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Change in plans

  • Isobel_123

    Joined Travelfish
    4th December, 2008
    Posts: 22

    Unfortunately due to some complications, my g/f and i have to reduce our, once amazingly fanstic 6 week trip of thailand, vietnam and cambodia down to only a bit over 3 weeks- eeekkk!!!! 23 days in total..
    im devo'd but need your help to break it down. i know ppl will say dont do as much and cut out some countries, but after planning it so well, and getting my hopes up i really want to fit all three countries in.

    Is it worthwhile making room for chiang mai? i really want to see it, but will need to relax on a beach for a bit in sections, just so when i go back to work i feel somewhat a bit calmer..

    Please help me!! i have to book flights asap..

    DAY
    1 Phuket
    2 Phuket
    3 Phuket
    4 Bangkok
    5 Bangkok- Day trip to K’buri
    6 Chiang Mai
    7 Chiang Mai O/N Train Bangkok
    8 Bangkok- Hanoi
    9 Hanoi
    10 Halong Bay
    11 Halong Bay
    12 Hue
    13 Hue/Hoi An
    14 Hoi An
    15 Hoi An/Saigon
    16 Saigon/Phu Quoc
    17 Phu Quoc
    18 Phu Quoc
    19 Phnom Penh
    20 Phnom Penh
    21 Siem Reap/Angkor Wat
    22 Angkor Wat
    23 Angkor Wat-Bangkok-Home

    #1 Posted: 18/12/2008 - 07:32

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  • travelrock

    Joined Travelfish
    19th April, 2008
    Posts: 209
    Total reviews: 18

    1 whats so good about phuket? it's ok but not a big deal. You'd be better off going to Khao Sok or Krabi.

    2. kanachaburi is worth 1 night or more

    3. Chiang Mai you could skip. Plus train eats into your time.

    4. Vietnam, havent been myself but friends told me it's not as good as thailand, food is ordinary, people arent friendly and rather bland country because of socialism/commies.

    5. Angkor Wat is owned by a crook. Dont support him.

    6. You can see Kymer ruins in Issan, Thailand like Phimai, Phanom Rung.

    7. Ubon, Khong Chiam, Koh Chang, Koh Kood are great areas to see. I would recommend them highly.

    8. It might be cool to tell people you went to 3 countries but really Thailand is the best.

    9. I would pick Laos if you want another country. Much easier to add on Laos.

    #2 Posted: 18/12/2008 - 08:03

  • Isobel_123

    Joined Travelfish
    4th December, 2008
    Posts: 22

    Im not trying to be cool, im going to these countries because i want to. and if ur telling me to visit only thailand, why did u recommend laos?
    out of all countries vietnam is the one that i want to explore the most.. so suggestions on how i should work that part of the trip would really help

    the train to chiang mai is an overnighter and so would be saving me time.. i just want to know if the town and surrounds are worth the trip north?

    dont really get that whole idea on angkor wat being owned by a crook, im suppoting the locals who get business from my tourism, not some crook ive never heard about..

    i had ko chang on my last itin but had to take it out, as its not going to work for us. we're going to phuket for the experience, regardless if its cheap and touristy, i guess itll make me appreciate other undeveloped parts of se asia more. krabi does sound great tho, wil have to look into it further and see if we can fit it in.

    #3 Posted: 18/12/2008 - 08:37

  • somtam2000

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    Hi,

    That's a pretty mental travel plan! If you really must stick with three countries, here's my suggestions:

    Skip Chiang Mai and do an overnight stay in Kanchanaburi.

    Skip Hue and I'd seriously consider skipping Phnom Penh.

    In Vietnam, you'll really need to fly some of those legs -- otherwise you'll be spending most of the time in a bus or a train -- look into Jetstar flights for Hanoi to Da Nang (for Hoi An) and onwards to Saigon.

    A better idea is to drop Vietnam totally and spend more time in Thailand and Cambodia.

    Good luck!

    #4 Posted: 18/12/2008 - 08:38

  • somtam2000

    admin
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    Ok, just saw your reply -- the problem with Vietnam, is, unless you fly travelling around is very time consuming. Nha Trang to Hue (for example) takes around 24 hours. See this sample itinerary for example.

    Chiang Mai is worth seeing -- absolutely -- but you really need to give it more time than what you have.

    I'd ignore points 4, 5 & 8 by travelrock, but the other points are fairly valid. There's only so much you can do in 23 days. Sure you could save more time by flying more legs -- look into the Discovery Airpass -- it could help.

