Southeast Asia forum

First time to SE Asia (Thailand, Laos, Cambodia) Tips on best places to go!

  • juliette13

    Joined Travelfish
    5th August, 2013
    Posts: 4

    Hi,

    I am travelling to Bangkok 9th October for just under 10 weeks and I am planning on going to Laos, Cambodia and the Thai Islands (Koh Samui side) with also getting Chiang Mai into my Thailand itinerary. I was just wondering if this is long enough? and if anyone could tell me the best route and places to go!! I have no idea how long I need in each town/city so its hard to make a plan.
    I've read that its pretty rainy in Thailand during October so was thinking of going up to Chiang Mai as soon as I arrive and then heading to Laos and doing the Koh samui etc. during my last weeks (end of November).
    I want to go overland preferably instead of flying as this way I will get to see more of the country!

    Thank you!

    Juliette

    #1 Posted: 5/8/2013 - 07:17

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  • DLuek

    TF writer
    Joined Travelfish
    19th June, 2008
    Location Thailand
    Posts: 890
    Total reviews: 14

    Hi,

    Asking very broad questions like "best route and places to go?" won't get you many answers here. The route will depend on the places and the places will depend on your own interests. Provide some info on what you're interested in or what you want to get out of the trip (i.e. trekking, mountains, beaches, islands, wildlife, temples, meditation, volunteering, history, art, ruins, big cities, small towns, nightlife, etc.) and you'll get some specific suggestions.

    As for time, 10 weeks is enough to travel overland and see a decent amount of those three countries. But it's not enough to see ALL of those countries unless you're down with spending half the time on buses.

    #2 Posted: 5/8/2013 - 09:59

  • cooleyes

    Joined Travelfish
    5th August, 2013
    Posts: 1

    Why would you choose to go in the rainy season??

    #3 Posted: 5/8/2013 - 11:41

  • exacto

    Joined Travelfish
    12th February, 2006
    Location United States
    Posts: 2381
    Total reviews: 47
    Places visited:
    At least 98

    I can think of many reasons to go during rainy season. First off, it tends to be cooler, so you don't boil your tush off every day. Second, there tend to be fewer foreign tourists, so places aren't as crowded. Smaller crowds also typically leads to lower prices so you can save money. But most important of all is that sometimes the only time you can get away is during rainy season, and going then is better than not going at all.

    Also, while there are times when it will rain all day for several days in a row, my experience is usually just an hour of two of rain every afternoon - just like the North American monsoons where I live. If it floods, it can make getting from place to place a bit rougher, but it isn't a daily problem either.

    As for 10 weeks, I think it is enough time. Like DLuek says, you won't get to see everything, but you'll get to see a good chunk. I took my wife on her first trip to southeast Asia for 8 weeks in 2006. We did a week in Laos, a week in Cambodia, and the rest of the time in Thailand, split between the north and the islands. She was very pleased. Cheers.

    #4 Posted: 5/8/2013 - 13:23

  • LeonardCohe-
    n1

    Joined Travelfish
    24th July, 2012
    Posts: 2148
    Total reviews: 11

    Oct-Dec is rainy season for Samui but Krabi side it's more dry. Samui side is nice but I prefer the Krabi-Trang side.

    Broadly rainy season is May-Oct but for Samui it's different. In most places prices are lower for hotels and tours from May-Oct.

    "Why would you choose to go in the rainy season??"

    - 40% discounts on hotels and tours
    - uncrowded beaches
    - doesn't rain that much anyway

    Why wouldn't you go in rainy season? Scared of a few drops of rain messing your hair up?

    #5 Posted: 5/8/2013 - 22:46

  • Geer1

    Joined Travelfish
    14th September, 2012
    Posts: 540
    Places visited:
    At least 42

    Fyi November is Koh Samui's wettest month on average raining nearly twice as much as it does in October.

    Wikipedia is a great source to look up a cities/areas climate, of course it is only a guideline and you never know what will happen.

    #6 Posted: 5/8/2013 - 22:50

  • KnoSno

    Joined Travelfish
    4th August, 2013
    Posts: 2

    I'm planning a similar itinerary, arriving October 4th. Chiang Mai then Laos. It will be my first time solo, but I'm eager to start the adventure. Message me if you'd like to share information and tips, I know I could sure use it! Have a safe trip!

    #7 Posted: 6/8/2013 - 00:16

  • juliette13

    Joined Travelfish
    5th August, 2013
    Posts: 4

    Thank you all for your responses!!

    KnoSno - I'll be travelling solo too!!

    The reason I am going when I am is I am going to Australia and South America after for Carnival so the times slotted in perfectly. Also I did want to travel when it was cooler and hopefully less busy!

    This was my rough plan on where i wanted to go from reading and research -

    Bangkok - Chiang Mai - Ventiane - Luang Prabang - Savannakhet- Si Phan Don - Phonm Penh - Sihanoukville - Siem Reap and the floating villages

    After that I wasn't sure on the best way to the Thai islands. If you are recommending that to go to Krabi is better then I can do that - I am just concerned about the time it would take to get there.

    My main areas of interest are, islands, temples, history, ruins, big cities and also small towns. The beaches on the Islands will just be a time to look around but also wind down a bit before i head to Australia!
    I understand I can't see all of the countries but as its my first time I wanted to make sure i didn't miss the "Must see" places!


    Thanks again for your responses!

    #8 Posted: 6/8/2013 - 01:18

  • Geer1

    Joined Travelfish
    14th September, 2012
    Posts: 540
    Places visited:
    At least 42

    Why bother with Thai islands when Cambodia has some nice ones itself? Or at least if you would prefer a Thai island why not Koh Chang or something in that area. Makes a lot more sense for travel reasons and will also theoretically have less rain.

    As for your itinerary what makes more sense is Bangkok - Chiang Mai - Huay Xai - Luang Prabang - Vientiane - Savannakhet - Si Phan Don - Siem Reap - Phnom Penh - Sihanoukville - Koh Rong/Koh Chang - Bangkok for flight. Alternatively I would consider flying from Luang Prabang to Pakse and skipping Vientiane and Savannakhet but that is jmo.

    Fyi, most people consider the floating villages to be tourist grabs and a waste of time/money. I personally wouldn't go near them but if you do make sure to really do your research and book with a reputable company since most are just taking advantage of the tourists and villagers.

    #9 Posted: 6/8/2013 - 02:00

  • LeonardCohe-
    n1

    Joined Travelfish
    24th July, 2012
    Posts: 2148
    Total reviews: 11

    "After that I wasn't sure on the best way to the Thai islands. If you are recommending that to go to Krabi is better then I can do that - I am just concerned about the time it would take to get there."

    It's a 1 hr flight. Air Asia and Nok Air have cheap flights. Don't bother with buses. Thai buses are a terrible way to travel. The roads are dangerous, the buses slow and the views along highways are not very good.

    You want nice scenary take some boat trips from Krabi to Phi Phi and Ko Hong. This part of Thailand is called Phang Nga and the bay area here is stunning. The beach at Hong is the best Thai beach I've seen.

    "Why bother with Thai islands when Cambodia has some nice ones itself? "

    Because the Thai islands are world famous and better.

    "i didn't miss the "Must see" places!"

    No such thing. Either you like a place or you don't. You often don't know how much until you go.

    "The beaches on the Islands will just be a time to look around but also wind down a bit before i head to Australia!"

    Thailand is much better for a holiday than Australia. More interesting and heaps cheaper. For the price of a bunk bed in an 8 person room in Australia you can get a great beach bungalow in Thailand.

    #10 Posted: 6/8/2013 - 06:17

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