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Southeast Asia forum

Thailand,Laos, Vietnam/Cambodia?

Posted by smccourt2206 on 28/5/2012 at 19:25

Me and my boyfriend are backpacking around Asia in November. We have 3 weeks to do it and we have planned Thailand to Laos so far (going to Chang mail, Luang prabang, Vang Vieng etc). However we are now stuck. We would like to go to either Cambodia or Vietnam but not sure if and how this is possible in the time scale and if so which would be easier to do? Cambodia or Vietnam? Any advice appreciated as I have been researching this for ages now and cant seem to decide.

#1 smccourt2206 has been a member since 28/5/2012. Posts: 2

Posted by busylizzy on 28/5/2012 at 20:18

It's hard to make suggestions when we don't know what sort of things interest you - beaches, trekking, etc.

Either way, don't try to do any more countries in 3 weeks, seriously. You say that you are 'backpacking', so I presume that means overland travel rather than flying. Don't underestimate how much time you will spend getting from one place to the next.

You will have a far more rewarding trip to focus your travels in one area. If you really need to get across two countries, I would suggest not trying more than:

1. North Thailand and North Laso (as you have suggested).
2. Thailand (2-3 areas) and Cambodia ( Siem Reap and Phnom Pehn, and maybe Kampot).

Alternatively, just focus on ONE country:

1. Thailand: Chiang Mai and northern area, Bangkok, Kanchanburi, Ayuthatha and maybe the East Islands (Trat, Koh Chang, etc)

2. Laos: Vientiane, VV, LP, Nong Khiaw, Pakse, 4000 islands.

3. Vietnam: You can cover key destinations in 3 weeks form Hanoi down to HCMC.

If you are determined to fit in more countries, than I would strongly suggest that you consider more flights, otherwise you will spend a large portion of your time waiting around and sitting on buses/trains. You can fly from Luang Prabang to Siem Reap on Laos Air (via Pakse, in Laos) although it's a bit pricey. But it's going to be worth it rather than trying to attempt it overland in the relatively short time that you have.

Check out the suggested itineraries in the Planning section on this website. Scroll down to the bottom of each to get an idea of travel times between destinations.

#2 busylizzy has been a member since 31/12/2007. Location: New Zealand. Posts: 2,152
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Posted by smccourt2206 on 28/5/2012 at 20:40

Hi, thanx for your reply.
We haven't really got a preference as to what we would like to see we would just like to make the most of our trip. (trips we would like to include - elephant conservation center and hill tribe trek)
So far we have planned to travel from Bangkok to Chang mai by sleeper train then 3 day boat/bus ride to Laos to luang prabang and then down to vang veing and then bus to Vientiane. (we thought this may take 2 weeks???)
We haven't ruled out flying to Cambodia/Vietnam. We just thought we would like to go if it were possible but obviously we worried about timings! Maybe we are being too adventurous?!

#3 smccourt2206 has been a member since 28/5/2012. Posts: 2

Posted by busylizzy on 29/5/2012 at 04:53

It's not a case of being too adventurous - but you don't want to be too rushed.

#4 busylizzy has been a member since 31/12/2007. Location: New Zealand. Posts: 2,152
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Posted by enigmatic on 18/6/2012 at 12:30

If you're going to visit Thailand and Laos then rule out Vietnam
(unless you want to just fly in for a four day weekend in Hanoi and Ha Long Bay and pay for the pretty Vietnamese visa in the passport; this is fun but only scratches the surface of what Vietnam has to offer).
Siem Reap you actually can properly experience in two or three full days and is on the way back to Bangkok.

#5 enigmatic has been a member since 14/4/2011. Posts: 84

Posted by MADMAC on 18/6/2012 at 22:41

enigmatic - Siem Reap is not on the way to Bangkok. No matter how they slice it or dice it, if they want one of the "highlights" (Halong Bay or Siem Reap) then they are making two flights from Vientiane. Either to Siem Reap or to Hanoi and from there to Bangkok. For sure Siem Reap is a bit closer, but when we're talking flying here, it's not a radical amount of time difference one way or the other. It's two visas as well. Cost wise it's probably close to a wash. No matter what they're flying. Taking a bus through the Laos panhandle in order to get to Siem Reap would be insane with the time they have available.

#6 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
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