Hi Guys, been lurking on here since I decided on this trip nearly a year ago, thanks to the owners for putting together a phenomenal resource :).
Now my trip is only 3 months away I starting to ramp up the planning a little, renewing passports etc. Hoping for a critique of my itenerary in terms of pointing out any glaring mistakes and anyu suggestions.
My very rough plan so far is to arrive in Bangkok on the 6th December. Few days in Bangkok then head north, Ayuyatuyah for a day then Chang Mai (train?) for a week or so.
Plan to slow boat down to Luang Prabang for a couple of weeks in Laos, Vietienne, Vang Vieng etc but unsure of order.
Next is the bit i'm not 100% on. I plan to visit both Vietnam and Cambodia before heading back to Bangkok. I really want to see Ha Long Bay, Hanoi and some beach type places in Vietnam, while in Cambodia I want to go to PP, Siem Reap and Siankouville for a bit.
Now this needs to be done in 9 weeks and back to Bangkok for the 5th Feb to meet my brother who's flying out for a couple of weeks down Ko Samui, Ko Phangnan way.
So the questions:
Am I pushing it timewise and if so what can I cut or what costs the most in travel time?
Leaving Thailand maybe 2/3 weeks after entry and returning feb, do I just get a tourist visa at this end and whats the cost?(I've read the FAQ's and keep confusing myself)
Apologies for yet another itinerary post but it's quite daunting planning your 1st solo trip, any help is very much appreciated!
Over to you!
#1 tj2002 has been a member since 14/9/2011. Posts: 8
It's really tricky getting the right route to do this. On our own trip we did some strange connotations of flights - mainly to fit in with Air Asia schedules. National carriers can be extremely expensive when crossing borders. (Internally I found Vietnamese Airlines to be good value, though). You don't say whether you're prepared to fly at all or whether you prefer to go overland all the time.
Do you really want to go to Vang Vieng ? If not I'd be tempted to stay in Luang Prabang and points north when in Laos - then fly from LP to Hanoi . Or do the overland trip (which I believe is quite difficult). From Hanoi work your way south in Vietnam and then to Cambodia via the delta. You have sufficient time for beaches at Hoi An, or even Phu Quoc on your way. 9 weeks for N Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia I would say is fine.
If you do go to Vientiane (that's south of Vang Vieng by the way) then you could fly from there to HCMC. That's what we did. Cheaper, strangely, than flying only to Phnom Penh which it stops off at - at least it was when we did it. However, if you do that then go north in Vietnam it puts you in the wrong place to get to Cambodia. Best, in my view, to go to Hanoi and work south therefore.
Hope that helps a little.
Thanks for your help Nokka. just to clarify the 9/10 weeks is from landing in Bangkok on the 6th December to being back in Bangkok on the 5th Feb to meet my bro.
So Hanoi 1st then work south and over to Cambodia?
Not really budgeted for any flying, was intending to overland the vast majority if not all of the trip. Vang Vieng can be ommitted if it's not really on the way to anywhere and none of my plans are going to be set in stone, just want't the most time efficient clockwise(ish) route.
#3 tj2002 has been a member since 14/9/2011. Posts: 8
9 weeks for all of it makes it tighter, but probably still just about OK.
Just a thought for you. Why not go from Bangkok up to Nong Khai and cross into Laos that way. Then Vientiane, Vang Vieng, Luang Prabang and continue north and east until you get to Hanoi . Search on here for posts on doing the LP to Hanoi stretch overland. Yes, that skips Chiang Mai, but gives you more time overall and is a far more interesting trip. In my opinion.
"Why not go from Bangkok up to Nong Khai and cross into Laos that way. Then Vientiane, Vang Vieng, Luang Prabang and continue north and east until you get to Hanoi"
This is what I was thinking too. Just seems logical.
Thanks guys, guess that way avoids me going back on myself.
What about the thai visa situation, seeing as how I'll only be in Thailand for a couple of weeks at the start and a couple at the end what kind of visa will I need before I travel? (I'm in the region for just over 11 weeks total)
#7 tj2002 has been a member since 14/9/2011. Posts: 8
Ok, so this means I'm going to get a 30 day stamp when I land in Thailand in December then another 15 day stamp when I come overland from Cambodia in Feb. By my calcs I'm almost certainly going to overstay that 15days by maybe 1 or 2 days max. Is it just a fine to pay at the airport on the way out?
Thanks for the help guys!
#9 tj2002 has been a member since 14/9/2011. Posts: 8
Some people have reported problems being able to board their flight from their home country if they haven't got a proper Thai visa sorted. Your return flight is 11 weeks after arrival and you will have no proof that you will definitely leave Thailand before the end of 30 days (ie a flight ticket out of the country). For those who plan to leave overland, even within the 30 days limit, this could potentially prove a problem.
The solution is to get a full Thai visa - though obviously there is a cost. Of course, your airline may not be concerned by this - but can you take the risk ?
OK, so my best bet in this instance is a visa from the thai consulate that covers me for the 3 months, thought as much but there seems so many ways to do it I was getting confused. Thanks for the tips people!
#11 tj2002 has been a member since 14/9/2011. Posts: 8