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Southeast Asia forum

Trip to Cambodia, Laos and Thailand

Posted by JoggaPogga on 19/7/2010 at 03:15

My friend and I are planning a trip to Cambodia this christmas, to visit his sister who's working with a project in Siem Reap . He's staying there from 15th of December, and I will arrive at 19th. After christmas, we are planning to travel to Laos, and a few days at Ko Chang in Thailand. If anyone has been there, we would like some recommandations. Any other places we should visit instead in Laos, anything we should focus more on etc.

Here's our plan:
19-25: Siem Reap
25: Flight to Vientane and bus to Viang Vieng
25-27: Viang Vieng
27-03: Nong Kiaow, Muang Ngoi, Luang Prabang
03: Flight to Battambang
04-09: Ko Chang
09-11: Siem Reap
11: Flight home to Norway

Can we get to Ko Chang from Battambang and from Ko Chang to Siem Reap in one day?

Thanks

#1 JoggaPogga has been a member since 19/7/2010. Posts: 5

Posted by Tilapia on 19/7/2010 at 22:19

Hi,

If I were you, I would not fly to Battambang from LP. Why not just travel down through Thailand overland, or fly to Bangkok and then go by bus to Trat and Koh Chang? I'm not sure what your visa situation is, but as far as I know you'll have to buy another visa for Cambodia if you fly there from Laos.

Also, if you are only going to Thailand to visit Koh Chang, you might want to consider just staying in Laos and going to the Si Phan Don area.




Here's our plan:
19-25: Siem Reap
25: Flight to Vientane and bus to Viang Vieng
25-27: Viang Vieng
27-03: Nong Kiaow, Muang Ngoi, Luang Prabang
03: Flight to Battambang
04-09: Ko Chang
09-11: Siem Reap
11: Flight home to Norway

Can we get to Ko Chang from Battambang and from Ko Chang to Siem Reap in one day?

#2 Tilapia has been a member since 21/4/2006. Location: Canada. Posts: 1,508
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Posted by Tilapia on 19/7/2010 at 22:20

Sorry. Forgot to erase the bottom part of that post.

#3 Tilapia has been a member since 21/4/2006. Location: Canada. Posts: 1,508
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Posted by JoggaPogga on 20/7/2010 at 01:45

Thanks for your reply!
If we travel through thailand overland, which route should we choose, and how long will it take? We want to spend a few days by the coast because we are both divers, that's why we planned to visit ko chang in thailand.

Is nong kiaow and muang ngoi ok places to see some real rural Laos?

Don't we have to buy new visas if we travel back to Laos from Thailand?

#4 JoggaPogga has been a member since 19/7/2010. Posts: 5

Posted by exacto on 20/7/2010 at 04:14

I think what Tilapia is suggesting is once you have visited Siem Reap , fly to Vientiane and visit Laos as planned, then cross into Thailand for the trip down to Ko Chang and the diving you want to do. That way you'll have fewer border crossings.

Personally, I think you've set up a very difficult travel route, particularly for the short amount of time you have to spend. The itinerary you listed above has you entering Cambodia 3 times, as well as Laos and Thailand. That is quite a bit of time at border crossing.

Have you purchased your flights to/from Norway already? I ask because most folks choose to fly in and out of Bangkok. You could arrive in BKK, then travel to Siem Reap for the visit with family, etc., the head up to Laos and finally back into Thailand for the diving at Ko Chang.

Keep in mind that you can get free visa-exemptions on arrival in Thailand, but that the crossings into Cambodia and Laos usually cost money each time (about US$ 30 or so per person per entry).

One other suggestion that you might wish to consider is visiting southern Laos and base your travel out of Pakse instead of visiting northern Laos and basing your travel out of Luang Prabang, particularly since you'll be so much closer to southern Laos anyway when you visit Siem Reap and Ko Chang.

If you base your time in Laos out of Pakse, you'll still be able to see lots of beautiful, rural Laos, including the Bolevans Plateau and the tiny town of Champassak, home of the famous Wat Phu.

Anyway, those are just a few ideas. I hope that helps. Regards.

#5 exacto has been a member since 12/2/2006. Location: United States. Posts: 2,685
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Posted by Tilapia on 20/7/2010 at 21:49

I agree with what Exacto says about flying into Bangkok, your route, border crossings and visa expenses.

