Photo: Street food Phetchaburi Soi 10, Bangkok.

Southeast Asia forum

Four Weeks in SEA - May

Posted by MDAnhorn on 20/2/2013 at 18:06

Hi, I've been reading Travelfish for the last month or so trying to put together a rough travel itenerary together for a trip in May of this year. As I was invited to go with the group (Myself and five others) I do not have complete control over where we will be traveling to, however I'm comfortable diverging from the pack if need be for a short period of time.

As of now our group plans to fly into Hanoi Vietnam on the 30th of April and spend about 5-6 days there. We're planning on doing a 3 day Ha Long Bay tour through our Hostel (Vietnambackpackers) and spend the other days exploring things in close proximiting to Hanoi itself (If I had control over the planning I would actually cut out Vietnam entirely and do it on another trip; however the flights to SEA are booked).

After Hanoi, we plan to fly into Phnom Penh where I would like to travel by bus straight to Kampot (possibly same day - is this realistic?) and spend 3-5 days in this area relaxing and enjoying fresh crab, maybe renting scooters and checking out national parks, etc.

From Kampot I was thinking of heading back to Phnom Penh for 2-3 days and checking out the killing fields, genocide museum, royal palace and other such historic scenes (Any further recommondations?)

From Phnom Penh we were considering either taking a speed boat or bus to Siem Reap (Personally I'm leaning towards to the speed boat, its a once in a life-time experience, however; I've heard that the boats can crammed with people). We are planning to spend 3-4 days around Siem Reap, checking out Angkor Wat, I was considering a day trip up to Ayutthaya and what not.

From Siem Reap we were considering either flying or taking a bus/train to Bangkok. Personally I might spend the extra money in order to save on the traveling time. We were considering only spending two days in Bangkok before heading south to Phuket or Koh Samui before heading to Ko Pha Ngan for the full moon party, and then heading back to Bangkok for our flight home on the 29th of May.

My questions are:

1) Is this a realistic plan or simply trying to cram too much?
2) Are there any recommendations to cut the trip to Phuket down - (Maybe go to Chumpon and then ferry to Ko Samiu and then onto Ko Pha Ngan instead?)
3) Is there any way to fit in a day trip to Preah Vihear Temple?
4) Can you recommand any places to enjoy outdoor activities like caving, hiking etc with great scenic views?

Thanks for your time.

#1 MDAnhorn has been a member since 20/2/2013. Posts: 7

Posted by somtam2000 on 21/2/2013 at 04:27 admin

Hi,

On the itinerary itself:

* If there are six of you, on arrival to Phnom Penh I'd just hire a share taxi fro the run to Phnom Penh. Will be more convenient and you'll fill it so will only be marginally more expensive than the bus.

* Phnom Penh I definitely also recommend doing a sunset cruise.

* Re the day trip to Ayutthaya -- that is in Thailand so I think you've mixed up your ruins somewhere!

* See this story for SiemReap to Bangkok overland -- you'll need to read it backwards, but should still be helpful.

* If you're set on going to Ko Pha Ngan for the FMP then I wouldn't bother with Phuket. Ko Tao also nice. See this story for Bangkok to the silly islands.

Hope that helps!

#2 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,436
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Posted by MDAnhorn on 21/2/2013 at 14:42

Thanks a lot for the reply Somtam.

Ya, I made a minor error writing out the itenerary. The day trip to Ayutthaya would be from Bangkok either after Siem Reap or on the way back after the FMP. (We're flying home from Bangkok).

What I meants in the OP was maybe a daytrip from Siem Reap to Preah Vihear. I heard that the views are absolutely stunning.

I'll pass on the idea of visiting Ko Tao instead of Phuket, it seems rather logical to me.

Also, what would be an estimate of a shared taxi from Phnom Penh to Kampot? Or at least the maximum you would be willing to spend for the trip?

