I am just starting to prepare my backpacker trip for Feb/March 2012 with my then-almost-6year old son.
In former times I used to travel India and Thailand (but that was in the 90s when no one had i-access... ) and my dream is to do a similar trip throughout Asia with my son before school starts.
I am very much interested in Laos, Cambodia and Thailand.
Towards the middle of this ~5 weeks' trip my husband will join for an ~2,5 weeks' traveling and relaxing beach vacation.
So, here are the facts:
a) Woman with 6-year-old boy
b) not too many too long bus and railway trips but no expensive flights either
c) Kids Fun events like Elephant tour ....
d) time for beautiful beach with family at the end
I thought of a round-trip BKK (one day recovering), Laos (where? Vientiane, LuangPrabang, boat trip?), Cambodia (SiemReap, Angkor), beach in Thailand (which one?), BKK (3 days before flight back).
Somewhere halfway my hubby should be able to join us. (I thought of him flying directly after his arrival from BKK to SiemReap but heard that this is quite expensive?).
Or do you have any other ideas on where to start and where to meet up with my hubby and continue with some "adventure" and end up with beach.....
I am planning a backpacker trip/middle bugdet but always keeping in mind that I am with a kid alone... .
Does anybody have any good route ideas, tipps for kids or hints for me?
That would be great....
I know, I am quite early with planning and questions (and there will be loads more....) but I am already so excited to start with it and my little son starts looking forward to seeing real Elephants !!! )
Thanks a lot,
I guess I would recommend VIP overnight buses for the long legs. My daughter is four, and while I hate these buses, she sleeps the entire way (like I wish I could). I would bet your son will too.
Surin has an elephant event, not sure when though. Might check Surin here on travelfish.
I doubt VV would be good for you, given the amount of alcohol there and the nature of that crowd. Also, the swimming is fun, your son would love it, but safety is a factor from what I've read.
Luang Prabang is probably too far to make in a single leg though.
The biggest challenge you face if you head for Cambodia or Laos is getting around. You either have to take expensive flights or long bus rides. For that reason, other than maybe Vientiane I would stick to Thailand. Tough call and maybe you'd want to PM Rufus on Laos and Rasheed on Cambodia. They know those areas well. Somsai is also well versed on Laos.
#2 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Just some thoughts:
May want to look into the gibbon experience in Laos. Not sure if right for you (long hikes, expense, age of your son, zip lining at high heights through jungle) but tons of fun!
Long boat rides are not fun in Laos. Sore bum.
Overnight trains are great for travel. Your son will most likely be a sleep in no time. It is a great way to get from bkk to chiang mai.
Good Luck! I think it is great that you are giving your son this wonderful experience! I hope to do the same for my kids in the near future.
#3 westigirl79 has been a member since 13/4/2011. Posts: 1
We just travelled through Cambodia for one month and now 3 weeks in Vietnam (10 weeks into our 12 mth RTW trip) with two boys aged 5 and 9 years. We used the tourist bus services in Cambodia and found them quite reliable, airconditioned, sometimes with toilet and not expensive. Have used some buses in Vietnam but often crazy drivers and crazy roads. Chose to pay for some internal flights with Vietnam Airlines. Every so glad because there was no way I was going down the road from Dalat ever again after the bus ride from Nha Trang to Dalat!
Does your son own an iPod? God's gift to travelling parents! Only allowed to have when out of the city limits and always charged ready for long bus rides. Survived the ride from Hoi An to Hue today very nicely with their gadgets. Check out our website
Hope it helps.
#4 fourdots has been a member since 15/4/2011. Posts: 5
Hi All, Thanks for your replies so far ! I have taken some weeks (besides working/family life) to think of further planning and would like you to give me your feedback on the following planned route (I know, I still have sooo much tíme left but planning is also soooo much fun !)
I will also post them in the Laos and Cambodia Forum as this one is more Kid's related I suppose...
3 weeks alone with my son:
--> Arrival in BKK (stay 2 days)
--> train to Vientiane (stay ~2 days)
--> bus to VangVieng (stay ~2 days)
--> bus to LP (stay 4-5 days)
--> Any suggestions for the rest of the trip from LP on until we pick up my husband after 3 weeks in BKK?
