Southeast Asia forum

Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos Advice for 51 day trip

  • Cyn343

    Joined Travelfish
    26th February, 2014
    Posts: 3

    I will be traveling on my own to hopefully Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos... for 51 days!! i know it might be too much but...I've been researching my tirp for a couple of weeks now... and have been looking at several itineraries... reading as much as I can here as well as other forums and websites but I just want to do so much this is my first tirp outside of the Americas I have traveled through Central and South America...and live in North America so I'm super excited! I am intersted in seeing temples, taking a cooking class, learning about the local culture, I land in Bangkok on May 14th. below are my plans so far..any feedback would be greatly appreaciated!

    May 14th Bangkok
    May 15th Bangkok
    May 16th Bangkok
    May 17: Bangkok to Siem Reap
    May 18: Siem Reap
    May 19: Siem Reap
    May 20: Siem Reap to Battambang (3hrs)
    May 21: Battambang
    May 22: Battambang to Phnom Penh (5hrs)
    May 23: Phnom Pehn
    May 24: Phnom Pehn
    May 25: Phnom Penh
    May 26: Phnom Penh
    May 27: Phnom Penh to Ho Chi Minh City (6hrs)
    May 28: Ho Chi Minh City
    May 29: Ho Chi Minh City
    May 30: Ho Chi Minh City to Da Nang (Fly ) to Hoi An
    May 31: Hoi An
    June 1: Hoi An
    Jun 2: Hoi An
    Jun 3: Hoi An to Hanoi (Fly )
    Jun 4: Hanoi
    Jun 5: Hanoi
    Jun 6: Hanoi
    Jun 7: Hanoi to Halong Bay (3hrs)
    Jun 8: Halong Bay
    Jun 9: Halong Bay to Hanoi (3hrs) Hanoi to Vientiane (FLY )
    Jun 10: Vientiane
    Jun 11: Vientiane
    Jun 12: Vientiane to Luang Nam Tha (Fly)
    Jun 13: Luang Nam Tha
    Jun 14: Luang Nam Tha
    Jun 15: Luang Nam Tha
    Jun 16: Luang Nam Tha to Huay Xai (4-6hrs)
    Jun 17: Huay Xai
    Jun 18: Huay Xai to Chaing Rai (2.5hrs)
    Jun 19: Chaing Rai
    Jun 20: Chaing Rai to Chaing Mai
    Jun 21: Chaing Mai
    Jun 22: Chaing Mai
    Jun 23: Chaing Mai
    Jun 24: Chaing Mai to BKK (Fly )-BKK to Ko Chang
    Jun 25: Ko Chang
    Jun 26: Ko Chang
    Jun 27: Ko Chang
    Jun 28: Ko Chang
    Jun 29: Ko Chang
    Jun 30: Ko Chang to Bangkok
    Jul 1: Bangkok
    Jul 2: BKK to LAX

    #1 Posted: 10/3/2014 - 11:59

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  • Grubert

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    21st February, 2014
    Posts: 57

    That's a lot of nights you'll be spending in Phnom Penh and Hoi An, but then you may like them more than I did. In terms of the route it looks pretty good. As long as you keep your dates and plans as flexible as possible you're bound to have a great trip.

    #2 Posted: 11/3/2014 - 03:12

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6255
    Total reviews: 10

    "That's a lot of nights you'll be spending in Phnom Penh and Hoi An, but then you may like them more than I did."

    This is funny. Grubert, you and I have hugely different tastes. You liked Savanakhet, I think it's crap. You didn't like Phnom Phen, I think it's a great place.

    #3 Posted: 11/3/2014 - 04:00

  • LeonardCohe-
    n1

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

    I wouldnt.plan too much. Just sort out basics of visa and some flights.

    #4 Posted: 11/3/2014 - 04:12

  • LeonardCohe-
    n1

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    Posts: 2148
    Total reviews: 11

    Madmac, do u like chiang mai?

    Cause i dont rate it at all while some people love the joint.

    #5 Posted: 11/3/2014 - 04:13

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6255
    Total reviews: 10

    Haven't been Leonard. With the exception of Bangkok, Ayuhdya and Pattaya - and Pattaya not much - I never leave Issan. Been to Savanakhet and PP and that's it. I like to ride all over Issan though. But I am definitely an Issan guy. If I never left Issan again I'd be OK with that.

    #6 Posted: 11/3/2014 - 04:43

  • LeonardCohe-
    n1

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    Im friends with a few expats who lived there for like 5 yrs and they r the same. They didnt travel around that much. People tend to do that when they settle in. Issan does have a good no bs atmosphere. I need to go back.

    #7 Posted: 11/3/2014 - 06:26

  • Grubert

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    That must be the case Madmac, though my guess is many others will share your befuddlement, considering that I also adore Taiping and Ipoh. For what it's worth I rate Phnom Penh as my least favourite capital in the region (mind you, I haven't been to Jakarta and Manila). As for Chiang Mai, I completely concur with Leonard - it's only good for passing through.

