I've been reading Travelfish and the forums for a while now and just wanted some advice on my route. I'm planning to travel around South East Asia for 13 weeks between April and July. The itinerary below is only rough but I don't want to tie myself down to being in a specific area at a specific time. I enjoy the cultural/historical nature of countries as well as scenery. I'm not too fussed about getting drunk every night but would like the occasional night out.
Kuala Lumper- travel up the coast by train- assuming the east coast is the best due to the weather? Or is it plausible to still visit krabi/ phuket?
Chiang Mai /Rai - Would you suggest any places between Bangkok and Chiang Mai to stop at or just take the train straight through?
Cross border to Laos- slow boat to Luang Prabang
Vang vieng and Vientiane - Are there any other places you would suggest visiting in the region? I do not plan on going to Southern Laos
From Vientiane I want to travel to Hanoi. I've heard horror stories about the 24 hour bus but then also tales of wonderful scenery and good friendships made. Is it worth taking the bus or getting a flight? ( Bearing in mind i am 6ft 4!)
Hanoi- Halong Bay + Sapa
Travel down Vietnam stopping at Hue, Hoi An, Nha Trang and Saigon. Unless people have other suggestions?
On to Cambodia and Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. Nothing really grabs me about Cambodia except these two places.
Finally returning to Bangkok.
Finally which way round should i do this? I couldn't really find a difference between Laos and Cambodia in terms of weather during this period.
#1 goody has been a member since 28/12/2011. Posts: 1
I can only comment on the KL-Bangkok part of your trip. If you're starting out in April then either coast will be fine weatherwise. From June the Krabi/Phuket side of Thailand does get a bit rainy but there's still sun! How much time are you allocating for the KL-Bangkok leg of your journey? We took the train KL-Hat Yai (overnight) and then got a bus straight to Ao Nang beach, Krabi. After a few days there we took a boat over to Koh Lanta for a couple of nights, then Phi Phi for 5 nights, then Patong for a week. We then took the long journey over to Samui by boat and bus where we stayed for another week, and then went up to Koh phagnan and Koh two for a couple of nights each. You can then get a boat-bus-train deal up to Bangkok. If you have less time, choose one coast but, as I said, weather shouldn't be much of an issue earlier in the year! When you do get the train KL-Hat Yai and then up to Bangkok, I'd recommend getting the sleeper (2nd class air con) as it saves you a nights accommodation, and you do get quite a good nights sleep! Sorry I can't help more with the other parts of your itinerary
Watch your budget starting out in Malaysia, it can be expensive. From KL you may want to check out Malacca and Penang for the history (though you'd have to head south out of KL to get to Malacca) - maybe a route through he Cameron Highlands and then over to Penang would be best. I wouldn't allow too much time in Malaysia at the start of a long trip as it can be expensive - skip Langkawi and Perhentian Islands and save the islands time for when you get into Thailand and its more affordable.
On another note, I'd give Da Nang a little time when you're headed from Hue to Hoi'an. The train ride from Hue to Da Nang is short (2hrs) but lovely, and if you rent a motorbike on arrival everything in Da Nang is within 10 minutes of where you want to go (Hoi'an being only a 20 minute bike ride, Marble Mountains 15 and Monkey Mountain is a nice morning or afternoon ride). I also found China Beach cleaner than the beach down at Hoi'an, though less lively.
A nice break on the Bangkok to Chiang Mai leg is Sukhothai. Cycle around the ruins for a day or two then back on the bus. I don't know if you can do this on the train so if the train is essential it might not work. Just an idea though.