Photo: Don't forget your passport.

If you're set on milking as much out of your time in Cambodia, Laos and Thailand as possible, then there's a number of ways to save time.

Travel at night

In Thailand, when you're travelling out from Bangkok you can reach anywhere south of Chumphon, north of Phitsanulok, anywhere near the Mekong River and Trat (for Ko Chang) by travelling by night-bus or night-train. In particular there is a handy bus from Bangkok to Trat which leaves just before midnight getting there around 6am the next day, leaving you time for a snack in the market before getting the ferry to Ko Chang. Closer destinations are too near to Bangkok to allow for a full night of sleep.

In Laos, there are long distance night buses -- particularly from Vientiane heading south. We don't recommend the night buses in the north because the roads are poor, street-lighting non-existent and the buses tend to have one driver only.

In Cambodia there is no overnight transport.

In Vietnam both trains and buses are popular overnight options -- particularly Hanoi to Sapa and the long trunk routes north and south along the long Vietnamese coast. Train is generally the better, more comfortable option.

Fly

Easily the biggest time-saver and with the growth of Low Cost Carriers (Air Asia and Nok Air in particular) it is both affordable and very fast to fly between destinations. The further in advance you book, the cheaper the tickets become -- often cheaper than train or bus

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 Be sure to have adequate insurance cover before you travel. We recommend World Nomads


Further reading

Planning well is an integral part of getting the most out of your trip. Be it picking the right backpack, the right vaccinations or the right country, the simple decisions are often the most important.


Getting started

Put your hand up if you just have no idea what you're doing. No idea where to go, when to go or even how to go. Should you be travelling independently, or is an organised tour the better way to go. Where are some of our favourites? Read on.


How to plan

You know when you're going and you know when you're coming back. In between there is a big gap. How do you fill it? Here are some quick pointers.


Insurance

Please let us make this very clear. If you can't afford adequate insurance cover, you can't afford to travel. Period. Read on to find out why.


Health & safety

Despite all the thought that goes into packing, one of the most common things forgotten is common sense. Here are some pointers to keep in mind if you'd like to stay healthy during your trip.


Money & costs

So what is this trip actually going to cost you? More then the bus to the airport and the flight ticket, that's for sure. Read on for some handy budgeting tips.


Travel with kids

People travel with children? Really? Are you one of them? Are you mad?


Accommodation

When someone tells you the accommodation is a bit basic, what does that actually mean?


Food & drink

Useful for staying alive. Also delicious and occasionally sickening. Read on for the skinny.


Transport

Southeast Asia has planes, trains and automobiles. It also has ojeks, xe-oms, songtheaws and horse carts.


Volunteering & work

Volunteering and paid employment may well be a bit more complicated than back home, and, especially with volunteering, may not be as helpful as you thought.


What to pack & gear advice

Packing is like an all you can eat buffet. You may want to eat it all, but that is rarely a good idea.


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