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Southeast Asia forum

Order of route through Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam... how best to end the trip?

Posted by estelle8 on 3/8/2010 at 20:29


Going to Thailand, Cambodia, Laos & Vietnam in mid February 2011 and would like advice on basic order of the trip - not the specifics of sights as I'm pretty sure on those. I've thought of 2 basic orders and can't decide which is best overall. Pretty sure I want to start in Southern Thailand to orientate myself with backpacking (first time lone traveller).

Route 1 - Bangkok > (overland) Thailand: Southern Islands > (fly) Siem Reap & region > (fly) > Vientiane & region > (fly) Hanoi - then do Vietnam North to South > (fly) Bangkok (unless open jaw & fly out of Saigon- not sure yet)pros: it finishes in Saigon which is one of the places I most want to go and it's bustling & exciting - I think I'll want the trip to go out with a bang.
cons: loads of internal flights; also - if that's where I most want to go I should get there sooner (before my money & time has run out!).

Route 2 - Bangkok > (overland) Thailand: Southern Islands > (fly) Siem Reap & region > (overland) Saigon -then do Vietnam South to North > (fly) Vientiane & region > (fly) Bangkok
pros: more logical, with far fewer flights- lots of money saved.
cons: the last bit of the trip is focused on quieter places and is away from good beaches/any beaches, ie Hanoi, Northern Laos. I'll want to be partying, I think!

How important is it, do you think, where you end your trip? Should you save the best 'til last or not risk that in case you run out of time and money? I suppose the 'best' isn't always what you think it's going to be, which is part of the problem....
Have you found you've wanted to end it on an exciting note or a more relaxed, thoughtful note?
Thanks for your help......

#1 estelle8 has been a member since 3/8/2010. Posts: 2

Posted by busylizzy on 4/8/2010 at 03:36

I would tend to suggest Route 2 - BUT.... personally, I like the idea of finishing up in the Southern Islands of Thailand. After being on the go for awhile, staying in the busier cities, long bus rides etc I like the idea of winding up everything on a beach on an island.

If you want a quiet time, head for Koh Kradan and islands on the lower west coast. If you to party it up, head for Koh Phangan or Koh Tao.

But that's just my personal preference - the island hopping is my reward at the end!

Another suggestion... .fly into Bkk, then make your way east to Koh Chang and/or Koh Muk for a few days. This will give you some island time, and from there, you can go overland to Siem Reap to continue with your Route 2 option (or fly/overland back to BKK then fly from there). It's about a 5 hour bus ride from BKK to Trat, and from there you can catch a boat to Koh Chang.

Koh Chang is a busy-ish island with lots of things to do, including restaurants, bars, etc. They cater for all types of travellers, budget-wise. Then you can save the Southern Thai islands til the end. I did that route (more or less) 2 years ago, and wouldn't have changed anything about my itinerary.

#2 busylizzy has been a member since 31/12/2007. Location: New Zealand. Posts: 2,153
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Posted by estelle8 on 5/8/2010 at 03:34


Thanks very much for the reply! I have considered going to Ko Chang and the other islands near it; I know I'll be really wanting to get to the beach at the start of my trip, especially as I've only been to European beaches thus far.
I'll think more about it...just wish I could avoid all the flights involved in Route 1!
Anyway, thank you again : )

#3 estelle8 has been a member since 3/8/2010. Posts: 2

Posted by eastwest on 15/8/2010 at 10:56

Why don't you just do route 2 and fly to BKK a week sooner before you end and then spend the last week partying on either your favorit island or an island you haven't been to?

From BKK it's easy to go to overland to Ko Samet or Ko Chang or even a domestic flight to the southern islands.

#4 eastwest has been a member since 17/12/2009. Posts: 778
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