Most of Laos is rural. Regardless of where you go, you shouldn't have any trouble finding it.

Yes, if you leave Laos and then return, you'll have to buy new visas. Same with Cambodia. You'll probably be landing in Bangkok initially, anyway, no?

If you decided to go across Thailand to get to the Koh Chang area, you can cross at Nong Khai then go south to Trat. Just check out a map and you'll see. You can make the trip by bus, or by bus & train. You'd save a lot of time, though, and see some great places if you stick to Southern Laos, as Exacto mentioned. Look up Si Phan Don in Southern Laos.

Plus, if you fly to and from Bangkok, you are only several hours away when you're on or near Koh Chang, which means you can maximize your time around there.

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Posted by MADMAC on 21/7/2010 at 09:49

Frankly, I think this is covering way too much ground in too short of a time frame. I would eliminate Laos completely since you want to dive. In fact, if you could find a decent diving location in Cambodia (which I admitedly know nothing about) then I would spend my entire time there. Every day you travel is a day pretty much wasted. And you don't have a lot of days.

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Posted by exacto on 21/7/2010 at 10:45

good suggestion to do your diving in Cambodia, since i imagine there are dive shops and such near Sihanoukville at least. no matter where you decide to do your diving, however, remember to leave enough time between your last dive and the time you board the aircraft. :-)

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Posted by JoggaPogga on 21/7/2010 at 19:46

Thanks for all the replies.
I don't want to stay on an island for 3 weeks, and I don't think a day of travel is necessarily wasted. Travelling by plane is, so I've tried to eliminate one plain travel, and decided to try to travel through Thailand by bus and train instead. Maybe I'm naive though, if I think I can get from Vang Vieng to Ko Chang in two days by bus and train. We can always check in at a hotel and stay a night in Vientiane or Nong Khai if it doesn't go as planned. I've also eliminated the two unessecary border crossing into Cambodia. Due to cheaper tickets, we will leave Norway the 21st and return 14th. We want to spend the extra days in Laos.
Also, is it necessary to book hotels in advance? We want to keep the days in Laos open, but could pre-book hotels in Siem Reap, Ko Chang and the last night in Bangkok.

So here's our new route:
22-27: Siem Reap
27-05: Luang Prabang (Nong Kiaow, Muang Ngoi)
05-07: Vang Vieng
07-08: Travel from Vang Vieng to Ko Chang
07, 09:00-14:00 - Bus from Vang Vieng to Vientiane
07, 15:30-16:30 - Bus from Vientiane to Nong Khai (Naive?)
07, 18:20-06:25 - Train from Nong Khai to Bangkok (Naive?)
08 - Bangkok - Trat - Ko Chang (Many buses a day, no problem)
08-13: Ko Chang (Travel back to Bangkok 13th)
13-14: Bangkok
14: Bangkok - Norway (23:59)

#9 JoggaPogga has been a member since 19/7/2010. Posts: 5

Posted by MADMAC on 22/7/2010 at 09:32

"Travelling by plane is, so I've tried to eliminate one plain travel, and decided to try to travel through Thailand by bus and train instead."

Perhaps I'm just jaded because I have done this so many times. But I routinely take the bus across Issan and it takes me 10 hours to get to BKK. I take it because it's cheap, but the bus ride is just hell.

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Posted by exacto on 22/7/2010 at 10:00

yes, your new itinerary is much more user-friendly but still quite a bit of travel for such a short amount of time. you could reasonably get from vang vieng to ko chang in those two days, as long as you do the overnight train from nong khai to bangkok as planned.

i'd definitely book that overnight train as soon as i could, to make sure you get the sleeper seats that you want. by the way, you could also just hire a tuk tuk to take you from vientiane city center to the friendship bridge, and then another to the nong khai train station. there are other options too, including a combo ticket available in vientiane for the bus/train trip all the way to bangers, but you risk not getting the sleeper seats you want on exactly the night you need.

once you get to bangkok, you can take a taxi from the hualamphong train station to the ekkamai bus station and catch the bus to ko chang from there. the bus ride will be in the six or seven hour range. as MADMAC says, not necessarily comfortable, particularly after the previous 36 hours of straight travelling, but it is doable.

it is a shame that you'll be blowing through vientiane and nong khai. those are two of my favorite places. trat is a sweet little destination too. you might consider having an overnight there before heading over to the island first thing in the morning. have a fun trip.

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