Photo: Street food Phetchaburi Soi 10, Bangkok.

Southeast Asia forum

First trip to SE Asia. Suggestions?

Posted by jordan on 9/11/2010 at 05:17

Hi all,

Sorry for yet another 'where should I go' question, but I have been reviewing itineraries and there is so much to see. I have a little under a month, and this will be my first trip to the area (have only been to China within Asia, for 3.5 weeks). I would like to go to Thailand and Vietnam, and possibly stop in Cambodia/Laos if time permits. I was hoping to do a 'sample' of the countries, so on subsequent trips I can choose which I would like to explore more.

I am 25 y/o male from Los Angeles and like a combination of big cities, beach and laid back partying (beers at a pub, smoking cigars). Would also like to see some history, temples, interesting architecture, and exotic things (i.e. thailand). I like to explore, but do not necessarily have the attention span to explore one area for weeks on end -- in China I felt that a few days in most cities was enough. I am not that interested in super long mountain treks or seeing every detail of every site. Also will be my first time travelling alone, so have to take into account language barriers and other obstacles.

I was thinking of something like this:

- Fly into Bangkok
- Spend 7-10 days in Bangkok, 1 'historic' city like Ayutthaya, and 1 place in the north like Chiang Mai or Chiang Rai.
--> If time permits make stops in 1 or 2 cities in Laos.
- Fly to Hanoi . Spend 3-5 days in Hanoi and Halong Bay.
--> If time permits, make a few extra stops on route -- perhaps Hue, Hoi An, and/or Nha Trang.
- Fly to Ho Chi Minh City . Spend 3-5 days exploring Ho Chi Minh City and Mekong Delta.
- From South Vietnam go to Cambodia, and spend ~5 days in Siem Reap/Angkor Wat and Phnom Penh.
- From Cambodia go the Thai Islands for a few days around New Years.
- Thai Islands -> Bangkok -> Home

Does a trip like this seem feasible, or logistically tough due to availability of flights and travel times? I do not mind spending a few hundred extra dollars on flights to save time, though do not necessarily want to break the bank. Am I missing any must-see places?

I will be travelling in December, so if anyone else will be in the area, feel free to ping me and we can grab a beer.

#1 jordan has been a member since 4/11/2010. Posts: 4

Posted by MADMAC on 11/11/2010 at 14:32

"Must See" definitions are really a variable. What I would consider "Must see" you might not. Given your intent of just getting a little feel for these places to decide where you want to spend a real trip, I'd say this looks OK, if a touch hectic.

#2 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
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Posted by trobs on 16/6/2011 at 21:16

Posted from within Vietnam.

If I could make one recommendation it would be to play it by ear. If you are traveling alone I'm sure you will meet people in Hostels/Bars and want to travel along with them but if you have too tight a schedule planned you are going to have to stick to that. That is what happened to me at the start of my trip.

With the exception of flights most things in SEA can be booked at the absolute last minute so as much as you can I would say, plan to have no plan.

At least it works pretty well for me

#3 trobs has been a member since 24/1/2011. Posts: 12

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