Hello Travelfish -
I will be taking a 6-week trip to SEA starting 22 Sept. I have done a good amount of research here on TF (great site by the way!!) and have pretty much narrowed my itinerary down to different routes that I am now trying to decide on. Nothing is really set in stone, but there are a few activities that I really would like to work in (specifically, getting scuba certified somewhere [thinking Ko Tao but open to suggestions]). The two itineraries differ significantly and I just wanted to get some advice/opinions on the two options.
Itinerary 1: Arrive BKK 23 Sept and stay for 6-7 nights > Chiang Mai for 2-3 nights > Huay Xai 2-3 nights> Luang Prabang 4-5 nights......fly from Vientiane to BKK, stay BKK 1 night then train to Chumphon and on to Ko Tao. I would probably stay in the Ko Tao/Ko Samui area for anywhere from 7-13 nights before heading to Krabi . Spend approx. 7-ish nights in the Krabi area before ferrying over to Phuket to fly back to BKK and then home on 1 Nov.
Itinerary 2: Arrive BKK 23 Sept stay for 6-7 nights > train to Chumphon and on to Ko Tao. Stay in Ko Tao for 7-10 nights > Krabi for 7-8 nights > over to Phuket (maybe stay 1-2 nights for vegetarian festival as it falls during this time frame) then fly to Singapore. Singapore for 4-5 nights then fly onto Bali. At this point, I expect to have around 9-11 nights in Indo before flying back to BKK for a night or two then flying home.
Sooooo, basically I just wanted thoughts/suggestions/critiques of these two routes. I have read alot of forum posts and feature stories so I know there is alot of material on this type of stuff already, but I thought it would be nice to have some personal opinions on my tentative travel plans. Like I said, I plan to be flexible (notice alot of "3-4 night stays" and can charge thru some traveling if I have to, or I can kick back if I find somewhere special) and I am also open to any experiences/activities/locations that anyone would like to recommend. Thanks for all who take the time to read and reply. I love this site!!!
P.S. To give you a little info about me..... I am a 27 y/o male traveling SEA for the first time. I will be flying solo for a good part of the trip (which I am both excited and just a little bit anxious about) so while I would like to meet some good people along the way, I would also like to spend a good amount of time snapping photos and seeing some of the amazing sites I've read about. I hope this helps!!
#1 viajero2011 has been a member since 13/8/2010. Posts: 22
Mailed your gmail, it would not send via here for some reason.
#2 Joss369 has been a member since 12/7/2010. Posts: 13
They're two quite different itineraries!
First the easy stuff: weather.
September means wet season in Laos and the Andaman Coast (so Krabi and Phuket) but Ko Tao is good in September.
September means great weather in Bali.
So, I'd lean towards plan 2, but I'd cut down the time in Singapore (to keep your budget under control) and give a few more days in Bali -- that was you could fit in some travel to either the Gilis or Lombok if you wanted. Also, with 6-7 days in Bangkok, you could cut that down to say three and fit in a side trip to Kanchanaburi if you wanted...
Glad you like the site!
The Thailand/Indonesia trip was the one I wanted to do all along really, it was only the allure of Luang Prabang and the rest of Laos that spurred the thought of heading north from BKK. Looks like good cause for a return trip!
So alot of what you said I had already thought to myself. The Singapore leg of the trip was only to see a friend who has been living there, but it turns out she may meet me abroad so that (expensive) stop in the trip can be forgone. As for Kanchanaburi, let's just say that I'm already looking forward to my time riverside on a raft house.
It's Indo that really excites me though. What would you recommend I do if I had say, 2 weeks there? If at all possible (financially and logistically) I would like to make it to see some Komodos, but I realize that may be a stretch. What are some other activities or locales that you would suggest? Also, how are the prices on Bali and Lombok?
#4 viajero2011 has been a member since 13/8/2010. Posts: 22
Great point stevephillips79. I didn't even think about youtubing some of the locations.....there are some great videos of Koh Tao and some other places. Thanks!
#5 viajero2011 has been a member since 13/8/2010. Posts: 22
If you have more time for Indonesia, I would recommend Middle Java (Yogyakarta, Solo/Surakarta) or the mountainous/tea-growing region outside Bandung. Sumatra (Lake Toba, Bukit Lawang orangutan preserve) is another possibility, though I haven't yet visited myself.
#6 glomer has been a member since 23/2/2010. Posts: 86