My boyfriend and I just booked our tickets to SE asia for August 25-Sept 29... and now the planning begins! We are going to be flying into Hanoi and then flying out of Bangkok. Our goal is to do Vietnam/ Angkor Wat/ Thailand. From what I've read, most say don't plan too much as life is more leisurely in this part of the world. However, a part of me wants to see as much as possible, seeing as though I don't know when we will have the chance to go back. We've already decided that we don't want to lose days traveling, so my first question is, are domestic flights reasonable? If so, is it recommended? Is it that much pricier than train/bus travel? Also, aside from travel costs, what is an appropriate budget for two for a month (accommodations, food, activities, etc.) ?
I've constructed a very, very rough itinerary that is completely open for criticism. Please let me know if it's too ambitious, and then we can plan accordingly...
8/25-8/30 Hanoi/Halong Bay
-> fly to Danang
8/31-9/6 Hoi An
-> fly to HCM city
9/6-9/10 HCM city
-> * not sure yet how to get to Siem Reap...fly?
9/11-13 Angkor Wat
-> fly to bangkok- connect to chiang-mai???
9/13 or 14-20- Chiang-Mai
-> fly to the beach, phuket?? not sure where yet...
9/20-27- BEACH (island hop?)
-> fly back to bangkok
Again, this is very tentative. Any advice is very helpful!
#1 nikochoi has been a member since 18/4/2013. Posts: 2
I really like your schedule and the pace you've set for yourself. If anything I think you're spending a little too much time in HCMC and might better add an extra day to Siem Reap - I think if you are skipping Phnom Penh you should fly directly to Siem Reap as it is otherwise a very long trip from HCMC. I'm wondering what has motivated your choice to skip Phnom Penh. It is not my favorite spot in SE Asia, but the Killing Fields and S21 can be seen in full day and are very informative of the history. As well, dinner by the river can be enjoyable so long as you don't let the touts get under your skin. You could consider doing 2-3 nights there and shorting time somewhere else. This might save you a flight as you could use it to break up the journey from HCMC to SR.
My other recommendation is that you could skip flying to Da Nang and take an overnight train just for the experience. I believe the sleeper train will pass the section between Hue and Da Nang in the morning hours so that you can see the beautiful stretch of track that runs along the ocean between the cities - my favorite line in SE Asia. Just a possible option, and as the train station in Hanoi and Da Nang are both in the center of town it saves you the taxi issue of getting all the way out to the airport in Hanoi. Very convenient from the old town to the station actually and kind of a fun experience.
So - maybe shave 2 days off Hoi'an and 1 day off HCMC and apply them to PP and SR. I'm not sure what you'd do for 6 days in Hoi'an, I got tired of the place and the tourism crowd there after an afternoon and much preferred renting motorbikes in Da Nang and cruising around the region.
As usual - I agree with everything Casey said. Nice pace which gives you time to be a bit flexible if you want to when you're there. 6 days in Hoi An is a lot, but if the weather's good it's an opportunity to get some beach time, or split it Danang / Hoi An with some bike rides thrown in.
Hi! Thanks for your guys' input, I will definitely look into your suggestions. I agree, I think we will add another day to Siem Reap. As for Phnom Penh goes, I am open to the idea of it, I just don't want to overload our schedule. As much as we want to see EVERYTHING, I don't want to be moving the whole time we are there.
How much would you guys suggest bringing?
#4 nikochoi has been a member since 18/4/2013. Posts: 2
Honestly, I'm not big on giving people budget advice. I've personally used the site below for my own estimates. In general for SE Asia trips I'd budget between 30-50 USD a day depending on how you want to live, eat, drink and sightsee. That is pretty Flashpacker I think.
Thanks for posting this, this is almost identical to the itinerary that I want to do. Most articles/forums I've read have said the 3 countries are too much to take on in 1 month. But looking at your itinerary it seems do-able to me. I too would try to fly as much as possible. Are ou planning to do Halong Bay cruise or trekking in Chiang Mai? Both really interest me, ending with a few days of beach time on Thai islands. I would be really interested to see a more detailed itinerary if you wouldnt mind sharing once you have put more things together? Major block I am coming up against seems to be getting to and from Siem reap!
#6 carlally has been a member since 21/5/2013. Posts: 2