Great website first of all!
I am considering a 3 month trip through SE Asia (Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia), Mid August 06 - Mid November 06. It sounds like this is almost 100% rainy season, and I'd like to find out how much of an issue this would be.
Therefore, I'd love to hear comments from travellers who have experienced the countries in the rainy season as to -
1. How much rain is there and for how long daily (it sounds like it's the odd big downpour each day rather than rain all day)?
2. How much does it disrupt travel services like buses and trains
3. How much would it hamper the ability to see/do stuff (i.e. are any places closed in the rainy season etc etc)
Rough Itinerary -
1 week Bangkok/Chiang Mai area, getting to Laos
2 weeks in Northern Laos last wk August/1st wk September (around the Luang Prabang area)
3 weeks in Vietnam (rest of September) - would hope to travel the country from North to South (Hanoi - Ho Chi Minh)
2 weeks in Cambodia (1st 2 weeks in October) (Phnom Penh area, Angkor Watt, and whatever else we can fit in)
3 weeks (last 2 weeks in October/first week in November) Thailand on the southern beaches.
#1 pricelj1 has been a member since 24/4/2006. Posts: 2
Yes, that's the rainy season. You will definitely get wet! But if that is the only time you can go, I'd say go. The up side is that prices will be lower and places less crowded.
As far as your questions go:
1. You are right that it typically rains hard in the late afternoons for an hour or so. Having said that, I remember once in Lop Buri where it rained straight for an entire week.
2. You can occasionally get delayed because of the rain. I've seen the train tracks down south get washed out a few times, as do some roads from time to time.
3. Some of the more popular tourist places do close during the rainy season, but for the most part you'll still be able to see/do what you'd planned.
On your itinerary, you might want to stick mostly to the Gulf of Thailand side for your southern beach experience that time of year. You could visit the Andaman Sea side, but you'd get soaked (but also pay a lot less and have it more to yourself when it isn't raining.) Have fun!
Welcome to Travelfish - glad you like the site!
Exacto has pretty much knocked the nail on the head. Just a couple of minor additions:
1) pack a raincoat!
2) In Laos the roads will be rougher going (landslides etc) -- in fact last year one of our researchers was trapped in Laos with landslides on both sides of her bus! But overall things just slow down a little rather than grind to a complete stop.
3) Some places are actually better in wet season -- at Angkor Wat for exaple, it is far lusher, with abungand birdlife and nothing quite beats watching Angkor under an electric storm.
4) By mid November the Thai islands on both sides will be coming into their own -- ask other travellers closer to the date for info on what the weather is like on the west coast islands.
#3 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,788
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Thanks to you both this was very useful, look out for more questions from me as I plan the trip!
#4 pricelj1 has been a member since 24/4/2006. Posts: 2