I know this is a slightly unusual route, but I can't change it now. I'm starting off with a group from Bangkok at the end of July and heading down to Ko Phangan for the August 4th Full Moon Party. I'd probably want to see a few other islands in the Thai Gulf (it's going to be August so I guess visiting the other coast would be silly with the weather) Maybe Ko Samui and Ko Tao.
I want to visit Sihanoukville, Phnom Penh and Angkor Wat in Cambodia, and Vang Vieng and Vientiane/perhaps Luang Prabang in Laos.
I'd also like to see Chiang Mai.
I fly back home from Bangkok on September 17th.
Has anyone got any ideas which way to head after doing the Gulf Coast? I don't want to cross through Bangkok 3 times, so if that could be avoided it'd be great.
I know there are infrequent direct flights from Ko Samui to Chiang Mai (Bangkok Airlines runs a few a week. I don't know about other airlines). Then you could presumably work your way from Chiang Mai into Laos, down through Cambodia, and finally back to Bangkok for your flight home.
Have a great time!
It's going to be difficult to avoid Bangkok again, coming up from the south to Chiang Mai or Laos or Cambodia. There are nonstop flights FROM Chiang Mai TO Samui but not the other way round. You could fly Surat Thani - Bangkok - Chiang Mai (or Phnom Penh) on Air Asia cheap if you buy in advance and then you just have a short wait at BKK airport in between. Otherwise there are plenty of train/bus options from Surat Thani or Chumphon north, then transfer in Bangkok to continue north or east.