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Itinerary Advice - 7 weeks in SEA! (Thailand – Myanmar - Laos – Vietnam – Cambodia – Malaysia)

Posted by Brightmaw on 30/4/2016 at 02:23

Hello everyone!

After spending 6 weeks in India last year, my girlfriend and I are looking to spend just over 7 weeks in SEA from 26th November - 15th January.

So far we have the following itinerary, and I would be hugely grateful for your advice.

We travel chiefly by air. Where this isn't possible, we will travel by night, unless the journey is short. In Vietnam, we will travel chiefly by train.

As the plans currently are, we will spend Christmas in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and NYE in Sihanoukville, Cambodia. We will attend a Full Moon Party, in Koh Phangan, Thailand, on 12th January.

THAILAND
Bangkok, Thailand: 1 day (27th Nov)

MAYMAR
Yangon, Myanmar: 3 days (28th Nov - 30st Nov)

THAILAND
Chiang Mai, Thailand: 3 days (1st Dec - 3rd Dec)
Pia, Thailand: 2 days (4th Dec - 5th Dec)
Chiang Rai, Thailand: 3 days (6th Dec - 8th Dec)

LAOS
Luang Prabang, Laos: 2 days (9th Dec – 10th Dec)
Vang Vieng, Laos: 2 days (11th Dec - 12th Dec)
Vientiane, Laos: 1days (13th Dec)

VIETNAM
Hanoi, Vietnam: 3 days (14th Dec - 16th Dec)
Ha Long Bay, Vietnam: 2 days (17th Dec - 18th Dec)
Hue, Vietnam: 3days (19th Dec - 21st Dec)
Hoi An, Vietnam: 2days (22nd Dec – 23rd Dec)
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam: 3 days (24th Dec - 26th Dec)

CAMBODIA
Phnom Penh, Cambodia: 3 days (27th Dec- 29th Dec)
Sihanoukville, Cambodia: 3 days (30th Dec – 1st Jan)
Siem Reap, Cambodia: 2 days (2nd Jan - 3rd Jan)

MALAYSIA
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: 3 days (4th Jan - 6th Jan)

THAILAND
Krabi, Thailand: 3 days (7th Jan - 9th Jan)
Koh Phangan, Thailand: 4 days (10th Jan- 13th Jan)
Bangkok, Thailand: 2 days (14th Jan-15th Jan)

50= 7 Weeks & 1 day

Thank you!

#1 Brightmaw has been a member since 29/4/2016. Posts: 14

Posted by Brightmaw on 30/4/2016 at 02:35

I should add, my girlfriend and I aren't really into beaches. That's why we have chosen to skip the likes of Nha Trang and Mui Ne, opting for more time elsewhere.

The time we are spending in Hue and Hoi An is flexible, as they are so close together. Our plan is to consider how long we wish to spend in Hue after a little time in the city. If we are not enjoying ourselves, we will travel to Hoi An, effectively extending our trip within that town.

Having read other posts, I appreciate the cultural important of Bangkok. We will spend 3 days in Bangkok, albeit over 7 weeks!

Phill

#2 Brightmaw has been a member since 29/4/2016. Posts: 14

Posted by Yesterday on 30/4/2016 at 04:45

My question to you would be what do you actually like doing and seeing? All you've presented for comment (aside from not liking beaches)is a big list that is difficult to comment on except that the pace looks like you'll get a lot of stamps in your passports and a lot of memories of airports
Do you like nature, cycling, bird watching, meditation, markets etc? If you provide some of that information you may get some good advice

#3 Yesterday has been a member since 9/8/2015. Posts: 33

Posted by Brightmaw on 30/4/2016 at 16:57

Hey Yesterday,

Thank you for your tips. Whilst we love natural landscapes, and seascapes especially, my girlfriend and I enjoy urban settings, with markets, bars and things of cultural or historic value.

I would be particularly interested to know if the itinerary we have suggested is feasible!

Phill

#4 Brightmaw has been a member since 29/4/2016. Posts: 14

Posted by exacto on 30/4/2016 at 23:30

Hi Phill,

Seven weeks is a nice chunk of time, but it isn't long enough to do what you have planned comfortably. Keep in mind that every time you move you will lose at least half a day, and often even more, between checking out of your accommodation, getting to transport, travel, finding the new accommodation, checking in, etc. etc. etc. Crossing borders, airport check in wait times, customs, immigration, etc,, will cost you even more time.

As an alternative, you may wish to slim down your itinerary. Less is more, and rather than a whirlwind tour of southeast Asian airports and train stations, you will have more fun and get to see more markets, bars, and things of cultural value instead.

If it were me, I'd stick to just three of the countries you've picked during the seven weeks. If you insist on seeing all of the countries you mention, pick just one or at the very most two destinations per country, and even that will be stretching it. Seriously. Otherwise, your time will be an endurance race and not the holiday you imagine. Good luck!

