Photo: Street food Phetchaburi Soi 10, Bangkok.

Southeast Asia forum

Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and back to Thailand - Good Plan?

Posted by PeterJW on 25/9/2011 at 05:25

I'm planning to fly to Bangkok around 14th Jan 2012 from the UK. I’ll have a 30 day visa so think I’ll head south to Bang Lamung and Sattahip for a week at the most to experience some beach time before heading north for another 3 weeks getting to and around Chiang Mai and then heading into Laos for around 14th Feb. I think a 30 day Laos visa is $30? I then want to spend the next 30 days in Laos and then heading to Vietnam(crossing from the north end) around 13 – 14th March. The price according to the website for a Vietnam visa is the same $25 for a 1 or 3 month visaso I’ll get one for 3 and head south to Ho Chi Minh and then cross to Cambodia by land to spend a month there. I may spend between 1 – 3 months in Vietnam. I have friends who want to fly out to Bangkok next year to spend 3 weeks around Phi Phi and Phuket and can come between May and August so I thought when I’m done in Cambodia I’ll fly from Phnom Penh to Bangkok and meet my mates and head south to the islands for a few weeks. Does this seem a feasible itinerary and worth flying to Bangkokfor the 30 day visa? I’ve heard horrible stories about 10 hour bus journeys between Thailand and Cambodia so thought I’d just fly and have a 30 day visa instead of 14 days for coming over land. I have a budget of around £6000 and was hoping £4000 could do me 4 -6 months around SE Asia and then another £1500 for Nepal and north India. Am I being unrealistic regarding the amount I’mtaking? I intend to live as cheap as I can, not eating western food and not going on benders all the time (although I will when my mates arrive for 3 weeks). I’m also thinking of booking my motorbike CBT in the UK so I can get Cat A (bike up to 125cc) on my licence so I can rent/buy a bike or scooter in other countries and still be insured and get an international driving licence. Apparently this is a very cheap way of transportation. Has anyone else managed to do this with just a CBT and not a full licence? I can still drive a 50cc on the road and 125cc with L plates in the UK legally for 2 years. Crashing and getting injured would suck at the best of times but I dread not being covered by travel insurance if I just took a bike with no official licence from anywhere. I have previously thought of starting in Bali or Kuala Lumpar but with my limited budget I think I would be better off seeing more of fewer countries than less of more? Any suggestions to my loose itinerary will be greatly appreciated. Would £4000 cover 4 - 6 months or even more?

#1 PeterJW has been a member since 30/8/2011. Posts: 19

Posted by Nixxypie on 26/9/2011 at 01:02

Hi there, I personally see no problem with your plan as long as you get the correct visas, however I think the vietnamese visa is more expensive than that, I paid $45 for a 30 day visa from the embassy in Phnom Penh and if you're going overland I think (not 100%) your only option is to get it from an embassy, cause you can only get the online visa on arrival if you are arriving by air. I also think the budget is ok depending on how much you do and whether you plan to use buses and trains for transport or flying between places (Laos to Northern Vietnam takes 24 hours on a bus).

With regards to flying back to Thailand, I would say its completely up to you... If you need the 30 day visa and can afford the flight then do it, but I got a bus from Bangkok-Poipet border crossing into Cambodia which took about 2.5 hours, then a bus from Poipet to Siem Reap which took 2 hours, and I only paid 350 baht which is £7. Then I got an overnight bus from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh which was 6 hours but I slept it, during the day I'm sure it's nice to watch out the window. If you're going into Cambodia from the HCMC area I imagine your first stop would be PP then if you wanted to see Angkor Wat you'd have to go up to Siem Reap, so I would recommend flying from there back to BKK or get a bus from there if you can deal with a 15 day visa.

With regards to hiring a bike I'm not sure if there is any insurance in the UK which will actually cover you to hire a bike abroad (I may be wrong but I looked at around 10-15 companies before buying my insurance and not a single one included cover for a motorbike or moped). Personally I'm against renting them unless you are a very experienced driver but this is because 1) I'm an A&E nurse in the UK and have seen a lot of motorbike incidence where people are paralysed for life or worse, even experienced riders who were simply blown off or hit a bump, and thats on UK roads, and 2) in Vietnam I saw a head on collision between 2 bikes, and both men were unconscious in the middle of the road, wrapped around their bikes and bleeding from the head and no one stopped to help and cars and bikes just drove around them and that was one of the scariest and most sobering things I've ever seen! I can see the appeal with renting a bike and for the price it seems like a good offer, I even tried at the end of my trip but after 30 seconds on a bike I thought it was too difficult to control and could feel how easily an accident would happen, then my friend tried who'd wanted to hire one for months, and literally after 20 seconds she was lying on the floor under her bike! Funny to watch but reality hit. On top of this we saw so many people, especially on Koh Tao covered in bandages down one half of their body from motorbike accidents, and I would hate that on my travels and it would spoil the tan! But these are only my personal views and if you feel safe enough to hire a bike and understand the traffic and rules (or lack of rules!) then go for it, as long as you bare in mind no matter how safe you are its the people and things around you that make the difference. But I imagine it would be an amazing way to see the country so if you get some practice in then you should hopefully have no problems. I think it's different in Vietnam but in Thailand you don't need a licence to hire a bike but you need to leave your passport as a deposit in most places, or a very large amount of money. Good luck and enjoy your trip.

#2 Nixxypie has been a member since 27/4/2011. Posts: 55

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Posted by eastwest on 26/9/2011 at 10:24

Your budget is fine. Actually on the high side given your desired travel style. But I guess it's better to start that way and I detect that you're flexible with time.

I'd say stick with your plan but after a while you'll miss some western comforts and then that budget is very handy. If you feel comfortable with your travel style you can always decide to stretch the money and extend your stay. Better this way than to plan for 8 months and foregoing some of the fun things just because you want to stretch the money. You're going because you want to do and experience things, so do them while you have the chance and money. I never see the point of eating fried rice 60 days in a row just so you can stay 20 days longer in the area.

#3 eastwest has been a member since 17/12/2009. Posts: 778
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Posted by PeterJW on 27/9/2011 at 05:08

Thanks for all your info. I'm feeling reassured!

#4 PeterJW has been a member since 30/8/2011. Posts: 19

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