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Advice on Itinery Planning

Posted by LauraLeaf on 5/7/2016 at 18:19

Hi all,

First post so bare with me! Me and my husband are planning a trip March/April 2017. We have 24 days and have pinpointed the destinations we would like to visit. What we would like to know is if the plan sounds realistic as we don't want to be too rushed & logistically what is the best route to take to cover our desired destinations.

Bangkok- 2 days but this could be split

Chiang Mai/Pai- roughly 6/7 days

Siem Reap- 3/4 days

Hanoi /Sapa/Halong Bay- 6/7 days

Koh Samui- 3 days

We would be taking domestic flights for as much of this as possible to save time & rough timescales for each place is attempting to take into account time for this. Don't know if it's best to fly from UK to Hanoi or to start off from Bangkok? Honest opinions would be much appreciated & if we were to drop a destination where would be suggested?

Thanks in advance :-)

#1 LauraLeaf has been a member since 5/7/2016. Posts: 6

Posted by elenacopper365 on 5/7/2016 at 23:55

If you want to visit Hanoi , Sapa, and Halong Bay during 6-7 days, I think it has rushes. You should stay longer in each place at least 2 days. However, from Hanoi to Halong, you spend 4hrs to transfer and from Hanoi to Sapa, you should book night train to travel. Therefore, you should miss out 1 place

#2 elenacopper365 has been a member since 28/6/2016. Posts: 18

Posted by somtam2000 on 6/7/2016 at 20:28 admin

I'd be inclined to reorder that a little and book your longhaul flights in and out of Bangkok as the fare will (probably) be more affordable. Otherwsie, yes, into Bangkok and out of Hanoi .

With that in mind, you could do something like:

UK - > Bangkok
Bangkok -> Samui
Samui -> Bangkok -> Chiang Mai (BangkokAirways fly this once daily direct, which would save you some time, but not a cheap flight)
Chiang Mai -> Pai -> Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai -> Bangkok
Bangkok -> Siem Reap
Siem Reap -> Hanoi
Hanoi -> Bangkok
Bangkok -> UK

That's a LOT of flying, but I'd say that was the easiest way to daisychain it all together.

If I was to drop anywhere it would be the Chiang Mai/ Pai bit as you can't fly to Hanoi or Siem Reap from there (at least not directly) and the area can be very smoky in March April when the farmers burn back the rice stubble. You can get your fill of trekking in Sapa perhaps.

Likewise, with so much flying, perhaps consider dropping Samui for a closer island to Bangkok - Ko Samet perhaps...

Hope that is of some help.

#3 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 8,062

Posted by LauraLeaf on 8/7/2016 at 14:08

Thank so much for your replies.

I did not realise that Chiang Mai /Pai would be smokey that time of year. Guess with it being so hot also would be quite unpleasant! We had wanted to do Thai cooking class/elephant conservation/yoga class/Buddhist retreat day in Chiang Mai & generally chilling in Pai- maybe rent a moped. Is there somewhere nice closer to Bangkok that you could recommended to do these things?

Not heard much about Koh Samet- has anyone been to give me an insight to what it is like? Read a few posts saying it can get very busy at weekends.

Thanks for your help! ????

#4 LauraLeaf has been a member since 5/7/2016. Posts: 6

Posted by somtam2000 on 8/7/2016 at 17:01 admin

We have a post of the haze here - some years it isn't too bad, others it can be extremely bad unfortunately.

Another option that is closer to Bangkok might be Kanchanaburi -- there are plenty of cooking classes there and we cover an elephant refuge near there here. There are plenty of waterfalls, museums etc - is a popular area.

Yes Ko Samet gets busy on weekends -- it is the closest semi-decent island to Bangkok afterall :-) I just suggested it as an option to save another set of flights.

#5 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 8,062

Posted by LauraLeaf on 15/7/2016 at 12:44

Thank you for your advice :)

I have now added Kanchanaburi to our itinerary instead of Chiang Mai/Pai as do not feel we would enjoy it if the haze was particularly bad and saving on the travel time would be fab also! Kanchanaburi looks great with lots to see and do as well as chill out too.

Not reading a lot of positive things about Ko Samet however which still makes me uncertain about added this...but I do appreciate why you suggested it for saving on flights.

Been looking at internal flights and two particular routes on my itinerary appear very expensive- Siem Reap -Hanoi and Bangkok-Koh Samui. As I do not want to drop Hanoi/Sapa/Halong Bay from my itinerary, I wonder if dropping Siem Reap and using this time to either spend more time in Vietnam or Thailand would be better to save some expense. I thought maybe going Ayutthaya in Thailand may allow for some temple time instead, however I'm sure it would not compare to Angkor Wat. Not sure where in Vietnam I would spend the extra time though..opinions/suggestions on these two options would be most welcome.

I also wondered about flying to Krabi instead of Koh Samui and spending some island time down? What are people's thoughts on this? What is the weather like in/around Krabi in March/April?

Many thanks for everyone's help it is much appreciated :)

#6 LauraLeaf has been a member since 5/7/2016. Posts: 6


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