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Serious itinerary help needed please... :-P

Posted by think87 on 30/9/2009 at 06:48

Really apprecaite any advice that can be given here. I did my best to give you guys something to work with since I dont want to plan to much.

Leave November 5th and return April 1st

Ok so I threw up a rough itinerary that is widely open to suggestions and adjustments.

November

6 – 8 Bangkok
9 – 11 Ayutthaya

12 – 21 Need Suggestions. Want to make 2 -3 stops following the train north until Chiang Mai

22 Bangkok
23 – 29 Kanchanaburi for river kwai festival and Sangkhlaburi
30 Bangkok

December

1 – 4 Ubon Ratchathani and one stop along the way by train
5- 10 Nong kai by bus and a stop or two along the way and on to Laos

11 – 13 Vientiane
14 – 16 Vang Vieng
17 – 18 Phonsavan
19 – 21 Luang Prabang
22 – 25 Nong Kiaow and Muang Ngoi
26 – 28 Udomxai
29 – 31 ?

Januaray

1 – 6?
7-9 Huay Xai, then border run into Thailand for another 30 days and back into laos.
10 – 13 Slowboat to Luang Prabang and lying to Pakse
13- 15 Pakse
16 – 18 Champasak
19 – 31 4000 islands and some relaxing.

Febuaray

Big time suggestions needed here. I want to include Cambodia and vietnam, however i'm somewhat weary of cambodia, I have no reason other than the truth, people have told me to many horror stories and have tarnished it a little for me.

That said I REALLY want to do Angkor for a days, and also Halong bay in vn.

Other than that im really open to suggestions for these countries,

March

1 – 3 Kuala lumpor
4 – 10 Wing it
11 – 25 As many islands as I can
26 – 30 Singapore
31 bangkok then home

Thanks in advance to anyone how actually reads this whole thing :-)

#1 think87 has been a member since 5/3/2009. Location: United States. Posts: 116
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Posted by somtam2000 on 30/9/2009 at 07:59 admin

For Bangkok to Chiang Mai options, give the following story a read ... there are a LOT of options!
What to see between Bangkok and Chiang Mai

Ubon, I'd break the trip at either Khorat (for Phimai ) or Buriram fro Phanom Rung

Take the scenic route - stop at Mukdahan and That Phanom -- the area around Nong Khai, both west and east of it, on the river, is lovely -- really stunning.

End of January -- Luang nam Tha or Muang Sing are the obvious candidates. Don't forget the Gibbon Experience

I assume you're flying, not lying to Pakse, as if you're lying, you'll need to allow more time ;-)

As per my suggestion on the other thread, I'd suggest crossing at Bo Y crossing, hit central Vietnam and work south to Saigon and the Delta. Cambodia is a wonderful place and I wouldn't be put off by chit chat, but if you are you can fly from Saigon to KL and continue from there.

Cheers

#2 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,436
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Posted by think87 on 30/9/2009 at 08:34

Very nice.

Dont know how i missed that Chiang mai article.

Gibbon expierence is a serious option as long as money permits....

LOL yes i am flying to pakse. Or I could just skip vn and have a whole month in bed in pakse... sounds tempting lol

thanks again

#3 think87 has been a member since 5/3/2009. Location: United States. Posts: 116
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Posted by think87 on 1/10/2009 at 11:16

I've looked over things as much as I could and don't think it will, but does anyone see anywhere in this intinerary where weather might interfere? also, will river travel in laos still have high enough water in January? ( first time in laos )

#4 think87 has been a member since 5/3/2009. Location: United States. Posts: 116
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Posted by wanderingcat on 1/10/2009 at 14:18

possible alternatives to Huay Xai -Chiang Khong 'border run':
1. check if you can get 60-day visa for Laos at the embassy in your home country or BKK.

or...

