I'm travelling to SE Asia in July - it's all very last minute so I'm hoping that you guys could be kind enough to help me with my plans. I'm changing employers so have managed to engineer myself a 4 week gap between jobs :D
To be quite honest I am very open to suggestions on what can't be missed to any of these destinations. Especially the first few days in Bangkok. I've been quite ignorant of Asia in the past and so my knowledge of the area, although gaining monmentum is still pretty poor and I hope I have time to be the man with a plan come the time. We'll be flying most of the time (due to time constraints). We're hoping for a bit of sun and relaxation, hence the Bali trip towards the end of our stay and the islands trp at the start. Other than that we are open to adventure.
This is the loose plan so far:
UK - Bangkok - Bangkok, 4 nights and days
Bangkok - Surat Thani, 8 nights on an island (maybe Ko Pha Ngan) Is this airport suitable?
Surat Thani - Bangkok - Siem Reap, 2 days
Boat to Phnon Penh, 2 days
Phnon Penh - Bangkok, overnight stay
Bangkok - Bali (Depensar) 7 days
Bali - Singapore, 3 days
Singapore - UK
Looking forward to hearing from you.
I'd suggest considering a bit of rerouting -- putting Angkor wat and Phnom Penh first. So something like:
Arrive Bangkok ->(overland) -> Siem Reap -> (boat) -> Phnom Penh -> (fly) -> Bangkok -> (overland) -> Ko Pha Ngan -> (overland) -> Kuala Lumpur -> (fly) -> Bali -> (fly) Singapore -> home
Doing something like the above removes the extra trip to Bangkok and there are cheap flights from KL as well as Bkk to Bali -- so shouldn't make much of a difference.
Hope that helps
You say "I've been quite ignorant of Asia...".
Given your itinerary, I'd have to agree.
You say "We're hoping for a bit of sun and relaxation, ... Other than that we are open to adventure.
It appears your primary motive is to have a 'beachy' holiday in Asia. I'm wondering whether your focus is not mainly to lounge around at resort style places?
If you want adventure (of sorts, or any sort), then you've not given yourself an opportunity. Cities do not provide what I call adventure (unless arguing with a taxi driver over a rip off fare is what you'd call an adventure).
Also, what do you expect to see in Siem Reap in 2 days? That the passes are either 1 day or 3 days (and more), may suggest to you that there's heaps to see and can't be done briefly!!!
ps. posting this on the 'SE Asia' link might have elicited more replies.
Brucemoon, thanks for your response.
You really seem to be on a once man crusade against people whow neither have the time, patience, funds or inclination to extensively tour Asia. There is a big world out there and lots to see outside SE Asia.
You constantly bang on about people not spending enough time in certain areas or criticise people for trying to cram too much in to one trip. I guess you just won't be happy until we've all spent 2 weeks in Siem Riep and know every inch of the place. Clearly you have a lot of local knowledge and could be of great help to other travelers but I'd suggest you could climb down off your high horse and be a little kinder to others who clearly haven't spent half their life in the region. Only yesterday I think I saw you flame "tourists" for taking time to adjust to their surroundings?! Yeah, and?
On my part I could have been a little clearer. When I had cities listed they were intended as a base only. For example I had no intentions of spending the first 4 days in Bangkok, but would be flying into the city and flying our four days later. Doesn't mean I stay in Bangkok. For info we'll most likely be heading North and leaving Bangkok a day or so later.
But you are correct about the beachy holiday - after thinking about things a bit more we've decided to cut our time spent in beachy places. We've also cut out Singapore as it was only an intended stop so we could get back to the UK. I've now managed to secure flights out of Bangkok. Additionally, we've also managed to extend the trip by a few more days.
I also have no intention to spend anymore than two days in Siem Riep, I'm quite sure I can buy a pass for three days and then leave after two days, no big deal. But I appreciate that on an ideal trip (if I had more time) we'd perhaps take a more relaxed pace. I can always return later in life.
Thanks for your contribution
It's great that some of the comments have assisted you refine your itinerary.
The reason behind taking it slower?
There is a constant stream of advertising from travel companies selling transport. The associated images lead the prospective traveller to think that merely by being at a place, they will (somehow) enjoy experiences similar to those pictured. So, the more places visited, the more 'experiences' will be enjoyed.
Sadly, time in/on transport may well be profitable to the 'industry', but it cannot produce the portrayed 'experiences'.
For whatever reason, many come to SE Asia and try and see too much too fast. The percentage of visitors returning to SE Asia is relatively low (even from here in Australia - where I'm at). There is a view that tourists will enjoy themselves more, and potentially return for further visits, if they slow down the distance travelled - and days spent travelling - and actually engaged with the culture / enjoyments / etc., that the various places have to offer.
