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How does this itinerary look to you???

  • misterwoods

    Joined Travelfish
    30th April, 2009
    Posts: 26

    We are a couple in our mid 20's, fairly fit and eager, and hoping to see and do as much as we can in 1 month. Our budget is approx 30 euros/40 dollars per day, plus a couple of hundred on top for extras (hoping to spend no more than about 1200 euros / 1650 dollars). Our accom will be 'flashpacker' - somewhere between budget and mid range!

    I have checked out all travel between places we want to go and have a good idea about it all. The only things we have booked ahead are accom in BKK on arrival and our flight back from Krabi to BKK. Everything else we will take as it comes / book accom the day before we head to Pnomh Penh maybe. Is this a good idea? I presume because of low season most places will be no problem getting a room, and rates will be quite competitive.


    26th June - arrive BKK (stay 1/2 nights)

    27th / 28th - up early & overland to Siem Reap (stay 2 nights, temple sunset on evening we arrive, next day full day @ temples)

    30th / 31st - overland to Pnomh Penh (stay 1/2 nights)

    1st / 2nd July - overland to Sihanoukville (stay 3/4 nights, try to get to Koh Rong or Koh Rong Saleom for 2 of them)

    4th / 5th - Possibly head to Ho Chi Minh (taking in Chau Doc & Mekong Delta for 3/4 days)

    7th / 8th - Fly to Chiang Mai (4/5 days, trek of 3 days maybe from Chiang Rai)

    12th / 13th - overnight train to BKK, fly to Krabi early, then longtail to Railay (1/2 nights)

    14th / 15th - Ko Yao Yai / Noi (for some peace and tranquility!)

    16th / 17th - Ko Phi Phi (3/4 days, meet some old friends from oz & home)

    22nd - fly back from Krabi to BKK and onwards to Dublin...


    We fly out of BKK on the night of the 22nd so there is room for manouvre with our dates (stay longer / shorter anywhere we love / ain't happy with).

    Been working it our for a while and think we can get to soak up quite a bit of SE Asia in this time without flying through it. We are totally flexible but want a good week in the Thai Islands at the end to kick back with our mates.

    Any advice / recommendations please would be great!

    #1 Posted: 20/5/2009 - 23:49

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  • brucemoon

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    misterwoods

    I congratulate you on getting your itinerary together.

    Each will focus on what they think will appeal, you appear to have done a good job on that.

    A couple of things...

    I'm glad you say you are sort of flexible on time at each place.

    Might I suggest you be open to more time at Sem Reap. I think that once you see the scale of the place, you'll say OMG!!!

    If the scale and sheer wondery of the place appeals, then you'll likely need at least 4 nights at Siem Reap.

    Given that it's currently monsoon season (go see

    #2 Posted: 21/5/2009 - 05:35

  • somtam2000

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    That's a lot of miles -- a couple of points.

    Sihanokville in July doesn't have the best weather -- August is worse, but only just. I'm not sure how regular boats will be out to Ko Rong at that time. If you can't get out there, I'd lean towards skipping the beach and giving yourself a few extra days in southern Thailand. I know Ko Rong sounds very tempting, but weather in July will be iffy -- could be in luck or not!

    Sidetrip down into the Delta sounds good -- if you can the Sihanoukville bit, I'd allow at least one more day for this bit.

    Re southern Thailand, I'd suggest skipping Railay and given the extra time to Ko Yao Noi or Ko Phi Phi -- again bear in mind, July is wet season on that coast. The main reason I suggest skipping one, is, unless you're going to Railay for the climbing, it's not worth the diversion for the short stay you're planning (1/2 day to get there unpack, hang out for a night, then it's time to pack again and move on).

    So, yes, your trip is doable, but I'd be conscious of the weather and consider slimming down the number of stops to that you get a bit more time in each spot.

    Hope that helps!

    #3 Posted: 21/5/2009 - 07:45

  • misterwoods

    Joined Travelfish
    30th April, 2009
    Posts: 26

    Thanks for that...

    Yes, weather is something I'm a bit apprehensive about! We're going to try and wing it and see if we can keep an eye on what is hgappening just ahead of us, if the weather is too wet, we will adjust accordingly. Only thing we are sort of tied to is meeting friends in Phi Phi at the end of our trip, otherwise we probably would have headed for Ko Tao in the gulf. And, should the weather look bad before we get to Krabi, then we might even just do that.

    Defo not holding my breath on making Koh Rong, although I think it would be the highlight of my trip if I did and got a bit of sunshine! It really does sound like paradise.