    #5 Posted: 18/12/2008 - 08:45

  • Isobel_123

    Joined Travelfish
    4th December, 2008
    Posts: 22

    your a champ somtam thanks. yeah previosuly we were going to bus, train and fly, but i think im going to be a little stubborn on vietnam and still go :) but take ur suggestion and fly everywhere!

    will skip hue though and take a day off phnom penh.

    ahh the drama! im so sad i cant stay for longer.

    ur suggestions are great tho- thanks!

    #6 Posted: 18/12/2008 - 08:51

  • basejump

    Joined Travelfish
    14th November, 2008
    Posts: 30

    here's an approach that gets you four countries and allows you a couple of days to hang out in place you like - discovery airpass or asean airpass will help with travel costs

    where are u flying in from - if you are use to s.e asia or are changing time zones, u should factor in some recovery/adjustment time

    1 Bangkok
    2 Bangkok
    3 Bangkok
    5 Bangkok - Luang Prabang
    5 Luang Prabang
    6 Luang Prabang
    7 Luang Phabang - Hanoi
    8 Hanoi
    9 Halong Bay Cruise (2 days/2+1 nights) -overnight
    10 Halong Bay - Hanio - overnight train
    11 Hue
    12 Hue
    13 Hoi An
    14 Hoi An
    15 Hoi An
    16 Danang (hoi an) - Siem Reap , Angkor



    17 Siem Reap , Angkor
    18 Siem Reap
    19 Siem Reap - Bangkok

    #7 Posted: 18/12/2008 - 16:31

  • basejump

    Joined Travelfish
    14th November, 2008
    Posts: 30

    re my previous post, you could fit saigon in after dat 16 and fly to seim reip from there - that flight is much cheaper than from danang direct

    #8 Posted: 18/12/2008 - 16:34

  • Rufus

    Joined Travelfish
    22nd April, 2007
    Location Laos
    Posts: 950

    Travelrock is talkng absolute crap - ignore.
    I like the itinerary proposed by basejump. This would get you to Luang Prabang, which is definitely worth seeing. Fly to LP from Bk with Lao Air. You can get a visa for Laos when you arrive at LP. Its 35$ + 2 passport photos. have a few PP photos made and carry them with you. Ok you are going to miss out on Phuket doing this, but you still get a bit of beach.

    #9 Posted: 18/12/2008 - 16:43

  • Isobel_123

    Joined Travelfish
    4th December, 2008
    Posts: 22

    mmm havnt even thought about laos.. might have to look it up. worthwhile?
    we thought we maybe should just scrap cambodia all together on this trip, cos we're gonna be real girly girls for a bit and really want to collapse on a beach and lie still for a while..
    flying from melbourne oz hopefully into phuket and then flying out from either saigon or bangkok.

    will also look into this discovery airpass- both u and somtam have suggested it!

    cheers

    #10 Posted: 18/12/2008 - 16:53

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  • basejump

    Joined Travelfish
    14th November, 2008
    Posts: 30

    hi isobel

    Angor Wat is defintely worth doing this time round unless u expect to get back there sometime soon.

    if you haven't booked flights yet you might want to think about going into asia via one city and out via another - that would save a bit of backtracking - for example you could look at coming home from siem reip via KL to MLB

    while the airpass can be good value, there are some restrictions - with the discovery airpass, you could use it to your advantage for bangkok to LP - LP to hanoi and Seim Reip to Bangkok - you can't use it from vietman into cambodia and you u need to buy a min of 3 flights - there is a thread on but msg me if you need some more info.

    halong bay 2 nights will be terrific chill time and there are some g8t beach spots near danang.

    if you r on a super tight budget dont forget to factor in visas and departure taxes for laos, cambodia and veitnam.

    if we can be of any further help, dont hesitate to post

    cheers

    ps dont stree about the change in plans - sure 6 weeks to 3 is a bummer but hey, i am sure it will still be a memorable adventure :)

    #11 Posted: 18/12/2008 - 18:05

  • travelrock

    Joined Travelfish
    19th April, 2008
    Posts: 209
    Total reviews: 18

    "dont really get that whole idea on angkor wat being owned by a crook, im suppoting the locals who get business from my tourism, not some crook ive never heard about.."

    owned by the biggest crook who rips off the locals

    do a google search


    as for rufus, got no idea that clown

    #12 Posted: 18/12/2008 - 22:39

  • travelrock

    Joined Travelfish
    19th April, 2008
    Posts: 209
    Total reviews: 18

    Modern Cambodian Corruption in “Scambodia”
    In 1999 the rights to sell tickets to visit Angkor Wat and the other temples were sold off by the Cambodian government to a private businessman. Of the millions of dollars raked in from over 2 million tourist visitors a year only a small proportion comes back to the heritage park.

