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Southeast Asia forum

Chiang Mai or Halong Bay ?!

Posted by Line on 11/2/2009 at 17:19

Im so lucky i'll be in SE asia july and august this year.

im going on a guided trip with intrepid in Cambodia - anyone heard about the "heart of cambodia" tour or intrepid in generel?

when the tour ends in Phnom Penh ive got 3 weeks, and is defiently going to Laos.. but what should i do when i get to Luang Prabang
- go with the slowboat to thailand and visit Chiang Mai and return home from Bangkok
- or make my way to Halong Bay in Vietnam? (before cambodia i'll be in southvietnam for 2 weeks)

im a bit concerned about the weather in Halong Bay in august..

well im just so overwhelmed by all my options so any recommedations is appriciated!

#1 Line has been a member since 11/2/2009. Posts: 6

Posted by Thaiman on 15/2/2009 at 13:47

If you're in South Vietnam for a couple of weeks why not go to Halong Bay then.That way you can do the boat trip,plus see Chiang Mai, and get to travel down to Bangkok.

#2 Thaiman has been a member since 12/11/2008. Posts: 201


Posted by exacto on 16/2/2009 at 03:22

hi line,

i'm afraid i've never been to vietnam, so i cannot comment on halong bay. but given your itinerary, and since you'll have already spent two weeks in vietnam, i'd probably head over into thailand from luang prabang and make my way back to bangkok that way. that would go double if you are actually flying back home from bangkok.

from luang prabang, you could take the boat/overland trip that you mentioned, or if your budget allows it, you could fly directly to chiang mai from luang prabang on lao aiways.

if you do decide to head to chiang mai, there is lots to do. some folks don't like it as much now that it has developed, but i still enjoy myself there quite a bit. on our last trip we stayed for 10 days, and could have easily stayed longer. but there is quite a bit to do outside of chiang mai too, like chiang dao, pai, soppong or even mae hong son.

you could take the overnight sleeper train back to bangkok, catch a cheap flight to BKK, or work your way down to bangkok with stopovers in places like sukhothai, lop buri, or ayutthaya.

please keep in mind that if you take a land route back to thailand, you'll only get stamped in for a 15-day stay, so you'll want to plan accordingly. then again, this shouldn't be a problem, since once you arrive in laos, you could easily spend the entire three weeks just visiting there.

if you do wind up spending a long time in laos, you could always fly from luang prabang directly to bangkok for your flight back home too.

i hope that is at least a bit useful. regards.

#3 exacto has been a member since 12/2/2006. Location: United States. Posts: 2,606
 Where has exacto been? 

Posted by seagypsy on 17/2/2009 at 11:54

It's too bad you can't visit Halong Bay before the start of your Cambodia tour and while you're already in Vietnam for 2 weeks prior. Or can you? Because if you decide that you want to visit Halong afterwards, you'll need another costly Viet visa.
Having said that, you can GET another Viet visa in Cambodia or via their Viet consulate in Luang Prabang.
Also, should you decide to visit Halong, I'd set aside some time for Hanoi and the northwest hilltribes trekking area.
And after having said that, you could also go overland to Chiang Mai via visiting Laos' trekking area near Luang Namtha and/or Muang Sing/Long. From L. Namtha, you're only a 4 hour bus journey to the Thai border town of chiang Khong where you're another 5 hours from Chiang Mai.
With regards to 'perferences' well, it depends upon what you're looking for. Chiang Mai is a very large city with many of the same things that a large city provides unless you're going to heading up to Pai/ Mae Hong Son or Sappong as perviously posted above.
And as the exacto posted, it's usually cheaper to fly home from Bangkok than from Hanoi.

#4 seagypsy has been a member since 5/2/2009. Posts: 136

Posted by Stigron on 18/2/2009 at 09:36

We're about to do our 3rd trip to VietNam.

I would'nt spend 2 weeks in the South. Try to break it up say 4 days in the south. A few in HoiAn (can't wait to get back there) and definately spend some time in HaNoi. - My favourite city in the world!!!-
HaLong bay is very nice but 1 night is enough.

Have fun!!

#5 Stigron has been a member since 15/2/2009. Location: Australia. Posts: 28

Posted by Line on 18/2/2009 at 13:55

Thanks for the replys guys..
we changed our plans so we are going to start in Hanoi and go to Halong Bay and move down south..
i was a bit worried about the timeaspect, but guess we are going to do a couple of overnight sleepers with the train.

thank you

#6 Line has been a member since 11/2/2009. Posts: 6


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