Photo: Street food Phetchaburi Soi 10, Bangkok.

Southeast Asia forum

Burma / Myanmar or Laos ?

Posted by adapshine on 6/1/2013 at 15:42

I will be going to SEA at next december for between 3 and 4 weeks. Having never been there I'm not sure where to go. Some time will be spent at the beginning of the trip in Thailand (a couple of days in Bangkok and then a couple of days at the end at the beach to wind down the trip). Otherwise I am trying to decide between countries. I am very much aware I may be rushing too much but I also know that I will not get back to SEA for a long time so need to find a balance. Thinking about the following:

12 days in Burma / Myanmar
4 or 5 days in either Cambodia to around Angkor Wat, or 4-5 days in Vietnam around Halong Bay/ Hanoi.


1 week in Laos
5 days in Cambodia (Angkor Wat Region)
5 days in Vietnam (Halong Bay / Hanoi)

Does anyone have any recommendations. Would you recommend Myanmar or Laos. If you think I should cut out a country would is would you recommend Angkor Wat or Halong Bay more?

As a traveller I prefer a mix of everything so this prob won't be too helpful - culture, natural beauty, just wandering the streets, speaking to locals and soaking up a place, but some must see sites as well of course would be good.

Any recommendations for where to go and comparisons between places would be much appreciated.

Thanks in advance!

#1 adapshine has been a member since 6/1/2013. Posts: 2

Posted by somtam2000 on 6/1/2013 at 21:28 admin

I've not been to Burma so can't comment on that part of your question, but I would say if you're only going to Cambodia to see Angkor Wat then 3-4 days, rather than 4-5 should be sufficient (I'm assuming you're flying in and out here). I'd give the extra days to Hanoi, maybe scrape one day off Burma, giving you 7-8 in total. With that long you could spend 3 in Hanoi, 2 on Ha Long Bay and 2 in Sapa -- that would give you a better spread.

With your second option, I'd drop one country and spend a better length in the other two.

There is a lot more to Cambodia than Angkor Wat but getting arround can be time consuming.

Another option, rather than hitting the Thai islands at the end, would be to consider the developing island scene in Cambodia. Here are a couple of stories you may find of help:

The best islands in Cambodia
The best places to stay on Cambodia's islands


#2 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,943
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Posted by adapshine on 7/1/2013 at 20:46

Thanks very much somtam2000 for the helpful advice!

Assuming you have been to Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand, do you have a favourite and why? I think if I choose option 2 I would want to go to Laos, so I would probably need to choose between Vietnam or Cambodia.

#3 adapshine has been a member since 6/1/2013. Posts: 2

Posted by GK on 28/1/2013 at 22:23

hi buddy,

2 days in Burma / Myanmar
GK: nice country to look around. but there is no way for you to pass the border from burma to any neighboring countries

4 or 5 days in either Cambodia to around Angkor Wat, or 4-5 days in Vietnam around Halong Bay/ Hanoi.
GK : to look around Angkor Wat, u need a minimum of 3 days. / as for Vietnam - I never been there


1 week in Laos
5 days in Cambodia (Angkor Wat Region)
5 days in Vietnam (Halong Bay / Hanoi)

GK : Good decision. but take note, u need to spend at least a day or two if you gonna travel via bus / train from one country to another.

GK - Backpacker from Malaysia

#4 GK has been a member since 28/1/2013. Posts: 1

Posted by BAGAN on 3/4/2013 at 00:58

If you wish to come Myanmar in December, it's good time to come. But one thing,most of the land price are quite high at that period. You can visit around Myanmar with public transportation and stay at small guest house.
4 or 5 Days in Myanmar is quite enough to touch Myanmar Culture and Beauty.

#5 BAGAN has been a member since 2/4/2013. Posts: 2

Posted by BAGAN on 3/4/2013 at 01:04

Hi GK,
Now Border pass from Myanmar to Thailand can be at Tachileik. But we need to apply Border Pass permit from Ministry of Hotel and Tourism Myanmar. It's will be take around 10-14 working Days.

#6 BAGAN has been a member since 2/4/2013. Posts: 2

Posted by roisitjar on 3/4/2013 at 04:02

I'm also doing Southeast Asia this Nov-Dec. I hope we can bump into each onther on some places. :D Enjoy traveling

#7 roisitjar has been a member since 3/4/2013. Posts: 1

Posted by MADMAC on 3/4/2013 at 04:10

Why not just do Cambodia this time around? Someday - a long time away - you can do Halong bay and maybe then Burma will be more travel friendly. rushing defeats the point of coming here really.

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Posted by RooX on 3/4/2013 at 20:44

Full agreement with madmac, just finished a month in Cambodia, could have used three times that. Same goes for the other countries you mentioned too.

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Posted by JaiYen88 on 4/4/2013 at 21:27

Don't try to squeeze in too many places into 3 or 4 weeks, or you'll spend an awful lot of your time on long, uncomfortable bus rides, and you won't be able to get a feel for any of the places.

If you only have such limited time I would suggest sticking with Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. Each country has so much to see that if you try to do any more your experience will be somewhat superficial. Myanmar and Vietnam are more complicated due to visa requirements etc., whereas the other 3 you can just arrive at any border and enter the country without prearranging anything.

With a week and a half in Cambodia and Lao plus a few days in Bangkok you will get to see the 'highlights' but not much more.

#10 JaiYen88 has been a member since 25/4/2012. Posts: 110
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