Southeast Asia forum

Our itinery

  • drutherford

    Joined Travelfish
    2nd January, 2007
    Posts: 22

    Hi everyone,

    I wonder if you would mind having a look at the first draft of our itinery.
    Just so you know, we are rockclimbers so I have had to allow extra time in Chaing Mai and Vang Vieng to accommodate this.

    We are trying to do this overland rather than flying just so we can see the countries and their surrounds. We prefer mtns than beaches. We are willing to fly from Hanoi to Saigon if we absolutely have to (if this portion is too stretched)

    I would be very grateful on any feedback you may have, and whether this is feasible or not.

    May 1-2-3 Bangkok
    Night 3 (overnight train to CMai)
    May 4,5,6,7,8 Chang Mai
    May 9 Chang Mai to Huay Xai
    May 10-11 HX to LP slow boat
    May 11,12 LP
    May 13,14,15,16,17 Vang Vieng
    May 18 VV to Vientienne
    May 19 Vientienne
    May 20 V to Paksan
    May 21 Paksan to Phonsavan (directly up if poss to save backtracking through VV and LP again)
    May 22 Phonsavan
    May 23 Phons to Sam Neua
    May 24,25 Sam Nue (plus caves)
    ?? May 26,27,28,29 Cross Border to Vietnam to Hanoi (is this possible)
    May 30 Hanoi
    May 31 Hanoi
    June 1, 2, 3 Ha Long tour
    June 4 Hanoi
    Night 4 (overnight train to Hue)
    June 5, 6 Hue
    June 7 Hue to Hoi An
    June 8 Hoi An
    June 9 Hoi An to Nha Trang
    June 10 Nha Trang
    June 11 Nha Trang to Mui Ne
    June 12 Mui Ne
    June 13 Mui Ne to Saigon
    June 14,15,16,17 Saigon (tunnels incl)
    June 18, 19,20 Mekong Delta Tour
    June 21 Mekong/Saigon to Phnom Penn
    June 22, 23 Phnom Penn
    June 24 Phnom Penn to Siem Reap
    June 25,26,27 SR
    June 28,29 SR to Bangkok
    June 30 BK
    July 1-31 BK - Phuket - Phi Phi - Krabi (this part of trip is organised)

    Thanks in advance for any advise

    #1 Posted: 29/3/2007 - 14:09

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  • somtam2000

    Click here to learn more about somtam2000
    Joined Travelfish
    21st January, 2004
    Location Indonesia
    Posts: 6959
    Total reviews: 24
    Places visited:
    At least 113

    Hi Debbie,

    A couple of comments:
    1) i'm not sure the Paksan to Phonsavan road is open to foreigners -- it could be, but it certainly wasn't when I tried it a few years ago. I've dropped an email to our man in Vientiane to see if he can shed some light on it -- will post back what I hear.

    2)Sam Neua to Hanoi is certainly possible -- see the border crossings FAQ for more info and reports from other travellers.

    3) I know you're climbers rather than cavers, but if you want to break up the Hanoi to hue leg, consider Phong Nha cave out of Dong Hoi (it's not mentioned on Travelfish as I haven't been there since I started the site, but I'm sure it is still there!) one of the most spectacular caves in the region.

    4) Otherwise looks good -- a good amountof time -- I think you'll have a cracking trip!

    #2 Posted: 29/3/2007 - 20:29

  • exacto

    Joined Travelfish
    12th February, 2006
    Posts: 2303
    Total reviews: 47

    hi debbie,

    this is a logistically possible itinerary, although i'd be worried about how much of your time you will be spending getting from place to place rather than enjoying where you are. i don't know which of your destinations are most important to you, but i might try to spend more time in fewer places if that is possible.

    a few things i'd suggest as well are to make sure you have your overnight train tickets from bangkok to chiang mai sorted out before you arrive. the trains fill up ahead of time now more often than not, so best to book ahead to make sure you get your exact date, particularly with the tight itin you've scheduled.

    also, i think only two days in luang prabang will be painfully short considering how spectacular it is and how hard you'll work to get there.

    finally, the overland trip from SR back to Bangers can easily be accomplished within one day if you get a reasonably early start in the morning.

    other than that, have a wonderful time. cheers.

    #3 Posted: 29/3/2007 - 20:53

  • drutherford

    Joined Travelfish
    2nd January, 2007
    Posts: 22

    Hi again

    Thank you both very much for your feedback. It is much appreciated.

    Exacto, thanks for the advise on booking the BK to CM overnight. Should we do this on arrival in BK or do you recommend i do it now from Australia? Where/how do I book it?

    I did some further research yesterday and am considering making some changes to the Laos part. We are interested in mtns and trekking etc so I was thinking about spending more time in the Nth and forfeiting Sam Neua this trip. With this plan it will give us a few more days leeway for Vietnam meaning we can slow things down going from Hanoi - Saigon.

    What do you think?

    May 10 Huay Xai to Luang Nam Tha
    May 11 Luang Nam Tha
    May 12 Luang Nam Tha - Nong Khai
    May 13 Nong Khai - Muong Ngoi Neua
    May 14 Muong Ngoi Neua
    May 15 Muong Ngoi Neua - Nong Khai - Luang Prabang (by boat)
    May 16 Luang Prabang
    May 17 LP
    May 18 LP - Vang Vieng
    May 19,20,21,22,23 VVieng (rockclimbing)
    May 24,25 Vientienne
    May 26 Fly Vientienne to Hanoi

    #4 Posted: 30/3/2007 - 09:07

  • somtam2000

    Click here to learn more about somtam2000
    Joined Travelfish
    21st January, 2004
    Location Indonesia
    Posts: 6959
    Total reviews: 24
    Places visited:
    At least 113

    The Paksan to Phonsavan road is open, both songtheaws and buses doing it apparently.

    #5 Posted: 31/3/2007 - 21:49

  • exacto

    Joined Travelfish
    12th February, 2006
    Posts: 2303
    Total reviews: 47

    hey again debbie,

    there is a feature article right here on Travelfish called "How Do I Catch A Train in Thailand" that you might want to read. it is available at:

    there is a section near the end of the feature on buying tickets that has suggestions on how you can purchase tickets before you arrive in country. i'd suggest booking as far ahead as possible, meaning before you arrive, since you know exactly when you want to travel.

    i'm afraid i can't comment on the changes you've made in the lao part of your itin, as i haven't travelled those routes. hopefully someone else can help out with their insights. cheers.

    #6 Posted: 1/4/2007 - 10:32

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