I'm planning a RTW trip starting sometime in November, and after 2month in India, I shall go around Indochina.
I was thinking of spending 10-12 weeks to go around Northern Thailand - Northern Laos - Yunnan(China) - Vietnam - Cambodia, starting sometime in January.
I'll be flying into Bangkok and out of Phnom Penh.
I'm a 22 year old french male, travelling alone, on a budget! My main interest is photography, so i'm looking for scenic views, temples, people, etc...
Could you please tell me what you think of my itinerary (it's just the first draft), if you think it's feasible, if i'm missing some great spots, and if some places are not worth visiting...
Also, could anyone please give me an idea of how much time i can expect to spend in each place, well, basically which places deserve more time than the others.
My itinerary --> http://zipalong.com/zip/Itinerary.page?tripId=44858329
For scenic views and photography you should consider making a trip to Sangklaburi, several hours NW of Kanchanaburi . Very beautiful part of the country. Gorgeous scenery and fairly remote, but easily reached from Kanchanaburi. Just don't go on a weekend or during a Thai holiday as it gets very crowded.
From Bangkok you can do a great short loop on the Mahachai-Mae Khlong Railway that runs between Thonburi (west side of the Chao Phraya River) and Samut Songkhram. You can read about it here ... http://www.thailand-blogs.com/2010/10/16/mahachai-mae-klong-railway/
The town of Mahachai is a photographer's dreamland for photographing seafood as it is the country's largest seafood port. There are loads of both fresh and dry seafood markets, as well as lots of Chinese medicine shops. Fantastic seafood near the pedestrian ferry, too, which is worth splurging on (I just realized that this term sounds quite rude).
You could also go as far as Samut Songkhram and then visit Amphawa which is a great little town with a nice floating market, and then continue on to Kanchanaburi from there by bus. It's not far at all, and really is a great area that's only an hour or so from Bangkok.
Si Satchanalai ... you won't be disappointed. Getting there can be a bit of a pain, though. Something I would recommend is renting a motorbike in Sukhothai for a few days so that you can explore the area without having to rely on public transport (which exists, but is not frequent), using Sukhothai as a base. There is good and inexpensive accommodations in both Sukhothai as well as in Old Sukhothai.
You can reach Si Satchanalai through some of the minor sideroads that run north and then east of Old Sukhothai. There's very little traffic on these roads, they are very well-maintained and are a pleasure to ride on. Just rice paddies, fields of sugar cane, and small towns. Si Satchanalai Historical Park is well-signed along the way so you won't get lost. On a motorobike it is about 1 hour away.
There were a couple of homestays in Si Satchanalai when I was there, but honestly the temples and area can be explored (on a bike) in a few hours. It's very compact. You may want to just make a day trip there from Sukhothai. There is a hotel in Sawankhalok, and even though that little place has very little to see or do, it does have a very nice atmosphere and two nice little night markets. It would make a great "off the beaten path" place to stay for a night.
Wat Yai (Wat Phra Sri Rattana Mahatat Woramahawihan) is an amazing temple near the river and main bridge going across the Nan River in Phitsanulok . It contains one of the country's most cherished Buddha images and is well-worth checking out. Phitsanulok also has great riverside life at night, as well as the Buranathai Buddha Factory that permits visitors.
Your path shows you going from Uttaradit to Vientiane through Dan Sai and Phu Ruea. You will be missing a fantastic part of the country if you take this route. A very nice way to get to Nong Khai and the Friendship Bridge is by taking the bus from Uttaradit or Phitsanulok (note: Sukhothai is NOT a very good transport hub ... Phitsanulok is the main hub for the area) to Loei, then taking another bus for the hour long ride to Chiang Khan. From Chiang Khan you can go along the Mekong River to Nong Khai via Pak Chom and Sangkhom. This is an excellent stretch of road with beautiful views across to Laos, quiet little riverside towns and farms, and some great and inexpensive places where you can stay. Highly recommended!
If you want to send me a private message I can send you photos of the places I've been going on about.
Looks like a great trip!
Thank you so much for taking the time to give me such a long answer!! This is great, detailed, useful info!
I updated my itinerary accordingly, and took note of the Mahachai-Mae Khlong Railway and Amphawa, which I might do if I have enough time!
I noticed that you put Sankhaburi into your itinerary. While I'm sure it is a nice place, it is not the place I was talking about which was " Sangkhlaburi ." Sangkhlaburi is close to the Burmese border, about a 3 hour minivan ride from Kanchanaburi.
Other areas that I found to be excellent for photography include ...
- Pak Khlong Talad / the Flower Market, especially in the back of the complex near the river (Bangkok)
- Wat Suthat, especially at night (Bangkok)
- Thewes fresh market (Bangkok)
- Nonthaburi fresh market (Nonthaburi ... take the Chao Phraya Express Boat to the very end of the line and you'll be there)
- Wat Kaek (Wat Sala Kaew Koo) in Nong Khai ... http://www.flickr.com/photos/designgraphik/2839475337/ ... there is a place very similar, and a bit older, to this on the outskirts of Vientiane. It's also very good.
Regarding Chiang Khan ... this is another place you should try to avoid on weekends and Thai holidays. It's a very interesting and photogenic place, and worth visiting, but it's become hugely popular with Thai tourists over the last few years.
Oops, my bad! I corrected it, seems quite a long way from Bangkok.
Would it be doable as a daytrip from Kanchanaburi, leaving early in the morning? Or should I just stay there overnight?
I've had a quick look at some pictures of the places you mention, they look amazing! Can't wait!! Thanks again