Me and my boyfriend are heading to SE Asia in January.. We arrive in Bangkok on 21st January and plan to travel Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. We want to see these 4 countries by 28th June because at the end of June we are heading to Bali. Could anyone please advise the best route to take? I know alot of it depends on weather but i have heard alot of mixed reports about the weather at that time of year. We really have no idea what direction is best to travel in. I've heard theres not much point straying from the beaten path and that most people travel N-S or S-N.. but if anyone could clafiy this it would be much appreciated! Thank you!
#1 meganconway has been a member since 14/8/2012. Posts: 3
Since you're arriving the end of Jan, I just want to worn you to avoid Vietnam until the very end of Feb because of Tet - otherwise you would have major delays with transport and costs might be double at hotels. For overland travel, most people like to enter N. Laos by boat from N. Thailand on the Mekong. I personally use air travel mostly, so I'm not the best person to help you. Rail travel in Thailand is quite good, and rail in Vietnam is hit or miss - lower quality than Thai. Long distance bus travel in Vietnam can be a problem - extremely bad drivers - VN roads are not especially safe places.
Weather-wise Jan-June is the drier half of the year, with the southwest monsoon kicking in usually May/June, but don't be scared of the "M" word, it's not usually a big deal. It makes the most sense to do N-S with a circular pattern starting in northern Thailand/Laos then into Vietnam and down through Cambodia and via Bangkok to southern Thailand. There are cheap flights to Bali from Kuala Lumpur on Air Asia, but book well in advance for the cheapest fares.
Good advice from Bob... I'd avoid southern Thailand at the beginning due to the crowds.
Check out the suggested itineraries found here: https://www.travelfish.org/trip_planner/
I think you the reason you are getting mixed reviews about the weather is that from 2011 to parts of 2012, there was a la nina in the pacific ocean. The la nina is associated with increased rainfall over SEA.
The current predictions are for a weak el nino to persist up to Feb 2013. So rainfall will be normal for large parts of SEA during this period.
To my knowledge, the 3 nearest cities with direct flights to Bali are: Bangkok, KL, and Singapore. Air Asia flies to Bali from all 3.
@daawgon you mention delaying Vietnam until the end of Feb because of Tet, can you explain a bit more? (sorry to be a pain) -
I am planning to arrive there towards the end of Jan as we start our trip in November, I am looking forward to Vietnam more than most other places so want to make the most of it!
#6 SBKM has been a member since 23/8/2012. Posts: 14