Southeast Asia forum

1 month in SEA- Itinerary advice please! :)

  • Karlap

    Joined Travelfish
    5th October, 2009
    Posts: 12

    Hello all!

    I am planning a trip to SEA in the beginning of March. I have 1 month (with my friends) and have to make the plans! I have read so much information on here and its been so helpful. At first I was trying to go to Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Laos all in 1 month! I understand now that is not a mart move! So here's 2 ideas I have come up with and any advice, critiques, or any mumbo jumbo will be greatly appreciated! (Please keep in mind that these are VERY rough drafts- all I have are the "broad strokes" and I haven't completed connected the dots yet. :)

    Idea 1- More relaxed (I think)
    ~Fly into Bangkok and stay 1 night
    ~work our way up the coast of Thailand for about 1 week
    ~cross into Laos and stay for 1 week
    ~cross back into Thailand and go down the 'inside' of Thailand trying to hit some major sights for 1 week and heading South again
    -Lastly visit the Islands of Thailand such as Phuket for 1 week and then to Bangkok for the departure.

    Second Idea (trying to see another country)
    ~Fly into Bangkok
    ~Cross into Cambodia and travel up for 1 week
    ~Cross into Laos and visit for 1 week
    ~Cross into Thailand and travel south for 1 1/2 weeks
    ~1/2 week in the Islands of Thailand and then Bangkok for the departure.

    My friends will then head back to the states while I fly to Vietnam and go from Hanoi to Saigon for about 2 weeks. Is that enough time for Vietnam? Then I will fly to Singapore to visit a friend for some time.

    Any response is welcome! Thank you for your time!!

    -Karla

    #1 Posted: 8/10/2009 - 22:06

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  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6341
    Total reviews: 10

    OK, the first question is what do you enjoy doing? Where you go should probably be shaped by what your preferences are (and presumably your friends).

    Secondly, you can't fly to Bangkok and "go up the coast and cross into Laos". Laos is land-locked. So to cross into Laos from Thailand, you have to go through Thailands interior. Ocean beaches and Laos are mutually exclusive I'm afraid.

    This brings us to the next point. A lot of people love the mountainous areas north of Chiang Mai , and want to hit the famous tourist stops (and famous for a reason - they're interesting places) of Ayutthaya and Kanchanaburi, then proceed to Chiang Mai and from there on towards a border crossing around Loei. This is the route more travelled.

    The route less travelled, and probably less interesting for most people, would be to go to Ubon Ratchathani, then head over to Kong Cham and cross there into Paxse.

    Even less travelled than this is to fly to Ubon, then on to Kong Cham and head north along the Mekong on the Thai side of the border. Stopping at Khemerrat, Mukdahan , That Phanom, Nakhon Phanom, Beung Kan and Nong Khai, then crossing into Laos and perhaps working your way down the other side of the Mekong OR continuing north to the tourist haunts of Luang Prabang and VV. I personally like this option, but I am a fan of Isaan - which most people are decidely not. The only real "attraction" worth seeing on the Thai side of this route is the Temple at That Phanom, which is a great take with a lot of history to it. Kong cham is a nice resort area. The Ho Chi Minh house in NKP is interesting from an historical perspective. But most days could easily be spent getting a massage, relaxing at a river side restaraunt, and wondering around taking the places in. Evenings could be spent at local clubs - some of which I really enjoy. None of the legs of this trip should be longer than three hours (until you get into Laos), so you wouldn't be eating up whole days in transit, which I consider a plus.

    If you decide to go this route let me know, as I live in this area and can provide some more details on this that are interesting to do - particularly in Mukdahan where I live.

    #2 Posted: 9/10/2009 - 12:40

  • Karlap

    Joined Travelfish
    5th October, 2009
    Posts: 12

    MadMac- thank you for your reply! This is where my embarrassment comes into play... I just re-looked at the map and realized the ridiculousness of my "go up the coast" comment. Unless I plan on going into Burma- there isn't a coast to Laos! haha.... Now with that embarrassment aside here are some answers:

    -We want beach, nightlife and of course some sightseeing. Also, pretty much anything to do with animals.... riding elephants, feeding monkeys, all those such adventures. We'd also like to maybe skydive and learn scuba diving if you have any suggestions on the best places to do those activities. I have read about Chiang Mai and it is definitely on the "go to" list. I like your suggestion about seeing Ayutthaya and Kanchanaburi although I haven't heard too much about Kanchanaburi so I will have to research that some more. I think we'll do the Luang Prabang and VV route. From what I've read that seems to be a fun area. I am unaware of Isaan so I will look into that.

