Hello, I am an exchange student going to Japan for a year and for the break in-between semesters I was planning on backpacking through Southeast Asia. I'm interested in a mixture of things,definitely historical religious sites, natural wonders (like Ha Long Bay), and yes, a bit of partying along the way. I'm the kind of traveler that likes to do and see things, not just arrive in a place and wander. I've written this itinerary and am looking for some feedback. Let me know if I've missed anything big or if a section of travel is impossible in the alotted time. I think I need one more day in Northern Laos, so let me know if anything can be cut/shortened. Also, if anyone is interested in going with me, shoot me a message. Thanks!
Fly Sapporo, Japan to Bangkok, Thailand Feb13th. Spend 4 full days in Bangkok the 14th, 15th,16th, and 17th
18th day trip to Ayutthaya,overnight train to Chiang Mai.
19th in Chiang Mai
20th Fly Chiang Mai, Thailand to Luang Prabang, Laos
21th, stay in Luang Prabang
22nd in Luang Prabang
23nd bus down to Vang Vieng
24th in Vang Vieng
25th bus to Vientiane
26th in Vientiane
27th Vientiane to Ban Nahin, spend the night
28th Kong Lo Cave, Homestay
March 1st Travel to Savannakhet, spend the night.
March 2nd travel to Pakse, spend the night.
March 3nd Fly from Pakse to SiemReap.
March 4th and 5th in Siem Reap/Ankgor Wat
March 6th go from Siem Reap toPhnom Penh, spend the night.
March 7th and 8th in Phnom Penh.
March 9th Boat to Chau Doc, spend the night
March 10th Bus to Can Tho.
March 11th in Can Tho.
March 12th Bus to Ho Chi Minh
March 13th and 14th in Ho Chi Minh
March 15th fly from Ho Chi Minh to Hanoi.
Spend 16th, 17th, and 18th in Hanoi.
19th fly Hanoi to Tokyo.
#1 erikjp has been a member since 4/7/2012. Posts: 2
Looks too rushed. Only 1 day in Chiang Mai? Waste of time. Only 1 day in Vang Vieng, 1 day for Tham Lod Kong Lo? Again too rushed. Just fly Vientiane to Siem Reap to cut out some travel days and spend more time where it matters. Ground transport takes considerable time, buses are delayed or break down occasionally. It's not Europe where you can reliably do 4 countries in 4 weeks on a Eurail pass. Slow down. Hope that helps.
Wise words from Bob.
I count 15 places and 4 different countries in 5 weeks. Surely you don't need us to tell you that something needs to give here. Either your camera lens or your sanity will get broken. Five weeks would be good to see Vietnam alone properly, never mind three more vast countries on top.
If your flights are set in stone then cut Southern Laos, Cambodia and Southern Vietnam. If you must see Siem Reap/Angkor then look at flying it.
#3 chinarocks has been a member since 17/6/2011. Posts: 738
Thanks so much Captain_Bob and chinarocks!
I definitely agree, I think one more day in Chiang Mai and Vang Vieng would be appropriate, and would slow things down a bit. But were my days for the Kong Lor Cave too short? I would think one day to go from Vientiene to Ban Na Hin. Then the next day to go to the cave and spend the night in a homestay, and the next day go to Savannakhet would be an appropriate amount of time, doesn't seem very rushed. I definitely thought about after the cave going to Thakek and spending a night and one more day there before heading to Savannakhet.
chinarocks - I totally respect that style of travel, but completely the opposite of the way I like to travel. I like to go hit the sites then head out, five weeks in Vietnam would make me go crazy! My original itinerary was way faster than this, this is actually slowed down for me hahaha but I think the extra days in Chiang Mai and Vang Vieng would be great, and I am not in danger of running out of time.
#4 erikjp has been a member since 4/7/2012. Posts: 2
Ok Erik, don't say you weren't warned!! Enjoy.
#5 chinarocks has been a member since 17/6/2011. Posts: 738
Erik, ahhhh better you than me is all I can say. You are all over the map here, and will spend tons of time in buses, border crossings, planes, customs, bus stations... horrible. In one month you are visting 4 countries, two of which have lousy transporation infrastructures. You are spending at least one of your four weeks sitting on a bus, so I hope you like buses man.