Southeast Asia forum

First time travelling SE Asia, whats the best way to get around?

  • SEAsianBegin

    Joined Travelfish
    21st May, 2013
    Posts: 1

    Hi all,

    I'm spending about a month in SE Asia in August and I'm starting to plan it. My boyfriend and his friend are thinking of joining me for two weeks. Does anyone have any suggestions on an itinerary? We are thinking Thailand and Indonesia right now, although I'm interested in Laos and Vietnam as well. And what is the best way to travel, plane, bus, train etc? I've travelled Europe extensively, and am just wondering if Asia has something similar to RyanAir and Easy Jet. I know the places are further apart, so I'm wondering how long to expect to be travelling between cities or countries. Thank you so much for your help!

    #1 Posted: 21/5/2013 - 00:59

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  • Captain_Bob

    Click here to learn more about Captain_Bob
    Joined Travelfish
    27th May, 2006
    Location Thailand
    Posts: 1790

    The regional budget airline equivalent is Also check out in Thailand and in Vietnam. The cheaper alternative is of course by bus, but it can be slow, with point-to-point trips taking a full day or night. Also consider train travel in Thailand and Vietnam (Laos and Cambodia no trains). See for extensive info about train travel.

    Itinerary-wise, there are far too many possibilities for a random stranger to suggest on someone else's behalf. First maybe determine where you're enterting the region initially (Bangkok? KL? Saigon? etc) then with your available timeframe map out a relistic number of places you'd like to check out. Avoid the "American in Europe" pifall of trying to "do" every country in a month. I'd say Thailand OR Vietnam for a month would be good, or maybe include a 7-day sweep through northern Laos or Cambodia. I'd also say avoid making the itinerary too rigid and allow room for spontaneity. Many travellers just arrive in Bangkok and wing it from there.

    #2 Posted: 21/5/2013 - 03:19

  • amnicoll

    Joined Travelfish
    10th January, 2005
    Location United Kingdom
    Posts: 598
    Total reviews: 6

    can not offer any better advice

    #3 Posted: 21/5/2013 - 05:23


    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6955
    Total reviews: 10

    I'm with Bob. Get to Bangkok and just wing it from there.

    Four countries in four weeks? WAY too much moving around. Western Europe is small, the rail service is excellent. Here the infrastructure isn't nearly as robust. Movement is slower and more painful. Any one of the four countries of interest has enough to keep you occupied for one month - so just pick one and slow down and enjoy it. Remmember, Europe is about seeing things. SEA is about chillin'.

    #4 Posted: 21/5/2013 - 08:11

  • abi0811

    Joined Travelfish
    22nd May, 2013
    Posts: 2

    I did Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia in just under 4 months. I think 4 countries in 4 weeks is too much travelling. I did all my travelling by sleep bus and boats. I suppose if you're travelling by plane you're gonna save a lot of time. I think many people on here would disagree with me but I found Laos boring and not worth the time and hassle. If i could do it again I definitely wouldn't have bothered! I say swap Laos for Cambodia, its beautiful and fun and has a lot of contrast. Dont plan the trip too much as things will change on the way. just head to Bangkok and have an idea weather you want to head North or South and just go from there...
    Sleeper buses are cheap easy and you meet people. Some I went on I slept the whole way, some I drank tigers the whole way, Haha! Never done a train, just wasn't needed and cost more than buses.

    #5 Posted: 22/5/2013 - 04:38

  • Snookieboi

    Click here to learn more about Snookieboi
    Joined Travelfish
    14th April, 2013
    Location United Kingdom
    Posts: 61

    I'd agree with abie, having travelled extensively in s/e asia. 4 weeks is really only good for like 2 countries or 3 with an easy route. For example you could do bangkok to Cambodia to Vietnam, doing a little of south Vietnam, and seeing Cambodia's main sights, returning to Thailand for your choice-if you draw a line on the map from bangkok to saigon, you'll see it's pretty direct and easy, but be sure to get your visa for vietnam sorted beforehand. Perhaps look at a cheap return flight to cambodia or saigon, or do it with buses. Laos is intriguing with time to chill, but cannot be rushed as it's vibes are calm.

    Otherwise, just Thailand and Cambodia is more than good ennough.

    #6 Posted: 22/5/2013 - 04:49


    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6955
    Total reviews: 10

    The thing is, if you stick to one country, you can start to learn the language. I hate going somewhere and can't speak the language. As the saying goes, language is culture. It comes first. One country will allow you to at least dip your toe into the language in question.

    #7 Posted: 22/5/2013 - 11:28

  • seasia

    Joined Travelfish
    22nd May, 2013
    Posts: 1

    Hello :o))

    I am planning to go to SE Asia ( july - september) first time...
    anyone wants to join ? :o))
    I am flexible with dates.... and locations :) open to interesting routes suggestions....
    i am considering : Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos....though im open to suggestions...

    PS: Contact me with your plans, ideas and Ask me for more details... so Maybe... we will be soon sitting all together in the aeroplane to the dream holiday ? ;o))

    #8 Posted: 22/5/2013 - 12:27

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