I am travelling to SEA in Feb 2012 for one month and I would really appreciate some help planning my itinerary. I will tell you what I have in mind but advice from some people in the know would be greatfully appreciated. I fly into Bangkok and plan on spending 2-3 nights here, I was then thinking about flying to PP in Cambodia and on to Siem Reap and explore Angkor Wat for a few days. I then plan on flying back to Bangkok and getting the train to Vientiane in Loas, then heading on to Luang Prabang by bus. From there I plan on getting the slowboat Nagi of Mekong to Chiang Mai and finally flying from Chiang Mai to Phuket. I am then flying to Perth from Bangkok. Is this possible in one month and is this the best route to avoid backtracking as much as possible??
#1 seadventure has been a member since 17/8/2011. Posts: 2
I think I would dump the Chiang Mai element and go from Bangkok to Siem Reap and then work your way up the Laos Panhandle to Vientiane and Luang Prabang. I don't know if there are flights to Bangkok from L:uang Prabang, but if there are (and someone here will know) then I'd take one and, time permitting, head to Phuket. Remember traveling around here eats a lot of time and it's usually not so comfortable. So fewer destinations and more time in place makes for a more relaxing vacation.
I haven't been to Laos yet but have been reading up a bit recently in prep for my own upcoming trip. Have been to the other areas you mention thought.
I would say it's probably doable, but you will be losing a day each time you move between cities, so factor that into your planning. The bus ride between PP and SR is a nice one (as far as bus rides go) and gives you a window-view of Cambodia life. It takes about 6 hours all up with an 1/2 hour stop along the way. But there will be another hour of phaffing around being picked up from hotel, waiting, transferring to bus, waiting, waiting!
You're obviously not on a tight budget since you are including flights in your plans - which is good when you are trying to cover a large distance in a relatively short space of time.
Another alternative to consider: Fly direct from Siem Reap to Vientiane ($145USD on Laos Air; not sure whether other airlines do this route, so check it out. That will save you a day or two and would probablywouldn't be costing that much more in total by the time you take into account taxis/trains/buses to get to/from Airports, etc. (Unless you particularly wanted the train trip).
Also - having a quick check on Air Asia, it looks like they fly from Phuket to Perth (with a 4 hr stopover in KL), so no need to fly back to Bkk. This may also be more convenient for you. (But you may already have your Bkk-Perth ticket sorted, of course.)
Are you coming from Perth or from somewhere else?
Because if you're coming from Perth and haven't already booked your flights here's another suggestion which may save you some back tracking:
Instead of going from Perth to Bangkok you could get an Air Asia flight to KL instead and from there get another Air Asia flight straight to Siem Reap.
After that you could go to Phnom Penh by bus, fly to BKK (Air Asia again) and then get the train up to Nong Khai and Vientiane as you'd originally planned. Or you could skip Phnom Penh altogether and fly straight to Vientiane on Laos Air as Lizzy suggests.
Thanks so much for the imput it has really helped with my decisions. As I had not booked any of the flights already I have decided to fly directly to Siem Reap from Dublin, spend a fewdays exploring Angkor Wat then get the 6 hr bus to Phnom Penh and fly to Bangkok from there as flights are working out relatively cheap at €44. I will then get the train from Bangkok to Vientiane, spend a bit of time there, then get a bus to Luang Prabang with an overnight stop in Vang Vieng. Luang Prabang sounds beautiful from what I have read so plan on spending a couple of days there, then the Nagi of Mekong to Chiang Mai . Fly to Phuket from there cost €50. Finally fly out of Phuket to Perth. Thanks SBE for that suggestion.
I am just wondering what you guys think about dividing my time, for example is there much to see and do in Vientiane? and would you recommend the "tubing" in Vang Vieng? Also has anyone gone on the Nagi of Mekong trip from Luang Prabang to Chiang Mai and if so was it worth the money? Sorry for all the questions but if anyone could answer any that would be great. Thanks again.
#5 seadventure has been a member since 17/8/2011. Posts: 2