    Long before the movie “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider” was released, real tomb raiders were stripping Angkor Wat of priceless statues and selling them to an eager international market based in Thailand. Angkor Wat managed to survive the Khmer Rouge but it looks like it will finally fall to the lure of the dollar.

    #13 Posted: 18/12/2008 - 22:44

  • travelrock

    Joined Travelfish
    19th April, 2008
    Posts: 209
    Total reviews: 18

    Mr Son Chhay, who is a member of parliament and chairman of the parliamentary committee from the Sam Rainsy Party has, on Tuesday, reacted in response to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s letter which stated that the revenues collected by the Sokha Hotel Group from the sales of tickets to tourists who come to visit Angkor Wat have been properly audited and accounted for by the Ministry of Finance and the National Audit Authority.

    Mr Son Chhay indicated that annually the State Treasury had lost approximately $US30 million of the $US60 collected from the sales of the tickets to tourists who visit Angkor Wat. He said that the numbers of tourists visited Cambodia in 2007 were 2 million, not 1 million as stated by the prime minister. Mr Son Chhay said: “The figures from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as from the Ministry of Tourism stated that the numbers of tourists visited Cambodia were as high as 2.4 million visitors. And the calculated numbers of tourists to Angkor Wat of 1 million visitors are the in correct figures. And secondly, the method which Oknha Sok Kong company collected the revenues from the tourists, in January I have personally visited the sales office on the spot, the staff there told me that there is a directive ordering them not to keep any receipts and documents related to the sales of the tickets in the computer data.”

    Mr Son Chhay also claimed that, according to the information he obtained from his inquiry when he visited the ticket sales office, Kong Kong’s company has transferred approximately $US6 million per month from the proceeds of the ticket sales from Siem Reap to a bank account in Phnom Penh.

    Mr Son Chhay said: “Furthermore we’ve received information that Sok Kong’s company has transferred not less than $US6 million per month of the revenues collected from the sales of the tickets to a bank account in Phnom Penh. In total, according to our calculations, considering that each ticket was sold for $US20, $US40 or $US60, the amounts released were not correct, if we take into account that the sales of $US60 accounted for less than 40% of the numbers of visitors. In total, I believe that the revenues collected from the sales of the tickets to Angkor Wat can be as high as $US60 million, not the $US30 as claimed by Sok Kong’s company.”

    Even though the Prime Minister has written a letter to the parliament on the 3rd of March which stated that the numbers of tourists were only estimated at 1 million tourists a year, his speech on Wednesday in a meeting to review the works of the Ministry of Tourism stressed that the numbers of tourists were estimated at approximately the same as the statistics from the Ministry of Tourism in the website (http://www.mot.gov.kh/), which are the same figures as claimed by Mr Son Chhay.

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said: “I applaud and value the arrivals of international tourists which estimated at 2 million in 2007 who have brought incomes estimated at about $1.4 billion to our nation, which is accounted to 10% of our Growth Domestic Product and have created 300,000 jobs for our people.”

    The 5-year contract of concessions signed on 17th June 2005 between the government and the Sokha Hotel Group stated that the amount of up to $US3 million from the sales of the tickets to Angkor will be split 50% to the Apsara Authority and 50% for the Sokha Hotel Group.

    And any amount above the $US3 million will be split as follow: 15% deposited in Angkor Development Fund and 85% will go to the Apsara Authority. In turn, this 85% of revenue will be split 80% to Apsara Authority and 20% to the Sokha Hotel Group.

    #14 Posted: 18/12/2008 - 22:47

  • travelrock

    Joined Travelfish
    19th April, 2008
    Posts: 209
    Total reviews: 18

    The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 542

    “Parliamentarian Son Chhay wrote a letter to Prime Minister Mr. Hun Sen, asking him to reconsider the rights granted the Sokimex company to administer Angkor Wat. In a letter to Prime Minister Mr. Hun Sen on 10 January 2008, Mr. Son Chhay pointed out that the rights granted to Oknha Sok Kong’s company to administer Angkor Wat makes the state lose not less than $50 million each year.

