in Angkor Wat, so 4 days in total should also be enough.
Still not possible to enjoy?

I calculated the travel into my trip. I will use domestic flights as they are cheap (mostly £30 and the most expensive is £170 for Nha Trang-Siem Reap) and quick (40min to 1h30). I'm prepared to pay for flight to save time. The only time I'll take the bus is to go to Kanchanaburi (2h)and Nha Trang ( 5h).

Still not possible to enjoy?

#5 Soumya has been a member since 27/9/2011. Posts: 12

Posted by Nixxypie on 26/10/2011 at 04:05

The problem with your itinerary is you're not leaving any time to enjoy each place, if you really like somewhere you may want to stay for more than the allocated 2 days. It also means that your trip will be full of travelling, arrive somewhere, trip after trip to see everything, travel somewhere else, trip after trip etc so you'll have no time to relax and enjoy yourself. Having travelled from England you will also be jet lagged and the constant travelling will make it worse.

Have you considered your budget? Apart from paying for the actual flights (have you got to the final stages of booking? There are a lot of added extras you can't get out of, my flight started at £30 but actually cost over £75 by the time Air asia added all the fees and baggage etc on) you have to consider the cost of transport to the airport, and the time you're going to spend waiting in airports for the flight and the time you'll be spending getting through passport control and buying visas. Also the Vietnamese visa costs about $45 so is it worth spending so much for a few days in the country when really you're not going to see a lot?

As for the trip to Kanchanaburi, I went and recommend it 100%, and although it only took 2 hours to get there on the bus it took 5 and a half hours to get back to BKK because of delays and traffic, something else you need to consider in your trip. If a bus was delayed you may miss your flight, if your flight was delayed you may miss a day in a country etc.

I travelled to SEA for 5 weeks this summer and did Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, and although I'm glad I saw those places I regret it because every day was constant travelling whether it was to a new country or just a day trip, we were up ay 6am every morning because of it and never had a day to relax so ended up coming home feeling like we needed a holiday to get over it! And on top of that my favourite places were Cambodia, where we only had time for 3 days- no where near enough as its one of the most amazing places I've ever been, and 6 days in HCMC which also was no where near enough time as I loved the country and the people and now I wish I'd chosen one country and stuck to it.

Good luck whatever you choose though, only you know what you want to get out of it.

#6 Nixxypie has been a member since 27/4/2011. Posts: 55

Posted by Soumya on 26/10/2011 at 05:18

ok ok
I guess you're right. I just dont know what to cut down, all seems interesting places to see. I might follow Tyler's idea and keep it to Thailand and Siem Reap/Angkor W.
Thank you all for your advice.

#7 Soumya has been a member since 27/9/2011. Posts: 12

Posted by MADMAC on 26/10/2011 at 12:18

Bangkok and it's environs (Kanchanburi, Ayhudaya...) and Cambodia (Siem Reap, PP and a beach somewhere). That's still a fair amount of moving around. Those hours on buses and planes and so forth are eating into your time - and you don't have much. But it checks your major blocks.

#8 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by 9preciousGems on 26/10/2011 at 17:43

This is more specific to a single trip but imo the more you travel, the less you see

#9 9preciousGems has been a member since 13/1/2011. Posts: 82

Posted by daawgon on 30/10/2011 at 08:24

Your itinerary for Vietnam omits the really wonderful parts of this country. Hanoi and Sapa are far more interesting and beautiful than Saigon and Nha Trang in my opinion. Much too much for a short vacation - pick one country and see it well.

#10 daawgon has been a member since 17/4/2007. Posts: 1,082

Posted by jacquelinehope on 8/11/2011 at 22:42

I went to Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam for three weeks in Jan 2011. I spent 3.5 days in KL, 12 days in Vietnam and 3.5 days in Singapore. In that order. 3.5 days was enough for KL and Singapore, at least for a taster but you'd be better off picking between Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand and spending quality time in once country.

In my 12 days in Vietnam I spent 2.5 days in Ho Chi Minh, 2.5 days in Nha Trang, 1.5 days in Hue and two days in Hoi An and the rest of the time was spent traveling between places, most of which was done at night by train.In this time I only got the most shallow experience of these places and found myself feeling frustrated that I couldn't stay longer in any given place. I'm going back to SEA for six months in Feb 2012 and plan to spend no less than two months in Vietnam this time.

As for the question of whether it is safe for a female solo traveler, I'm a female solo traveler and felt safer in most places than I do at home in Melbourne, Australia.

#11 jacquelinehope has been a member since 7/11/2011. Location: Australia. Posts: 7
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Posted by chinarocks on 9/11/2011 at 03:52

IMO I would spend 3 days in Singapore (as you said you have to), then fly from there to Hanoi/HCMC and spend the full 17/18 remaining days in Vietnam. It is enough time to get a snapshot of the country. I would recommend c.10 days up North (Hanoi, HB and Sapa) and then the remaining 7/8 days in Hoi An and HCMC. If you want beach time you can have it in Hoi An (potentially when you are waiting for your tailored clothes to be made). This may involve a couple of internal flights but I think it will be more rewarding than cramming in 3 or 4 countries in 3 weeks. You will get to immerse yourself somewhat in the country and even contrast the different places for quality of food, friendliness of people, difference between North and South etc.

This approach can still be a taster for you - having a "taster" doesn't necessarily mean it has to be rushed and involve flying between countries every 4/5 days. Don't worry - spending 2.5 weeks in Vietnam will leave you starving for more SEA Asia action!!

Best of luck.

#12 chinarocks has been a member since 17/6/2011. Posts: 740

Posted by Soumya on 9/11/2011 at 16:23

Thank you for your feedback.

My ticket for Singapore is booked, now I have to choose between Thailand or Vietnam. If I do North-South trip for either of these country, I won't go to Siem reap anymore. If I keep my plan to do a couple of towns, I'll go to SR.
Although I dont think the road, transport...will be back to normal till I come to Thailand, so the decision might be obvious, it'll have to be Vietnam.

#13 Soumya has been a member since 27/9/2011. Posts: 12


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