Photo: Street food Phetchaburi Soi 10, Bangkok.

Southeast Asia forum

Itinerary, beautiful asia

Posted by marianaamc on 17/11/2013 at 12:04

I will have about 5weeks and 3 or 4 days in Asia.
Was thinking about doing something like:
3 weeks vietnam
1 week cambodia
1 week and a few more days in thailand
would fly from bangkok to hanoi and work my way through south, go through cambodia into bangkok. I'll be going in august next year.

The places I'm most eager to see are:

Hanoi

Sapa, would prefer Ha giang province but I might not have time for that so maybe just Sapa

Ninh Binh

Siem Reap

Bangkok

Khao sok

Those are the ones I want the most, I'll be going probably by train and bus between the places, so:
Not sure about halong bay yet. might be too expensive for me, maybe another time.
Stop in central vietnam, what do you recomend? Hue or Hoi an?
Ho chi min city
Phnom phen
Maybe railey beach at the end of the journey after khao sok if i have time.

What do you think?
Thanks!

#1 marianaamc has been a member since 30/10/2013. Posts: 62

Posted by marianaamc on 17/11/2013 at 12:05

forgot to add, I'll be like going with the flow LOL not thinking about booking in advance, just an idea since my flight home will be fixed.

#2 marianaamc has been a member since 30/10/2013. Posts: 62


Posted by amnicoll on 19/11/2013 at 06:04

Not sure what the attraction of Ninh Binh is. persoanlly I would drop the idea of a week in Thailand and spend the time in Vietnam and cambodia and just return for a couple of days in Bangkok on your way home. You could then head from HCM through the Mekong delta via Kampot up to Phnom Phen and on to Siem Reap and see more of both countries

#3 amnicoll has been a member since 10/1/2005. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 635

Posted by marianaamc on 19/11/2013 at 06:24

I'm not thinking about doing south cambodia because I'll be there in August so it will be rainy...
About Ninh Binh, I wanna see Hang Mua, Trang An, Bai Dinh Pagoda maybe Tam coc and spend nights in Pu Loung Nature Reserve in homestays or go to Cuc Phuong. Anyway I really wanna go there.

#4 marianaamc has been a member since 30/10/2013. Posts: 62

Posted by amnicoll on 19/11/2013 at 06:38

Ninh Binh is not normally a place you see high on the wish list but you have clearly done your homework (unlike a lot of posters) so go for it.

I still think you are trying to do too much in the time however as you say you are going to go with the flow which is the way to travel so you can decide if the week in Thailand finally pans out or not.

As I see it the issue for you is how best to get from wherever in Vietnam to Siem Reap in a timely and cost effective way

Have a good trip

#5 amnicoll has been a member since 10/1/2005. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 635

Posted by MADMAC on 19/11/2013 at 07:03

I too would drop Thailand given this itinerary. I am assuming of course, you've already experienced Thailand, because I would hit it first if not and drop Vietnam.

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

Posted by marianaamc on 19/11/2013 at 13:09

No... It will be my first time in Asia.
But Thailand for some reason doesn't look so appealing to me as some of the other countries.
I wanna see Bangkok for sure, and maybe sukhothai and chiang mai. When I start reseaching for my trip I was thinking about doing a loop and seeing much of the north but then I posted my ideas and everyone kept on saying it wasn't the season for such thing and that riding a motorcycle could be dangerous in August.
As for the south, I'm from Portugal and I go to the beach here often and even though Thailand beaches are far superior, the east side doesn't look something I would give as much value as other destinations. Khao sok looks just gorgeous and I would like to do the lake tour... Krabi, railey area does look great but not the weather...

The north of Vietnam on the other hand looks great and even though it's rainy I heard people saying it was the best time to visit since is not that col and foggy and it's all green and beautiful. On paper, to me, Vietnam looks the most beautiful country but I keep hearing people saying bad things about the country and the Vietnamese people and it makes me sad because it looks so awesome...

I even looked into Laos, thinking about doing north from chiang mai to south into cambodia returning to bangkok and see like muang sing luang namtha luang prabang nong kiaw muang ngoi go south going through viantiane konglor cave champasak and maybe an island...

