Photo: Street food Phetchaburi Soi 10, Bangkok.

Southeast Asia forum

4 Weeks in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia - Critique my Itinerary!

Posted by guyincognito on 25/2/2013 at 22:22

I'm planning a four week trip to SE Asia for our Honeymoon in Oct-Nov. This is the first time we've gotten anything close to four weeks straight for travel, and I don't think it will happen again for a long time. Since this may be our only opportunity for a while, I've been wrestling between seeing a few places but getting to spend a lot of time at each, or seeing a medium number of places but only being able to spend a medium amount of time at each. Right now I think the plan I have leans towards the latter.

Any suggestions on this itinerary would be greatly appreciated - is this a reasonable amount of time to enjoy each destination, or would I be better off cutting out a few places? If the latter, any suggestions on which places to cut out and how to rejig the itinerary?

I'm hoping for a plan with good variety in what we see and do (big cities, small towns, nature stuff, and a bit of beach time -- and my Fiancee absolutely wants to make it to Angor Wat :)). We're willing to fly to save time, since we only have four weeks, but I've tried to stick to flight connections that are direct and not too costly. And I'm also trying to avoid spending too much time backtracking. This schedule has us passing through Bangkok for Loi Krathong - I think the experience would be really cool, but I'd be willing to cut it out if it made for a significantly improved itinerary overall.

Thanks for any advice you have!!

Friday, Oct 25 Fly to Bangkok
Saturday, Oct 26 Fly to Bangkok
Sunday, Oct 27 Bangkok
Monday, Oct 28 Bangkok
Tuesday, Oct 29 Train to Chiang Mai (Night)
Wednesday, Oct 30 Chiang Mai
Thursday, Oct 31 Chiang Mai
Friday, Nov 1 Chiang Mai
Saturday, Nov 2 Chiang Mai
Sunday, Nov 3 Plane to Luang Prabang
Monday, Nov 4 Luang Prabang
Tuesday, Nov 5 Luang Prabang
Wednesday, Nov 6 Luang Prabang
Thursday, Nov 7 Bus to Vang Vieng
Friday, Nov 8 Vang Vieng
Saturday, Nov 9 Bus to Vientiane
Sunday, Nov 10 Vientiane
Monday, Nov 11 Plane to Siem Reap
Tuesday, Nov 12 Siem Reap
Wednesday, Nov 13 Siem Reap
Thursday, Nov 14 Siem Reap
Friday, Nov 15 Bus to Phnom Phen
Saturday, Nov 16 Phnom Phen
Sunday, Nov 17 Plane to Bangkok
Monday, Nov 18 Train/Plane to Islands
Tuesday, Nov 19 Ko Lanta or Ko Phi Phi
Wednesday, Nov 20 Ko Lanta or Ko Phi Phi
Thursday, Nov 21 Ko Lanta or Ko Phi Phi
Friday, Nov 22 Train/Plane to Bangkok
Saturday, Nov 23 Fly to Toronto

#1 guyincognito has been a member since 25/2/2013. Posts: 2
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Posted by Drew84 on 25/2/2013 at 23:38

too much travel! i had similar ambitions back when i did 4 weeks in 2011. my advice is do thailand and maybe a couple days in siem reap. dont waste any time before leaving bangkok once you arrive in thailand. you'll see enough of bangkok between destinations. many people make the same mistakes of doing so much and trying to cram many places in. from a fellow canuck, sometimes less is more.

#2 Drew84 has been a member since 6/7/2011. Posts: 36

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Posted by busylizzy on 26/2/2013 at 01:11

Firstly, congrats on the upcoming marriage!

Whilst I would normally say slow it down, I do understand what you are trying to achieve, and as long as you are prepared for the rapid pace of travel, and acknowledge that you will be experiencing the highlights rather than more of a cultural immersion, then go for it! But just remember that each time you travel from one place to the next, you will typically lose a day (getting to/from airport, waiting time, travel time, check-in/out hotel, more waiting time, etc)

Having said that, if it were me, I'd do one or more of the following:

1. You land in BKK 3 nights, and will spend at least one night there each time. Get rid of one of those stays. Cut back on your time in Bkk to may only 2-3 nights in total, and if you plan to do lots of shopping, consider spending that time at the end so you're not lugging your stuff around. Alternatively, if you're staying at the same hotel at the end, you can leave stuff at the hotel to retrieve when you return a few weeks later.

2.I think Vientiane and Phnom Pehn warrant an extra night each if you take away a night or two elsewhere.

3. Use one of the 1-2 of the days that you take off from Bkk and add it to LP. But use this time to take a mini-van up to Nong Khiaw (4 hrs) for 2 nights then take a boat back to LP (5-6 hrs of river scenery) before flying out. It's well worth it for a more rural-ish experience to get out of the bigger cities/towns which is mostly what you will see otherwise. You can decide this once you are in LP as it's very easy to organise a boat the day before, and to then walk around once you are there to find accom.

4. Alternatively, take 1-2 of the days from Bkk and spend it on the island. You'll need it by the time you get there - and it IS your honeymoon after all!

Good on you for choosing to fly the longer routes in spite of the extra costs - you'd be nuts to try it otherwise. :-)

Hope that helps....

#3 busylizzy has been a member since 31/12/2007. Location: New Zealand. Posts: 2,152
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Posted by guyincognito on 26/2/2013 at 17:24

Thanks for the advice!

If we were to completely cut out a few stops, any suggestions on the obvious places to cut? How long is a good amount of time to spend in each place? I hear lots of people saying less is more, but how much less? I don't mind having a schedule that is a bit rushed (I'm used to that, and I know I only have four weeks), but I definitely don't want us to be so rushed that we don't enjoy it.

Busylizzy - I see your point about Bangkok. I will try to cut a day or two here. Visting Nong Khiaw sounds really cool - but I'm afraid of what it would mean to add two more day of travel to this itinerary... if only we had more time! I was thinking the Bus to Vang Vieng and some time there might give a more rural-ish feel.. or is this too much on the 'tourist trail'?

Drew84 - What itinerary did you end up doing?

Thanks again for all the tips - advice from people who have been there and done it is really helpful (whether they are telling me what I hope to hear or not ;))

#4 guyincognito has been a member since 25/2/2013. Posts: 2
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Posted by caseyprich on 28/2/2013 at 07:55

Since you are only going to Phnom Penh for 2 nights on this schedule, perhaps just skip it to save on traveling around so much. I enjoyed PP, but with your schedule you only get one full day there - and if you go to see the 'highlights' of S21 and the Killing Fields . . . well, a honeymoon does not it make. Cutting it would allow you to add an extra day to either Vientiane or Vang Vieng so that you could relax a little bit more on that leg of the journey - and you could try to arrange a flight directly from Siem Reap to one of the islands to streamline your passage.

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