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Southeast Asia forum

First time in SEA, think our itinerary may be too optimistic.. advice please! :)

Posted by sparklesinthesky on 21/1/2011 at 15:31

Hi, we are planning a 5 week trip around SEA... This is our proposed itinerary, but i think we planned it without taking into account the time travel between places, and ferry times. We are also trying to be as economical as possible as this is the beginning of a trip around the world.

21-22nd Feb: Fly into Kuala Lumpar spend two nights,
23-24 take a bus and spend 2 nights on Penang
25 - 26th: spend two nights on Koh Phi Phi ( we are worried about getting here in one day..)
27-1st: spend three nights on Patong beach
2nd-3: get a bus and Ferry to Koh sumai (we are worried about doing this in a day).
4-6: - on Koh Phangan (ferry from koh sumai)
7-10: fly to Chiang Mai (found two cheap air asia tickets KS - BKK and BKK to Chiang Mai) here we want to trek, cooking class, etc
11 -12 - get a bus to Luang Prabang and spend two nights
12 14 - get a bus to Viang Ving and spend two nights do the tubing...
15 bus down to Vientiane and then take the 24 hour overnight bus to Halong bay..
16 spend night in Hanoi
17 and 18th - do a two night junk boat in Halong bay...
19th - overnight train to Ho ain.
20th and 21th - spend two nights in Ho Ain
22 take overnight bus train to Siagon
23-24 spend two nights in Saigon.
25 - bus into Cambodia and spend a night in Phom Phen
26-28 - siem Riep - Ankor temples
29th - fly into Bangkock - fly out of Bangkok on 30th.

I really want to see all this stuff, but i am worried about connections, and travel time...
Any advice? Places we can perhaps skip, where we should spend less/more time, and i would really appreciate some advice on getting between places too.

Thanks a mill :)

#1 sparklesinthesky has been a member since 21/1/2011. Posts: 3

Posted by eastwest on 21/1/2011 at 18:42

That is indeed optimistic. I will make a few suggestions and others will give their opinion as well.

It's a very tight schedule first of all
- I would choose just 1 beach destination in southern Thailand and spend there a bit less time (compared to overall for 3 beaches). That gives you a bit more room for adjustments later in your schedule and there is not that much difference between the beaches.
- I personally, with a schedule like that, would skip Vang Vieng and fly from LP to Hanoi.
- Fly from Vientiane to Hanoi. A 24 hour bustrip is not a good idea in that area. If you're short on money do the stretch from Siem Reap to Bangkok overland (instead of flight) which is far more comfortable.
-1 night junk boat tour is for most people enough in Halong

But even with these suggestions it is still a big rush and you are covering huge distances. Better to put emphasis on the things you're really interested in and start scraping a few things that you might do on the rest of your world tour.

#2 eastwest has been a member since 17/12/2009. Posts: 778

Posted by Nokka on 21/1/2011 at 21:15

When you say you are going travelling - you really mean it, hey. 'Cos travelling is nearly all you'll be doing. you plan to keep this pace up for the whole of your world travels ? It'll be just a blur.

For this leg of your trip you are trying to do far too much. In 5 weeks you should aim to see 2 countries - at a push you may see a bit of a third - but 5 countries is, in my view, doing none of them any justice whatsoever.

Don't get me wrong, I understand your desire to see everything, to go everywhere, but in practice it will prove too much, I feel. This speed of travel may be OK for someone on a quick 2 weeks highlights trip, but for someone with all your time it diminishes rather than enhances.

Looking again at your itinerary, at the very least, I would skip Vietnam and save it for another day. Your time there is just a whirlwind anyway. Concentrate on your beach time in S Thailand I appreciate KL is just an entry point), up to Chiang Mai and N Thailand, on to Laos (no bus from CM to LP, by the way), then fly to Cambodia and back to B'kok. That'll more than do ya.

#3 Nokka has been a member since 6/4/2009. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 259

Posted by caseyprich on 21/1/2011 at 21:17

The most time consuming part of your trip for travel-time is the leg between Chiang Mai and Hanoi - which is Laos. The overland trip from Chiang Mai to Luang Prabang will take 2/3 days You can read details here:

I really enjoyed my visit to Northern Laos, but it may be in the cards for you to either outright skip it, or just hit one spot and take away a nice impression. The reason I wouldn't suggest totally skipping it is because there are no direct flights between Chiang Mai and Hanoi (that I can find). So, you either have to fly from CM to BKK to Hanoi, or there is a flight from CM to LP, and then you could fly onto Hanoi directly from there.

There is good information on the V-Hanoi overland options here:

#4 caseyprich has been a member since 3/3/2010. Location: China. Posts: 1,281
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Posted by caseyprich on 21/1/2011 at 21:28

Way to think out of the box Nokka.

#5 caseyprich has been a member since 3/3/2010. Location: China. Posts: 1,281
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Posted by travellingsarah on 22/1/2011 at 08:27 TF writer

Posted from within Vietnam.

Phew! I agree with all above - your current schedule in some cases just gives you one day, or even less, in some places once you've factored in the travel. If you're desperate to cover all those countries then there are some good suggestions about simplifying it above, but I'd personally cut down on where you visit - it took me about 7 months to cover what you're looking at doing in 5 weeks (with a few additions of course)! Anyway, I've nothing more to add, I just thought I would show my support to other's opinions.

#6 travellingsarah has been a member since 23/3/2010. Location: Vietnam. Posts: 681
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Posted by Rasheeed on 22/1/2011 at 16:39

Slow down. Amazing things happen to those who let some of the traveling come to them. Give yourself time to breathe, reflect, write, read, talk. Others will influence your trip also: illness, bus breakdowns, holidays.

Relax and enjoy.


#7 Rasheeed has been a member since 4/11/2010. Location: Cambodia. Posts: 311
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Posted by MADMAC on 23/1/2011 at 11:23

I am with Rasheed here.

#8 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by Rasheeed on 23/1/2011 at 11:46

Uhoh. If Mac agrees with me, I change my mind and disagree with myself.

#9 Rasheeed has been a member since 4/11/2010. Location: Cambodia. Posts: 311
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Posted by MADMAC on 23/1/2011 at 21:45

Rasheed, you will be disturbed to know that I agree with a fair number of your posts - in fact almost all of them.

#10 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

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