    - What is your suggestion on returning to Bangkok? Should I try to travel down into Cambodia or go back through Thailand hitting some places I may not have gotten to?

    Also, what is your opinion on this rough itinerary :

    -arrive in Bangkok- 2/3 days with an excursion to the Tiger Temple
    -Travel to the Islands for 1 week- possible scuba diving lessons
    -Travel north to through Thailand- Ayutthaya, Kanchanaburi and Chiang Mai-1 week? (if less time is needed for this we would like to maybe have more time in the Islands)
    -Cross into Laos- VV and Luang Prabang- 1 week
    -Head south and back to Bangkok for flights home- 5 days

    Could you tell me anything about 'tubing' in Laos? Some friends have mentioned it and I've read some about it but I'm unsure of where exactly it is in Laos.

    Once again, thank you for your reply. I've read some of your other replies and you definitely seem to know SEA so any advice is greatly appreciated!!

    -Karla

    #3 Posted: 9/10/2009 - 19:09

  • Karlap

    Joined Travelfish
    5th October, 2009
    Posts: 12

    Actually- I researched more and have come up with this path- please let me know your opinion.

    March 6- Arrive in Bangkok
    7-13- to Ko Samet Island and visit all over the island (back to Bangkok on 13th)
    13-15- Ayutthaya and Kanchanaburi (although I think I'll skip the Tiger Temple after reading more about the controversy)
    15-16- Lapburi
    16-18- Chiang Mai
    19-21- side trip to Lampang
    22-23- Chiang Dao
    24-25- Chiang Rai
    26-27- Cross into Laos via Chaing Khong/Huay Xai and into Pakbeng (any suggestion on which place for a stay?)
    28-31- Luang Prabang
    1-3- Vang Vieng
    4-5- Vientiane
    6- Fly to Bangkok
    7- fly home

    What do you think about this route? Would you suggest shorter or longer trips in certain places? And any info on animal attractions (that aren't harmful) is still wanted.

    Thanks again!

    #4 Posted: 9/10/2009 - 21:02

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6341
    Total reviews: 10

    Bsaed on what you've said, I think this sounds like a good plan.

    I don't know squat about the Islands - I've never been to one. I don't like the ocean. Maybe Somtam or one of the other ocean going guys can help you on that. But otherwise I think the plan looks OK. Not too busy... hits the points you wanted to hit.

    There's a video in the Laos section on VV. Suggest you check it out and see if it's you. Don't listen to anybody's advice on this one, because VV is a polarizing place. You watch the vid and make your own call.

    #5 Posted: 9/10/2009 - 22:35

  • Saphir

    Click here to learn more about Saphir
    Joined Travelfish
    19th May, 2009
    Posts: 74
    Total reviews: 7
    Places visited:
    At least 57

    Re place to stay in Pak Beng - I stayed at Monsavan Guest House. It was fine, although I'm sure they are all much of a muchness.

    #6 Posted: 10/10/2009 - 13:44

  • Karlap

    Joined Travelfish
    5th October, 2009
    Posts: 12

    Thanks for your reply! I was trying for a non-stressful trip so I didn't want to pack in too many things. But I'm changing it around just a bit so that we can go to a full moon party in the Islands on the 30th of March. There for my time in the islands would be at the end of the trip as opposed to the beginning and it will need to start on the 29th. I think that I need to cut out 2 days from Thailand in the beginning. Do you have any suggestions on the places I may be able to cut out a day? Which places need more time, etc. I was think maybe Chiang Mai or Chiand Doa...

    Thanks again!

    And Saphir- thanks for the suggestion of Monsavan Guest House; I will definitely look into that while staying in Pak Beng. Would you suggest I stay in Pak Beng for a simple stayover or in Chaing Khong or Huay Xai. Which place would be good for a simple overnighter?

    Thanks to all!!!

    #7 Posted: 14/10/2009 - 14:41

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