Trying to plan i trip around SEA for jan 2013.
My initial plan was going from Bangkok to Hanoi via Northern Thailand and Laos.
From there down the coast line of Vietnam and cut into Cambodia to Saigon. From Saigon to the Philippines. From Philippines to Malaysia on Borneo to Indonesia. Jakarta to Singapore and end up back in Bangkok.
I wanted to know if You had some top 5 must-see things on that route.
To save some time, I'll take a plane for the longer steps on the way, otherwise alternative transportation advises are welcome.
6.5 weeks and you are trying to see 6/7 countries, including two archipelagoes.
Please scale back the number of countries to 3 max.
Do that and tell us what you like and maybe then we can try give some highlights.
#2 chinarocks has been a member since 17/6/2011. Posts: 738
In a word: no. I mean yes, you can do it, but it will not be enjoyable. Transport is slow & frustrating at times & you have to figure you will lose one day each time you move, that means you will lose almost 1/3 of your holiday to negotiating transport, finding new accommodation etc. In addition, you will fail to get a feel for a place & it's people when you move around so much, which is, IMO, the reason to travel. I would recommend picking 2 countries max.
I have spent 5 months in Indonesia & still have a lot to see & do.
That's my 2 cents
I have to go with China and Savory here. WAY too much moving around. My recommendation (consistently actually) is to put together a route, without a timeline. You get to Bangkok, start seeing the sights, and when Bangkok begins to suck, move on to the next location on the list. Stay there, until it begins to suck, then move to the next location on the list. when you run out of time, head back to Bangkok to catch your flight out. You get to what you get to, you don't get to what you don't get to.
This isn't a place about seeing things or doing things... not that there are not things to see or do, but there is more to see and do in Europe. A lot more. So if you want to see great architecture, or go to great cultural events, travel Europe. What makes this place special is the cool, fun pace of life and the friendliness of the environment. Racing around to check off the next block on the activities list is not going to be a whole lot of fun and since transportation here is often slow and difficult, as Savory says, you are eating large amounts of time sitting on a crappy bus or humping around town looking for a hotel.
Thanks for all your comments. I get your points a 100% but maybe i haven't been that clear about my goal.
I agree on the fact that buses and train may eat a lot of my time, but thats also why i look at destinations as bases, and from there go around the area.
60% of my time is spend behind my camera taking snapshots of the things i see when going from a to b, the people i meet (see), the places i see. I plan to fly between the stops, a bit like island hopping, just without the islands ;)
I completely agree that if i wanted to get to know the country, its people and so on, i should cut it down to 1 or 2 countries, but this time its a sprint, not a marathon ;)
I want to cover as much mileage as possible.
my goal is the travel to the different countries and spend Mon - Thursday seeing the high lights of that area.
Another reason for this way of planing is that i'm going to meet up with friends in each country, the mayor cities (they fly out of singapore on Fridays) at the weekends and then spend the weekdays getting from place to place.
I know its not the "right" way to see a country but i like it this way. That's also why I wanted to get some info about what to see in the areas i passing through.
Still hope you can give some pointers what to see in those areas i going through even though i dont do it the right way ;)
If you insist on doing this and want some good photos and to see the main sights then I guess the following are all cool:
#7 chinarocks has been a member since 17/6/2011. Posts: 738
I agree with all of the other comments and I think you might be slightly underestimating the distances you need to travel, but my 5 must see things on that route:
1. Angkor Wat - Siem Reap (obviously)
2. Sand dunes and Fairy Springs - Mui Ne (good for pics)
3. Bia Hoi Corner - Hanoi (chilling on a plastic chair drinking 10c beer people watching)
4. Erawan Waterfalls - Kanchanaburi
5. Tiger Kingdom - Chiang Mai (slightly controversial but it really was a great experience)
Have a great trip though.