Photo: Street food Phetchaburi Soi 10, Bangkok.

Southeast Asia forum

Planning first time in SE asia

Posted by ProfKaramba on 10/12/2010 at 04:59

Hi all!!

First of all thank you very much for making this forum such an helpful place for travelers!

After reading so many posts I want to go everywhere and I don't want to be too ambitious so I decided to ask your help in my planning.

Main objective - experience a totally different culture, trek in the jungle, get diving certificate, relax in beautiful beaches, get in touch with locals etc... have fun in general too, of course!

When - around August (1month)
Who - me and 1 friend

My first plan:

Start in bangkok - 3 days

#Fly with Airasia - bangkok - chang rai/mai

chang rai - 4 days (including trekking to the jungle/stay with one tribe etc.)

chang rai - chiang kong - Oudamxai - 1 day of traveling +-

oudamxai - pakbeng - luang prabang - 2 days by slow boat

luang prabang - 4 days

viang vieng - 2 days

vientiane - 2 days

#Fly vientiane - siam reap

siam reap - 3 days (angkor temples)

#Fly with Air asia - Siam reap - kuala lumpur

kuala lumpur - 2 days

#Fly with air asia to kota bahru - bus/ boat to pulau perhentian

pulau perhentian - 6 days (diving etc)

return from Kuala lumpur


What do you think?? Too many displacements right? :s
First I was thing about diving in Ko Chang but I think it's not good in August so I don't know... Going to Ko Tao is even more expensive and time consuming I think so...

Anyway thanks for reading this, I hope you can recommend me some things


#1 ProfKaramba has been a member since 10/12/2010. Posts: 7

Posted by ProfKaramba on 13/12/2010 at 21:31

just to add something more:

we are a bit limited in our budget that's why I would like to buy airasia in advance but this also makes our schedule more tight and stressing....

The discovery airpass looks a good option too but the flights are more expensive so we would probably need to cut some stops...

waiting to hear from you


#2 ProfKaramba has been a member since 10/12/2010. Posts: 7

Agoda coupon: Get an extra 7% off selected properties with the coupon code

Posted by eastwest on 13/12/2010 at 21:49

Well, it actually looks quite good to me.

I've counted 29 days in the locations so you haven't given yourself that much time for bustrips, that can take full days (especially in Laos), between places.
If that is included in the time that you spend per location it might get a bit rushed but with a few small adjustments you could make it work.
Up to your personal preference where you shave some time of.
Chang Rai, Vientiane, Siem Reap and Kuala Lumpur are candidates to spend a little less time.

#3 eastwest has been a member since 17/12/2009. Posts: 778
 Send eastwest a private message 

Posted by ProfKaramba on 13/12/2010 at 21:58

Thank you so much for your reply.

About the time from one place to the other I kind of counted it in the itinerary.

when I say kuala lumpur - 2 days, I mean something like:

Fly from previous destination in the morning, arriving in KL around lunch time, spend the rest of the day in town and in the next day night (or the second early morning depart for the next destination)

I don't know if I made myself clear but I'll try to adjust it better...

And chang rai/mai has 4 days because I would like to do some trekking to a tribe

#4 ProfKaramba has been a member since 10/12/2010. Posts: 7

Posted by svendj on 13/12/2010 at 22:35

well indeed it's possible like you mentioned it. you'll just be doing the main things and that's it.

I always recommend to skip a few things like this time maybe skip Siem Reap and do it on another holiday. I've met people who get stressed out because of rushing to all those places.

There's not really a lot to do in Oudomxay so I'd suggest you skip that for sure, will save you about 2 days to go to another place.

conclusion: possible but maybe stressful.

#5 svendj has been a member since 30/4/2010. Location: Belgium. Posts: 196
 Send svendj a private message   Where has svendj been? 

Posted by eastwest on 14/12/2010 at 08:38

Have to agree with sven there.
Nothing wrong with only seeing the main highlights but if travel is included in your stays it may be a little too much. Depends on whether you have a chance to return soon.

If you look at Laos part

4 days Luang Prabang is good to stay in the town itself but bus to Vang Vieng will take most of a full day so you will have only 1 day for tubing etc. if you shave the travel from your VV time.
From VV to Vientiane takes again a full day (or most of it) so also only 1 day in Vientiane which is prob right but don't underestimate the bustrips. They aren't exactly comfortable so it may wear you down if you leave only 1 day between bustrips.