    Siem Reap I am very open to spending an extra day in, although I don't want to spend more than 2 full days exploring the temples. Even as an architecture student with a keen interest in history I can bore quite easily (",

    Does anyone know if there are airlines that go direct from either Pnomh Penh or Ho Chi Minh to Chiang Mai?? This would be great and give us some extra hours!

    #4 Posted: 21/5/2009 - 17:08

  • Jon_Mak_Mak

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    Agree with Brucemoon that you might end up wishing you had more time in Siem Reap . You could see quite a lot in just the 1 day but it would be rushed and I think you would miss a lot. I have been to Siem Reap a couple of times and can't wait to go back and explore other temples I haven't seen yet.

    You say 'overland to Siem Reap'. I DON't recommend getting a bus from Khao San road. Unless you want one scam after another for hours and hours.

    Over night train is fun but if you want to get there quicker Air Asia fly from chiang mai to bkk and then shortly afer a flight to krabi. (as I done last year)

    Phi Phi is seriously over rate so don't get too excited. :)

    #5 Posted: 23/5/2009 - 13:42

  • stanang

    Joined Travelfish
    6th April, 2009
    Posts: 10

    Hi, I came upon this thread while I was researching for the trip that me and my friends are planning. I just wanted to ask why it's not advisable to travel by land from Bangkok to Siem Reap? But for my case, I would be coming from Siem Reap, going to Bangkok. My initial plan was to travel by land also. And what is the preferred duration to be spent in Siem Reap, where we can see the place and not being rushed?

    #6 Posted: 24/5/2009 - 17:53

  • brucemoon

    Click here to learn more about brucemoon
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    stanang

    I don't agree with Jon_mak_mak on the road bit at all. Yes, like any SE Asian nation, if you don't do your homework and gain an understanding of bus carriers, etc., you can come unstuck.

    However, the journey isn't one 'less travelled' as many tourists do that route daily.

    As for the Angkorian temples, I found the 3 day pass enough to make me feel I've enjoyed the place, and not enough to say 'I've done it'.

    The passes come in 1 or 3 day.

    Also, there is a ruin some 40km away that is not part of the pass system. Many people do the 3 day temple, then a day (or more) on Tonle Sap (an environmental marvel), then another day doing the 'outer' temple complex.

    Hope this helps

    cheers

    #7 Posted: 25/5/2009 - 07:00

  • Jon_Mak_Mak

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    Hey Brucemoon,

    Have you done the Khao San road to Siem Reap bus journey before?

    #8 Posted: 25/5/2009 - 15:20

  • misterwoods

    Joined Travelfish
    30th April, 2009
    Posts: 26

    We won't be getting the Ko San Road bus... It will be either public bus or train to aranyprathet, tuk tuk to border, and truck or taxi onto SR (depends on our mood / situation etc) - we are going for the cheap & rustic journey, not the rip off one! Will have our visas sorted in the next couple of days... Well aware of all the scams etc on this journey!

    You might say Phi Phi is overrated, but there are as many people out there who think the oppossite as would agree with you. I am not too excited about that particular island, but I'm also aware that there is more to it than Tonsai and Loh Dalum. Maybe you are not?

    Thanks for all the comments tho, please keep em coming, the more info I can gather the better!

    Only 4 weeks now... (",

    #9 Posted: 25/5/2009 - 19:53

  • stanang

    Joined Travelfish
    6th April, 2009
    Posts: 10

    Thanks Brucemoon for your reply. I had someone from another forum who said that there is a train available also from Siem Reap to Bangkok. What do you think is better to take? The bus or the train? And would you happen to know in what particular place in Siem Reap can I take the bus or train? And where particularly in Bangkok should I go down?

    I really appreciate all the comments that I have been reading from all you travellers.

    Someday, I will also share my experiences.

    #10 Posted: 25/5/2009 - 21:18

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  • exacto

    Joined Travelfish
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    hi stanang,

    jon_mak_mak wasn't saying don't take the overland route between bangkok and siem reap. the overland trip can be quite fun. what jon was saying was specifically that people should avoid the package bus trips from khao san road in bangkok to siem reap. and he's right. they are typically scams that wind up taking much more of your time and in the end don't save you much, if any, money.

    also, i'm not sure that there is a train going to/from siem reap. but you can catch a taxi from siem reap to the border at poipet. in fact, heading that direction is usually cheaper than poipet to siem reap. once you've crossed the border back into thailand, then you can catch a tuk tuk to aranyaprathet where you can catch the train to bangkok. it's a 3rd class only, reduce-your-behind-to-tears hard seat train, and slow going, but pretty fun too. check the state railway of thailand website for departure times, since i think that route only goes twice per day. cheers.