2. if skipping the middle of Laos (e.g. Konglor cave), cover northern Laos first, then exit Laos at Vientiane > Nong Khai > along the Thai side of the Mekong > That Phanom (second the recommendation for this place) > Mukdahan & Ubon > southern Laos on new 30-day visa.

for northern Laos:
personally would rather spend more time on Nong Khiaw & going further upriver to Muang Khua, than on the 2-day Mekong slowboat - Nam Ou far more scenic than the Mekong, & river level still high enough then. no prob with river levels for Mekong either, unless China does something really drastic upriver.

could fly between Huay Xai or Luang Namtha & Vientiane, either on your way to southern Laos after finishing with the north, or right at the start of your trip to start from the north & then work your way southwards. dates you can get for GibbonX might be deciding factor.

if not going for GibbonX, the time you have in the north could be spent on Muang Sing +/- Muang Long, or even Phongsaly or Houa Phanh provinces. depends on your interests, which are...?

curious to know what are you planning to do with 4+ days in Singapore?

#5 wanderingcat has been a member since 21/10/2006. Posts: 730
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Posted by think87 on 1/10/2009 at 22:14

Thanks. wonderful info.

Definately sounds like a very possible alternative. Since I basically want to spend 30 days north, 30 south, I can see why it would be better not to have to use part of the 2nd 30 days back tracking all the way back south. As for the slow boat, I've looked into many peoples stories and have heard good and bad, so I guess I have to decide whether i feel its worth it.....

Since thats the second time Mukdahan and Tha Phanom have been mentioned I can't see any reason not to find a way to include them.

As for the gibbon expierence, Well have to see whether money permits... but from what i've heard its probably well worth splurging here.... My budget for this trip is $4500 so its going to be tight at $30 a day roughly including transport, but a key thing is i don't drink, so theres no expensive nightlife for me....

I handnt thought about going straight to the top and just working down... would it be better than to just cross into huay xai from the start from thai side?

As for my interests in Laos are concerned, just take things slow and try to enjoy all the scenery. I've very laid back, and think it's a perfect place to spend the most time in. In general, I love ruins, temples, anything that makes you say WOW...

like when I actually spent 2 months staying at Wat Pah Nanachat in thailand as a monk in training nad there was a funeral where I saw a body being burned into ashes right before my eyes to so we could meditate on dying.... but thats a WHOLE nother thread :-P

haha... well i guess i dont really realize just how small singapore must be.....

thanks again

#6 think87 has been a member since 5/3/2009. Location: United States. Posts: 116
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Posted by wanderingcat on 1/10/2009 at 23:31

can travel along the Nam Ou between places like Muang Khua, Nong Khiaw & Luang Prabang by alowboat too, albeit a much smaller one, & along a smaller but far more scenic river *hint* :P Travelfish has info on all these places, in #28 on another thread i've also added in links to what i've written about them.

Chiangmai has a cheaper alternative to GibbonX for those who want to experience ziplining through the forest - Google for 'flight of the gibbon'

I handnt thought about going straight to the top and just working down... would it be better than to just cross into huay xai from the start from thai side?

was under the impression that you wanted to head south to Kanchanaburi after Chiangmai...but yes it would save you on backtracking through both Thailand & Laos.

#7 wanderingcat has been a member since 21/10/2006. Posts: 730
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Posted by think87 on 2/10/2009 at 03:14

hmmmm

do you think changing the thai intinarary and making the chiang mai leg the last and do the northest first would be the best option?

also I've really only looked into crossing into laos from nong khai... Is the crossing at huay xai just as straightforward? more or less difficult?

thanks again

#8 think87 has been a member since 5/3/2009. Location: United States. Posts: 116
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Posted by think87 on 2/10/2009 at 03:28

Actually even better matbe to keep things as they are and just move ubon to last, go to the places like mukdahan that you and somtom recommended and then start south crossing in chong mek.... ??

#9 think87 has been a member since 5/3/2009. Location: United States. Posts: 116
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Posted by think87 on 2/10/2009 at 08:19

Looked over everyones advice, and came up with this revised gameplan and except for vietnam and malaysia where i need to fine tune, i think for the most part im going to stick with this, maybe stay a day or to longer at some places...


