hi,myself and my boyfriend have decided to go see south east Asia for 6 weeks in May/June 2013, we are from ireland and we have never done this type of thing before so it is all new to us! places of interest we are thinking would be Ban,Thailand, Cambodia,Laos, Vietnam. We are greatly interested in seeing -jungles,tribes,fishing,hiking trips,amazing beaches,markets and the like.
We would greatly appreciate any advice on how long to stay in each area,what places are a must see,and roughly spending money needed for the six week trip,also were thinking of booking accommodation before we leave or would it be a better option to stay in places as we travel?? Thank you so much to anyone who takes the time to read all this jibber jabber and any response is greatly appreciated!!! thanks, :)
#1 Tinasomers123 has been a member since 14/9/2013. Posts: 1
Well, the first bit of advice anyone is going to give you is that your best option for specific must see (and a very satisfying experience) is going to be rummaging around this site and seeing what sparks your fancy. There are such a variety/quantity of places that it usually takes your own voyage of discovery to decide what is right for you. It also makes for a really humming Sunday afternoon that gets you nicely excited for the trip.
Is Ban short for Bangkok (we usually use BKK)? Anyway, your cheapest route flying is probably going to be in/out of BKK. The next bit of advice anyone is going to give is that 6 weeks is a little short to try and see those four countries - ideally you'd have 3 months minimum IMO. If you were going to drop one, it should be either Vietnam (Because of size it is a great place to make a visit all its own for 3-4 weeks) or Laos (travel times around are pretty intense and so it gets passed by a lot of people). The monsoon starts in swing in July around the eastern coast of the Gulf of Thailand, so you may want to keep that in mind.
No need to make a really precise schedule (see my comment on accommodation below) but you might as well plan a general route. Plenty of nice hiking up around Chiang Mai and Northern Laos, so I'd consider that a top destination for you, also some time spent along the upper Mekong is always time well spent. You could then travel down the length of Laos to get into Cambodia and tool around there. With your schedule you'd only have about 2 weeks per country though - and I'd maybe consider a flight from Vientiane to Phnom Penh so you can keep to just northern Laos. Something like a week in northern Thailand, two weeks to get from Huay Xia to Vientiane (via Luang Nam Tha, maybe Muong Ngoi, Luangprabang and Vang Vieng). Maybe shorten your stay in Cambodia by a few days . . . not sure how the rains will be on the coast, and just focus on Phnom Penh & Siem Reap . Considering the weather . . . you may want to get away from that side of the gulf and either take a couple days getting overland from Siem Reap to the islands on the other side, or catch a flight (that I don't imagine would be cheap) over to Phuket. I'm always confused by weather in the area (especially Vietnam) but this site has excellent information you should look at.
As for your accommodations question, I don't think you want to book accommodations ahead of schedule as you've got six week and if you stick to a smaller area you'll want more leeway to stay a few extra nights in a place you love. The only down side of this is that it'll be difficult to secure a place in a 'must stay' accommodation that you may have researched. One way I get over that problem is that if I'm in say Battambang for 3 nights and know by the 2nd that I will beg going to Kampot after just a single night stop in PP - then I'll try to book just a couple of days ahead. Also, as beach spots go I can see where you'd have an ideal location - so if you really do plan on blocking a time in there, book that and stick to the schedule, but leave everything else open on either side.
Not sure what you mean by Ban... Also just listing the names of the countries you want to visit is a bit vague - have you thought about which cities / regions you would like to see? If so, what is it that attracts you to these places? Play to your interests and make sure you think about the practicalities of travelling between these places. You will inevitably end up on some long (12 hours or more) bus / train journeys and every time you do one of these you lose a day or more, so try to minimise them by choosing your destinations wisely.
I agree with Casey that you should drop at least one country from your list, and Vietnam is probably the one for reasons stated above, and also their visa is more complicated and expensive to arrange so it makes sense to dedicate a bit more time to it than your limited schedule will allow for. In 6 weeks you only have 2 weeks per country if you decide to go for Thailand, Laos and Cambodia, which, as you will see when you arrive, is hardly any time at all.