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30 days Ho Chi Minh to Bangkok

Posted by Woda44 on 26/9/2016 at 09:20

Dear all,

December to January, my girlfriend and I will be travelling from Ho Chi Minh to Bangkok. As we're both students in our mid-20s budget is tight.

1. My first hopes were set on:

- 1-2 days Ho Chi Minh
-Cambodia (1.5 weeks),
-Laos, up north to Luang Prabang (2 weeks),
-Thailand (1.5 weeks)

However, after doing some research I concluded that this might be a bit ambitious. As said, our budget is tight so no flights or fancy fast buses. Both of us enjoy some slow travelling, seeing and experiencing new places. So we need some time to get off the trodden path.

Then, I was thinking of visiting only the South of Laos, slimming it down to about one week and adding the extra time to the other countries. Is that feasible or should we just leave out all of Laos (this would break my heart) and spend more time in Cambodia and Thailand?

2. What would the approximate daily budget be in each country?

3. Maybe a cheesy question, but my girlfriend's birthday is around the corner and I would like to give her something special during the trip, like a thrilling excursion or two days in nice spa-resort (always nice when travelling on a budget). My budget for that would be around 60euro per person. Does someone have a nice tip?

In advance; thank you for replying, but be warned I'll bug you with many more questions!


#1 Woda44 has been a member since 26/9/2016. Posts: 3

Posted by somtam2000 on 26/9/2016 at 15:40 admin


Ok, one option could be something like:

Day 1-3: Saigon
Day 4-7: Mekong Delta (so either My Tho or Can Tho then to Chau Doc where you can get a boat upriver to Phnom Penh - there is zero need to use a travel agent for any of this. )
Day 8-10: Phnom Penh
Day 11-14: Travel day then Siem Reap and Angkor then back to Phnom Penh
Day 15-16: Kratie
Day 17: Travel day north through Stung Treng over the Laos border and to 4,000 islands
Day 18 - 20: 4,000 islands (Choose from Don Dhet or Don Khon )
Day 21 - 22: Champasak (For Wat Phu and more river chilling out
Day 23 - 25: Pakse with daytrip to Ban Saphai or the waterfalls
Day 26: Travel day west into Thailand through to Ubon Ratchathani
Day 27: Ubon Ratchathani (temples and food)
Day 28 Travel day to Bangkok
Day 29-30: Bangkok

So the above is one way to tackle it, but there are LOADS of variations on this kind of route. You're seeing a bit of the Delta, the highlights of Cambodia, the southern islands of Laos, a bit of traditional Thailand (Ubon) and Bangkok.

I think once you start trying to get up to Luang Prabang, you'll begin losing too much time to transport in between (unless you fly of course, but then your budget will blow out. The above is relatively slow paced, I've seen itineraries that cover similar ground in half the time, but you noted you prefer slow travel.

Another option is to drop a country - for eg Vietnam, to give you more time in the others.

For the splurge, I'd lean towards a nice hotel or spa deal in Siem Reap - it has the widest range of options.

More questions? Ask away

#2 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 8,099

Posted by Woda44 on 27/9/2016 at 19:04

I guess that's the risk of asking an itinerary: the one you get is so good that you can't imagine verging from it.

Thank you, all those places just read like paridise.

Dropping Vietnam is not an option before she'll join me I'll be travelling north to south on my own. Ho Chi Minh was the cheapest option for her.

The Mekong Delta tour is just mandatory, I love travelling by river. Do you know if it's possible to take the main arm of the river, a bit more up north than you advised? Would that be faster or slower?

Are there any parts of this route where we could travel by train? Or any other interesting mode of transportation? I always relish the experience travel with a 'local' option.

And what's your opinion about malaria pills, Yay or Nay? (Maybe a strange question, however, my doctor also just checks an internet site for his advice.)

#3 Woda44 has been a member since 26/9/2016. Posts: 3

Posted by amnicoll on 28/9/2016 at 06:57

the only part where you can take the train is back to bangkok

malaria pills depend on exactly where you are going this site offers excellent advice

Somtam has a good route (but would question if you need to go back to Phnom Phen from Siem Reap)

The thing about this is that you are missing much. Laos will still be there in 10 years time so consider seeing more of Cambodia and perhaps the south of vietnam

#4 amnicoll has been a member since 10/1/2005. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 976

Posted by Woda44 on 8/10/2016 at 07:11

Thank you

#5 Woda44 has been a member since 26/9/2016. Posts: 3

Posted by somtam2000 on 1/11/2016 at 15:42 admin

Sorry, I missed your other questions - just noticed them when deleting a spammer's post.

In Laos, public boats pretty much vanish north of Pakse and Champasak - there's always scope for hitching a ride somehow, but you'd need to figure that out along the way - travel on a freighter can be special (and a little hair-raising) at times -- see this for example.

The train bit - do Ubon Ratchathani back to Bangkok - get a day train. Is a great trip

As per amnicoll on malaria meds - personally, no I wouldn't even consider them for Thailand unless you were spending prolonged periods in jungle/border areas. You are far more likely to encounter dengue fever.


#6 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 8,099

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