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inexperienced backpacker: is my trip workable?

  • christay2009

    Joined Travelfish
    8th February, 2009
    Location United Kingdom
    Posts: 414
    Total reviews: 4

    Hey!

    I only just joined this site after afew weeks of lurking! really impressed, especially with the forum!
    I'm not sure if im posting in the right place as it involves more than just Laos! I've never really backpacked before but i'm hoping to later this year

    The plan i've managed to piece together is below:
    - work my way down the east coast of china in 25-30 days
    - Get my Vietnamese visa in Nanning then make my way into Vietnam to Hanoi
    - Work my way down Vietnam to Ho Chi Minh
    - Cross from HCM into Cambodia to Phnom Penh by International Bus.
    - Cross from Cambodia into Laos
    - Fine a way home [UK] from Laos!

    Ive got around 3 months to travel in and was thinking of splitting it up with roughly 4 weeks in China, 5 weeks split between Vietnam and Cambodia [not sure how to divide my time yet!] and finish with 3 weeks in Laos! Im probably looking forward to China/Laos the most so could even make Laos around 4 weeks

    Thats the basic structure of my trip! i've not worked out all of the itineraries as of yet but is the basic idea workable? ideally i'd like to keep the trip as cheap as possible but im not oppose to flying sometimes if necessary(Hanoi to HCM or Cambodia into Laos?)

    Sorry if this post is abit of a mess and thanks for any suggestions/opinions!

    #1 Posted: 9/2/2009 - 00:05

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  • christay2009

    Joined Travelfish
    8th February, 2009
    Location United Kingdom
    Posts: 414
    Total reviews: 4

    sorry, i forgot to mention i may have to make Vietnam/Cambodia split between 4 weeks depending on finances! but im yet to sort that out yet!

    #2 Posted: 9/2/2009 - 00:09

  • somtam2000

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    Joined Travelfish
    21st January, 2004
    Location Indonesia
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    At least 113

    Yes, is certainly workable -- though I'd look at transiting from Laos down to Bangkok for exit to the UK as you'll get far better airfares out of there rather than through Laos/Vietnam.

    More questions, ask away!

    #3 Posted: 9/2/2009 - 07:22

  • christay2009

    Joined Travelfish
    8th February, 2009
    Location United Kingdom
    Posts: 414
    Total reviews: 4

    Hey somtam2000 thanks for your reply! i know this is the Laos forum so ill try keep it Laos related!

    i was wondering, i plan to cross by land from Cambodia into Laos, how easy is it to get to the border crossing on the cambodia side and then make my way up to Northern Laos from the border? Ive read transport is very slow in Laos. I would like to work my way up to Luang Prabang eventually. I don't want to spend any time on a bus that isnt necessary!

    thanks again

    #4 Posted: 9/2/2009 - 22:59

  • Lother

    Joined Travelfish
    12th May, 2006
    Location Earth
    Posts: 214
    Total reviews: 31

    Crossing from Northern Cambodia to Southern Laos is simple enough. It's easiest to take "package" transport from Stung Treng or Kratie all the way through to the Lao side. You'll change minibuses a couple of times, but you can get to Si Phan Don or probably even Pakse the same day. The border formalities are very low key and don't take long. You need to have your Lao visa beforehand though (from Phnom Penh for example).

    It is a long way from the Southern tip of Laos to the North, so I'd definitely suggest doing it it parts, there's lots of good spots to spend some time at on the way.

    #5 Posted: 10/2/2009 - 00:25

  • seagypsy

    Joined Travelfish
    5th February, 2009
    Posts: 136

    Visiting China, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos in 3 months is 'do-able' but you'll be moving fairly quickly which also means that this will add up in transport costs.
    I'll also second somtam's advice about flying out back home from Bangkok to the UK since it's the cheapest international hub. Besides, Lao does not have long haul intercontinental flights.
    I would advise getting your Viet visa in advance of getting to Nanning unless you know of a place there that issues Viet visas fairly quickly ( a day or two but also check on express visa costs). From Nanning you can get to Hanoi in one day since there's now an 'international bus' between Hanoi and Nanning.
    Hanoi is worth a couple days but you might also do overnight trips to Halong Bay and also the northwest hilltribes trekking area of Sapa/Bac Ha.
    Then travel the length of Vietnam via the 'open bus', stopping at dstinations such as Hue, Hoi-An and Mui Ne before getting to Saigon.
    I'd highly recommend setting aside 3-4 days for Siem Reap /Angkor before heading north to Laos. You can fly from Siem Reap to Pakse in southern Laos but it might be cheaper and more fun going overland (requires Lao visa in advance of border). Then 2-3 weeks working your way up to northern Laos exiting via the Huay Xai border to northern Thailand at Chiang Khong where you can take an overnight
    VIP bus to Bangkok.

    #6 Posted: 10/2/2009 - 11:25

  • christay2009

    Joined Travelfish
    8th February, 2009
    Location United Kingdom
    Posts: 414
    Total reviews: 4

    hey, thanks for the reply!

    There are reports of getting a Viet Visa in Nanning in as little as 6 hours and you can definately get one within a day [so i've been told].

    I am slightly worried about transport costs, but more so about simply being stuck in transit for too long! Im hoping not to be too rushed, my current thinking is spend more time in 'must-see' places and less off the beaten track, especially as ill be travelling alone and am quite inexperienced.

    I'll make sure i take your advice on board when planning my routes though! I agree that a land crossing into Laos seems like it would be more fun/interesting!

    thanks again

    #7 Posted: 10/2/2009 - 17:52

  • seagypsy

    Joined Travelfish
    5th February, 2009
    Posts: 136

    Oh, just for clarification purposes, if you're FLYING into Laos (Luang Prabang, Vientiane or Pakse) you'll get a visa upon arrival BUT if you're crossing/overlanding into southern Laos from Cambodia, then you'll need a Lao visa in advance of that particular border x-ing.

    Anyways, good luck planning and don't hesitate to ask more Qs.

    #8 Posted: 11/2/2009 - 10:24

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