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Southeast Asia forum

SE Asia trip for 4 weeks... help please!

Posted by jijerton on 16/7/2012 at 12:29

This will be my first time backpacking and my boyfriend and I are planning on going to Southeast Asia (Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand for 4 weeks).
I know there's kind of a lot to cover in just 4 weeks, so if there's one country that has to be skipped I'm open to suggestions.

We will be mainly traveling overland from country to country because we're both on a budget.
We don't have much of a plan yet but this is what I have so far:
Beijing to Guilin (train)
(stop in Guilin for 1 day)
Guilin to Nanning (train)
Nanning to Hanoi (train) or Nanning to Ha Long Bay City (8 hr, bus)
I could also go from China Jinghong/Mengla into Laos. Would that be better than starting off in Vietnam?
From there, I really need suggestions on where to go and the best way to make our way into Laos, Cambodia, then finally Thailand.

My friend suggested the below itinerary instead which goes from China to Laos to Thailand to Malaysia (axing Vietnam and Cambodia since this route is more direct from North to South).
Guilin to Laos (need suggestions on best route - with visa points taken into consideration)
Laos (not sure where to go in Laos)
Laos to Bangkok?
Bangkok to Phuket (planning on taking plane but if there's an economical way that is by land I'm open to it)
Explore islands/beaches ( Krabi /Phi Phi/Phuket)
Overland into Malaysia
Malaysia from north to south (suggestions on where to go)
Fly out of KUL airport back to US.

I've been researching how to make this trip happen and I feel like I'm going in circles. Any suggestion is appreciated!

On a side note, the places in Thailand I really want to see are Krabi (Railey for elephant trekking, rock climbing, etc.), Phi Phi Island, Phuket, and then finally Bangkok (we fly out of Bangkok to go back to the US).
Also if you have any recommendations are where to see the best waterfalls, cliffs (cliff diving), elephant trekking, etc. are appreciated.

#1 jijerton has been a member since 16/7/2012. Posts: 2

Posted by daawgon on 16/7/2012 at 13:06

Since you only have 4 weeks, and are traveling overland from Northern China, it makes sense to eliminate the most difficult country - that's Vietnam. Even with that omission, you will be hard pressed for time to see the rest of Indochina and Thailand.

It would have made much more sense to fly into an airport in SE Asia, if that's your primary area of interest. If you do want to see Vietnam eventually, I suggest an entire month devoted to this country, and to do considerable research before attempting travel there.

#2 daawgon has been a member since 17/4/2007. Posts: 1,151
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Posted by altmtl on 16/7/2012 at 16:12

I tend to agree. I'd even skip Laos and just do Thailand and Cambodia.

#3 altmtl has been a member since 18/5/2009. Location: Canada. Posts: 1,003
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Posted by tyler on 16/7/2012 at 21:33

4 weeks! Stick to 2 countries max. Consider spending the majority of it in Thailand (fly into Bangkok) and end it in Cambodia (home from Phnom Penh). You don't want to end up with a big chunk of your travel time spent on buses, trains or planes.

#4 tyler has been a member since 7/12/2010. Location: Canada. Posts: 257
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Posted by chinarocks on 17/7/2012 at 03:58

Agree with all of the above - also bear in mind that the trip in China that you are doing is a monster one so you will be very tired from this once you arrive in SE Asia.

With 4 weeks, from experience of travelling in the region, I would do Vietnam OR Thailand OR Laos and Cambodia (but this may still be a bit tight for these two countries).

Why not spend 4 weeks in Vietnam? Great country, massive though. 4 weeks would be a lot longer than most people have there and would enable you to see some more OTB places.

#5 chinarocks has been a member since 17/6/2011. Posts: 738

Posted by MADMAC on 17/7/2012 at 04:57

Slow down, you move to fast.
You got to make your moments last
Kicking down, the cobblestone
Looking for fun and feelin' groovy

SEA isn't about seeing everything or doing everything
It's about chillin'

Listen to the above. They are spot on. Relax and enjoy the moment - which is really hard to do on a shitty ass bus.

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