I arrive in Bangkok on june 27th to start my 40 days (6 weeks) adventure around Thailand, Cambodia and/or Laos.
My initial itinerary was something like this:
Bangkok (4 days) --> fly to Surat Thani with AirAsia + take bus to Khao Sok Park
Khao Sok (2 days) --> bus to Surat Thani + ferry to Ko Samui
Ko Samui (3 days) --> including a daytrip to Ang Thong Marine Park
Ko Phangan (2 days) --> experience a full moon party
Ko Tao (3 days) --> including a daytrip to Nang Yuan + take ferry/bus back to Bangkok
Bangkok (1 night) --> fly to Chiang Mai with AirAsia
Chiang Mai (4/5 days) --> not really sure on how to spend my time in CM, maybe go to Pai?
Luang Prabang (3 days) --> HOW TO GET THERE? slowboat/speedboat? Things to do there?
Vang Vieng (3 days) --> HIGHLIGHTS?
Vientiane (2 days) --> is it possible to catch a bus to 4000 Islands and skip Pakse?
4000 Islands (2 days) --> how long does it take to get to Phnom Penh (via Kratie, i'm guessing?)
Phnom Penh (2 days)
Sihanoukville (4 days) --> maybe a daytrip to Kep/Kampot or a night on Koh Rong
Siem Reap (2 days) --> visit Angkor Wat + Tonle Sap
Bangkok (fly back home on the 4th of august)
But I think this will feel a bit 'too rushed'. Maybe I should just skip Vientiane and the 4000 islands and just include Thailand (Gulf of Thailand + Bangkok + Chiang Mai), Cambodia (Phnom Penh + Sihanoukville + Siem Reap) and a little bit of Laos (Luang Prabang and Vang Vieng) in my trip. But then I have no clue on how to get from (for example) Luang Prabang to Phnom Penh without backtracking or spending too much money. Another possibility is to skip Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville, and just visit Siem Reap so I can spend a bit more time in Thailand (maybe the Amandan Coast in JULY?) and go to Luang Prabang and Vang Vieng? Or should I skip Laos and travel around Cambodia and Thailand a little more 'relaxed'?
SOMEONE HELP ME OUT --other itinerary suggestions are very, very welcome. THANK YOU.
Worth keeping an eye on the situation in Thailand - you might prefer to spend more time in Laos and Cambodia!
Kep/Kampot really deserve more than a day trip - you'll spend 3 hours of the day travelling back and forth to Sihanoukville otherwise. There's now a fast boat to the islands (takes 45 minutes), so you can visit Koh Rong Samloem or Koh Rong for the day if you don't want to stay overnight.
Sihanoukville to Siem Reap is a long journey if you do it straight, so you might want to break your travel somewhere along the way. Or you could fly ...
One beach is very much like another beach so why keep moving. I would stay a little less time here and either use it to allow you more time to see some of the other places or perhaps stop off at an island/beach on the way back to Bangkok from cambodia. It is hard to offer you advise as for instance you are going to Chiang Mai but why if you do not know what you are going to do and you do not indicate what interests you.
If you get the bus from 4000 islands why not get off in Kratie or Kampong Cham and then head to siem reap (spend more time here)before PP and sianoukville from where you could head back to bangkok.
Suggest you prioritise what YOU really want to see and do
You're right, I should have been more clear. I visited Thailand last summer (spend 60 days travelling around Myanmar and Thailand). However, my travelbuddy is visiting SEA for the first time and really wants to spend a good part of our trip exploring Thailand (which I don't really mind, seeing as I love it there). I stayed in Chiang Mai for 8 days in june and I didn't particulary like the area (unlike most bloggers who seem to adore it). I can't persuade my travelbuddy to skip Chiang Mai, so we're planning on going for at least 4 days (it's only 800 baht with AirAsia and a 1.5 hour flight). So, I'm wondering: is there anything you can recommend on doing in the Chiang Mai area? I don't like touristy things (so no tiger kingdom or doi suthep please, and absolutely no elephant trek or hill tribes). That's why I considered going to Pai or crossing the border to Laos --maybe Laos doesn't feel as 'touristy' as Chiang Mai.
I visited Ko Phangan and Ko Tao , and I don't agree with the statement that 'one beach is very much like the other'. I got my PADI Open Water at Ko Tao and really want to return to get my Advanced and do some fundives. Ko Phangan is a must because of the half/full/black moon party. Because the weather was extremely bad last summer, I didn't get the chance to visit the Amandan Coast (it would be nice to squeeze that in, but it isn't a priority).
I'm especially looking forward to exploring Cambodia. We plan on doing the usual trail: Siem Reap , Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville (with a stop at Koh Rong). But I'm looking for fun daytrips or different routes we can take from these destinations. For example, travelling from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap by boat across Tonle Sap. Or visiting Phnom Kulen, perhaps? Phnom Penh is a mystery to me, because I've read a lot of negative things about Cambodia's capital and it seems like there isn't much to do except visiting the Russian Market and the Killing Fields.
So, hopefully that explains the situation a bit more? Thank you!
It sounds like the first time you went to Thailand and Myanmar you gave it a lot more time. 2 months for 2 countries is great. This time is a bit more rushed but still not too fast. The first thing I would say is to not plan your itinerary to the day like that. Just write down the places you'd like to see and see how it goes. I'm sure you know from your first trip that the best experiences happen on the fly.
Having said that, I would say that Chiang Mai is a bit touristy if you're not going to do the "touristy things", then you may be better off heading into southern Laos. It's been a few years since I was there, but 4000 islands area has plenty of places where you can get off the beaten path and see some realy Laos culture.
I agree that Koh Phangan is a must, but not for the full/half moon party. The island is MUCH better outside of those times. We've spent over a month on the island and I can honestly say that for the 4 days surrounding full moon, the island looses much of its appeal. Not to say it's not worth going for the party, but try to stay for a week after / before to see what the island is really like... a chilled out paradise.
As for Sihanoukville , it's not the nicest place on your itinerary. There's a lot of issues there with child prostitution and beach beggars that ruin there lives by heading to the beaches and asking tourists for money. Just a warning. BUT... you should head from Sihanoukville to Koh Rong . Koh Rong has the single nicest beach in all of southeast asia. NO JOKE. Definitely check it out.
For more off the beaten path places in SEA check out 10 Places Off The Beaten Path In Southeast Asia
Really hope this helps.
#5 goatsontheroad has been a member since 13/5/2014. Posts: 4
Thanks for the quick response! I will definitely read the article! As for Koh Phangan, can you recommend some places to visit or things to do there? I spend 6 days on the island last summer and although it was extremely beautiful and quiet, I was a bit at loss on how to spend my time there (maybe because we didn't rent a motorcycle and had to rely on expensive tuktuks to get from one place to another). We've decided to skip the Full Moon Party and just attend a Black Moon Party or Half Moon Party, so we don't have to deal with the constant party crowd and overpriced rooms. And spend another two days exploring the island! I've heard great things about the market at Thong Sala pier, do you know if it's open every night?
Thong Sala market is ok. I have found every island to be different and worth visiting. Beaches can vary a lot just like mountains and caves can. Are caves all the same? Think not.
Southern Thailand is great and there is enough for 1 month easy. I think it offers a lot more than northern Thailand.
In the north why dont you try Lampang or Mae Hong Son. Dont hang around CM if you dont like it.