I'd say plan a day less in KL and/or Siem Reap or leave Siem Reap out all together but if you're not returning any time soon that last suggestion might be very bad.
Didn't fully understand svens suggestion but if he suggested to skip the whole boat thing (fly CM to LP) it would be a good solution as well that leaves you more space for the other places.

#6 eastwest has been a member since 17/12/2009. Posts: 778
 Send eastwest a private message 

Posted by MADMAC on 14/12/2010 at 12:42

Pick on country and stay there - that's what I would advise. You are all over the map here, spending all kinds of time in airports, airplanes, taxis, immigration offices and buses. If it were me, I'd take some time to smell the roses.

#7 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
 Send MADMAC a private message 

Posted by ProfKaramba on 14/12/2010 at 19:46

Thank you all for your help!

The problem is that I don't know when or even if I will be able to return to asia... That's why I want to do everything...

Maybe I'll drop all the Malasya plan but for that I'll have to do the diving in Ko Tao no? (but in terms of transportation times, it will be basically the same...) Too bad Ko Chang is no good in the Summer...

#8 ProfKaramba has been a member since 10/12/2010. Posts: 7

Posted by MADMAC on 14/12/2010 at 23:53

That's kind of a problem with life in general actually, so I sympathize. I would like to do everythign too - but it's just not possible. You only have a limited amount of down time in life, so it's up to you how to spend it. Some people want to see as much as they can, and that's OK, as long as you realize that's what you're doing. Some people want to unwind as much as possible. That's fine too. Some people want to experience as much as possible. As long as you understand that for the most part these things are mutually exxclusive and go from there, you're good to go. The only advice I can give is what I'd do - but I'm not you.

#9 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
 Send MADMAC a private message 

Posted by ProfKaramba on 25/12/2010 at 08:41

Hi guys!

After some reading I came out with a new plan that I believe it's still not final but I'm improving a lot with your feedback... I still need to cross somethings :S Whato do you think of this:

home - bangok - chang rai - by plane

Chang Rai - (no trekking just to get into thai culture) - 3 days

take the bus to chiang kong -> Huay Xai -> slow boat to Luangprabang - 2 days

Luang prabang - 4 days

Luang prabang - Vang vieng - overnight if possible

Vang vieng - 2 days

Vang vieng - vientiane - catch the earliest bus, arrive around noon?

Vientiane - 2 days

Vientiane - Siam reap - by plane

Siam reap - 3 days

Siam reap - bangkok - by plane

bangkok - 3 days

bangkok - surat thani - Ko Tao - by plane + ferry

Ko Tao - (diving) 5 days

Ko Tao - Khao Sok - by ferry + bus

Khao sok national park- (trekking, jungle etc) - 4 days

Khao sok - bankok - home - by plane

And I still have a couple free days for unexpected things or suggestions...

I'm also considering crossing Siem Reap in order to get into more places in thailand and save some money/flights but.... it's difficult to drop something that look so amazing as angkor!!! Any alternative you know? Because honestly I don't know when will I be able to go back to SEA :(

cheers and thank you very much for your patience

#10 ProfKaramba has been a member since 10/12/2010. Posts: 7

Posted by ProfKaramba on 26/12/2010 at 02:27

what do you think of replacing Angkor by the 4000 islands reagion in Laos (Si Phan Don)?

Could decrease the number of flights and save lots of money... It's really difficult to drop something like Angkor :s

#11 ProfKaramba has been a member since 10/12/2010. Posts: 7

Posted by eastwest on 26/12/2010 at 08:43

That's comparing apples with pears.
Temples of Angkor are the historical higlight of the whole region so it would be strange to leave that out. If you don't care that much for temples though...

You do have a good point with the money concern but trading 4000 islands for Angkor might not be the best trade. Not in the least because you'll have to add a lot of travel days again. Roads and buses in southern Laos aren't that great and you'll need to get away from the 4000 islands again and that will also take up considerable time.

Itinerary looks better now. Perhaps trade the BKK - Chang Rai flight for a (overnight) train/bus to save money for that Angkor flight.
In my opinion 4000 islands is only worth it if you are en route to Cambodia, not as a long excursion from Vientiane.

#12 eastwest has been a member since 17/12/2009. Posts: 778
 Send eastwest a private message 

Please login to add a reply

You need to be a Travelfish member to be able to add a reply to this post. Please use the button below to log in. After logging in you'll be returned to this page automatically to add your post. Not a member? Join up here.