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Southeast Asia

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Our itinery

Posted by drutherford on 29/3/2007 at 14:09

Hi everyone,

I wonder if you would mind having a look at the first draft of our itinery.
Just so you know, we are rockclimbers so I have had to allow extra time in Chaing Mai and Vang Vieng to accommodate this.

We are trying to do this overland rather than flying just so we can see the countries and their surrounds. We prefer mtns than beaches. We are willing to fly from Hanoi to Saigon if we absolutely have to (if this portion is too stretched)

I would be very grateful on any feedback you may have, and whether this is feasible or not.

May 1-2-3 Bangkok
Night 3 (overnight train to CMai)
May 4,5,6,7,8 Chang Mai
May 9 Chang Mai to Huay Xai
May 10-11 HX to LP slow boat
May 11,12 LP
May 13,14,15,16,17 Vang Vieng
May 18 VV to Vientienne
May 19 Vientienne
May 20 V to Paksan
May 21 Paksan to Phonsavan (directly up if poss to save backtracking through VV and LP again)
May 22 Phonsavan
May 23 Phons to Sam Neua
May 24,25 Sam Nue (plus caves)
?? May 26,27,28,29 Cross Border to Vietnam to Hanoi (is this possible)
May 30 Hanoi
May 31 Hanoi
June 1, 2, 3 Ha Long tour
June 4 Hanoi
Night 4 (overnight train to Hue)
June 5, 6 Hue
June 7 Hue to Hoi An
June 8 Hoi An
June 9 Hoi An to Nha Trang
June 10 Nha Trang
June 11 Nha Trang to Mui Ne
June 12 Mui Ne
June 13 Mui Ne to Saigon
June 14,15,16,17 Saigon (tunnels incl)
June 18, 19,20 Mekong Delta Tour
June 21 Mekong/Saigon to Phnom Penn
June 22, 23 Phnom Penn
June 24 Phnom Penn to Siem Reap
June 25,26,27 SR
June 28,29 SR to Bangkok
June 30 BK
July 1-31 BK - Phuket - Phi Phi - Krabi (this part of trip is organised)

Thanks in advance for any advise

#1 drutherford has been a member since 2/1/2007. Posts: 22

Posted by somtam2000 on 29/3/2007 at 20:29 admin

Hi Debbie,

A couple of comments:
1) i'm not sure the Paksan to Phonsavan road is open to foreigners -- it could be, but it certainly wasn't when I tried it a few years ago. I've dropped an email to our man in Vientiane to see if he can shed some light on it -- will post back what I hear.

2)Sam Neua to Hanoi is certainly possible -- see the border crossings FAQ for more info and reports from other travellers.

3) I know you're climbers rather than cavers, but if you want to break up the Hanoi to hue leg, consider Phong Nha cave out of Dong Hoi (it's not mentioned on Travelfish as I haven't been there since I started the site, but I'm sure it is still there!) one of the most spectacular caves in the region.

4) Otherwise looks good -- a good amountof time -- I think you'll have a cracking trip!

#2 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 8,090

Posted by exacto on 29/3/2007 at 20:53

hi debbie,

this is a logistically possible itinerary, although i'd be worried about how much of your time you will be spending getting from place to place rather than enjoying where you are. i don't know which of your destinations are most important to you, but i might try to spend more time in fewer places if that is possible.

a few things i'd suggest as well are to make sure you have your overnight train tickets from bangkok to chiang mai sorted out before you arrive. the trains fill up ahead of time now more often than not, so best to book ahead to make sure you get your exact date, particularly with the tight itin you've scheduled.

also, i think only two days in luang prabang will be painfully short considering how spectacular it is and how hard you'll work to get there.

finally, the overland trip from SR back to Bangers can easily be accomplished within one day if you get a reasonably early start in the morning.

other than that, have a wonderful time. cheers.

#3 exacto has been a member since 12/2/2006. Location: United States. Posts: 2,840

Posted by drutherford on 30/3/2007 at 09:07

Hi again

Thank you both very much for your feedback. It is much appreciated.

Exacto, thanks for the advise on booking the BK to CM overnight. Should we do this on arrival in BK or do you recommend i do it now from Australia? Where/how do I book it?

I did some further research yesterday and am considering making some changes to the Laos part. We are interested in mtns and trekking etc so I was thinking about spending more time in the Nth and forfeiting Sam Neua this trip. With this plan it will give us a few more days leeway for Vietnam meaning we can slow things down going from Hanoi - Saigon.

What do you think?

May 10 Huay Xai to Luang Nam Tha
May 11 Luang Nam Tha
May 12 Luang Nam Tha - Nong Khai
May 13 Nong Khai - Muong Ngoi Neua
May 14 Muong Ngoi Neua
May 15 Muong Ngoi Neua - Nong Khai - Luang Prabang (by boat)
May 16 Luang Prabang
May 17 LP
May 18 LP - Vang Vieng
May 19,20,21,22,23 VVieng (rockclimbing)
May 24,25 Vientienne
May 26 Fly Vientienne to Hanoi

#4 drutherford has been a member since 2/1/2007. Posts: 22

Posted by somtam2000 on 31/3/2007 at 21:49 admin

The Paksan to Phonsavan road is open, both songtheaws and buses doing it apparently.

#5 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 8,090

Posted by exacto on 1/4/2007 at 10:32

hey again debbie,

there is a feature article right here on Travelfish called "How Do I Catch A Train in Thailand" that you might want to read. it is available at:


there is a section near the end of the feature on buying tickets that has suggestions on how you can purchase tickets before you arrive in country. i'd suggest booking as far ahead as possible, meaning before you arrive, since you know exactly when you want to travel.

i'm afraid i can't comment on the changes you've made in the lao part of your itin, as i haven't travelled those routes. hopefully someone else can help out with their insights. cheers.

#6 exacto has been a member since 12/2/2006. Location: United States. Posts: 2,840

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