But I just can't decide. I really can't. I keep on changing my mind and I just wish I could do it all. The problem is that I love researching places and planing but the more I read about one place the more I wanna go there... I know I have to decide and anyone can do that for me but I'm having an hard time. I get to a point that I think I'm jsut wasting everybody's time cause I keep on changing my plans...
Siem Reap and Bankok are the only sure things in my mind really...

#7 marianaamc has been a member since 30/10/2013. Posts: 62

Posted by junebug on 21/11/2013 at 15:47

I can certainly identify with your dilemma- we did 3 weeks in Vietnam and Siem Reap last year and it was really difficult to narrow our options down. Like you, I was more intrigued by Vietnam and Cambodia over Thailand. We loved it and are considering another two weeks somewhere in SE Asia next year- not sure how we'll decide honestly!

Re: Ha Giang. We did a 5 day tour to the Ha Giang province. It was so incredibly beautiful and an eye-opening experience, but really slow going and a lot of driving. We don't regret going, but had I known all that we probably would have chosen Sapa instead, or cut a couple days from elsewhere and add to Ha Giang. Five days just wasn't enough time, especially if you want to do some trekking. It didn't help that our tour company totally over promised the amount of trekking we'd actually do.

But anyway, we loved everywhere we went and there were many places we didn't get to, but were we to go back to Vietnam the northern mountains would be high on my list to explore further.

Re: Central Vietnam- Phong Nha area was really cool. Hoi An was touristy but great food We regret not making it to Hue, but there just wasn't time.

Good luck!

#8 junebug has been a member since 25/2/2012. Posts: 9

Posted by MADMAC on 22/11/2013 at 10:59

If you haven't been to SEA before, then I really recommend you start with Thailand. It's the most developed of the countries here, and believe me when I tell you that counts for something. It has a more robust tourist infrastructure and a culture that is guest friendly. In all of these places there are things to see and do. So it's not as if you'll want. Most people who want to skip Thailand do so because it seems like everyone goes there and they want to do something different. But there are reasons everyone goes there. You have five weeks - or just over a month. It's nothing. Do yourself a favor and spend it in Thailand and hit up Siem Reap and maybe PP. If you aren't interested in beaches, because you already have enough of that, just head north in Thailand. Lots to see and do there. Save Vietnam for your next trip after you've cut your teeth.

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

Posted by marianaamc on 25/11/2013 at 07:02

As I said before, I was worried about the weather north in Thailand. You are right and the reason that it doesn't sound so appealing to me might be just that, it's easier and I also might come back every time I come to SEA because the flights are cheaper to Bangkok. I don't want to sound ungrateful, when I started to plan my trip I was only thinking about going two weeks to Thailand, then I extended my time and thought I could extend the number of countries as well... About wanting to do something different, believe me, Thailand will be different enough for me! It's my first time to Asia and I only have been to Portugal, Spain, Madeira and Azores.
I'll think about it for sure... Thank you for all your help. I shall come back to say what I decided and how it went.

#10 marianaamc has been a member since 30/10/2013. Posts: 62

Posted by LeonardCohen1 on 26/11/2013 at 10:20

Thailand is the no 1 destination in the region for a reason. The food, the massages, the beaches, the temples and more. Honestly you can easily spend 5 weeks in Thailand and only see a small fraction of it.

Just because you live near the beach don't think Thai beach areas are the same because they are vastly different. I live near the beach but find Thai beaches much more appealing.

The Krabi to Trang area is stunning.

#11 LeonardCohen1 has been a member since 24/7/2012. Posts: 2,148

Posted by amnicoll on 27/11/2013 at 05:14

I believe that marianaamc has done some homework (unlike many) . Thailand is popular (indeed I love the place) BUT you could argue that it is too touristy. One can just as easily spend 5 weeks in either Cambodia or Vietnam and marianaamc has already made some compromises to see a bit of both.

I can see no reason why anyone should start with Thailand when what they want to see and do is elsewhere and what we should best be doing here is helping them to make the most of their 5 weeks in Vietnam and Cambodia

Sorry guys but whilst I am also a fan of places like Trang and Krabi there are places just as stunning in Vietnam and Cambodia

#12 amnicoll has been a member since 10/1/2005. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 635

Posted by LeonardCohen1 on 27/11/2013 at 06:04

Phang Nga is better than Halong Bay. HB is dirty.

