Hi, first of all ive got to say what a great site this is, Im looking for some help/general advice on my 4 month itinerary starting april 4th and including vietnam cambodia laos thailand, i been trying to not plan to intensively as i would prefer to be quite flexible with my plans. plus i have a one way ticket so if i need more time i can always stay longer although this is not my intention.
my plan so far goes like this-
Vietnam 1 month
landing in hanoi my trip will consist of a motorcycle trip to HCMC beginning with a loop around sapa taking 5 days. then...
halong bay day trip- cat ba island- Hue- Hoi An-Kon Tum-Dalat- Na Trang- Hcmc-sell bike.
Cambodia 3 weeks
Pnom Penh-Sihonoukville-Battambang-Sisophon-Seam Reap-Prasat Preah-Preah Vihear-Dong Kralaw ( border crossing)
I have heard stories of how slow travel can be here so i am trying to be modest with my plans
Don Det (4000 islands)-Paske- Tha kheak konglo cave-Vientiane-Vang Vieng-Luang Prabang-houe Xai (border crossing)
Thailand 4-5 weeks
Chiang Mai rent bike-Pai-Mae Hong Son-Chiang Mai return bike 2 days later.-Sukhothai-Ayuthaya-Bangkok + around-Prachuap Khiri Khan- Surat Thani- Ko Pha Ngan-
From there on im not sure, i have a slight problem with the dates that the full moon party falls on its either, make it from chiang mai to ko pha ngan in 2.5 weeks ( is this doable) or stay an extra week in cambodia and an extra 2 weeks in thailand. The full moon party seems like a must do to me! and held advice would be great.
Firts question. You have a one way flight. Is your VISA secured? You can have problems with one way flights with the airlines without a leaving flight. This is discussed at all the travel sights ad nauseum. Check it out.
Good point by Thomas.
Can only add that you should be flexible about a visit to Preah Vihear but I assume that you are aware of the current situation there. If not, read the homepage of this site which runs an article about it now
Thomas, i did some research on forums and such before booking and it seemed ok to book a one flight. i supose i didnt consider that the airline may not let me board a flight i had payed for but i have now emailed them hopefully i will recieve a reply soon. As for Preah Viheari my visit there is still some way off and hopefully the situation will have improved in may, i will keep a close eye on that.
what do you guys think of my itinerary does it seem ok to you?
and how abou t my chances of making it from chiang mai to ko pha ngan in 2.5 weeks? this is a real headache at the moment.
That can be done in 2.5 weeks. Forexample, after 4-6 hours in Ayuttaya you will me done. Because you will be hitting overload after Chiang Mai and Sukhothai. I have been there a few times and never want to stay past the afternoon. Pai is not a must see. Just more of a chill spot. People go and laze about. You will have bike so you can go and see what things you want in Mae Honh Son province. I don't think Laos needs a month fully if you are just doing the tourist backpacker tubing and such crap. (Sorry) You can river tube any where in your own country. You can shave a few days here and there if you feel rushed. I think you will if you insist that you have to hit each and every place. I would cut out one of the Cambodia places.
ha-Long? Awesome. cat ba....not much. Hoi an? Loved hanging out.
A must do? No.
You may want more time at some places so take it as it comes.
Snookyville? You are just leaving Hoi An and Nha trang which both are beach party places (though Hoi An is more chilled) so you may be hitting overload. Snooky ain't special, just a beach/packer/weed/get cheap sex spot. I chilled there too but you might be pressed for time because you want to do more later. the Chiang Mai trip is way more important that Snookyville. Trust me.
Overall the amount of time you have in each country ain't bad if you want that kind of fast travel. But what you do in country should be loosened and go as you feel.
I agree with you on Sihonoukville and Nha Trangn i had them down as maybes already, i dont want to spend all of my trip lazing on beaches with other travelers. You didnt like cat ba? i only have travell books to go off as this is my first trip to SEA, but it is listed as a 'must do'. maybe i will just speak to other travellers when im there and get thier opinions on weather its worth a vistit.
It makes sence that if i shave a few days off here and there then it will definitetly make my time in thailand a little less rushed.
I did 3d/2 night trip in Halong Bay. I had the option to spend one night on boat, and one night at Cat Ba, or just spend both on boat. I decided to spend both on the boat as I figured that being on the junk cruise was a unique experience (as contrived as it may be), whereas Cat Ba was essentially just staying at a hotel on an island.
I didn't regret my choice - but then I like being on the water. I know others enjoyed being on Cat Ba, but admitted there was nothing too special about it. In my case, the cruise people let us decide at last minute which option we wanted to take.
I agree about Nha Trang - nothing too special there, and quite touristy with lots of pressure to buy/drink, etc. I did enjoy a day at the local waterpark though for a bit of time-out.
Hoi An is a must (4-5 days easily), Hue was OK (but enjoyed the day trips out of Hue the most). Best time in Vietnam for me was a 9-day EasyRider motorbike trip from Dalat-HCMC-Mekong area.
I agree with above posters - Snooky is nothing great. Would suggest Kampot and maybe Kep instead, or try one of the outer islands (something that I wished I had done).
Overall - I think your plan looks fine. It's good to have an overall plan so that you keep focussed, but don't overplan it as you will definitely change your mind about places as you go. That's the best way to get the most out of your trip.