Hi all just graduated college and have 45 days to explore SE Asia before my job starts. I've been lurking on this web site a lot and finally wanted to post my rough itinerary for Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia and see what everyone here thinks. I have minimal cities I have to hit because everything I've read said to plan little for potential disruptions and if you constantly are traveling you won't soak in as much culture. Thanks so much in advance!!
MUST- Bangkok > Chiang Mai > Vientiane > Luang Prabang > Ha Noi > Halong Bay > HCMC > Phnom Penh > Siem Reap...In addition I'm interested in Ayutthaya, Sukhothai, Plain of Jars, Hue, Hoi An, Kampot, Shinoukville, and Thailand islands (want to avoid flying though..). What do you guys think about order? Or adding in anything else?
Thanks so much all. Really excited!
#1 randb20 has been a member since 4/6/2012. Posts: 2
If you want to avoid flying your itinerary is extremely ambitious. Hanoi is a very long way from Vientiane and HCMC (and in between Hanoi and HCMC are Hue and Hanoi, which are fascinating).
BKK>Chiang Mai>Luang Prabang>Vientiane> another stop (probably Pakse/4000 Islands) > Siem Reap > rest of Cambodia > BKK is doable by bus, potentially including an island in Thailand or Cambodia at the end. This would mean missing Vietnam
BKK > Siem Reap > Phnom Penh > Ho Chi Minh > Hoi An > Hue > Hanoi is another good option, provided you can fly home out of Hanoi and don't mind missing Laos and Northern Thailand.
Either option leaves you free to visit Ayutthaya as a side trip from Bangkok (but Siem Reap is much more impressive). The Plain of Jars is a lot more long bus riding in a short space of time for (I hear) not very much to see.
You'll feel like you're rushing around, and only getting a taster of what some of the more varied destinations have to offer. That doesn't necessarily mean you won't thoroughly enjoy it, but it might. Personally I loved rushing around 5 different countries in a month, but I was earning money at the time, which meant more flying, and the best feeling at the end was knowing that I would be coming back in future to see things properly once I'd got rid of the pesky job...
#2 enigmatic has been a member since 14/4/2011. Posts: 84