#13 LeonardCohen1 has been a member since 24/7/2012. Posts: 2,148

Posted by MADMAC on 27/11/2013 at 11:19

amnicoll

I just think Thailand is an easier place to cut your teeth for first time SEA tourists. The Vietnamese do not have the friendliest culture on planet earth, or the second friendlliest (I personally hate the food as well, but admit that's a personal choice kind of thing). Thai infrastructure is better and it's easy enough to get off the tourist trail here if you want to. Just my two cents for what it's worth.

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

Posted by amnicoll on 28/11/2013 at 05:25

madmac- I do not disagree (apart from your comment on the vietnamese food) however this poster does not stike me as your typical person starting with a blank sheet of paper and I just do not wish to discourage. At the end of the day they will have to decide - I just do not wish to talk them out of a thought out plan

#15 amnicoll has been a member since 10/1/2005. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 635

Posted by MADMAC on 28/11/2013 at 10:06

But forwarned is forarmed. I am just giving the friendly heads up. I suspect some people want to "do" Vietnam because they want to be different. Thailand seems like the place everyone goes. How mundane right? That's bad reasoning and a bad motivation. I'm sure she's not in that category, but I wanted to make sure she understood the deal.

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

Posted by LeonardCohen1 on 28/11/2013 at 10:34

A holiday should be fun not about ticking many things off a list. Unless you're 80yo there's plenty of time to come back again and again if you really like it. I'd just pick a few main areas and enjoy yourself rather than rushing around. On paper you can stay 2 nights somewhere and move on but in reality quick moves suck. It's best to pick key spots and stay 5-10 nights and really get to experience the local area.

Pick 1 beach area, 1 mountain area, 1 or 2 big cities and maybe 1 other spot.

#17 LeonardCohen1 has been a member since 24/7/2012. Posts: 2,148

Posted by marianaamc on 3/12/2013 at 06:26

Thank you all for your time and advises, even though they were not what I really wished to hear from you, I asked for opinions and I have to face that my idea of itinerary might not be the better one. I might leave Vietnam and Laos for some other trip, since it is the north part of both countries I'm most eager to see. My problem with Thailand is that, besides bangkok, the places that sound more appealing to me might not be the season to go to.

Now, if I spend my time in Thailand and Cambodia, I have some questions.

I really wish to do the krabi-railey area as the phang nga and would like to do a lake trip in khao sok. But I'm worried about the weather. I know I should go to the golf islands instead for the weather but I'm not looking to dive, koh samui sounds a bit overrun by tourists and don't think I would fancy FMP vibe in koh pha ngan. And they just don't have that scenic limestones...

Another question I have, I think I would like the kep-kampot area. Is it worth going there low season? Or should I leave it for some other trip?


Now another thing..... I bought plane tickets a bit on the heat of the moment to myanmar. They were cheap, in the latest big sale on airasia, and for 8 days into yangon out of mandalay. I really fancy temples and was thinking about doing the train to bagan mostly for the experience, then the rest of the time in bagan and mandalay. You might think I'm a bit stupid deciding things like this when just a while ago was thinking about vietnam... I think so too lol... If I decided it was just a bad idea I might not go anyway, it wasn't a lot of money and I regretted the next day....
Oh well, I don't even know what to ask or say about this...

#18 marianaamc has been a member since 30/10/2013. Posts: 62

Posted by MADMAC on 3/12/2013 at 08:21

I don't know what to tell you. August in this area can get rainy. Vietnam too. Cambodia too. Laos as well. If you come in August, you have to assume you're going to have to contend with the rain pretty much regardless of where you go in those four countries.

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

Posted by marianaamc on 3/12/2013 at 08:27

I understand that... I'll stop thinking about that and just accept the rain, thank you.

#20 marianaamc has been a member since 30/10/2013. Posts: 62

Posted by LeonardCohen1 on 3/12/2013 at 09:10

August can be wet but you may get lucky. Can't help with Burma. Just go and see what happens. You worry too much. Most of SEA is good wherever you go. Take your time and enjoy it. Don't rush around.

#21 LeonardCohen1 has been a member since 24/7/2012. Posts: 2,148

Posted by marianaamc on 4/12/2013 at 06:46

I'll try to keep the rest of my time, besides burma, open to change and just decide when I'm there what I wanna do. I know I'll love it anyway so I'll try not to rush. Thank you.

#22 marianaamc has been a member since 30/10/2013. Posts: 62


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