Photo: Street food Phetchaburi Soi 10, Bangkok.

Southeast Asia forum

5 weeks in Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia

Posted by jwheld2 on 1/12/2013 at 21:52

Hi everyone,

This is my first post, just trying to get some suggestions on the itinerary that my girlfriend and I have come up with in that last few weeks. We have both done a lot of researching and looking at other itineraries, so any suggestions that any of you may have would be much appreciated.

I have never been outside of the US and my girlfriend has been to rural Poland and Mexico. We are looking to explore as much as possible, since we will not have an opportunity like this for a very long time, if ever again.

Start in Bangkok
(3 days) Adjust to jetlag, see the reclining buddha, etc.

Bus to Kanchanaburi
(3 days) Hike the Erawan National Park, Ride Death Railway, Elephant Trekking

Bus back to Bangkok to make the overnight train to Sukothai
(1 day) -Temple tours by bycicle

Overnight train to Chiang Mai
(7 days) Hike, Pai, Tourist stuff, zip lining, soak in hot spring, elephant conservatory

Fly to Luang Prabang
(6 days) Markets, waterfalls, and biking

5-6 hour bus or van ride to Vang Vieng
(4 days) Tube (with the party people and without), hike

6 hour bus ride to Vientiane
(3 days) Kong Lor Cave Loop in Tham Kong Lo

Overnight bus to Pakse, from where we will fly to Siem Reap
(4 days) Angkor Wat - 3 day temple pass, Angkor market at night, Pub street, Cambodian Circus
*Angkor Wat and Bayon - two temples we definitely want to see

6 hour train to Bangkok (overnight if possible)
Fly to Phuket, then spend the rest of our time in Krabi
(4 days) Khao Sok National Park lake tour and hike, scuba training and basic diving

Fly back to Bangkok and then return home

We are thinking about adding another 3 or 4 days to spend more time in Krabi and also to spend a couple of days in Bangkok before we fly home.

Thank you in advance for your help!

#1 jwheld2 has been a member since 1/12/2013. Posts: 2

Posted by MADMAC on 1/12/2013 at 23:46

It's a hump from Vientiane to Tha Khek and you wrote it as a "loop" which makes me wonder exactly what you have in mind there. It wasn't clear to me how much time you plan on spending in Vientiane or Tha Khek.

I am not sure what the bus link is from Tha Khek to Pakse, but assuming this was your plan, you might want to check to see if there's an overnighter.

I'm pretty sure there's no train from Bangkok to Siem Reap. Anything that doesn't include flying is going to be exhausting and take more than six hours. You can catch the train once you get into Thailand in Aranyaprathet if you really favor train travel.

Don't underestimate how long and painful these bus rides can be. I have read where some people glorify bus travel as "part of the experience". Oh yeah, it's part of the experience alright. Just not a good part.

#2 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
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Posted by jwheld2 on 4/12/2013 at 21:40

Thank you for your response! For some reason, I thought Tha Kek could be a day trip from Vientiane . Upon further inspection though, I think we will just spend that time in Tha Kek and skip Vientiane altogether. We wanted to see the Konglor Cave, but the entire loop sounds like a bit too much for us.

I am not sure if the bus from Tha Kek to Pakse has sleeping arrangements, but the website shows a bus leaving at 23:00, so I am really hoping so.

As for traveling from Siem Reap to Bangkok, we were trying to find the cheapest way to get from Siem Reap to Krabi . The flights out of Siem Reap seem very expensive, and you are correct about there being no trains from Siem Reap to Bangkok. We will have to either bite the bullet and purchase the flights, or take the bus ride to Bangkok and then catch a cheap domestic flight or train to Krabi or Phuket.

Any other suggestions on any of this or other recommendations on any other part of our trip would be much appreciated, especially if you think we are missing any great places or not spending enough time anywhere.

#3 jwheld2 has been a member since 1/12/2013. Posts: 2

Posted by MADMAC on 4/12/2013 at 21:46

No, it's a very specific itinerary and obviously you are hitting highlights that interest you. It's not my style - but you aren't me. Have a good trip.

#4 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
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Posted by LeonardCohen1 on 5/12/2013 at 09:15

"As for traveling from Siem Reap to Bangkok"

Long way apart. Best to fly. Maybe they have flights direct to Phuket??? Have a look.

#5 LeonardCohen1 has been a member since 24/7/2012. Posts: 2,148
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