I am hoping to get some assistance in travel planning SE Asia. My intent right now is looking as such. I am not sure of places to visit quite yet except I do have a few hot spots I would like to hit.
Travel Time will be Early July through Early Aug. Approx - 29 days.
July 9 - Day 1 - Fly into Cambodia ( Siem Reap ) from Seoul, S. Korea.
8 days in Cambodia (This includes travel times) - Looking at a Siem Reap to Phnom Penh up to Laos direction. Now I have no idea what or where to go in Cambodia, no preferences. Taking all suggestions and I can sort through what I feel is best.
July 17 - Start Laos
10 days in Laos - From Cambodia, to Southern Laos to Northern Laos (Land or Air) Not sure of places in S. Laos. Willing to Fly or Land travel from S. Laos to N. Laos if there are ideal places in between to go. As for Laos the top things I know about and would like to hit is the Gibbon Experience, Jar of Plains and Vang Vieng (tubing experience).
July 27 - Start Thailand
11 days in Thailand - From Laos to Thailand (By Air or Land), either into Chiang Mai or Direct to Bangkok if one thinks that Chiang Mai can be skipped. So far looking at Chiang Mai to Bangkok, Bangkok to Phuket , Phuket to Ko Samui by 3 August for the Full Moon Party, Ko Samui to Bangkok (Depart SE Asia to Frankfurt Germany at/around 6 or 7 August) (EDIT** Probably willing to cut out Bangkok (other than flight departures) and Chiang mai all together if it seems worth it to see other good stuff that'd override the cities in Camb/Laos)
Like I mentioned there are only a few areas I know I want to hit for sure: Ko Samui Full Moon Party 4 Aug, Gibbon Experience, Vang Vieng, Jar of Plains. All other places in between will be based on ideal suggestions. I have no issues with flying to save time. I like a wide array of things, mostly history, ruins, temples, historical sites and such; party portions are saved for the Ko Samui and Vang Vieng portions of my trip. No need to include others (unless they out weigh the two I have planned). Not big into Art type Museums but I do enjoy historical stuff. I also like War History as well. Since this is a short trip; as much cultural and breadth of experience as possible as I may not be able to make it back soon.
Thanks ahead of time.
#1 chinezero has been a member since 13/6/2011. Posts: 13
I'd possibly speed up your pace in Cambodia and spend something like 3 nights in PP and 3 nights Siem Reap before catching a SR to Vientiane flight up to Northern Laos considering your highlights so far. That'll give you more time in Northern Laos as it can be slow going around there. From Vientiane to VV for a couple nights, then you could go up to Luang Prabang (not to be missed, and I mean it) and from there catch a round-trip flight to Phonsovan (Plain of Jars) to save the 8hr each way bus trip. Otherwise, go direct from VV to Phonsovan via bus and then take another bus back to Luang Prabang. If you are really into war history there is the option of the Pathet Lao Caves up by Vieng Xia (outside of Sam Neua). It'd be a heck of a ride back to the rest of Northern laos - via Nong Kiaow would be a recommendation and then head north to the Gibbon experience via Udomxia and Luang Nam Tha (that is if you've already checked out Luang Prabang). As you can see, anything involving a trip up to the caves - or even a normal route from Luang Prabang to Huay Xia and the Gibbon Experience has a few options for other places to stop (overland via Luang Nam Tha is recommended over the upriver boat trip by me).
If you are going to Huay Xia and the Gibbon Experience for sure then I think you should overland into Thailand and head to Chang Mai - a nice city and good to compare/contrast with Luang Prabang experience. From there you an catch a flight down to the southern islands to make up for some of the time you may lose by extending your time in Northern Laos. Though, it is a shame to miss Kanchanaburi as it has some interesting war history also and a fun scene. Then you'd have to take a bus to BKK to catch the flight to the islands.
You are covering a lot of ground here. Even within the countries some of these destinations are pretty far apart (Chiang Mai - Phuket for example). If it were me (and it's not to be sure) I would go Siem Reap to Bangkok (amongst the largest, most interesting cities in SEA), spend some time there, then head off to the Full Moon party which you seem to want to check out (again, wouldn't itnerest me - but we're all different).
#3 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Thanks for the info so far. I know it's a lot of ground, that is why I keep flying as an option, or wiling to do overnight bus trips to save time also. I'm not sure when my next opportunity will be to get this way so that's why it's condensed. And how bad is rainy season? Is it managable or not really worth the trip and attempt another time. Only thing is I am not sure when the next time I will have 29 days off in a row...you know how the united states is on vacation time...
#4 chinezero has been a member since 13/6/2011. Posts: 13
The rainy season rains a lot. You're going to get wet in all probability. Some days it will rain all day. On rare occassion, the remnants of a typhoon will roll in from Vietnam and we get up to five days of continuous rain. But that's not all that common. Usually it's a one or two hour cloud burst, followed by sun again. You'll just have to remain flexible.
#5 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957