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Southeast Asia forum

3 Months in and unsure where to go next... advice?

Posted by BennyV on 20/2/2013 at 22:24

Posted from within Vietnam.

Hi everyone, thanks for clicking.

So I'm now over half-way through my first ever solo trip around SEA, and really enjoying it so far. I've had one month in Thailand (Bangkok and north), one month in Laos and one in Cambodia. I'm now in Ho Chi Minh, and planning to work my way north over the next 25 days or so. My dilemma is what to do next.

I have a return flight booked for late March, but I'm able to put it back by up to two months, so I'm planning to extend the trip by at least 2-3 weeks.

The original plan was to fly from Hanoi back to Bangkok and see some of south Thailand for a few weeks, but I'm having doubts as to how much I'd enjoy the scene down there. From talking to other travelers it sounds like it's all parties, drugs, tourists, hassle, expense, and more tourists. And after seeing Koh Rong in Cambodia I'm worried that even the beaches will be a letdown. But there must be some islands that are still relatively unspoiled? I'm thinking of sticking to the Andaman coast (unless this is not advisable in late March/early April?) and haven't looked too much into it, but was considering Koh Lipe, Khao Sok National Park, maybe Koh Lanta... Not really so much into the party scene (though a few beers on the beach is always nice). I just wanted to relax for a bit, do some reading, snorkeling, exploring, and eat some good Thai food.

The other option was to instead fly to Kuala Lumpur and see some of Malaysia for 3-4 weeks. But I've done absolutely no planning or research into Malaysia (and I don't have any sort of computer or smartphone for internet research), and at this stage it seems as if this option might be less relaxing (and less enjoyable) than going back to a country that I'm already somewhat familiar with for the final leg of my trip. But if Malaysia would be more rewarding and less touristy then I'm definitely willing to consider it. If I put my flight back by 5-8 weeks I could conceivably see some of both south Thailand and Malaysia, although that doesn't seem entirely "necessary" at this point.

Any advice is very much appreciated, thanks.

#1 BennyV has been a member since 6/9/2012. Posts: 2

Posted by somtam2000 on 21/2/2013 at 04:30 admin

I'd be leaning towards the Andaman Coast and I'm going to be really lazy and point you to two stories - take a look & come back with more questions ;-)

Thai islands for nature lovers
Thai islands to lose yourself on

Cheers :-)

#2 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,933
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Posted by Captain_Bob on 22/2/2013 at 09:50

"From talking to other travelers it sounds like it's all parties, drugs, tourists, hassle, expense, and more tourists"

Go see for yourself. Sure you can find the above without much difficulty but there are plenty of alternatives to behaving like a common tourist or letting their all-knowing tales determine your next move (Repeat after me: "We are all individuals" hehe) Skip the A-list islands and beaches if it's not your scene and go to less popular but still beautiful places like Ko Phayam or little Ko Chang near Ranong, Ko Jum (Ko Pu) north of Ko Lanta, or Lanta itself just head to the southern half which is mostly chilled out. Ko Lipe is the recent wunderkid island that's gone very popular but still nice sand/sea and contained nitelife scene, and it's a jumping off point for the Tarutao National Park islands as well as ferry access to/from the lesser-known Trang coast islands. Via Tigerline ferries you can more or less island-hop from Lanta to Lipe, and to Langkawi in Malaysia, then maybe Penang. Yeah sure southern Thailand tourism can be tacky and expensive, but that's mainly because 90% of tourists want to do more or less the same thing and crowd together like sheep. Oh yeah, and Khao Sok is excellent. Try to visit the national park staying in a treehouse near the entrance, do some jungle trekking and a couple days on the lake kayaking, caving, swimming. Gorgeous place.

#3 Captain_Bob has been a member since 27/5/2006. Location: Thailand. Posts: 1,947

Posted by BennyV on 6/3/2013 at 20:24

Posted from within Vietnam.

Thanks very much for the advice, and for confirming what I already suspected. The Andaman coast it is; I'll have to look further into those suggestions over the next week or two.

One more question: my flight home from Bangkok is now scheduled for 17th April (around 8 AM). Will Songkran celebrations still be in full-swing at this point, and if so will this be a problem?

#4 BennyV has been a member since 6/9/2012. Posts: 2

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