I am planning to travel in SEA in July/August for 7 weeks but I am still not sure about the exact countries I wanna go to.
I have some experience backpacking (mostly Latin America but also the Philippines) and I prefer to get off the track and visit less-touristy sites without missing the main attractions. I'll probably travel alone although a friend might join me for part of the trip. For the whole trip I have about â‚¬ 2,000 I can spend. I don't have a return flight yet so it doesn't really matter where my trip ends.
My idea was to fly into Bangkok (~ 3 days) and then take the overnight train to Chiang Mai. From there I'll go to Chiang Rai and visit some nearby places. ie. Angkhang, Mae Sai, Golden Triangle, White Temple, etc. I thought that will probably take me about a week. Afterwards I want to go back to Bangkok and take about 5 days to discover the South. Surat Thani and beautiful beaches nearby.
That's where my plan stops. I have no idea if I should head west or east from here.
What would you recommend:
Yangon, Burma and do a round trip there. Maybe even go to Dhaka, Bangladesh (I know it's not part of SEA anymore but I thought I should mention it ;) ) if there is time.
Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam.
If I go to Burma: How is it to travel alone as a woman? I heard accomodation can be a bit expensive. Is it really difficult to get around?
If I head to Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam: How many countries would you say I can visit if I have about 4,5 weeks left? Should I just select one or two of them?
I hope my plans are not too ambitious again. Just give me some advice on what you think would be reasonable. I don't want to plan strictly every day as I might stay a day longer if I like a place really a lot. Still I want to experience a lot of different places if possible.
Thanks a lot for your help! :)
#1 xxIris has been a member since 3/4/2014. Posts: 3
Chiang mai and rai r touristy. Golden triangle is a myth. White temple is pretty nice but i wouldnt make a big effort for it.
5 days isnt enough to do bangkok let alone the south.
Every 2nd person says they want to get off the beaten path then list a bunch of touristy places.
I've never been to these places, so I don't really know how it is. That's why I'm here. I'm asking for advice :)
If you think Chiang mai and chiang rai are touristy, what are other places you'd recommend?
I have more time. I can spend more time in Thailand too.
#3 xxIris has been a member since 3/4/2014. Posts: 3
i really like small beach towns with some local bars. koh chang looks beautiful.
i also would like to do some trekking. and of course I want to see some temples but are there some where there are not millions of people?
#5 xxIris has been a member since 3/4/2014. Posts: 3
Small beach towns - I'd agree with Leonard - Prachuap Khiri Khan would fit to a T, and it sees very few Western tourists
For temples, check out Ayuthaya or Sukhothai / Si Satchanalai - they're firmly on the tourist trail BUT they're also large complexes with lots of temples. The best known temples get lots of visitors, but there are plenty of other temples in the complex that see very few tourists. Rent a bicycle and go exploring - it's brilliant.
For where next after Thailand - I'd recommend you pick only 1 other country, as you've only got 7 weeks in total. You could easily spend all 7 weeks in only one country, so I wouldn't recommend you try and pack in more than 2 in total.
With regards to your Burma questions, everything I've read says it's perfectly safe for a woman on her own, but about 50% more expensive than Thailand (I haven't been yet, but I'm going in June).
Umphang has good trekking. Havent been yet myself. Nan is another.
Phayao has some nice temples.on the hills near there.
Bare in mind little english in some off the.path.places. hotel staff speak some but outside not so.much.
Koh chang is good. Half the tourists there are thai so the island has a good feel to.it. no probs with language there.
In 7 weeks you could quite reasonably see a good amount of Thailand, Laos and Cambodia.
Arriving in Bangkok, you could head north to Chiang Mai area after a couple of days. That brings you near to the border with Laos, and there are various routes you could take to spend a couple of weeks in the northern half of the country - Luang Prabang , Nong Khiaw, Vang Vieng, Vientiane - all worth seeing. Then you either take a flight from Luang Prabang or Vientiane direct to Siem Reap , or you could make your way through southern Laos over land, although this will obviously take a lot longer.
Cambodia could then use up another couple of weeks, taking in three or four destinations. You could then cross back into Thailand for your last 2 weeks or so. One option there could be flying south to Krabi or Surat Thani from Bangkok (very cheap flights with Air Asia). Alternatively you could just go straight to Koh Chang which is possible direct from Siem Reap and Sihanoukville.
Myanmar and Vietnam are more complicated than the other three countries in terms of visas and travel times, so in the time that you have, you could stick with the three countries and see quite a lot without too much rushing around.