Me and a friend are planning a trip to South East Asia for the end of the year. It will be a first for both of us, we plan on starting our journey in Hanoi, travelling the full length of Vietnam, before heading through Cambodia, Laos, and then Thailand. The biggest problem we seem to face at the moment is the question of 'how long?'.
We chose South East Asia because we both want to explore far flung places where the culture and people are vastly different from our own. We want to go off the beaten track and explore little villages, beaches and ruins as well as seeing the main attractions. And perhaps most importantly, we want to be able to do this at our own leisure, I can't think of anything worse than not being able to fully enjoy somewhere because of the pressures: of a tight schedule, or of having to worry about where we're going tomorrow etc.
In essence, we hope to be able to fully soak up each country's beauty, and, when we find a place we particularly like, we want to be able to stay there for a while and just relax. Having never visited the aforementioned countries, neither of us really knows how long we'll need to spend in each one. Or which will be most to our liking? Personally I think we might prefer Laos and Cambodia to Nam and Thailand, as they just seem to be more serene; less hustle and bustle, a bit wilder perhaps. Of course I am only surmising, after all what do I know? Well not a lot, as it turns out! Hence, why I'm asking you!
Thank you for taking the time to read this,
Any advice would be much appreciated.
You are the most articulate poster I've seen in a while and someone who knows more than you think you do.
In my humble opinion, I would say you want to plan a month in each if you can, with this caveat: As you said, you may stay someplace you like, move on from someplace that doesn't appeal to you. This is a very good idea. Rather than be caught up in itinerary you move when you're ready to move.
That brings you to your plan of how to move and where. Give that some thought and repost you basic direction of travel and we can disaucss eaches. There is likely to be someone here on travelfish who has been to each place you are contemplating visiting and can help steer you on particulars.
#2 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
We travelled to the same places, with no time limits, and found a month in each place was about right, except in Thailand where we spent a lot of time on the beach and took advantage of our 60 day visa.
Plenty of serene spots in Thailand. Just avoid the top 8 busiest spots and u will find serenity.
Id recommend prachuap, trang, phayao and khong chiam.
#4 LeonardCohen1 has been a member since 24/7/2012. Posts: 2,148
I spent 3 weeks in Vietnam and missed so much. It's bigger than you actually think! We are planning to go back to Asia soon and spend a lot more time in Vietnam to explore it further. It's an amazing country with wonderful characters. Definitely go out of the tourist areas, our highlight was a motorbike trip from Hue to HoiAn along the Ho Chi Minh Trail over the mountains in which we saw the 'real' Vietnam and experienced the Vietnamese people living and working. We had to cut out some of the places we had initially planned as it was such a rush and we were exhausted rushing everywhere.
In short, a month may not be long enough!
#6 Yorkshire_Kiwi has been a member since 8/2/2014. Posts: 31
I've made 5 trips, so here's my input:
Vietnam - at least 4 weeks
Cambodia - 2 to 3 weeks
Laos - 2 weeks
Thailand - at least 4 weeks
#7 daawgon has been a member since 17/4/2007. Posts: 1,083
I travelled 3 countries in Southest Asia: Thailand, Campodias and Vietnam. I like Vietnam most because I love enjoying Vietnam cuisine from North to South. It is very cheap to enjoy street foods in central of Vietnam.
#8 Grunberg has been a member since 3/3/2014. Posts: 20
I can see the logic of starting in Hanoi until you state that you think you would prefer Cambodia and Laos. I love all 4 countries and each ot them is worth at least 4 weeks. If you were to fly into bangkok you could head up to Northern Laos and work your way through the country to Cambodia and then take a decision on whether to go to Vietnam or back to Thailand depending on how much time you have left.