I need some suggestions on my itinerary. I will be landing in Kuala Lumpur and will be spending 4 days there. I am planning to go to:
Cambodia - Siem Reap and Phnom Penh
Thailand - Bangkok, Chiang Mai , Phuket
Laos - Vientiane
The problem I have is I am trying to plan my route. I will end up flying out of Phuket to Hong Kong. My current itinerary is:
Kuala Lumpur fly to Siem Reap
Siem Reap 2 days
Siem Reap --> Phnom Penh ( 2days)
Fly Phnom Penh --> Bangkok (4 days)
Bangkok --> Vientiane ( 2days) through overnight train to Udon Thani
Fly Vientiane --> Chiang Mai (3 days) through Udon Thani Airport
Fly Chiang mai --> Phuket (2 days)
Fly Phuket --> Hong Kong
I was wondering if this is the best route possible... any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
I know this is a rushed trip but I do not have a choice because I am limited on time.
#1 pandabear013 has been a member since 14/4/2012. Posts: 3
I've recently been trying to moderate my tone of telling people to slow down and trying to offer minor advice to somewhat rushed itineraries . . . but this one is a little nuts. Is there a reason you're going to Vientiane for just 2 days? May as well save yourself the trouble of another visa and border crossing and add that time to Chiang Mai, PP, or Phuket. One less destination . . . route whys (or is that wise?) I guess it is a fine way to go since you're flying a lot of places anyway (Add: of course notting what lizzy says above).
I agree with altmtl - it's way too rushed. I question the two days flying in and out of Vientiane , for example. I like Vientiane - but given your short itinerary, I don't think there is much point, given the expense of visa, travel cost and time, etc - and little time to really see the town. You will not get a feel for Laos in only two days or less. Put the extra days into Siem Reap. That means you could then travel direct from Bkk to Chiang Mai (train or fly).
I would also question the point of going to Phuket for two days - again much time wasted getting there, cost of fares, etc. Add those days on to Phnom Penh and Chiang Mai.
Each time you fly between destinations, you will lose at least a 1/2 - 3/4 day just phaffing aroung getting to/from airport, waiting at airport, travelling, checking into to accom, etc. Given your limited time, by cutting down on your destinations, you have more time to dedicate actuallyl seeing a bit of the destinations you are going to.
My two cents...
(edited - which now puts my post below Casey's..)
If this is Thursday it must be Bangkok...
I am with the other posters above.
#5 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Mostly because I can count on you or Mac to say it for me.
Honestly I'm just putting myself in the shoes of someone who only has 2-3 weeks of vacation and saved up for a ticket to BKK but has always wanted to see Siem Reap and check out the VC Tunnels or prove to themselves that Laos is actually a country - some people don't mind the fast journey and simply want to see what is there, get a taste, so I want to offer advice that won't absolutely curtain their situation (say, no - you should just spend all that time in Thailand).
I do agree there is a choice as altmtl says. You don't have a choice if you are compelled to go to these places. Imagine you are taking a trip to Europe and you HAVE TO see Moscow and the Kremlin, can't miss Helsinki, and who could possibly go to Europe without seeing London, Amsterdam, Paris, Rome and Berlin? That's kind of what we've got here.
#8 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
I've heard of many a month vacations that do the London-Paris-Amsterdam-Berlin-Prague-Rome-Barcelona and the like. They only see one or two cities for one or two nights, but that is how they choose to see it. My own dear mom would go to Spain for three weeks, or Ireland, or South of France, so that is where I probably got my own travel ethic of one region 3 weeks or so if I can. However, I've also tumbled around Vietnam for a mere week when that was all the time I had and enjoyed it.
I call it the Japanese tourist syndrome. The Japanese have brought this style to a high art form. When I lived in Augsburg, Germany, they came through all the time and it was almost comical. The busses would pull into Rathausplatz and the Japanese tourists would pour out, literally cameras at the ready (I had an image of the jump master in the C-130 I used to jump out of yelling "go, go, go" inside the bus whacking everyone on the thigh as a signal to exit). Immediately they would fan out, like a military operation, getting happy snaps all over the center of town. A place filled with cafes and restaraunts, there was no time for that. An hour latter, photos complete, back on the bus and off to the next destination. Hey, if it works for them, so be it. You would have to pay me a seriously large amount of money to do anything resembling that.
On a positive side note, I was at the train station in Augsburg coming home from work one day, and this young Japanese lady was seriously struggling with her suitcase, which had to go down stairs, under the tracks, and then back up to get a taxi. I offered to help and I swear that suitace weighed 75 pounds if it weighed an ounce. I seriously wondered if she had a dead body in it or something. When we got to the taxi, though, she "Waied" me (or whatever the Japanese call it) and said with the sweetest little voice "Thank you so much for your kindness". Cute as a button, she made my day.
#10 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Thank you everyone for the responses
So you guys would cut out days out of phuket and vientiane and just add those to chiang mai and BKK or siem reap?
The reason why i want to see all these places in such a short time is that I want to see the places for now and if I enjoy it then I will come back to a certain area for a longer period of time the next time I come back so SE Asia.
#11 pandabear013 has been a member since 14/4/2012. Posts: 3
"The reason why i want to see all these places in such a short time is that I want to see the places for now and if I enjoy it then I will come back to a certain area for a longer period of time the next time"
That's one approach. The other is to just focus on 1-2 areas on the first visit, enjoy it and get to appreciate them. Then plan another trip to visit another 1-2 areas and do the same.
What are your opinions on Phuket and Chiang Mai...which one would you choose to spend your time in if you had the choice? After what you guys have posted, I am thinking about cutting out phuket and laos and adding days to chiang mai and cambodia.
#13 pandabear013 has been a member since 14/4/2012. Posts: 3
Well, I haven't been to Phuket but from what I know, it sounds like it would be one of my worst nightmares come true. But others seem to enjoy Phuket so it's hard to know what to advise without knowing anything about you or your interests.
My vote goes to Chiang Mai.
I think your revised plans sound good.
Just as an aside, it would be really interesting to hear back from people like yourself who plan a lightening speed trip but choose NOT to take our advice to cull it back.
I always wonder what they think afterwards and whether they would have changed those plans with a bit of hindsight.
The choice comes down to beaches or hikes in a sense. I always like to spend the last of my time on a trip at the beach, but Phuket would not be my first choice for that - that's just from what I've heard, a great place to live but I wouldn't want to visit is the word from travelers and expats living there. If you cut out Laos AND Chiang Mai then you'd have the chance to fly down to Phuket from BKK and make your way to a more relaxed island for a couple nights . . .if you want to end with a beach. I really liked Chiang Mai myself though, and if you are cutting out Laos maybe keep Chiang Mai in the mix . . .
sorry, no definitive answer