Photo: Street food Phetchaburi Soi 10, Bangkok.

Southeast Asia forum

2 months SEA advice on itinerary please

Posted by patrickolga on 22/3/2015 at 11:28

Hello travellers,

My girlfriend and I are planning to visit SEA. We are both 26 years old, we like to hike and enjoy being outdoors. We are flying to Bangkok in 3 days (now in BaliJ). We would like to visit Thailand,Vietnam, Cambodia and maybe Laos. We plan to do this in 2 months (We don’t really have an exact time limit but we would like to spend 2 months in the area).
What do you think about our (rough) itinerary?

We are considering two options. The first one:
Bangkok 4 days
Ayutthaya 2 days
Sukhothai 2days
Chaing mai 4 days
Pai 2 days-backto Chiang Mai
Crossing toLaos with slow boat to Luang prabang 2days
LuangPrabang 2 days
Bus to Hanoi 1 day
Hanoi 5 days including side trip to Ha Long bay and sapa
Hue 3 days
Hoi An 2 days
Da Lat 2 days
Nha Trang 3days
Ho Chi Minh 5days including side trip to Mekong delta.


Crossing to Cambodia by bus to Phnom penh
Pnom Penh 3 days
Sihanoukville 3 days
Siem riep 3 days.
Crossing back to Thailand and spend the last week on the islands in the south of Thailand.

The second option is to skip Laos, go from Chiang Mai back to Bangkok and fly from there to Hanoi. This will give us some more time to explore smaller places (and lesslong in buses etc.)

This itinerary is a rough schedule and off course we are open to changes and to do things as they come. Would we really miss out on a lot if we skip Laos? the plan was actually to take the slow boat, spend a few days in Luang Prabang and then take the (very long) bus to Hanoi. Are there any stops between LP and Hanoi that are worth a visit?

Thank you very much in advance for you advice!

#1 patrickolga has been a member since 22/3/2015. Posts: 5





Posted by MADMAC on 22/3/2015 at 12:02

"Bus to Hanoi 1 day" This is a most unpleasant bus trip. All reports on this one are bad. As you mentioned, it's VERY long - you'll be shot by the time you get to Hanoi. You might consider flying if you can spring for it, or stopping in Dien Bin Phu and then Sapa and then head to Hanoi.

As for the rest, I didn't see travel days factored in. Assume one day used up between destinations. Moving around takes longer than expected.

It's a pretty rushed schedule and you are heading towards mostly heavily touristed areas. Which may be your desire, I can't say. Some people like whirl wind tours to hit highlights. Others prefer slow pace and are more interested in the pace of life here than in sight seeing. Everyone is different in that regard, and you know yourself better than anyone else knows you.

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Posted by amnicoll on 23/3/2015 at 07:45

Agree and...

From HCM I would go through the mekong and make your way to Sianhoukville first (via Kampot) and then Phnom Phen

#3 amnicoll has been a member since 10/1/2005. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 923
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Posted by patrickolga on 23/3/2015 at 08:57

Thank you very much for your advice! we understand that it is a busy schedule, we are now considering to skip a few stops and see how it goes along the way, we will also take on the advice to travel from the mekong delta directly to cambodia.

The way we plan it now is to travel back from Chiang mai to Bangkok and take a flight from there to Hanoi (simply because it is so much cheaper to fly from Bangkok). Would it be worth considering to take a flight from Da nang to Ho Chi Minh to save traveltime? or would we be really missing out if we skip Da lat and Nha Trang?

Thanks again for your advice!

#4 patrickolga has been a member since 22/3/2015. Posts: 5

Posted by MADMAC on 23/3/2015 at 13:47

Well, it's hard to advise without people further understanding you desires.

You seem inclined to skip Laos... you mentioned it before and now it recurs. But you also seem intent on going to Vietnam.

For people to give you intelligent advice it would help if they understood your intent. Of the four countries you are looking at visiting, Vietnam would be last on my list, but it seems to rate higher on yours. Must be a reason. If it were me I would go from Luang Prabang south, to Vientiane, then hope a flight to Paxse, do 4,000 Islands and head to Cambodia. But you are not me. So it would help to understand what your preferences are.

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Posted by patrickolga on 24/3/2015 at 07:09

We are thinking to skip Laos because we are under the impression that the public transport etc. is less well aranged than in other countries, We keep reading that the roads are terrible and that it takes longer to travel from place to place in Laos than in for example Vietnam,. Is this not true?

It is pretty hard to discribe our desires because we actually don't know what to expect. For example, we really look forward to Ha long Bay and the Mekong Delta. We are most interested in things like that, we also like to see nature and wildlife, do trekking and activities, we will also visit city's, temples and would like to experience the difference in culture but we keep noticing that we are more interested in nature. Considering the fact that it is our first trip to SEA we don't think we want to go too far off the beaten track. I hope this gives you a little bit better insight in our interests...

Why would you choose Vietnam as last from the four countries?

once again thanks for your advice!

#6 patrickolga has been a member since 22/3/2015. Posts: 5


Posted by MADMAC on 24/3/2015 at 09:08

Laos is probably slower and has no rail. Most people I know who have been to Vietnam (including my Vietnamese neighbors) have a negative view of the Vietnamese compared to the Lao and Thais. More aggressive, less polite. Personally I do not like the food. There are guys here on this site, though, who will swear the Vietnamese are great and the food is excellent.

Given what you've said, I would think 4,000 Islands and a motorbike tour of the Bolovens would be a must. But it isn't exactly the beaten path.

Personally I pretty much only do off the beaten path unless I am going to Bangkok for business.

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Posted by amnicoll on 25/3/2015 at 05:44

Like Madmac I too mainly do off the beaten track BUT much of what might interest is a bit off the beaten track but should not put you off

you will find that once you get the hang of things that usually you can sort out the transport issues apart from the roads and speed issues

You may find Chi Phat in Cambodia is up your street it is a village on the edge of the jungle in the Cardamon Mts easy to get to and well organised for visitors with trecks and activities

http://www.chi-phat.org/Default.htm

I like all the countries you mention but the thing you must do is make some decisions yourself because then people like Madmac and I can better tailor the info we provide

#8 amnicoll has been a member since 10/1/2005. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 923
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