    #8 Posted: 11/3/2014 - 08:43

  • Grubert

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    Well that was embarrassing! I completely forgot Bandar Seri Begawan.

    #9 Posted: 11/3/2014 - 08:49

  • LeonardCohe-
    n1

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 2148
    Total reviews: 11

    What r your fav cities?

    #10 Posted: 11/3/2014 - 09:27

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  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6255
    Total reviews: 10

    My favorite city in SEA is Khon Kaen. My favorite city in the world is Augsburg Germany.

    #11 Posted: 11/3/2014 - 14:15

  • exacto

    Joined Travelfish
    12th February, 2006
    Location United States
    Posts: 2380
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    Places visited:
    At least 98

    Cyn,

    One of the advantages of flying is that it saves time and allows you to get from A to B quickly and comfortably. But the discount flights usually need to be booked well in advance, and having to be at a certain airport on a certain date and time cuts down on your flexibility.

    Travelling by land gives you extra flexibility. You can roll into a place and move along when you are ready.

    The longer the trip, the less I tend to plan in advance. You've got a nice 7 weeks to spend, so I'd do as Leonard suggests and just sort out the basics of your visas and a few flights.

    By my calculation, you're planning to spend roughly 3.5 days at each location, and some of them aren't all that close together. I might figure out which places were most important to me along with which ones offered something unique that I wouldn't get at the other places, and use that information to streamline the itinerary a bit.

    Having said all that, your itinerary seems feasible to me, although I can't speak to the Vietnam portions. Good on ya for getting away for such a good chunk of time. Most of us North Americans don't manage that nearly often enough. Have a great trip. Cheers.

    #12 Posted: 11/3/2014 - 15:23

  • LeonardCohe-
    n1

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 2148
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    Im wondering why u left luang prabang off your list? Most like it.

    I would choose that over chiang mai.

    I would also add kanchanaburi.

    #13 Posted: 11/3/2014 - 19:23

  • Cyn343

    Joined Travelfish
    26th February, 2014
    Posts: 3

    Thanks for the advice everyone, I am trying to consolidate but it's so hard because I want to do so much... you should have seen my first list!
    and I'm not sure why I left off Luang Prabang... but thanks for the tip! I will look into it as it does look interesting and I know it was on the list at one point...also looking into Kanchanaburi...
    Thanks again everyone

    #14 Posted: 12/3/2014 - 15:12

  • AbigailatPe-
    nhandInk

    TF writer
    Joined Travelfish
    9th November, 2010
    Location United Kingdom
    Posts: 179

    Phnom Penh's a good place for a cooking class, and there's plenty of day trips you can take out of the city too. Think having several days in a city helps you to get more of a feel for it than a quick passing through. I've seen a post where someone said they spent a day in PP and didn't see what the fuss was about. How could you if you don't give it more than 24 hours?!

    Allowing a few days will give you time to wander around away from the immediate tourist areas, relax with an iced coffee on the street, visit a local market ... and if you feel like you've spent enough time, just hop on the bus to HCMC! Or take the bus and boat combo - slower but more interesting.

    #15 Posted: 13/3/2014 - 05:50

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 6255
    Total reviews: 10

    "Phnom Penh's a good place for a cooking class..."

    Am I operating at a different bod rate than everyone else here? Cooking class???

    #16 Posted: 13/3/2014 - 15:32

  • LeonardCohe-
    n1

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    Posts: 2148
    Total reviews: 11

    Cambodian food is known to be bad. I would hope the highlight of any city is more than some cooking class.

    #17 Posted: 13/3/2014 - 19:55

  • somtam2000

    admin
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    At least 113

    Khmer food is actually pretty good, though obviously/apparently not for everyone. As Abigail points out there are good cooking courses available in the capital, but there are also some excellent Khmer-focussed restaurants to try some of the local specialities. More generally it has a great dining scene which the NYTimes touched on recently with this piece.

    Luang Nam Tha seems an unusual choice given most of the other places you are headed to - if you're planning to trek there, this piece (from a few years ago) may be of interest.

    Cheers

    #18 Posted: 13/3/2014 - 20:11

  • LeonardCohe-
    n1

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 2148
    Total reviews: 11

    Article focuses on european food incl fish n chips.

    #19 Posted: 13/3/2014 - 22:30

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 6255
    Total reviews: 10

    In my limited exposure, I really did not like Cambodian food. But I found the people to be warm and engaging, the dance scene was small but pleasant, and the vibe of the city was cool. But a cooking class? That would be the last thing on planet earth I would do on vacation.

    #20 Posted: 14/3/2014 - 12:51

  • LeonardCohe-
    n1

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 2148
    Total reviews: 11

    Nothing wrong with cooking courses but a 1 day course you will learn stuff all and courses are held all over the world. It's not a real reason for going to a certain city unless there's some top chef and you are doing a multi day course. It did seem an odd comment for a country that isn't know for good food and doing a cooking course is not a highlight of a city. You can go to a tafe and do a 6 week cooking course.

    #21 Posted: 14/3/2014 - 13:26

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