First of all, I want to thank travelfish for all this great advise!! It is really the most helpful site I found for this region.
I'm a 25 year old girl, going for a 2 month trip to SEA from july 25th till 1st of october. I would like to see lot of nature, beach and culture. I know I want to put quite a lot into this schedule, but I really want to do that all. But it would be really great if someone could take a look over my itinerary and tell me if this is possible and which sites I must not miss.
25/07-16/08: Bali and Lombok. I want to put my focus on Lombok and Gili Islands (could I do a diving course there?), but maybe want to do a surfing course on Bali, where would be the best place for that? (I am a complete beginner)
16/08-25/08: Borneo. Probably I will fly to Sandakan and see the Sepilok center, go overland to Kota Kinabalu by bus and after that fly to Miri to the Gunung Mulu National Park and than back to KL. How many days do you think I will need for the different spots? I don`t want to climb Mount Kinabalu.
25/08-31/08: Northeastern Cambodia: I will fly to Phnom Penh and go north to Laos. I want to see the dolphins and Rattanakiri. Is this both possible in this short time? I know that it`s raining season, and streets will get really muddy.
01/09-21/09: Laos from south to north, 4000 Islands, Vientiane, Vang Vieng (?), Luang Prabang, Huay Xai (I really want to do the gibbon experience). As I am going the other way through Laos than most people, do you think I will still find people to travel with? I'm travelling on my own, but don't want to be lonley all the time.. ;)
Is there a nice town or something to split the bustravel between Pakse and Vientiane? It seems a quite long way!
21/09 - 29/09: Ko Tao. I don't really know yet what's the best way to get from Huay Xai to Ko Tao. What would you suggest?
01/10: Flying home.. :(
Do you think it is doable? Or will it be too stressy? Thank you for your answers!!
#1 pippeline has been a member since 17/4/2010. Posts: 7
Your schedule will probably change once you begin your trip. Like you said, it will be the rainy season in several areas and you can expect to not be able to get to some of the places you'd like to visit, especially in Cambodia. But, no harm in giving it a whirl, and if things get too "stressy," you can just change your plans accordingly. It's easy.
Unless you're out in the middle of nowhere, there is usually someone going your way. And, if not, there will always be someone where you are going. It's unlikely that you'll be lonely all the time.
You don't want to see Angkor?
If you want to go to Koh Tao, you can cross from Huay Xai into Chiang Khong, then catch a bus down to Bangkok, hop on the night train (or bus) to Chumphon, then take the ferry.
If you do stick to that schedule, you're not giving yourself much time for Koh Tao. It will take you at least 1 1/2 days to get there from Huay Xai, then at least one more full day to get back to Bangkok (if that's where you are flying from.) You'll probably want to be back in Bangkok the day before your flight, so you're only going to have about 5 days there. It's a long way to go for 5 days ... but that's just my opinion. It's a beautiful place.
Also, you can take sleep buses from Pakse to Vientiane, so no need to break the journey. But if you do want to stop along the way, Savannakhet is probably going to be your best bet.
Thank you Tilapia for your answer! You are completely right, probably all my plans will change totally once I'm there, but nevertheless I want to have some kind of plan, it's making me feel more secure.. ;)
I have already been to cambodia last year for one week, but that was much too short and I wanted to come back the moment I left. So I have seen already Siem Reap and Phnom Penh but not much more. For this reason (and also because flight from KL to Phnom Penh are much cheaper then to Laos) I decided to do this time the northeastern region. I hope rainy season will not spoil my plans..
At the end of my trip I want to have about one week on an island, sunbathing, snorkeling, diving... That's why I thought of Koh Tao, but maybe I will change to Koh Chang. Is it easier to get there from Huay Xai?
#3 pippeline has been a member since 17/4/2010. Posts: 7
And yes: I am flying back from Bangkok, I forgot to mention that... :)
#4 pippeline has been a member since 17/4/2010. Posts: 7
Getting to Koh Chang is probably a little easier and more convenient than getting to Koh Tao when arriving from Chiang Khong . The trip to Koh Chang from Bangkok would be much, much shorter. In fact, if you take a night bus back to Bangkok from Chiang Khong, you can get a morning bus straight to Laem Ngop, the village where one of the main piers for ferries to Koh Chang leave from, without having to go to another bus station. You can go straight from the Northern Bus Terminal (Morchit) which is where the bus from Chiang Khong will terminate at.
Here is the timetable. Scroll down a bit to find the schedules for buses leaving from Morchit (Morchit Station to Koh Chang to Laem Ngop and/or Trat.
The advantage of going to Chang over Tao is that you will only have an 7 or 8 hour trip back to Bangkok from the island itself. The disadvantage is that Chang might get a bit more rain than Tao at the end of September/beginning of October. But it won't be THAT much more rain. Both places will likely be quite wet. I've been on both around that time of the year and they were both nice, rain or shine.
Tezza might have some other ideas for you regarding islands/beaches at that time of the year. One thing is for sure, it won't be the best time for sun-bathing.
I forgot to mention that it is also possible to travel from Laem Ngop straight to the airport. So, you could leave the island on the day of your flight, if time permits, and head home with sand in your hair.
Laem Ngop – Suvarnabhumi Airport
Bus Company: Transport Co., Ltd.
Times: 07:30, 08:30, 09:30, 11:30, 12:30, 16:00