November

6 – 7 Bangkok
8 – 10 Ayutthaya
11 – 13 Lopburi
14 – 15 Phitsanulok
16 – 17 Sukothai
18 – 21 Chiang Mai and Flight of the Gibbon
22 Bangkok
23 – 29 Kanchanaburi for river kwai festival and Sangkhlaburi
30 Bangkok

December

1 – 2 Buri ram
3 – 4 Si Sa Ket
5- 6 Ubon Ratchathani
7 – 8 Mukdahan
9 -10 That Phanom
11 – 13 Nong Khai, ( possibly Sangkhom ) then enter Laos

14 – 15 Vientiane
15– 16 Vang Vieng
17 – 18 Phonsavan
19 – 20 Luang Prabang
21 – 26 Nong Kiaow and Muang Ngoi, possibly further north
27 – 28 Udomxai
29 – 31 Luang Nam Tha

Januaray

1 – 2 Muang Sing
3 – 6 Huay Xai, Slowboat to Luang Prabang
7 - 8 Vientiane , Fly to Siem Reap


9 – 13 Siem Reap and Angkor Wat
14 Phnom Phen
15 – 17 ?
18 Siem Reap, Flying back to Laos- Vientiane

19 - 20 Tha Khaek
21 – 22 Savannaket
23 – 24 Pakse
25 - 26 Champasak
27 – 31 4000 islands and some relaxing.

Febuaray

1 - 21 in vietnam, crossing in through Bo Y, still need to figure an itinerary Here

22 - 23 Kuala lumpor
24 – 28 ?

March

1 – 5 Islands

6 – 23 need to figure out my stops or malaysia or perhaps give some days to other places.....

24 – 25 Singapore
26 – 28 Brunei
29 -30 bangkok then home

#10 think87 has been a member since 5/3/2009. Location: United States. Posts: 116
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Posted by MADMAC on 10/10/2009 at 11:52

Think
I live in Mukdahan, so if you decide to cross the bridge and come over, drop me a line and we can meet up - easy to do here.

MAC

#11 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by think87 on 10/10/2009 at 11:56

Sure thing. that would be great.

I nothing changes ill get in touch a week or two in advance.

#12 think87 has been a member since 5/3/2009. Location: United States. Posts: 116
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Posted by MADMAC on 10/10/2009 at 13:59

IF you do come here, I recommend you stay in the Hua Nam - it's cheap and clean. Although if you want a little cheaper and a little more rustic, there's a place across the street from it that actually has architectural flair and I personally find better value for the money. My wife can make reservations for you before you come.

That Phanom really is a great take. You can borrow my wife's bike and we can go up there along the river road, or you hop on the bus if you prefer. The temple there is most impressive. A Thai tourist destination point.

#13 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by wanderingcat on 10/10/2009 at 15:36

19-20 Luang Prabang

might be too short esp if you like temples, those there are rather different from what you'll see elsewhere in Laos (or the world). for a rough idea, go to this site & click on the categories (on right side) that have names starting with 'Wat'.

will be there the same weekend, but coming in opp direction (from Nong Khiaw). no idea how my schedule there might be (depends on friends there), but don't be surprised to see a cat wandering around.

for That Phanom , there's a little museum at the back (west side) with English info on the history of the stupa, & a branch of Mahachulalongkorn (Buddhist university) on the north side. really quiet town, when i was there two boys took their family's cows to graze right in the middle of town (between Wat That Phanom & the arch)...in the evening they hitched the cattle to the back of a tuktuk & drove home at a cow's walking pace...youngest tuktuk drivers i ever met :)

#14 wanderingcat has been a member since 21/10/2006. Posts: 730
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Posted by MADMAC on 11/10/2009 at 02:44

Wandering
I'm surprised you found That Phanom all that quiet. The river walk has a number of Karaoke places and there's also a pretty loud, pretty full, club in town. It's not that big of a city for sure, but it's not like it closes down at night.

#15 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by wanderingcat on 11/10/2009 at 07:13

didn't stay overnight there, had to return to Sakon Nakhon by public transport. cat perception also shaped by living in one of the most densely populated places on earth ;)

#16 wanderingcat has been a member since 21/10/2006. Posts: 730
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