--> LP to Chiang Mai ?? Then train to BKK and 2 days on the beach in Pattaya for kid to relax and see some sea?
another 3 weeks with the family:
--> back to BKK to pick up Daddy (stay 2 days)
--> fly to Siem Reap (stay ~5 days with Angkor Wat)
--> bus to Battambang (~2 days including Bamboo train)
--> anything else around?
--> bus to Trat
--> KoChang (~5 days)
--> back to BKK and back home ;-(
Now, here are my questions and my dilemma:
Facts: My husband is really tall, he has never been to Asia before (and I don't want to spoil it, grin!!), he wants culture/history but also relaxing times....
This is my current understanding from the countless threats I read:
Laos seems to be extremely beautiful and relaxing, perfect landscape, stuff for kids,.... but uncomfortable in travelling. I definitely want to go there...
Cambodia is extremely interesting regarding temples (Angkor Wat a MUST) and history, close to the Beach.
I am now not sure at all whether it would be a pity for my husband not to see Laos as this could be a good introduction into Asia or if the currently planned route is fine because Cambodia is as beautiful as Laos....
I could also completely drop Cambodia and just travel Thailand with my son and travel up to North Laos with the family.... But, I suppose, I would find it a pity not to travel to Cambodia at all....
Do I sound confusing? Well, I am
Thanks for your thoughts and ideas !!
How do you plan to get from Luang Prabang to Chiang Mai? You sound determined to go to Luang Prabang - a lot of people like to go there. But it pretty much means you'll have to back track to Vientiane, so add two full days of travel time to go with the 4 or so you want to spend there. So Luang Prabang means six days in your case. Or you could go due north and then west and cross back into Thailand around Chiang Saen. Either way - a LOT of road time for that one. Or you could fly from back to Vientiane. Cutting out some serious road time. No matter how you slice it or dice it though, Luang Prabang is taking you in the opposite direction from where you wish to go with serious hours of travel (unless you fly).
You have planned a very small amount of time in BKK - a place with a tremendous amount to see. Your son would likely LOVE the snake and crocodile farms. And there are some impressive temples worth visiting, the Jim Thompson House would likely be interesting to you and the tour is short enough your son won't get too board... I would spend four days there at least. Perhaps you could spend two days, do your trip, and then hit the spots you missed when your husband arrives and spend a few more days.
As for your husband, he has less time in country than you do. So he's going to be less interested in spending that time on trains and busses. I would consider Ayutthaya to check out some old Thai ruins there and then over to Kanchanburi to visit the military cemetary there. There is also a nice waterfall there your son would probably enjoy. From there you could hit the beaches and enjoy some nice down time.
#6 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
thanks for your replies... see, now it is already 4 months later and I keep on getting more excited every day. Still some good 5 months to go...
I still keep on planning my 6 weeks trip in Feb/March 2012 with my almost 6 year old but I am currently stuck with my Laos plans....
Arrival in BKK on 6th of Feb
Stay two night until 8th in Lamphu House in BKK (hope that was a good choice)
Back in BKK on 25th of Feb to pick up hubby
* 8th: take the night train to NongKhai/ Vientiane
* 9th to 11th: stay in Vientiane
* 11th: bus to VangVieng
* 11th to 14th: VangVieng (no tubing as I don't want to mess with that drunken scene)
* 14th: mini van (or else?) to LP
* 14th - 19th: LP
What to do with the last days until 25th??? Just be happy with three places in Laos and extend the days in each location and...
* ... fly from LP on 24th back to BKK? (Laoairlines says 200 Euros for both of us and I would book it soonest)
*.. or stick to the above timeline and take the risk of a long trip with bus and slow boat to ChiangMai (is that safe with a 6year old??) and try then to make it all (from LP to BKK via ChiangMai) in 6 days until 25th? Is it worth it?
I am unsure on what I should already book (rooms as well as flights) when?!
Thanks again for your feedback and advice !
@Madmac: I am planning to "split up" BKK in three pieces (arrival with kid, arrival of hubby and departure days), so I suppose we will have some time to check out all the great places in BKK ! Thanks for the advice. Also, I am planning to do Ayutthaya and Kanchanaburi and then head down South for KoTao.... Have not started my Thailand planning yet...