    “In 2007 alone, the income from tourists visiting Angkor Wat was approximately US$50 million, but the government gave a contract to Oknha Sok Kong’s company to manage Angkor Wat, through which the state gets every year only US$10 million from the company. As a consequence, Angkor Wat, which is the most important Khmer heritage, easily benefits Sok Kong’s company not less than $50 million each year. Therefore, Mr. Son Chhay asked the government, especially Prime Minister Mr. Hun Sen, to reconsider the contract given to the Sokimex Company to administer Angkor Wat; otherwise, the government will continue to lose benefits while the company does not do anything to protect or maintain Angkor Wat. This means that the Sokimex Company of Oknha Sok Kong can sleep and still wait to easily receive benefits from the historical heritage of all Khmers.

    “Mr. Son Chhay affirmed that this is an issue the government must reconsider, relating to the granting of rights, and in future there should be bids announced appropriately, not again to be conducted quietly, giving the right to Sok Kong’s company like it happened. At present, it is affirmed that the number of tourists increased in 2007; the number of foreign tourists that visited Cambodian was more than two million. According to officials of the Ministry of Tourism, it is expected that in 2008 the number of tourists will continue to increase. Though the number of tourists increases, the government does not update the contract with the Sokimex company to increase the amount of money to be paid to the government. The amount continues to be maintained at $10 million per year.

    “Mr. Son Chhay said that there is nothing to be seen which was developed and paid for by the Sokimex company; that means that the company just waits to get benefits easily. He said that even the toilets for tourists are not good, which is a shame for the nation. Nonetheless, the government seems not to think about what Mr. Son Chhay has raised. According to reports, the government still continues to grant the right to Sok Kong’s company to manage Angkor Wat and to collect money from all tourists.

    “The Ministry of Tourism boasted about the increase in the number of tourists visiting Cambodia, especially coming to visit Angkor Wat, and that in 2007, the number of tourists was more than two million. However, the big amount of income from the tourists does not go into the national treasury. On the contrary, it remains in the hands of businesspeople of a private company. To give the right to Oknha Sok Kong’s company to manage Angkor Wat is like to allow this company to collect money from the tourists just on its own, while the state loses tens of millions of dollars each year. It is not known why such an easy arithmetic has been agreed upon; the government as well as the Prime Minister has many well-educated advisors - why do they not see an easy way of creating benefits from Angkor Wat; or is the money, which Sok Kong’s company earns, quietly shared with government officials and not put into the national treasury? If a simple farmer would manage Angkor Wat instead of Sok Kong’s company, and the government would each year just wait to get $50 million from the farmer, this would also be possible. But Sok Kong’s company probably provides $40 million of the $50 million earned to government leaders, keeps $10 million for itself, and hands on $10 million for the nation. Doing so can solve problems for this company so that the company maintains the right to continue to manage the temple area, and it can easily collect money from the tourists. It is believed that this is why the government does not stop Sok Kong’s company from managing Angkor Wat.

    “Mr. Son Chhay thinks that it is a shame for the Khmer nation to have Angkor Wat, but the state does not have the ability to manage the temple area; instead, it gives the management to a private company to put toll gates on the ways into the Angkor Wat temple area in order to collect money from foreign tourists. Mr. Son Chhay demanded that Prime Minister Mr. Hun Sen reconsiders the contract between the government and the Sokimex company on the management of Angkor Wat soon, because while the number of tourists increases, the company does not spend anything on Angkor Wat, the company just sleeps and waits to easily collect money from the historical heritage of our Khmer ancestors.

    “But will the government take Angkor Wat away from being managed by the businessman Sok Kong or not? By retaining Sok Kong’s company to manage Angkor Wat, officials get much money into their own pockets, but the government gets little. When the government has little money, it cannot spend much on various services. At the end, only high ranking officials and businesspeople live comfortably from the heritage of our Khmer ancestors who are the ancestors

    #15 Posted: 18/12/2008 - 22:50

  • travelrock

    Joined Travelfish
    19th April, 2008
    Posts: 209
    Total reviews: 18

    you naive little backpackers still want to support this crook?

    #16 Posted: 18/12/2008 - 22:50

  • Jon_Mak_Mak

    Click here to learn more about Jon_Mak_Mak
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    Travelrock -

    Im getting bored of reading your replys now and think you should move onto another site (lonely planet maybe?)

    You seem to think we are all naive? I didnt see this thread before i responded to you calling me naive in the other thread becuse I recommend Angkor wat.