#5 exacto has been a member since 12/2/2006. Location: United States. Posts: 2,831

Posted by Brightmaw on 3/5/2016 at 04:08

Thank you, Exacto!

Slimmed it down a bit, and put in planned form of transport between locations. Would love to hear your thoughts.

THAILAND
Bangkok, Thailand: 1 day (27th Nov)
-Flight-

MAYMAR
Yangon, Myanmar: 3 days (28th Nov - 30st Nov)
-Flight-

THAILAND
Chiang Mai, Thailand: 3 days (1st Dec - 3rd Dec)
-Bus-
Pia, Thailand: 2 days (4th Dec - 5th Dec)
-Bus-
Chiang Rai, Thailand: 1 days (6th Dec)

-SLOW BOAT: 2 days (7th Dec - 8th Dec)-

LAOS
Luang Prabang, Laos: 3 days (8th Dec – 10th Dec)
-Sleeper bus-
Vang Vieng, Laos: 2 days (11th Dec - 12th Dec)
-Sleeper bus-
Vientiane, Laos: 1days (13th Dec)
-Flight-

VIETNAM
Hanoi , Vietnam: 3 days (14th Dec - 16th Dec)
-Bus-
Ha Long Bay, Vietnam: 2 days (17th Dec - 18th Dec)
-Sleeper train-
Hue , Vietnam: 2 days (19th Dec - 20th Dec)
-Bus-
Hoi An, Vietnam: 3 days (21st Dec – 23rd Dec)
-Sleeper train-
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam: 3 days (24th Dec - 26th Dec)
-Sleeper bus-

CAMBODIA
Phnom Penh, Cambodia: 3 days (27th Dec- 29th Dec)
-Bus-
Sihanoukville, Cambodia: 3 days (30th Dec – 1st Jan)
-Sleeper bus-
Siem Reap, Cambodia: 4 days (2nd Jan - 5th Jan)
-Sleeper bus to Bangkok, then flight-

THAILAND
Krabi, Thailand: 4 days (6th Jan - 9th Jan)
-Bus, then boat-
Koh Phangan, Thailand: 4 days (10th Jan- 13th Jan)
-Boat, then train-
Bangkok, Thailand: 2 days (14th Jan-15th Jan)

50= 7 Weeks & 1 day


Option to drop Hue and add 1 days to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.


Phill

#6 Brightmaw has been a member since 29/4/2016. Posts: 14

Posted by Brightmaw on 4/5/2016 at 09:21

Thank you, Robprrtt!

Will look to do all you suggest. Do you think a bus, as opposed to the train, from Hue to Hoi An is a good option? Mindful of having to travel from Danang.

Cheers,

Phill

#7 Brightmaw has been a member since 29/4/2016. Posts: 14

Posted by Brightmaw on 8/5/2016 at 02:59

Thank you, Robprrtt. We will take the train [img]smileys/smile.gif[/img]

#8 Brightmaw has been a member since 29/4/2016. Posts: 14

Posted by Brightmaw on 3/11/2016 at 17:45

Thanks everyone.

I've taken on-board all your advice and significantly slimmed down my itinerary.

Phill

#9 Brightmaw has been a member since 29/4/2016. Posts: 14

Posted by Captain_Bob on 5/11/2016 at 03:05

Seeing as you just bumped this and still have 3 weeks before your trip I have a few observations. Flying to Myanmar just for 3 days in Yangon seems like a waste of time. Those days would be better used in Laos so you're not rushing through so much. Chiang Mai - Pai is a 3-4 hour very hilly bus ride and unless you get the first ride of the day by the time you're settled in Pai it's almost time to think about leaving again. Then again Pai - Chiang Rai is likely to consume a day of road travel and then another early rush to make the slow boat in Huay Xai including getting to/over the bridge, visa-on-arrival, immigration, delays, etc. these things take time. Slow boat takes two full days so when you arrive at LP it's getting dark - doesn't really count as a day in LP. Sleeper bus LP-VV will buy you an extra day but it's a windy hilly lonely road, I'd have trouble with getting anything resembling "sleep", and it's very scenic by day. You need to allow time for logistics of checking out of your accommodation, getting to bus/train station or airport, the usual delays, waiting around til it actually goes, then at destination finding a place to stay and getting settled before you actually start enjoying the place. So yes for your sake I hope you have "significantly slimmed down" the itinerary. ;-)

#10 Captain_Bob has been a member since 27/5/2006. Location: Thailand. Posts: 1,957

Posted by Brightmaw on 5/11/2016 at 03:29

Thanks Captain, although you still may not be happy with it!

We'll be heading straight to Chiang Mai via Bangkok. I've left in transport detail just in case they prove helpful to others.

Please let me know if they're hopelessly inaccurate!



