Southeast Asia forum

First time in Southeast Asia

  • cassrose

    Joined Travelfish
    13th September, 2009
    Posts: 22

    Hey there,

    Have been checking out all the posts and information for a few months and found it fantastic!
    I have a few questions based on my itinerary.

    I am going with my friend (2 young girls) and we originally wanted to see Thai, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. We have now come to the realisation that that is just not do able as we only have 6 weeks.

    We fly into Phuket and am spending xmas/new years around there and the islands. Think i will head up to Bangkok around the 1st jan. Not sure where to go from there. Am thinking around 2 weeks in Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. We don't want to rush to much though.

    Any ideas/info would be much appreciated!

    Thanks in advance

    #1 Posted: 30/10/2009 - 08:42

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  • somtam2000

    admin
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    Joined Travelfish
    21st January, 2004
    Location Indonesia
    Posts: 7058
    Total reviews: 24
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    At least 113

    You mean two weeks in each right? I'd give a few extra days to Laos and take a few off Cambodia for the following:

    Assuming that is the case you could go from Bangkok north to Chiang Mai / Pai area, then onto Chiang Khong for the border crossing to Laos.
    See this story for tips between Bkk and CM: http://www.travelfish.org/feature/152

    Once you're in Laos, grab a slow boat downriver to Luang Prabang then Vang Vieng and Vientiane . Then I'd take the bus down to far southern Laos for 4000 islands ( Don Dhet etc). If you want to stay in the north longer, consider the Gibbon Experience

    Also, give this a read (for CM to LP) http://www.travelfish.org/feature/119
    For more on Luang Prabang etc, try these:
    Elephant trekking in Laos
    LuangPrabang escape

    From southern Laos you can cross into northern Cambodia, go to Kratie then Phnom Penh and Siem Reap and exit back to Thailand. (read this story: http://www.travelfish.org/feature/71 (backwards ;-)

    Sorry, went a bit link mad in this post, but lots of info that will prob help on the planning side of things.

    Have fun!

    #2 Posted: 30/10/2009 - 08:55

  • cassrose

    Joined Travelfish
    13th September, 2009
    Posts: 22

    Thats fantastic thank you so much! We are both very keen on Laos. There are a few places in the North im keen on as well. I was looking at the gibbon experience but because it will take such a big chunk out of our time im not sure. I have seen something similar by bangkok but its a one day kind of thing.

    How much time will traveling laos generally take? i was thinking we could maybe fly from Vientiane to Pakse... My friend is very anti planning but i think we may need to, at least a route anyway.

    Thanks!

    #3 Posted: 30/10/2009 - 09:12

  • somtam2000

    admin
    Click here to learn more about somtam2000
    Joined Travelfish
    21st January, 2004
    Location Indonesia
    Posts: 7058
    Total reviews: 24
    Places visited:
    At least 113

    Pakse airport is closed at the moment, so you can only fly to Savannakhet (then bus on to Pakse).

    For trip times, take a look at some of the relevant trips in the itinerary section -- useful as a guideline. http://www.travelfish.org/itineraries

    Cheers

    #4 Posted: 30/10/2009 - 09:41

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6334
    Total reviews: 10

    Rose
    It would help if you first stated what you want to do? What are the kind of things you like? Do you enjoy nightlife, beaches do you like to hike or hunt or fish? Do you like history and old architecture? Are you interested in romance... I mean, where you go and how long you stay there is intimately tied to what you want to accomplish or do or see while here.

    #5 Posted: 30/10/2009 - 23:19

  • cassrose

    Joined Travelfish
    13th September, 2009
    Posts: 22

    Good point Madmac, thaanks. Um like beaches, a wee bit of hiking and we are pretty interested in history and the architecture. Nightlife a wee bit, we are going to the full moon party. I think the trip for me is more about experiencing other cultures and seeing things i have never seen before.

    #6 Posted: 31/10/2009 - 09:43

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6334
    Total reviews: 10

    Well, I won't speak to that which I myself have not experienced (which would be Vietnam and Cambodia). But if you want to get off the beaten path I would recommend the following:

    Take the train to Ubon Rathathani. Go from there to Khemerat. This is a small provincial town on the Mekong river. Not a lot going on there - take a slow day and get a closer look at how Thais live in a rural (but scenic) environment. Next day go to Mukdahan (where I live). Check out the nightlife there (I highly recommend Noree - a bar / restaraunt with a fantastic band) and go to Phu Pra Thoep National park. This old communist stronghold also has fascinating rock formations for which Muk is famous (relatively speaking). After a couple of days in Muk, go 50 km up river to That Phanom . This temple is large, beautiful and has one of the oldest Chedis in Thailand. The temple is some 1,500 years old. That Phanom also has a little nightlife to enjoy. Next day, go to NKP, visit the Ho Chi Minh house (Uncle Ho lived there for several years) do a little shopping, and enjoy some great dinner and drinks around the Vietnamese clock tower. From there you can go up the Mekong to Nong Khai, breaking up this five hour trip with another stop in a smaller town along the way. It's incredibly scenic up there, and you won't be running into any tourists. Once you arrive at Nong Khai, you can cross into Laos (as you could at Muk or NKP if you were so inclined). Hit the high spots of Laung Prabang, Vientiane (not in that order) and maybe party at VV, then go back down the Mekong on the Laotian side. See if you can visit the old Long Tieng secret base of the CIAs war in Laos, go to Tha Khek and check out the Konglor cave which everyone raves about (and from photos looks pretty nice and interesting), go down to Savankhet, go to the dinasour museum and hang out with other backpackers for a couple of days, then down to Paxse and cross back into Thailand or keep heading south into Cambodia! To keep stress out of your life, get back to BKK at least two days before you are due to leave. That way if your movement schedule goes wrong, you're still OK.

    #7 Posted: 31/10/2009 - 11:06

  • cassrose

    Joined Travelfish
    13th September, 2009
    Posts: 22

    wow thanks madmac, thats a ton of info!
    that more i try and plan a route the more upset i get as i realise 6 weeks is not nearly enough! Im starting to think will it be better to just base ourselves in places eg Luang Prabang for 5 days then do day trips?

    Thanks again!

    #8 Posted: 2/11/2009 - 05:23

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6334
    Total reviews: 10

    Have a good time. I've lived here over two years, there's still tons to check out. Six weeks or six months, there's a lot to see and do.

    #9 Posted: 2/11/2009 - 11:07

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