We are traveling in Thailand for one month and are thinking of visiting another country for a week. We just cannot decide between Laos and Cambodia. I have heard amazing things about Laos but at the same time we feel we have to go to visit Angkor Wat. We aren't really interested in the beaches since we are saving about ten days to enjoy the beaches in Thailand.
I know a week isn't enough to explore a country but we thought it would be nice to visit a little of another culture.
#1 piazzai has been a member since 21/1/2012. Posts: 4
If you only have a week, I think I would suggest Cambodia. A week is enough to see the highlights of Siem Reap (maybe 4 days) and Phnom Penh (3 day). You can fly into PP, then easily bus to Siem Reap (6 hour, a pleasant bus ride for $7 or so, with a 1/2 hour stop along the way). From Siem Reap you could head overland back to Bangkok (if you need to fly out of there) and maybe stop at the NE Islands (Koh Chang, etc) on the way back through.
Alternatively, you could also spend a week, say in Northern Thailand (Vientiane, Vang Vieng and Luang Prabang would be the standard route) - but expect to spend more time on buses, etc. Of course, it depends on where you will be in Thailand as to which option makes logistical sense. And it depends on your interests, of course.
You could add some adventure to the Cambodia leg of the trip by taking 2 days and going up to the Preah Vihear temple on the Thai border. The tensions have supposedly died down and there's apparently very few tourists up there now. Might have the whole place to yourselves.
I was at Preah Vihear yesterday. I was the only tourist at the time but had plenty of company with the police, military and Khmer families there for the new year. There is no offensive military action at the moment and the Cambodian military has set up some binoculars and you can watch the Thais from the temple site.
A motor bike will take you for about $50us with a private taxi costing about $100us depending on where you book. It takes approx 3.5 hours each way from SR. I checked 3 agencies and chose to go with my guesthouse (all four offered prices around $100us). You must take a taxi from the base of the mountain for another $25us. Or you can take a scooter but I passed two of them being pushed up the steepest parts and it was pretty hot. There are some alternative options in regards to getting there as well as sleeping in An Veng but if you're time is limited then a day trip might be the best option.
You get to enjoy one of the best views around! Well worth seeing.
One week? I would say Cambodia, but either country would involve some flying, I would think. BKK to Phnom Penh, bus to Siem Reap, then fly back to BKK. Or, BKK to Vientiene, bus to Vang Vieng, bus to Luang Prabang, then back to BKK via air. The latter would be more rushed, I would think.
Or, in Thailand you could go to Issan, for example, or up to Nan. But if you want to see Angkor Wat and surrounds, well, there really is nothing like it elsewhere (which is why you will encounter so many other touristic types there).
In Laos, for a week you'd have to really choose and focus - just the South, or just the boat from Huay Xai to Luang Prabang or just the backpacker tubing thing & Vientiane and dare I say, Cambodia would offer more in that week unless tubing & partying (in a nice physical environment, admittedly) is what really pumps your girdle...