Hi! First time backpacker here~ My friend (also first time backpacker) and I are planning to go backpacking next year around March. Our itinerary draft :
From KL to Phnom Penh (Flight)
Cambodia (12 days)
(Siem Reap - Laos : Bus)
Laos (14 days)
-4000 island (if time + money is ok)
(Vientiane - Hanoi : Bus)
Vietnam (14 days)
-Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City back to KL (Flight)
So, I have a few questions:
a)Is the itinerary doable?
b)We do not have much savings, maybe by the time of the trip my friend and I will manage to scrap around $1000 per person, would that be sufficient? We're both from Malaysia so from what I understand, there's no visa fees that we need to pay. I don't drink any beer and my friend is a Muslim and we're not much of the party people.
#1 marisamarcia has been a member since 3/4/2013. Posts: 2
12 days in Cambodia is decent but way too much for only Siem Reap and Phnom Penh, Kampot Kep an Koh Tonsay could round that out decently though.
If you take bus to Laos 4,000 islands would be your first stop so time/money isn't going to really matter. You will leave from Luang Prabang not Vientiane to get to laos. Get ready for a brutal bus ride though(28 hours).
Vietnam layout is decent but I would add in a couple more stops as the travel again will be quite long.
Cost wise if you are excluding flights that is doable although you won't be able to take many tours or live it up. If flights need to be included you would have to travel very cheap to meet that goal.
I agree with the above comment in terms of the finances - $1,000 will be do-able but you WILL need to be careful. I would advise for you to set yourself a budget - and stick to it. If you don't you'll run the risk of over spending in the first few weeks and you won't have enough cash towards the end of your trip.
Have an amazing time!
As Geer1 said, the big issue is that certain things like the 3-day pass to Angkor Wat and tours out the the Cu Chi tunnels outside of Saigon will quickly start eating into your budget. However, if you're willing to stay in dorm rooms - or sometimes share a double bed, then you can stretch things.
Otherwise agree that 12 days is too much for just PP and Siem Reap . . but if you want to run the length of Vietnam then it will probably be best to apply those extra days to that stretch, rather than to Cambodia. Spend about 3 night sin PP and 4 nights in Siem Reap and then when you take the bus to Laos stop off in 4,000 islands for a few nights to unwind after the long bus ride.
There isn't that much to see in Pakse so I imagine you're planning to rent motorbikes and visit the Bolavan Plateau trip? Your original plan of 14 days in Laos is totally doable with 2 or 3 nights in 4,000 islands followed by a couple nights on the Bolavan before the long trip up to the capital . . . that said, you are skipping out on a stop between V and LP at Vang Vieng , so you may want to plan for a night or two there from the time you could save in Cambodia.
I guess the point is that you can pocket that time from Cambodia and then use it as you like during the trip - either staying an extra night in Paksong or Tad Lo, stopping off in Vang Vieng or Champasak, or traveling the length of Vietnam via train with stops off in Hue, Da Nang and so on.
Thank you very much for the advice guys! I will probably cut a few days in Cambodia (would 5 days be enough in Cambodia? + 1 day on the bus to Laos) and insert it in Vietnam.
I am totally up for that 28 hours trip! (though the longest bus trip I have ever taken was only 12 hrs. ) I'm still a little worried about crossing the Laos-Vietnam border. Will it be ok? Is the Laos-Vietnam bus going to be a direct bus? Or do I need to find tuk tuk or taxi after crossing the border?
As for flight fares, my friend is currently trying to buy the airlines tickets (Airasia is having crazy cheap tickets since .. a few days ago till tomorrow), and it's not going to be from the $1000 saving.
Dorm room would be ok for us, as long as it is not mixed ones.
Once again, thank you!
#5 marisamarcia has been a member since 3/4/2013. Posts: 2
5 days probably isn't quite enough, probably want at least 3 if not 4 days in Siem Reap and 2 days in Phnom Penh then a full day bus ride to 4,000 islands so 6 days minimum imo. Doing that would give you some more flexibility to see more in Vietnam and break the trip up into more reasonable segments.
The Laos-Vietnam bus I believe you take a bus from LP to the border, get forced off the bus and have to carry your bags across then get on another bus(or possibly the same bus). You don't need a taxi etc as that will all be included in your ticket if something like that is even needed. I haven't heard good things about that trip but many still do it because there aren't really cheap options for flying or good places to really break the trip up at.
Many dorm rooms will be mixed, fortunately for 2 people it will be reasonable to get private rooms especially if you are ok with sharing a double bed if need be(should be able to find twin rooms or even 2 single rooms for fairly cheap in lots of places as long as you aren't picky on accommodation). Note Vietnam will be your most expensive for accommodation and travel so make sure you remember this when travelling and save some extra money for that time.