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Southeast Asia forum

when to plane and when to trai

Posted by kjleff01 on 13/12/2013 at 00:44

i'm spending just over two months in SEA ( whizzing through Laos and Cambodia, and trying to get a good feel for Vietnam and Thailand), and want to know what routes I should go by train/bus/plane/boat. Money isn't tight, but I also want to train when it adds to the experience(scenery and such). My time is a little more precious, but not strict. I'm also a solo female traveler, so any suggestions based on safety are appreciated. And if you have advice on this routes based on visa requirements i'm really curious abotu that.

routes i'm unsure of would be. Sorry about the spelling.

- Phon phem to HCM?
- HCM to hoi'an/ or dadang?
- hue to han oi?
- hanoi to luaung prabang?
- luaung prabang to chiang mai??

thanks for you help

#1 kjleff01 has been a member since 7/11/2013. Posts: 3

Posted by caseyprich on 14/12/2013 at 04:27

PP to HCM you may as well take the bus. Unless you have the time for the more scenic route and you could go down to the border crossing on the Mekong and take a boat down to Can Tho and then over to HCMC. Visa for Vietnam needs to be arranged in advance.

If you don't have any plan to stop along the way, I'd suggest you save some time by flying to Danang. Make sure to take the train in the morning from Danang to Hue , a great view.

Between Hue and Hanoi you have that amazing cave that I haven't been to but I've heard great things. So I'd normally just suggest taking a sleeper train straight through unless you want to stop there.

Hanoi to Luang Prabang most people are going to take a direct bus, much cheaper than flying though it is a long haul. The Luang Prabang to Chiang Mai route can be a great adventure up to the north and over the border to Chiang Rai if you have the time. If you are running short on time, you may want to pony up for the flight. Probably wait to see funds/time balance when you get there.

#2 caseyprich has been a member since 3/3/2010. Location: China. Posts: 1,281
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Posted by kjleff01 on 14/12/2013 at 06:57

thank you so much!

#3 kjleff01 has been a member since 7/11/2013. Posts: 3

Posted by Captain_Bob on 15/12/2013 at 01:30

Out of what you mentioned of your route only Vietnam has a train option. See railway map of SE Asia here:

Getting from Luang Prabang to Chiang Mai there are several options. Buses take the only sealed road (route 13) to Huay Xai at the border, taking 12-16 hours depending on road conditions. Most backpacker types do the "slow boat" which takes two days with an overnight halfway in Pakbeng with many guesthouses available. And there are speedboats which do the river run in a day. The border at Huay Xai / Chiang Khong is open 8am-6pm so you may end up ovenighting on the Laos side, no big deal, have another BeerLao. The new Friendship Bridge #4 was opened last week so there are some new options, or just grab a canoe over like the locals. In Chiang Khong there are buses to Chiang Mai several times per day, taking about 6 hours, or Chiang Rai is about 2.5 hours away. Or fly LP-CM in an hour on Lao Airlines for about $160.

#4 Captain_Bob has been a member since 27/5/2006. Location: Thailand. Posts: 1,944

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