Photo: Street food Phetchaburi Soi 10, Bangkok.

Southeast Asia forum

Six weeks in Southeast Asia, what shall I do?

Posted by HexagonalBolts on 19/5/2011 at 22:09

Hello everyone!

I'm flying in to Bangkok on the 29th of June and flying out from there again on the 19th of August. I've only got a visa for Thailand at the moment. Where do you think I should go / what should I do / what should I see?

I've never been travelling before and I am going on my own so I'm very keen to meet people of a similar age (I'm 20) to travel around with, but at the same time I'd really like to do and see some amazing things, not just spend it all on drink as I'd just do back home. I've a fair bit in the bank but I'd prefer to travel fairly cheaply, I'm not sure how much I should budget for but I'd hope for it to be under £2000. How many countries should I see?

I had an (extremely) rough plan of doing a circular trip from Bangkok up to Laos, then down Vietnam, and back to Bangkok through Cambodia. Perhaps this is optimistic though, would I be better spending more time in one area?

I'd especially like to see national parks, the most interesting towns and places with beautiful scenery.

Thank you,
Tom

#1 HexagonalBolts has been a member since 5/5/2011. Posts: 12

Posted by Tilapia on 20/5/2011 at 00:57

Hi Tom,

That should be plenty of money if you are staying in budget guest houses, eating on the street, keeping the booze in check, etc. In fact, you'll probably come in under 2000 pounds, as you are hoping for.

Thailand/Bangkok provides a very soft-landing for people who have never been to Asia before, and for people traveling on their own. It's inexpensive, easy to get around, you can eat just about everything, there's great infrastructure, and there will be plenty of people around to point you in the right direction when need be. You shouldn't have trouble meeting people, either.

Amazing places? National parks? For this you should probably crack open a guide book and doing some reading. There are loads of national parks, but some are better than others, and some will be effected by weather more than others. Figure out which ones sound best to you and then work on getting to them once you've arrived.

Towns? Definitely a very subjective topic. Some people love Bangkok while others hate it. I love it. I'm not a big fan of Chiangmai and believe that I'm in a minority. I love Trat, Nong Khai, Chiang Khan, Nan, Sukhothai, Mukdahan, Chiangrai, Chanthaburi, Prachuap Khiri Khan, and (at one time) Krabi. I also love Amphawa, Dan Sai, Chiang Khong, Mahachai, Samut Songkhram, Khong Chiam, Sangkhlaburi, Sangkhom, and a mess of small villages. So, it depends on what you want to see and do. If you're lucky you'll just stumble on a place that you really enjoy for no particular reason other than that you feel good being there.

You might find that the best way for you to approach your trip is to do some reading, don't plan too much, see how things go once you arrive, and keep an eye on the weather.

You'll have fun, whatever you do and wherever you go.

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Posted by MADMAC on 20/5/2011 at 01:34

Tilapia, I didn't know you were a Mukdahan fan. Great little town, I agree. I also am fond of That Phanom, Nakhon Phanom and Khemerat.

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Posted by Emiliano_Argie on 20/5/2011 at 02:06

I would recommend you the following path, given how much time you have:

Bangkok - train to Chiang Mai - Chiang Rai - Cross to Laos (chiang kong) - head luang prabang by boat thru mekong - Vang Vieng - Vientiane - Back to Bkk - Cambodia (siem reap, phnom phen, Ko Rong are hot spots) - back to bkk - train south to surat thani, and spend a couple of weeks in any beach paradise.

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Posted by MADMAC on 20/5/2011 at 09:52

If it were me, I'd have a rough route planned that included arriving at Bangkok and staying until you are bored with it, then going to Aydahaya and staying there until you are ready to move on, then heading over to Kanchanaburi and staying there until you are tired of it... and so forth and so on. Don't lock yourself into a schedule, don't have a list of "must sees", just list the things you think might interest you, and then take your time and you get to what you get to. When time runs out, get back to BKK and fly home.

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Posted by Rasheeed on 20/5/2011 at 10:03

I like the way Mac sets up the schedule. Go somewhere until you want to leave. Have an idea of where you want to go next, but be ready to scrap the plan if you change your mind.

And if you do come to Cambodia, please go places other than Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. Just sayin'.

'sheeed

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Posted by Tilapia on 21/5/2011 at 04:35

I can't think of a town along the Mekong that I don't enjoy, Mac. I haven't been there for a very long time, but thoroughly enjoyed it when I was there (1993?). It's on the radar for another bike trip. Well overdue for a follow-up visit in a year or two.

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Posted by Thomas922 on 21/5/2011 at 13:31

All 4 places in 6 weeks? A bit much. Do like Mac says. Have a "general" plan. Follow it as you feel. But cut out a country or two. And just relax and do it.

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Posted by MADMAC on 21/5/2011 at 18:51

Mukdahan is growing in leaps and bounds man. You woudln't recognize it. Just in the four years I've been here there has been real growth - and all for the better. It's got good nightlife, more and more food options... I really like it here.

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Posted by HexagonalBolts on 22/5/2011 at 16:44

Yes I suspected that all four places might be a bit much in six weeks, I was just estimating by this guide

https://www.travelfish.org/trip_planner/thailand-indochina-tour1

But to me that seemed quite a slow route around the four countries, going in a wiggle and often going back on itself, I wondered if perhaps I'd be able to do a more circular trip. Or should I just go up to Chiang Rai then see where I want to go next?

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Posted by MADMAC on 22/5/2011 at 17:01

Whatever you do, don't lock yourself into timelines. You might get to Chiang Rai, meet a girl, and decide you want to stay there the whole time. Or maybe you'll just like it there, and be in no hurry to move out. Of course, you might not like it, and want to move on. The key is, don't feel like you've got to get to the next place. Stop and smell the roses.

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Posted by Thomas922 on 23/5/2011 at 09:23

That is a good route but I would add 2 weeks to it. You can do it easily in 6 weeks but we are just suggesting soaking in more. First: Take a look at your time. Is this set in stone? Second: Choose the most important things you are interested in. Third: Make sure you have the budget for what you want to do.
That route you linked averages less than 2 days a place. If you really love where and what you are doing.....keep doing it. After a week to 10 days in northern Thailand if you feel like hitting Laos or Cambodia for a couple of weeks fine. You can finish up with a week on the beach in Thailand, or 2 weeks and skip around a little. Just have a flight leaving after 6-7 weeks and make sure you are on it.

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