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Southeast Asia forum

Skip Laos? Itinary help, please!

Posted by Hemsi on 18/8/2010 at 23:08

Hi guys,

so, we've booked our flights to Saigon :-) Yeah, another holiday to SEA, it will be our fourth trip (2xThailand, 1xVietnam). So, this time we thought about "the missing essentials" in the region.

So far, I found out that Saigon is not really the best starting/end point for our trip, flights are so expensive ... We've done the rest of Vietnam this May, so we preferably don't want to go to Hanoi ...

We would like to see in 3 weeks:
Luang Prabang
Angkor Wat (Siem Reap)
Phnom Phen
Mekong Delta (South Vietnam)
Phu Quoc (5-6 days)

We've been to Saigon already this May, so no need to plan extra days for this.

So, now the questions:
- What would you suggest?
- Is this a feasable trip? (with reasonable airline fares!)
- Travelling by bus is ok for us - but I heard horror stories about bus travel in Laos and I'm a bit worried ...
- We would love to travel by boat - which routes would fit here?
- And: should we skip Laos (for this trip) since the distances are too big? This would mean: We have to come back! ;-)

Thank you so much for your help!

#1 Hemsi has been a member since 6/3/2010. Posts: 16

Posted by eastwest on 19/8/2010 at 10:23

The trip is perfectly feasible within 3 weeks. I guess you're not really backpackers and 1 week Laos is enough for you then if you limit yourself to those two places (backpackers will curse me for this).

-fly to Luang Prabang and spend 3-5 days there. depending on interest. it's a beautiful laid back town. if you just want to see sights 3 days is enough. 5 days is better if you want to enjoy also the atmosphere of the place.
- bus to Vientiane is ok. You also have the option of hiring a private car and anything in between. Flight is also possible but depends on time and budget.
- Vientiane. Apart from a few temples there isn't that much to do or see. 2 days should be sufficient.
- fly to Siem Reap . May be there are only flights from Luang Prabang to Siem Reap and then you'll have to do Laos in reverse order. starting with Vientiane.

- in Cambodia you can take bus from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh . Half day rides in decent bus over decent roads.
- from Phnom Penh you'll have different options to get to Mekong delta and Phu Quoc. My prefered route would be to take a bus south to Kep for a night, cross border in Ha Tien and take ferry to Phu Quoc. When leaving Phu Quoc back to Saigon you can make a stop for a day or two in Can tho to see Mekong delta. For other routes check this forum and site

#2 eastwest has been a member since 17/12/2009. Posts: 778
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Posted by eastwest on 19/8/2010 at 10:27

sorry, I saw that you want to travel by boat.

Apart from the ferry to Phu Quoc you could go from Phnom Penh to Mekong delta via Chau Doc (instead of via Kep). That would include another boat (nice) boat trip.
Also option in Can tho to boat around in some small boats to floating market or fruit farm.

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Posted by somtam2000 on 20/8/2010 at 08:18 admin

I'd skip Laos.

You've got three weeks of which 6 days are on Phu Quoc, so you've really got two weeks. Allow:
Siem Reap/Angkor 3 days
Phnom Penh: 2 days
Mekong Delta: say 3 days

That leaves you a week to cover the two spots in Laos (without allowing for travel time) so yeah sure, it is possible, but you'll need to fly all the trunk routes and it will be a bit of a mad dash. I'd split the extra week across southern Vietnam and Cambodia, perhaps head to Kep or Kampot... or somewhere like Mui Ne or Da Lat in Vietnam -- that way you've got an excuse for another trip!

#4 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,941
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Posted by Hemsi on 25/8/2010 at 02:56

Thanks for your advice!

@ somtam - that's exactly what I was thinking about. I like to travel slow - not being on the plane the whole time. And, hey next time it'll be exclusively Laos!

#5 Hemsi has been a member since 6/3/2010. Posts: 16

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