We are travelling to BKK on 15th December and returning to the UK on 9th January. In this time, we would like to visit Laos for a few days (tubing) and then check out Koh Chang, Koh Tao and Koh Phangan. We have been to Phangan before and would like to go here for a party or two but would also like to check out Koh Chang and Koh Tao as we've not been to these islands yet.
Is it realistic to head to Laos for a few days and then on to these places? If so, what would be your best route ie. which islands would you visit first due to ease of travel etc?
Any help is appreciated
#1 AcesElky has been a member since 15/2/2010. Posts: 8
You can see a lot with 25 days, but it really depends on what you want to do. If you only want to dip into Vang Vieng via Vientiane , you can, but you may want to fly from BKK to Vientiane to save time. Spend a few days then fly back to BKK. You could make your way down to Ko Chang and spend two weeks easily bouncing around that archipelago - Ko Wai, Ko Kut, Ko Maak.
I'm not sure about doing all that end then also getting over to Ko Tao . Those islands are on separate sides of the gulf - perhaps best to pick on set and spend quality time bouncing around it.
If you want to travel by land to Laos and spend enough time to make the visa worth while I recommend you decide either Ko Chang Islands or Ko Tao Islands. We did a little over a week up in Chiang Mia and then came down via bus to Ko Chang and bounced around there for 2 weeks. The 24 days we had was fine. However, we spent almost no time in Bangkok.
oh - and if you want a party scene Ko Chang isn't very good. it is a very relaxed place, there is plenty of drinking and fun - but it felt more of like a house party than a dance party.
Ok thanks for the advice. We wont be spending any time in Bangkok. Chaing Mai is tempting. Maybe we could fit that in then lose Koh Chang?
#4 AcesElky has been a member since 15/2/2010. Posts: 8
16th to 23rd - Chaing Mai
23rd to 28th - Laos (thinking tubing on Xmas Day :-))
28th to 3rd - Koh Phangan
3rd to 9th - Ko Tao
10th - fly back home :-(
Does this sound like a realistic (although basic at the moment) itineray?
#5 AcesElky has been a member since 15/2/2010. Posts: 8
sounds very relaxed - gives you time to play around with the trip from Chaing Mai to Laos - and the possibility of shaving some time off your island stay if you want to check out Luang Prabang for a a day or two while you happen to be in Laos.
It'll be a long trip from VV to Koh Phangan - are you planning to fly from BKK?
Yeah I think we'll probably fly to be honest. I havent really looked in to it much yet. We are gong to book our flight to BKK next month then that is done and out the way then start to properly plan our journey. I'm hoping for holiday that has plenty of partying but also a lot of relaxing and think we have a good mix of both here.
I hope I'm right!
#7 AcesElky has been a member since 15/2/2010. Posts: 8
Right, how does this sound?
Land at Kualar Lumpur on 16th December and fly straight to Chiang Mai . 3-4 days in Chiang Mai then on to Chiang Rai for 2-3 days. Over to Laos for 3-4 days and then head to Koh Phangan for NYE. Spend a few days on the northern part of Phangan and also a few days on Koh Tao (at the end, to chill out!) then head back to KL then home
So my questions are - is this a plausible itineray?
How easy is it to get to Laos from Chiang Mai or Chiang Rai?
Whats the best way to get to Phangan from Laos? Back to Chiang Mai then to BKK then Samui (flying)? Or straight to KL from Laos (flying obv) then to Samui from KL?
We fly back to UK on 8th or 9th January.
Any advice and pointers more than welcome and appreciated
#8 AcesElky has been a member since 15/2/2010. Posts: 8
Chiang Mai / Chiang Rai to Vang Vieng overland is a lengthy journey and will take up 1/2 the time you're scheduling in Laos. If you take the 2 day slow boat to LP then at least you get an experience and beautiful scenery, but then you'd have to stay overnight in LP and from there it's a 5-6 hour bus journey to VV.
You could look at flying CM to Vientiene (I'm not sure if there's a flight but probably) then head to VV by bus. You could then travel back to Bangkok overland or by air and pick up the train / flight from there down to the south - or there might be a more direct option from Vientiene. Not sure on that - we did all overland travel.
Ok thanks for the advice. What about if we scrap Chiang Mai / Rai altogether and fly from Kualar Lumpur to Vientiane then spend a few days in Laos before heading to Vietnam for a week then over to BKK before heading south. Or the other way around and fly straight in to Vietnam then Laos and then Thailand?
Is this plausible?
#10 AcesElky has been a member since 15/2/2010. Posts: 8
Just checked flights. We can fly from KL to Laos as soon as we get to KL. Then its a case of getting to Vietnam after a few days in Laos - is this easy enough overland? Then spend a week or so in Vietnam before flying from Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh to BKK then heading to the islands
Is it easy enough to get to Vietnam from Laos overland?
Thanks again for the advice
#11 AcesElky has been a member since 15/2/2010. Posts: 8
Afraid Laos to Vietnam overland is not as easy as you might think it should be. We did the 4,000 islands (in the South) to Hue route and it was 16 pretty unpleasant hours. Made for great travelling tales though! The more usual route is Vientiene or LP to Hanoi, but there are many horror stories around - see the posts on this forum. What's made you want to include Vietnam now? Where are you thinking you'd like to visit in your week there?