Hi, im planning a 2 month trip to SE Asia and just looking to get a few pointers.
Gerneral Plan: Bangkok-> northern thailand -> laos -> cambodia -> southern thailand -> malaysia
question 1: does this seem to be the best route for this kind of intin.?
Time distribution: 2 weeks northern thai, 2 weeks laos, 1 week cambodia, 2 weeks southern thai, week malaysia
question 2: even though this is a very rough time scale, im curious whats the best way to travel around these places? I know transportation can be tricky in these parts, and im not one to want to spend my whole time trying to cram cities in and end up spending the majority of my time on a packed bus. So whats the general feel for getting around flights? ( and if so how reasonable to buy on the spot rather then planning way ahead and having exact dates to meet) trains, buses? long winded question sorry =]
question 3: just a random thing ive been pondering for a while, on my last backpacking trip i had a travel partner so i didn't have to deal with this problem but.... When travelling and you plan on swimming what do you do with for visas/money important documents you don't want to leave in your pack etc?
-thanks in advance, Jim.
#1 aimbat19 has been a member since 28/9/2010. Posts: 2
1. I don't think a "best" route exists. Its very subjective. Your route is very common and perfectly fine. You can see the highlights and have a little space to be flexible and/or visit some lesser known places.
2. For the route you describe I would include 1 or 2 flights. Buses and roads in Thailand are a lot better than in Cambodia or Laos so bustrips there are not a real punishment.
- Most important one is from Laos to Cambodia. Vientiane to Siem Reap (or Phnom Penh) is very useful for an itinerary like yours. This will save you 3 continuous busdays.
- Other could be Chang Mai to Luang Prabang (I actually don't know if such a flight exists) but I actually like that route with the boat over the Mekong. A flight would save you a lot of time though
- Cambodia to Southern Thailand. This will also take you some time overland but it's not bad. You could fly a part (PP or SR - Bangkok or Bangkok - Phuket) and do part by bus train. Or you could go slowly along the coast and stop at some places along the way. This will shave time off from your time in either southern Thailand or Cambodia
booking flights at last moment depends heavily on the season you're travelling
thanks for the response extremely helpful
In terms of the season unfortunately i have to travel during the summer, most likely june 15th-August 18th would be my rough guess this is not exact but pretty close.
Still my main concern at the moment is how likely it is to get flights on the spot during this time, im really just trying to be flexible this trip so if im enjoying a specific place i can spend a few extra days without having a deadline to meet. Of course i don't wanna be overpaying a ton due to this convience though i know its a tightrope just wondering if some members have any advice on this.
thanks in advance, Jim.
#3 aimbat19 has been a member since 28/9/2010. Posts: 2
I have travelled via air probably about half a dozen times (I usually bus it for money reasons) from BKK to Ubon Rathathani and from both Ubon, Udon and Khon Kaen to BKK. I've never booked in advance, and never had trouble getting a flight. Of course, we're talking a pretty small sample size here...
That is not the easiest season to do last minute bookings. The Laos to Cambodia flight will probably be difficult since in that season there will be package tourists looking for the same flights and most of them pre booked. Luang Prabang to Siem Reap is very common on a standard 2 week highlight package itinerary.
If I were you I would pre-book the Vientiane to Siem Reap flight since this is an important one and the alternatives are not that great for someone with a tight schedule. If by any chance you could not be on this flight last minute you'd have to take 2-3 days out of your itin to spend full time on the bus over not so good roads which would in turn leave less flexibillity at the end of your itinerary.
It's a difficult choice and something can be said for both options.
For other flights you're probably fine as Mac points out and you'll also have decent alternatives if flights might be full. But keep in mind that the area he's flown out from (north eastern thailand) is not really on the (package)tourist trail. Could be an alternative though to look at north eastern thailand. Timewise it will not save you much though. North eastern thailand to BKK can easily be done by bus.