Travelfish has many many facets. There is a mountain of information here. I suppose I'm trying to get people to look more at their 'plans' and see if they can somehow enjoy their trip more (especially in relation to the time spent travelling, etc).
If you see me as 'flaming', I'm sorry. But, as you note, I've assisted in getting you to (re)focus what it is that you want to achieve. Hopefully, you'll enjoy your time in the region more, and maybe even seek to spend a future holiday in the region.
"Cities do not provide what I call adventure"
Most of the time I agree with you - I definitely agree you need to go slow here even at the cost of going to fewer places. But I don't agree with you ref cities. Define adventure? Walking along a boring path somewhere, maybe taking in a waterfall or something? That's not adventure in my book. Nightlife, meeting interesting people, listening to good live music... or cruising down the highway at 150 KPH on your chopper - that's adventure. Walking into a bar in a city where you know no one and no one knows you - that's adventure. Cities are where all the adventure is in my book.
#6 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Gotta say that Bruce is right in that you need to focus on what you really want to do. Do you want to kick it in cool bars with hot women, or lay on the beach and relax... or would you rather go to historical sites like Angkor Wat? Once you lay out what you really want out of the trip, then it's easier to focus on the geograghy.
#7 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Lol, I forgot about this thread, it's been a while.
Ok, plans have changed a fair bit.
Day one, arrive PM in Bangkok, stay for two further days.
Day four, early flight to Chaing Mai, stay in Chaing Mai for a further three days.
Day 9, Early Flight Chaing Mai to Bangkok, overland to Siem Reap . Stay Siem Reap for a further two days (sorry Brucemoon, I know you're not gonna like that ;p)
Day 12, overland to Bangkok, flight to Thai / Malay border, travel to Perhentian Islands (Kecil). Stay further 4/5 days on Kecil.
Day 18, Overland /sea to Koh Phangan/Koh Samui, stay a further 8/9 days.
Day 27 (?) flight from Koh Samui to Bangkok and home to UK.
So yeah, its become a bit more beachy, but upon reflection its maybe a good idea. We're first time backpackers/flashpackers so its proably best hat we have a nice easy introdction to the area. This first 10 days are quite manic, the rest is designed to be a bit more relaxing - island hopping.
It's a pity we have so many flights, but needs must. We have a deadline to get back to the UK.
I'm happier that you are now travelling less, and spending more time in places so that you're exposed to more opportunities.
I note you are travelling overland to Siem Reap and return. Is there a reason? For my part, if you flew, you'd have a couple of days for more 'fun'.
Note to MADMAC:
While we disagree on what is 'fun' (might be an age thing, might be that I have a great wife & chasing femmes isn't my scene, or that too much noise & grog 'spaces' me out for too long), we agree that slowing down and 'doing it' is the key: travel is tiring, expensive & boring, but sometimes necessary.
Bruce, we are travelling overland to save a little bit of money. $250 per person (one way) is a bit steep. Besides, its one of the few occassions that we'll travel by any form of transport other than by air. Might be interesting. I reckon we can make each way in around 5/6 hours. Don't know if this is realistic or not?
I also define an environment by the people in it. I do not like nature - don't consider it my friend and don't want to be close to it. But I love to meet new people in foreign environments (which is why I am so into linguistics). And cities are a great place to do that. Also, I'm a dance instructor now, and so obviously clubs are places I go for fun, but also to recruit new dancers. So I have multiple motivations there. I really enjoy Thai nightlife... even out here in the sticks I always have a good time. I too have a wife and young daughter, so I can't be out all the time or chasing women, but I still enjoy an evening out. Different strokes... good for travelfish, because you can give that other perspective that I lack.
#11 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Have you considered the Discovery Air Travel Pass?
It sounds like you may have overlooked this one - go to:
Then click on 'Discovery Airpass'.
It might save you money, and give you some better options.
Just wanted to comment on the time you are considering to get from Bangkok to Siem Reap . Its going to take you a lot longer then the 6h you envisaged.
From what I found on the web www.seat61.com its going to take you about 15 hours.
Bangkok - Aranypathet by train = 7h
crossing the border Aranyapathet - Poiphet: ??
Poiphet - Siem Reap by bus: 6h
All the best
#13 Lawoat has been a member since 29/6/2009. Posts: 59
Thanks Lawoat, I think we'll be taking a taxi to the border, and then anther form of transport from there.
Hoping we can get to the border from Bangkok in maybe 3 hours. Should be around $60 for that leg of the journey - a lot cheaper than Bangkok Air!
In Chiang Mai now - Love it!
Air Asia do Bangkok to Phnom Penh for about US$46.
Its about 5 hours by bus from PP to Siem Reap (app US$8).
Also Bangkok Airways do a PP > Siem Reap flight for US$52.
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Also Air Asia do Chiang Mai > KL > Siem Reap for US$82.
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Heaps of possibilities, eh?