    #11 Posted: 25/5/2009 - 23:37

  • brucemoon

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    stanang

    I thibk Exacto has covered the journey issue. As for rail in Cambodia, I also don't know of any.

    As for departure point in Siem Reap, maybe you might best leave the departure booking to when you get to Siem Reap. That way you can (1) play it by ear as to when you leave and (2) sus out who you like re: bus operator, etc.

    What do you mean by "And where particularly in Bangkok should I go down"?

    cheers

    #12 Posted: 26/5/2009 - 06:06

  • stanang

    Joined Travelfish
    6th April, 2009
    Posts: 10

    Exacto and Brucemoon, I'm very very thankful for replying.
    My way is opposite. I will be coming from Siem Reap to Bangkok. I was able to talk with a local guide from Cambodia through email. He already gave me instructions on how I should take the bus from Siem Reap to the border of Thailand. He then said that from the Thailand border to Bangkok, I need to ride the train, but he wasn't sure on the details of the train.

    Would you guys know if there are any schedules that I need to follow for the train that will bring me to Bangkok? And where particularly in Bangkok will the train drop me off? Or if you can refer me to websites or references that I can read through, that would also be helful.

    #13 Posted: 26/5/2009 - 22:54

  • stanang

    Joined Travelfish
    6th April, 2009
    Posts: 10

    Hi Exacto,

    From your reply, does it mean that when I arrive at the Thailand border, I won't be able to ride the train yet? But instead I need to ride the tuktuk first to get to the train? Please confirm. And do you know how much is the estimated cost for the train from Aranyaprathet to Bangkok?

    #14 Posted: 26/5/2009 - 22:58

  • misterwoods

    Joined Travelfish
    30th April, 2009
    Posts: 26

    Yes - you will need to get a tuk tuk into Aranyprathet. You can get a train or bur from there into Bangkok.

    Timetable etc here -

    http://www.railway.co.th/English/Time_HTML.asp

    #15 Posted: 26/5/2009 - 23:45

  • exacto

    Joined Travelfish
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    hola stanang,

    just as misterwoods confirmed, you'll need to take either a tuk tuk or a song thaew (shared truck taxi) into Aranyaprathet before you can catch the train or the bus back to Bangkok.

    in addition to the link from misterwoods, you can also see the timetable for the train here:

    http://www.railway.co.th/English/Time_HTML.asp

    the train that departs at 0640 will not be an option for you unless you overnight in Aranyaprathet. but the other departure at 13:55 might be possible if you get an early start from Siem Reap. the train will deposit you at the Hualamphong station in central Bangers. it is on the subway line, which is great for getting to the Sukhumvit or Silom areas, but you'd need to take a taxi (or possibly a public bus) from Hualamphong to the Khao San Road area. it looks like the train fare is still really cheap at 48 baht or so.

    the other option, as also mentioned by misterwoods, is the bus. it's a 5 to 6 hour bus ride, as i recall, and not bad with cushy seats and air conditioned comfort. the bus will deposit you at the Mo Chit 2 bus station, in the northern part of Bangkok. it is also within a short walk of the skytrain for easy travel to Sukhumvit or Silom, but would also require a taxi or public bus to get to Khao San Road. as i recall, the bus fare was in the 200 baht range last time i checked, but don't quote me on that. have a good trip. enjoy an Angkor beer for me!

    #16 Posted: 27/5/2009 - 01:05

  • SBE

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    Side note regarding Bruce's info on Siem Reap in #7

    Saw it mentioned on the Tales of Asia site today that the 3 day pass system will be changing on July 1st.

    You'll still get 3 entries for $40 but instead of having to use them on 3 consecutive days the passes will valid for a week. Means you won't be quite so completely templed out by day 3 ... good news!

    #17 Posted: 27/5/2009 - 06:47

  • brucemoon

    Click here to learn more about brucemoon
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    Location Australia
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    SBE

    That's the best news for ages...

    Great!!

    #18 Posted: 27/5/2009 - 07:27

  • stanang

    Joined Travelfish
    6th April, 2009
    Posts: 10

    misterwoods, exacto, thanks for the wonderful information...
    may i know in what particular place in Bangkok is their airport located? Because the important reason that I need to go to Bangkok is to take a plane ride going home to the Philippines. And will taking a taxi in Bangkok going to the airport be affordable?

    SBE, thanks for that good news :)

    #19 Posted: 31/5/2009 - 17:40

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