Photo: Street food Phetchaburi Soi 10, Bangkok.

Southeast Asia forum

6 week SE Asia itinerary

Posted by hrosem on 30/4/2013 at 11:50

Hi
I'm traveling to SE Asia on the 3rd September 2013 for 6 weeks and wanted to see what people thought of the itinerary I have in mind. I would particularly appreciate advice from anyone who has traveled to this region in September.

Fly to Bangkok
Bangkok to Phuket
Visit Koh Phi Phi island
Phuket to Surat Thani
Ferry to Koh Samui
Koh Phangnan
Koh Tao
Ferry to Chumphon
Chumphon to Bangkok
Across to Siem Reap
Boat to Phnom Penh
Across to Ho Chi Min City
Hoi An
Hanoi
Visit Halong Bay
Flight back from Hanoi

Is 6 weeks enough time for all this?
We're hoping to get around mostly by train/bus so we can take in the scenery. Any tips on this would be greatly appreciated!

Look forward to your comments! thanks.

#1 hrosem has been a member since 30/4/2013. Posts: 2

Posted by daawgon on 1/5/2013 at 11:52

That would be too much for me in only 6 wks. I suggest Thailand and Cambodia - leave Vietnam for it's own 6 wk trip, at a later date. You might think you see more on a bus, but you also greatly increase the danger aspect of any trip (avoid all bus travel in Vietnam - very dangerous drivers!)

#2 daawgon has been a member since 17/4/2007. Posts: 1,091


Posted by caseyprich on 1/5/2013 at 18:35

Bangkok to Phuket
Visit Koh Phi Phi island
Phuket to Surat Thani
Ferry to Koh Samui
Koh Phangnan
Koh Tao

That is a lot of different islands. I personally prefer to bounce around islands a less and settle into a place. The point of the island is to decompress and relax in my opinion, so I'd recommend looking at the weather and what you want to do - from there decided on either Phuket/Phi Phi or Samui/Phangnan/Tao. Once you've narrowed that down, each island offers a lot of its own style and such - for example for diving I'd recommend Koh Tao, and why not spend most of your time on that one island, getting to know it and the people.

Trying to fit in a long stretch on the islands with Cambodia and the length of Vietnam will be a bit daunting and I have to agree that less is more. However, if you aren't planning much time in BKK, cut down on the island sand spend just one week in Cambodia that will give you time to spend a few days in each of the cities you've picked. I'd say to fly from HCMC to Da Nang (airport open then . . it is Da Nang or Hue undergoing renovation soon) in order to get to Hoi'an for a few days. Then take the train from Da Nang to Hanoi. The buses are a bit reckless in Vietnam, so you may as well avoid.

#3 caseyprich has been a member since 3/3/2010. Location: China. Posts: 1,281
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Posted by hrosem on 3/5/2013 at 10:42

Thank you for your advice. Its very much appreciated!

We are 2x 24 yr old girls who have never been backpacking before so I'm sure you can understand we are eager to squeeze as much as possible in!

I think we are going to stick with the route I have listed above, however we are going to 'travel via' some places to the desired destinations where we will spend longer.

We do really want to visit Koh Phi Phi so we will go straight there instead of staying in Phuket. Then we will travel via Koh Samui to get to Koh Phangnan and spend the majority of our time there. Maybe Koh Tao for a few days on the way back to Bangkok but we'll see how we feel.

We only want to stay in Cambodia for a week so hopefully enough time will be left for Vietnam. We will also cut down some of our traveling time by taking internal flights like you have suggested.

Thanks again!

#4 hrosem has been a member since 30/4/2013. Posts: 2

Posted by Geer1 on 5/5/2013 at 23:46

Your schedule is doable in 6 weeks but I agree with the others. Less is more in some cases and you are missing out on some good places in both Thailand and Cambodia. I personally would want to see each in more detail and then come back to see Vietnam and maybe Laos or something like that in the future then to only scratch the surface in all 3 countries.

Do whatever you think is right for yourself though, if it is good enough for you then that is all that matters.

#5 Geer1 has been a member since 14/9/2012. Posts: 540
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Posted by clover33 on 7/5/2013 at 08:48

Hi, im also traveling to south east Asia later this year making my way from China. Im a solo traveller so anyone know of anyone traveling around September-December wanting a travel buddy!?!?

Whats the best way to travel through? Can you book transportation in advance? Iv a rough route planned out:
Sa Pa
Ha Long Bay
Hanoi-Hue
Hoi An
Nha Trang
Da Lat
Mui Ne
Ho Chi Minh
Mekong delta
Phonm Penh
Kampot
Koh Tunsay Beach
Konpong Chang
Battambang
Siem Reap
Kampong Thom
Kratie
Don Det
Wat Phou
Savannaket
Thakhek
Vientiane
Vang Vieng
Luang Prabang
Luang Namtha
Chiang Khong
Chiang Rai
Chinag Mai
Sukhothai
Ayutthaya
Kanchanaburi
Bangkok
Phetchaburi
Ko Tao Surat Thani
Ko Pha Ngan
Khao Sok National Park
Ko Phi Phi
Ko Lanta

I have no time limits only money limits for travel, of course a rough estimate from someone wouldn't go astray!!?! I want to see as much as i can on a tight budget but time isn't a deciding factor. Advise, help of any sort would be greatly appreciated!!!! Im big into trekking, rock climbing, zip lining, any activity really i also dont mind doing some volunteer work if it saves me some cash and i get to see an area in more detail, im a qualified TEFL teacher so teaching english is an option. As i say i plan on spending 3-4 months traveling but its the budget thats bothering me, i need an outline because it decides my time spent in Asia [img]smileys/frown.gif[/img] I hope to have at least US$4000-$5000 saved.

#6 clover33 has been a member since 6/5/2013. Location: Ireland. Posts: 10

Posted by MADMAC on 7/5/2013 at 11:03

"We are 2x 24 yr old girls who have never been backpacking before so I'm sure you can understand we are eager to squeeze as much as possible in!"

Welcome to the club. Every first timer seems to have this approach, because they don't understand that coming here is about chilling out, not seeing things. Europe is about seeing things. SEA is about watching the world go by. Where you watch it from is not particularly important. Slow down, have a beer, get a massage, and forget about life for a while. You won't get to do that very often. Every bus ride, every train ride, every movement from city to city takes away down time. And the whole point of coming here is down time.

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

Posted by Remedy on 7/5/2013 at 14:37

Completely agree with MADMAC in terms of SEA not being a sightseeing destination. There are only so many temples and war monuments you can see before you get tired of it. That being said, there are some brilliant sights that both lifts and crushes the spirit to been seen.


As far as itineraries go, I did the same as you first time I went on a backpacking trip to SEA. What I quickly realized is not planning to much ahead, especially in September where should be able to find accommodation on short notice without to much hassle. Make some waypoints that you have to see or be in at a certain time (i.e. plane back from Hanoi), but limit them to just a few. Chances are that you are going to meet people/travellers that can point you to some real special places they've visited, and I find that some of my best experiences has come from such advice.


Based on your suggested itinerary the transportation should be pretty smooth, but never underestimate the hassle of travelling on buses and trains in SEA. In Vietnam I would probably opt for train rather than buses.

Other than that, have a nice trip and enjoy your time.

#8 Remedy has been a member since 25/7/2009. Posts: 31


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