THAILAND
Chiang Mai, Thailand: 3 days (2nd Dec - 5th Dec)
-Green Bus (from Arcade Bus Station, T3. 7AM X class 185 THB each)-

Chiang Rai, Thailand: 1 days (6th Dec)

*Bus to Chiang Khong, ideally Thai immigration from Chiang Ria bus station, 6AM, 65 THB each. Once through immigration shuttle to Huay Xai , Laos, to catch a slow boat to Luang Prabang*

-SLOW BOAT: 2 days (7th Dec - 8th Dec)-
From Huay Xai pier: 900 Baht / 220,000 Kip ($27.50/£22) each (try and use dollars)

LAOS
Luang Prabang, Laos: 3 days (8th Dec – 11th Dec)?
-Bus-
Vang Vieng, Laos: 2 days (11th Dec - 13th Dec)?
-Bus-
Vientiane, Laos: 1day (13th Dec - 14th Dec)?
-1440 Flight to Hanoi-

VIETNAM
Hanoi, Vietnam: 3 days (14th Dec - 16th Dec)
-Bus-
Ha Long Bay, Vietnam: 2 days (17th Dec - 18th Dec)
-Bus-
Hanoi, Vietnam: 1 day (19th Dec)
-Sleeper train: SE3, 2200-
Hue, Vietnam: 1 days (20th Dec)
-Motorbikes, Le Family Riders (to depart 0830 of the 21st Dec)-
Hoi An, Vietnam: 3 days (21st Dec – 24th Dec
-0840 flight-
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam: 3 days (24th Dec - 27th Dec)
-Bus (via Bavet - Mocbai Border boarder gate)-

CAMBODIA
Phnom Penh, Cambodia: 3 days (27th Dec- 30th Dec)
-Bus-
Sihanoukville (for Koh Rong), Cambodia: 3 days (30th Dec – 1st Jan)
-Sleeper bus-
Siem Reap, Cambodia: 4 days (2nd Jan - 5th Jan)
-0915 flight to Bangkok, BKK-

*Take Airport Limobus Express from DMK to Khaosan Road, depart from Arrival gate 5, 150 BHT per person. Service runs 0930 until midnight, every half hr. departure*

Or

*The Airport Rail Link service is on the First Floor of BKK. Take - SA City Line - 45 Baht each, alighting at the final destination, Phayathai Station in downtown Bangkok*

THAILAND
Bangkok, Thailand (5th Jan - 6th Jan)
-0845 flight from DMK to RNG -

*Book airport transfer to DMK from hostel, 150 BHT per person*

Or

*Local bus 59 from Khoa San Road, 23 BHT per person - runs 24hr* (Departs from Sanam Luang Road)

BURMA
Yangon, Burma: 3 days (6th Jan - 8th Jan)
Burma Half Marathon!
-Night train-
Bagan, Burma: 3 days (9th Jan - 11th Jan)
-Bus- (JJ express and Thit Sar OO)
Inle Lake, Burma: 3 days (11th Jan - 13th Jan)
-Sleeper bus- (JJ express and Thit Sar OO)
Mandalay, Burma: 2 days (14th Jan - 15th Jan)
-1250 flight to Bangkok, DMK-

THAILAND
Bangkok, Thailand: 3 days (15th Jan-17th Jan)
-1855 flight from BKK to MCR-

#11 Brightmaw has been a member since 29/4/2016. Posts: 14

Posted by Brightmaw on 5/11/2016 at 03:35

At the risk of spamming my own post, please consider commenting on the following thread:

HCMC to Phnom Penh, via bus, with an evisa, and proof on onward travel - advice needed!

https://www.travelfish.org/board/post/vietnam/30056_hcmc-to-phnom-penh--via-bus--with-an-evisa--and-proof-on-onward-travel---advice-needed-

Genuinally can't find recent, comprehensive information frown.gif

Thank you in advance!

#12 Brightmaw has been a member since 29/4/2016. Posts: 14

Posted by Captain_Bob on 5/11/2016 at 04:13

Looks better. I don't need to be "happy" though, it's your trip (lol) ;-)
Going straight up to Chiang Mai and leave Bangkok until the end - good move. Skip Pai, yep, less time in Chiang Rai - check, add a couple more days for Laos - yea. Preferably pay for slow boat in baht or kip, but pay for your Lao visa in USD (same for other countries). Added a couple flights (to HCMC and Bangkok) good choice. Suggestion: from Siem Reap you can use Air Asia and land at DMK then get next flight to Yangon rather than go to KSR for just one night, or just sleep near the airport, up to you. You added more time for Myanmar - great! I see you're in Vietnam for exactly two weeks - is that by intention? (some nationalities get visa-exempt free entry for that amount of time). You're skipping KL and southern Thailand - no worries, it'll be there waiting for you next time ;-) Looks like a hell of an adventure. Good luck.

#13 Captain_Bob has been a member since 27/5/2006. Location: Thailand. Posts: 1,957

Posted by Brightmaw on 5/11/2016 at 08:12

Very perceptive! My gf and I are British and, as such, will be going for the Vietnam visa exemption. So yes, the 14 days is deliberate!

#14 Brightmaw has been a member since 29/4/2016. Posts: 14


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