Photo: Street food Phetchaburi Soi 10, Bangkok.

Southeast Asia forum

6-8 weeks in South East Asia - Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand

Posted by mjbeavis on 13/9/2010 at 19:11

Hi All,

My partner and I are looking at doing 6-8 weeks in South East Asia. We know we will be heading over in the Monsoon season but because of our timing we are prepared for this. Our main issue is weather to go alone or to join a tour/overland group? We know it will be more expensive to do this via a overland tour, but because we are only there for a short amount of time and having an itinerary prepared for us will make things alot easier. Right? Or are there enough resources to allow you to plan you next move within a couple of days? i.e. Can we organise bus/train transport to our next destination, still pay reasonable prices for accommodation and also visit the sites and surroundings a day or two in advance?

As a "loose itinerary" we are wanting to spend half or our time exploring Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and then chilling out on the beaches in Indonesia and Thailand. Is this going to be easier to organise through a tour or would you recommend doing this alone? If anyone could help us out with this situation we can then get more of an itinerary planned out.

P.S: If anyone has done a similar trip or travelled in the Monsoon season, any advice and information as to where to visit and also on visas and border crossings would also be much appreciated.


#1 mjbeavis has been a member since 13/9/2010. Posts: 3

Posted by mjbeavis on 14/9/2010 at 15:12


#2 mjbeavis has been a member since 13/9/2010. Posts: 3

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Posted by UCSBrown on 14/9/2010 at 17:44

The only reason you would want a tour group is to meet people and stay with that same group. Other than that picking up and going at your own leisure is easy. Just do a little research to know what prices should be so you don't get ripped off. I don't say that so you can be paranoid, a lot of people do.. getting ripped off for a couple USD is no big deal, but just be sure you don't get taken for a sucker.

#3 UCSBrown has been a member since 28/11/2009. Posts: 24

Posted by Nokka on 14/9/2010 at 20:54

This site is aimed primarily at independent travellers, so I think everyone on here is likely to say go independent.

I assume you haven't been to the region before. Rest assured, South East Asia is incredibly easy to travel around. There is a very well-established (perhaps too well established for some) travellers scene. You will find that moving around is simple, organising everything very easy. There are people looking to do EVERYTHING for you seemingly on every corner. You need a bus, a train ticket, a tour, a room - its all easy. Basically, if you have a need in South East Asia someone will have worked that out and will provide it ! As a friend of mine said when I ruminated on whether the laundry lady would scrub my hat clean 'Man, this is Thailand - if you want 3 naked women to scrub your hat clean while you bathe in milk it'll happen'. Probably a little more expensive than the standard wash, but you get the point.

As UCSBrown says, you need to research, though. Read as much as you can on here or other resources, so you have an idea where you are going and what you should pay. You'll quickly get the hang of it when on the ground, but only you can truly know what may interest you. So read, read and read and then ask some more specific questions. At the moment, your plan is a little vague.

Personally, I think your initial plan is too much. If you try to do Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam in 3 or 4 weeks it will be too whistlestop, in my view. You really need to decide where are your priorities and work around that. For me, that would be EITHER Laos and Cambodia OR Vietnam - not both.

Finally, if you prefer to find your feet with others then why not. I chatted with a number of people on Intrepid tours when in the region, and all were having a good time. Quite a few travel with a group for a couple of weeks, say, and then go off on their own after that. Take a look at their itineraries on their website.

#4 Nokka has been a member since 6/4/2009. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 259
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Posted by exacto on 15/9/2010 at 03:11

It would be hard to improve on the solid advice above, so I'll just add one more voice to what has already been said. I've never found a more user-friendly place to travel that southeast Asia in terms of accommodation, food options, transport and other infrastructure, and just plain fun. It is easy easy to do on your own, making your own arrangements as you go, particularly since you are travelling with your partner.

There is no reason not to work in a tour as well if you wish, but I wouldn't make it for the full time but rather just for part and perhaps best near the beginning when you are just getting your legs under you. Travel agents can also be helpful for making arrangements as well.

Whatever you do, just don't try to do too much, or you'll spend all your time getting there and not enough time being there. I agree with Nokka too that you'll do better by visiting either Laos and Cambodia or Vietnam in the time you've set aside for them, but not both.

Finally, you'll find heaps of info on travelling during the monsoon and on visas and border crossings on the message board and in the information sections. Just have a snoop around. Cheers.

#5 exacto has been a member since 12/2/2006. Location: United States. Posts: 2,759
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Posted by Indoluso on 15/9/2010 at 16:36

Hey! Forget about buying a tour! It's much more expensive and you won't get a tenth of the fun!! Even getting in occasional tours while on the trip isn't worth it! Go independent, you'll meet the amount of people you'll want to, if you don't like to be on your own you can meet people to travel all the way with you so no reason getting on a tour. Plus you get to meet and stick with people you enjoy and not the ones imposed by a tour.

#6 Indoluso has been a member since 22/12/2009. Posts: 133

Posted by sscott8592 on 25/3/2013 at 00:15

hey mjbeavis how did the trip go I am about to head there same time and same amount of time love to talk for advice?

#7 sscott8592 has been a member since 19/1/2013. Location: United States. Posts: 1
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Posted by mjbeavis on 25/3/2013 at 15:31

Hi sscott 8592. Trip was amazing. Please read the following blog for more help.

#8 mjbeavis has been a member since 13/9/2010. Posts: 3

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