I've browsing the web and reading for days now and I am realizing two things: 1) I am confused and 2) I understood to not pack too much into an itinerary, less is more.
So here it is, my first attempt at an itinerary. We are 2 people travelling from mid Jan to mid Feb 2010 and it's our first time in SEA (Thailand/Laos/Cambodia).
1-3: Bangkok (2.5 days)
4: fly to CM, continue by bus to Chiang Dao
5-6: trekking tour (or so) in CD
7: bus back to CM, fly to LP
10: on the river to Nong Kiaow
11: stay in Nong Kiaow OR back to LP
12: fly to Siem Reap
13-16: Angcor Wat and Tonle Sap
17: bus to Phnom Phen
18: Phnom Phen
19: fly to Bangkok, half day shopping
20: fly to Phuket and transfer to Phi Phi
21-27: Phi Phi (relaxing, diving, excursions)
28: transfer to Phuket, fly back to Bangkok and back home :-(
As you can see I don't like to travel for hours between places, unless it's scenic and somewhat easy. My questions are:
1. Is my itinerary too slow? Am I going to the other extreme of allowing 'too' much time in each area?
2. Am I missing any really great places? (Read about Vientiane and VV, but it didn't sound like a must see. Please correct me if I am wrong.
3. Any other recommendations: more time here, less time there, different transportation method...
4. I think the Discovery Airpass will not work for us as the CM-LP and LP-Siem Reap routes are not part of the Airpass routes as far as I understand. Again, I might be wrong.
Thank you for ANY input you might have, I really, really want this vacationt o be as good as it can and don't want to find out later what I could have or should have done instead. That would be a shame!
#1 Egoli has been a member since 3/12/2009. Posts: 2
OK, in my opinion you are definitley NOT spending too much time anywhere. For me personally, there is way too much planning here, but given that you obviously have some very specific things you want to see, I don't think that's avoidable.
You are choosing to fly all over the place - this is good given that you want to see a lot of divergent places and you don't have much time to do it. Bussing this route would be insane.
You don't say what your interests are, but given what you've planned (and what you have not planned) it looks like you are a culture - nature kind of person, and don't have much interest in nightlife. Given that, your choices seem logical.
Are you missing any really great places? Of course. There are thousands... it doesn't matter where you choose to go, you don't have enough time (read years) to see all the "really great places" (understanding this is very subjective). You left out Ayudhaya, Khanjanaburi, Sukhothai, 4,000 Islands... I could go on and on, but you get the idea. Given your time constraints, there's only so much you can see and even less you can do.
#2 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
thank you very much for your response. I found it really helpful.
Of course, asking if I had missed any great places was a silly question in itself. I guess I was thinking along the lines of for example travelling to South Africa and not going on a game drive. There are many, many, many amazing places in South Africa, but going on a game drive is a must for any itinerary.
You are right, I am not too interested in the nightlife. I assume if I really want to, I can get some of that in Bangkok or Phnom Phen.
With regards to the planning: yes, I agree, I am a bit unhappy that I ended up with such a fairly detailed itinerary. I spent a month in NZ this year and had nothing booked but the flight and first night hotel. However, this time we are travelling during peak season and we need to fly to places, so I feel the need to book the flights, which binds me to my itinerary to a certain degree. I am thinking about only pre-booking accomodation in Bangkok, Siem Reap and on Phi Phi, which will at least give me some freedom and flexibility for the remaining part of the trip.
Does this sound reasonable? Any other comments?
Again, really appreciate the helpful feedback.
#3 Egoli has been a member since 3/12/2009. Posts: 2
I never pre-book. BUT, you don't have as much time to play find the guesthouse as I usually do. Yoy may not want to waste time doing that. In which case I would use my friendly travelfish guesthouse finder and search for and book housing now. That way you minimize time spent getting settled in at the new destination and maximize checking out what you want to check out.
#5 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957