Thanks again

#3 MDAnhorn has been a member since 20/2/2013. Posts: 7

Posted by somtam2000 on 21/2/2013 at 16:59 admin

If time allows Ayutthaya is certainly worth a daytrip from Bangkok. We recently published a post about all the great food there -- might be worth a look.

Yes you can visit Preah Vihear on a day trip from Siem Reap, though it is quite a long day. This story relates to some dramas that were going on there a while back, but the pics show how great the views are. If you decide not to go there, Beng Mealea is also an excellent daytrip and not so far.

For the Kampot run I'd guess around the $40-$50 mark for the car, but I'm not sure as has been a long time since I've done it -- I've messaged our Phnom Penh writer and will let you know what she has to say.

Cheers

#4 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,436
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Posted by somtam2000 on 22/2/2013 at 01:34 admin

Ok, heard back, a private taxi from Phnom Penh to Kampot should set you back about US$40.

Cheers

#5 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,436
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Posted by MDAnhorn on 22/2/2013 at 17:28

Once again thanks a lot :)

I'll look into Beng Mealea now

#6 MDAnhorn has been a member since 20/2/2013. Posts: 7

Posted by MDAnhorn on 2/3/2013 at 01:00

I would like to thank you again for your input somtam, we're more or less set on going to Ko Tao now instead of Phuket.

I was wonder if you had any suggestions on a budget airline from Siem Reap to Bangkok though? I seem to only find tickets around $200 per person one way, and it would be nice to lower that cost if possible

#7 MDAnhorn has been a member since 20/2/2013. Posts: 7

Posted by Travel_companio on 2/3/2013 at 08:58

Posted from within Vietnam.

Hi,
For Vietnam, if you don't want to spend time in Hanoi , Sapa is a good idea for trekking and scenic views. My itinerary is as below
Day 3:
15:00 back Hanoi from 2D1N in Ha Long
21:00 catch a train to Sapa, overnight on train
Day 4
05:30 arrive Lao Cai station, if it's Sunday (visit Bac Ha market), then transfer to hotel in Sapa. If it's not Sunday, transfer to Sapa then trekking on afternoon
Day 5
Trekking to Cat Cat village/ Ta Van/ Ta Phin village
21:00 catch a train to come back Hanoi
Day 6:
05:30: Arrive Hanoi for your flight to Cambodia
Hope that it helps!
Wish you a nice trip.
Lan

#8 Travel_companio has been a member since 2/3/2013. Posts: 3

Posted by MDAnhorn on 12/3/2013 at 20:11

Thanks for your input campanio

I'm also wondering if anyone has a suggested route from Saigon to Kampot? Would we have to bus to Phnom Penh regardless before heading south or is there an option to go straight to Kampot?

#9 MDAnhorn has been a member since 20/2/2013. Posts: 7

Posted by caseyprich on 12/3/2013 at 23:59

We did this reverse - Kampot to Saigon, but gave ourselves a few days to stop in Can Tho . We'd heard some bad things about bus companies offering to do this straight through so we decided to make arrangements independently. We booked tickets from Kampot to Ha Tien on the Vietnam side of the border - where we got dropped at the bus stop rather than the tour agency, then booked a ticket to Rach Gai which took a couple of hours, where we booked tickets onward to Can Tho . . . we ended up beating a group that had booked it through to Can Tho as they'd had to wait in the Ha Tien agency until just after lunch to catch their next bus. There was some hastle along the way, but that was mostly because we were dead set on getting to Can Tho as soon as possible and we were dealing with the last couple days of Tet when many people were headed back home so many of the nice bus companies were booked up when we arrived in Rach Gai.

I imagine to do it reverse you can get to Can Tho, spend at least two or three nights there, and then catch a bus to Ha Tien (Rach Gai didn't look very inviting) - could probably spend a night there before heading over the border to either Kep or Kampot. Enjoy Kampot - many overstay their plan by at least an extra night.

#10 caseyprich has been a member since 3/3/2010. Location: China. Posts: 1,281
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