Hi! I have one month to cycle through SE Asia and am looking for the best start point, ending in Thailand, but starting anywhere between Laos, Cambodia, or Vietnam. I'd like to see as much of those 3 or 4 countries as possible, but obviously don't want to stretch it too thin. If anyone has suggested routes [specific routes, as this is my first time in any of those countries and I'm really unfamiliar with the names and roads/ ferries and how long it'll take to traverse between them]I would love to hear from you!
I haven't found a lot of useful recent information; most posts or websites are at least a few years back, if not 10!
Also, what do you think is the best kind of bike to get/bring with me? I'll be coming from South Korea and currently have a mountain bike, but I know the road types will really vary and don't know what's best to have.
Phew, lots to ask :) Thanks anyone and everyone!
#1 monkeymonkey has been a member since 16/10/2012. Posts: 3
I would recommend that you go to this website for very recent, on-the-ground sources of info ...
In one month you could easily take in a good chunk of Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. For example, if you flew into Bangkok you could ride north to Nong Khai, cross into Laos, then follow the Mekong River south as far as Si Phan Don, then cross into Cambodia, taking in Siem Reap and Battambang, then head back to Thailand via Poipet and then back to Bangkok either on two wheels or on the train.
You could also go in the opposite direction.
If you want to take in Vietnam, as well, you could start or finish in Saigon, but I'd make it a one-way trip via southern Cambodia and the southeastern part of Thailand.
Lots and lots of options. Check out that website and I'm sure you'll be overwhelmed.
Personally, I think a hybrid or touring bike is the way to go unless you plan on doing a lot of trail-riding. Unless you are going to get super rural, most roads have great surfaces and knobby tires and front shocks aren't very helpful.
Thanks so much! I have since finalized a general itinerary and am now just looking for the specifics- roads/ roads to avoid!
For anyone looking for similar answers, my route is this:
Start: Ho Chi Minh City, spend 4 days cycling through the Mekong Delta to Chau Doc. Instead of crossing over immediately into Cambodia there, we will cycle another day down along the C-V border to Ha Tien. From there, cross into Cambodia, and head South to Sihanoukville.
Sihanoukville up to Phnom Penh [either Route 3 or Route 4- can't find any info for Route 4 but would love to ride by the elephant mountains!]. Phnom Penh to Siem Reap [also, any info on this would be great! My guide says that the road to Siem Reap is borderline miserable but it's very outdated so I'm not sure if this is still true].
Siem Reap to Poipet, cross into Thailand, head to Bangkok. [take an overnight train to ChangMai for a few days since we don't have the time to cycle it!] Cycling from Bangkok down the East Coast to Chumphon. Store the bikes and island hop our way to Don Sak. Cycle Don Sak to Phuket, and finish on Phuket.
#3 monkeymonkey has been a member since 16/10/2012. Posts: 3
Agree with Tilapia re Crazy Guy on a Bike - great site.
A few tips on your route.
* For Vn. stay off the main roads, the traffic is nuts. If you have a smart phone, get a local sim and use the mapping, 3G coverage very good in the Delta and there are lots of great back roads -- see my recent Mekong Delta trip report (albeit by motorbike) we didn't head out Chau Doc way, but from Vinh Long onwards, route 848 via Sa Dec looks like it could be a good riverside ride. Note ferries are NOT well signposted!
* Unless you're set on Sihanoukville, the road to Phnom Penh from Kampot is considerably less trafficked (shorter too)
* Phnom Penh to Siem Reap - the road is good, heavy traffic and watch out for those trucks!
* An alternative route from Siem Reap to Bangkok could be Siem Reap -> Battambang -> Pailin -> cross border -> Chanthaburi -> Bangkok. This has far less traffic and you get to see Battambang and Chanthaburi - both interesting spots.
Know you're not looking for more options, but food for thought :)
#4 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,739
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Thanks so much! I love the advice- I'm pretty much just gathering info and making this up as I go, so all the info helps! :)
#5 monkeymonkey has been a member since 16/10/2012. Posts: 3