Southeast Asia forum

Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia...How much time is adequate??

  • mickeystout

    Joined Travelfish
    30th January, 2006
    Posts: 1

    Hi, I'm planning a trip to Australia from Ireland, and I was hoping to vistit Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia on route....how long would be adequate?? I was thinking about 6 weeks?? Probably flying into Bangkok and out of Singapore also....Any help???

    #1 Posted: 30/1/2006 - 23:51

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  • somtam2000

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    Location Indonesia
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    Hi Mickey,

    Welcome to Travelfish!

    When you're planning a trip to Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam, the most important point is "Less is More"!

    While travelling around Thailand can be both fast and easy, travel in Vietnam is slower, Cambodia slower again and Laos glacial. While it is certainly possible to see the four countries in six weeks, you're either going to spend a lot of time on the road, or only see a small portion of each country.

    While you don't say what your primary interests are, typical first time trips would cover at a bare minimum the following places, and I've put in brackets after each one how long people often stay at each:

    ]Thailand - Bangkok (3 days), 1-3 islands in the south (5-10 days), trekking in the north (4 days)
    Laos - Mekong river trip (2 days), Luang Prabang (3 days), Vang Vieng (3 days), Vientiane (2 days)
    Cambodia - Angkor Wat (3 days), Phnom Penh (2 days)
    Vietnam - Hanoi (3 days), Halong Bay (2 days), Hue (3 days), Hoi An (4 days), Nha Trang (4 days), Saigon (3 days), Mekong Delta (2 days)

    which comes out at 48-53 days (7-8 weeks) depending on how long you stay on the islands in Thailand.

    Now this is without allowing time for getting from one place to another, days off or lost days! It is also just stopping at the absolute highlights of each country... where'd your six weeks go??!!

    Now there's a few ways to save time -- look into flying where possible (budget airlines are all over the shop now) and where you can't fly take overnight buses or trains.

    If you are firmly stuck to 6 weeks, I'd suggest skipping one country and saving it for another trip -- Vietnam springs to mind as it is so big and so packed with sights, that even in six weeks just in Vietnam you'll get just a taste of it. Perhaps save it for another trip... or take a longer holiday!

    Have fun planning!

    #2 Posted: 31/1/2006 - 08:26

  • travelsalone

    Joined Travelfish
    19th March, 2006
    Location Cambodia
    Posts: 41

    Kia Orana!

    I have even less time, only 4 weeks, but am compelled to go to Vietnam with 1-2 of the weeks in Thailand. I do not like to rush through places just to go to many places, so please tell what you would recommend most for a non-touristy taste of both countries! I suppose water and treks are the first focus, along with real-life of the local people. I know that this trip will be a mere dent in either place, but look at it as an intro to other adventures in the future. Thanks for any thoughts you may share!

    #3 Posted: 19/3/2006 - 17:24

  • travelsalone

    Joined Travelfish
    19th March, 2006
    Location Cambodia
    Posts: 41

    Oops, I guess I shouldn't have posted my question here under someone else's and can't delete it and re-post elsewhere...maybe someone will still answer?!

    #4 Posted: 19/3/2006 - 17:39

  • exacto

    Joined Travelfish
    12th February, 2006
    Posts: 2304
    Total reviews: 47

    Dear Travels Alone,

    I'm really a believer that "less is more" too when it come to travelling, and anyone would be better off picking a few places to get to know rather than trying to see it all in a relatively short time like 4 weeks.

    I'm guessing that you'll be flying in and out of Bangkok on your trip. Is that right? If so, perhaps you'll be interested in spending your first week in Thailand, touring around in Bangkok, Ayutthaya, and the Kanchanaburi area - including up near the Burma border. If you can afford it, maybe after that you can catch a flight directly to Danang, then spend 10 days or so drifting down the coast to Saigon, for a flight back to Bangkok. After that, you've still got a week to 10 days or so for a trip to northern Thailand, or down south for a beach or kayaking adventure too. It depends on your budget and what you want to do. In any case, look into those flights to/from Danang/Saigon out of Bangkok. That loop looks like a winner of an option for what you've said you want to do. Kia Ora Mate!

    #5 Posted: 20/3/2006 - 00:09

  • travelsalone

    Joined Travelfish
    19th March, 2006
    Location Cambodia
    Posts: 41

    Thank you Exacto! That does look like a do-able and interesting route. I was hoping to get to Halong Bay (actually a bay about 50k north of it) and maybe a hill trek up there somewhere, not necessarily Sapa. Budget isn't really an issue, so maybe I could fly into Hanoi and do something with internal flights to get toward the south? Yes, I am flying in/out of Bangok, and then to Tokyo for my flight home. Safe travels to you!

    #6 Posted: 20/3/2006 - 03:38

  • somtam2000

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    Hi travelsalone,

    Good advice from exacto there -- if you want to get to Hanoi (for Halong Bay and Sapa) from Bangkok -- look into flights with AirAsia -- very cheap.

    Have fun and yes, Less is More!

    #7 Posted: 21/3/2006 - 06:01

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