    I enjoy Angkor ever time I go there and will be planning another trip there soon. If that makes me naive then fine, But at least im enjoying what was created while you are just offending people that disagree or have different veiws/knowledge/experiences to your own!

    Good day sir.

    #17 Posted: 18/12/2008 - 23:30

  • rennis

    Joined Travelfish
    29th April, 2008
    Posts: 1

    I live in Thailand. I suggest not visiting Phuket, because it does not give give an accurate view of Thailand or Thai culture. Use your limited time to see other places in Thailand or other countries. If this is your first trip to Thailand, consider what you your expectations are :ie are you interested in asian culture, nightlife,music, local crafts, lying on a beach ETC.

    #18 Posted: 19/12/2008 - 01:15

  • somtam2000

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    At least 113

    Slipping off topic here, but just to address Travelrock's points above:

    Son Chhay is a member of the Sam Rainsy Party - a party which pours scorn on, well, just about everything Hun Sen and the CPP do -- often with good reason, but bear in mind, this is not a source without an agenda.

    On tourism numbers. You can download the MOT's executive report here (PDF), with a total of just over 2,000,000 people. Of that two million, 1.7 were there for tourism, and of that, around 150,000 were Thai or Vietnamese (I mention that only because I would guess a large portion of these would be traders/business people). So let's be conservative and say 1.5 million arrived to Cambodia for tourism. Of those 1.1 million said they were headed to Siem Reap . I can't see anywhere in that report where it says 2.4 million tourists travelled to Cambodia in 2007. And while it does say 1.1 million went to Siem Reap , it doesn't say one million went to Angkor -- though I would assume most of them did.

    On the concession agreement. Pretty much everyone except Sokha Hotels thinks it is a crappy agreement, but it's the agreement -- at least there is one. As the story says the revenue split favours Sokha. So the guy has an agreement that unfairly benefits his company at the expense of the govt -- shock horror -- welcome to Cambodia.

    I don't mean to make light of the situation, but, having lived in Cambodia for a couple of years, rest assured pretty much every aspect of life there is touched in some way by corruption. To say that " Angkor Wat is owned by a crook" is simply incorrect -- it's managed by a large Khmer company under an extremely favourable agreement.

    To suggest that people should not go there because the financial management deal is less than ideal, strikes me as pretty naive. The reason the road from Poipet to Siem Reap is so appalling is because a leading regional airline paid the relevant department in Cambodia to leave it in it's crappy state. Many of the Khmer sites you advocate visiting in Thailand charge foreigners ten times what a Thai pays -- that's ok? Or what about Ko Chang? The island is awash in dodgy land deals and many families who'd lived there for generations were illegally kicked off their land to make way for developments by politically connected cronies of the governemnt of the time. The list goes on and on and on.

    My point is that there's no shortage of questionable situations in SE Asia -- if you're going to decide to travel in a manner avoiding "shady" businesses, then that's great and good luck to you, but at least do it in an informed manner.

    #19 Posted: 19/12/2008 - 07:09

  • Isobel_123

    Joined Travelfish
    4th December, 2008
    Posts: 22

    cheers somtam on educating a ignorant youngan like me. will def make me more aware. its a shame travel rock is so rude and disrespectful, its a real dampener on what is an amazing site.if only his wasnt the naive one- thinking i'd actually take on what he has to say.

    Base Jump! ive changed plans again cos u have me all excited bout Laos now.. thinking over 5 days fly into vientiene stay for a night travel by bus to VV and then over to LP for a few days.. good idea, or again am i trying to do too much? will still spend a day and a half at vientiene..

    Really stuck on the whole phuket thing. my gf and i want to spend 6 days on the beach somewhere- a bit more lively, on beautiful beaches with good night life.. thought phi phi might be disappointing.. maybe koh samui/koh tao? after that the rest of the trip isnt so commercial and will allow us to do more cultural activities and see more of the true thailand..

    whats the minium time i can spend at angkor wat? want to be there for a week but time will restrict me to a few days, dont want to go if i dont do it properly..

    Cheers!

    #20 Posted: 19/12/2008 - 09:45

  • basejump

    Joined Travelfish
    14th November, 2008
    Posts: 30

    re Angkor wat - minimum time in Seim Reip would be two full days - 1 full day to see Angkor wat, half day for one of the other sites and half day just to hang out (and dare i say, given there are 2 dirls travelling .... a bit of time for shopping! lol)

    #21 Posted: 19/12/2008 - 10:46

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