I'm leaving for SE Asia soon, and I just wanted to get some advice about travel times. I was wondering how long on average it takes to go from Chaing Mai to Luang Prabang. Also, are there any overland routes from Vientienne to Hanoi (that take less than 1 day of travel)? Likewise, are there any flights or over land routes from Hue to Phnom Penh or from Hue to Siem Reap? Any help would be appreciated.
#1 sumana has been a member since 3/4/2007. Posts: 5
Welcome to Travelfish Sumana,
For Chiang Mai to Luang Prabang, you can choose to fly (an hour or so) or go overland (two days minimum, three days more normal).
Overland from Luang Prabang to Hanoi in less than a day is not possible -- you're looking at at least two days of travel -- at least!
For trip times, take a look in the itineraries section -- pick an itinerary that includes coverage of where you're going and the times should be in there.
Also, for more information on overland routes (border crossings etc, take a look at the border crossing FAQ.
Hope that helps
Thank you for your prompt reply. It seems I need to decide whether I want to spend more money or spend more time in transit. There's no such thing as a free lunch!
#3 sumana has been a member since 3/4/2007. Posts: 5
Also, I was talking to some relatives and friends about a tentative itinerary. They are really dissuading me from pursuing it because they feel it is too cramped. I would love to hear your opinion and know possibly what is worth leaving out. In addition, my friend and I (both females) are traveling alone. My relatvies are very nervous about us staying in hostels. Do you think that it would be very dangerous? Any advice is appreciated.
Date Travel Mode of Transportation
April 16th Arrive in KL air
April 18th night or 19th KL to Bangkok air
April 22nd Bangkok to Ayutthaya bus
April 22/23rd Overnight to Chaing Mai bus
April 26th Chaing Mai to Chaing Dao bus
April 27/28th Chaing Dao to Chaing Mai to Luang Prabang bus, boat - 2 days +
April 30/ May 1st Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng bus
May 4th Vang Vieng to Vientienne bus
May 5th Vientienne to Hanoi air
May 7-8th Hanoi to Sa Pa bus
May 8-9th Hanoi to Ha Long Bay bus
May 10-11th Hanoi to Hue bus
May 13th Hue to Hanoi to Siem Reap air
May 15th Siem Reap to Phnom Penh bus
May 16th Phnom Penh to BKK or KL air
(Go to some beach in South Thailand) air
May 19th Beach to KL train/bus/air
May 21st KL to LA air
#5 sumana has been a member since 3/4/2007. Posts: 5
Ok, your friends and relatives are right -- it is wayyyyyyy too cramped!
Here's a few pointers -- others may have more suggestions.
Chiang Dao to Luang Prabang will take at least:
Chiang Dao - Chiang Mai - Chiang Khong (border) one day.
Chiang Khong - Huay Xai - Luang Prabang (by boat) two day
I'd strongly recommend allowing more time in Luang Prabang -- it's one of the top destinations in SE Asia (in my opinion) and deserves at least a couple of nights.
The most popular way to go to Sapa is by overnight train, you leave Hanoi in the evening and arrive at sapa in the morning. Again I'd allow at least two nights in Sapa.
Ha Long Bay can be seen in a day -- it's not the best way to do it, but many do. See the Vietnam feature stories, for a series of stories on how best to see Ha Long Bay.
I'd skip Hue totally -- you just don't have enough time.
Regarding travelling safety - you should be fine. Use your common sense and you'll be fine -- SE Asia is a very safe region to travel in.
Just to echo what Somtam said, your itinerary is very cramped. While getting there is half the fun, you don't want to spend half your time getting there.
Luang Prabang is an amazing place, and I also agree that it would be a shame to rush out of there after such a short time.
One additional minor suggestion I'd make it to take the overnight train from Ayutthaya to Chiang Mai instead of the bus, if you can still get train tickets for that date. Since there are two of you, the first-class cabin might be a worthwhile splurge. Cheers.
If you just have a day, you can go to Ninh Binh from Hanoi instead of Halong Bay. Ninh Binh has the same karst formations as Halong Bay, but they rise out of gorgeous rice paddies and rivers. See this TravelFish section
It's only an hour and half by public bus from Hanoi, and in a jiffy, you can do a day trip and enjoy your time there. It's a fantastic place.
Thanks. It's a bit heartbreaking deciding what to cut out, but I apreciate all of the suggestions!
#9 sumana has been a member since 3/4/2007. Posts: 5