I am in the final stages of planning my first trip to SE Asia this December/January (with husband). We have travelled before but are very excited to be seeing Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia on this 4 week trip.
Given the limited time, we have concentrated on the things we would most like to see (personally more into temples, countryside, and quiet beaches than cities and nightlife). Definitely not enough time, esp. in Bangkok but that's such a useful hub we'll be sure to be there again.
Your topics have been very useful, and I'd love to hear some seasoned thoughts about the itinerary, if you'd oblige. Normally I wouldn't bother too much but I have to adapt to time-constricted holidays from work! Boo. Plus would like to book some internal flights for a good price early.
In summary, we have 31 days, 13 of which are spent on the move. Hitting Bangkok, Sukhothai , Ko Phra Thong , Khao Sok NP, Siem Reap , Phnom Penh , Luang Prabang , and Nong Khiaw.
1) Arrive Bangkok
3) Bus to Sukhothai
5) Bus back to Bangkok, night bus to Khuraburi
6) Boat to Ko Phra Thong
7) Ko Phra Thong
Ko Phra Thong
9) Ko Phra Thong
10) Ko Phra Thong
11) Boat/bus to Khao Sok NP
12) Khao Sok NP
13) Khao Sok NP
14) Bus to Surat Thani, night train to Bangkok
15) Bus to Siem Reap
16) Angkor Wat
17) Angkor Wat
18) Bus to Phnom Penh
19) Phnom Penh
20) Phnom Penh
21) Fly to Luang Prabang
22) Luang Prabang
23) Luang Prabang
24) Luang Prabang
25) Bus to Nong Khiaw
26) Nong Khiaw
27) Nong Khiaw
28) Bus back to Luang Prabang
29) Fly to Bangkok
31) Fly home
Planning to get a 60 day single-entry Thai tourist visa in advance (we're Brits but can't get visa exemption on entry as we have no flight proof out of Thailand until after 30 days) - when we re-enter after Luang Prabang, we'll get the tourist exemption then with our homeward ticket as proof - sound good, or would anyone suggest getting the double entry to be sure?
#1 Waihekedreams has been a member since 27/9/2013. Posts: 3
leave beach time till end and allow some flexibility in your itinerary
be careful day 14/15 you will need to catch a train due in Bangkok very early if you are to make SR on day 15 remember the train will be between 1 and 2 hours late.
perhaps lose a day in LP
Thank you amnicoll. Good point about the train probably being delayed.
I am hoping to get a train that gets in for 5am, and the govt bus to SR leaves at 9am, though this would be tight if there were any delays. Instead I think we'll get an afternoon flight from Bangkok on Day 15 to get us into either SR or PP.
#3 Waihekedreams has been a member since 27/9/2013. Posts: 3
"Planning to get a 60 day single-entry Thai tourist visa in advance (we're Brits but can't get visa exemption on entry as we have no flight proof out of Thailand until after 30 days)"
Buy a ticket to Cambodia. Saves the need for a visa and is much more sensible.
#5 LeonardCohen1 has been a member since 24/7/2012. Posts: 2,148
You won't need to prove that you're flying out of Thailand within the 30 days to get the 30 days visa exemption. Thai officials don't check at arrival, as they're so used to travelers moving on overland. The only issue that ever comes up is with flights from your home country - very occasionally the airline asks to see your proof. It doesn't happen very often (thousands of travelers do it every year without any problems) but a tiny percentage do have problems so it's up to you to decide what your personal comfort-level is with respect to that small risk.
1) Get a visa in advance
2) Take Leonard's advice and book an internal flight to Siem Reap
3) Rock up to the airport, and in the unlikely event that the check in clerk gives you a hard time, whip out your phone and buy a cheap internal flight while standing at the check-in desk.
Frankly I hate long bus journeys so I'd go for option 2 (kills 2 birds with one stone).
Have a wonderful time, whatever you decide.
Thank you so much for all your advice. I have now booked a flight from BK to Cambodia on Day 15 avoiding the long bus ride and need for a visa. I honestly have no idea why this stuff doesn't occur to me!
#8 Waihekedreams has been a member since 27/9/2013. Posts: 3