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Open jaw trip: 20 days flying into Bangkok and out from Ho Chi Minh.. Where to go?

Posted by wanderingemlessly on 4/7/2017 at 12:15

Hi all!
I'd love any insight on planning out my upcoming late October-mid November SE Asia trip. I'll be heading out solo and I really want to focuse on culture/nature/food as opposed to the big city party scene. I snagged a really great flight deal that has me flying into Bangkok and out of Ho Chi Minh, which at first i thought would be plenty of time to do both countries....but... after further research definitely not. I'd love to get thoughts on best itinerary for that time span. My plan so far was to fly into Bangkok then catch a flight to Chang mai the next day to catch the Loy krathong festival, I'd explore that area for 4-5 days then that's where i get stumped.

One plan was to take the bus down to kanchaburi and spend several days exploring that area and sankhlaburi then head down to the andaman coast for a while before either flying from Phuket to Ho Chi Minh or making my way back up to Bangkok then Ho Chi Minh and really spending most of the trip purely in Thailand.

Another plan was to skip the Thai islands and make my way to Hanoi after Chiang mai then explore Hanoi, Ha long bay, and Hoi An before making my way down to Ho Chi Minh ( perhaps leaving time for Phu quoc or nah trang) VERY open to suggestions for places to see along the way!

If you only had 20 for these 2 countries where would you go? I don't want to be running around like a maniac so I'm open to the thought of just sticking to Thailand and then maybe just a day or 2 in Ho Chi Minh at the tail end if that would be best, although I'd love to figure out a way to see both countries! Any thoughts would be incredibly appreciated! Thanks!

#1 wanderingemlessly has been a member since 9/6/2017. Posts: 2

Posted by flijten on 4/7/2017 at 20:38

Even though I have more of a feeling for Vietnam, the easy combination of Ayuthaya, Kanchanaburi, Chiang Mai and Bangkok makes for a great holiday. You can use some trains and see big cities, nature, culture and ancient history. Do leave a couple of days for HCMC though, have at least a feel for the second country and culture. HCMC is an underrated city.

Going full Vietnam is also possible but you will be covering more ground for the same punch, but I must say I liked it better.

#2 flijten has been a member since 19/12/2016. Location: Netherlands. Posts: 80

Posted by amnicoll on 5/7/2017 at 03:59

i hate to say this but there are so many options that I could suggest but you must prioritise exactly what sort of holiday you want and what sorts of things you want to see and do

So just to complicate things kanchanaburi/ Lop Buri/ Trat/ Chi Phat (cambodia)/ kampot/ Ha Tien and either Phu Quoc or explore the delta area

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

Posted by wanderingemlessly on 5/7/2017 at 07:38

I really would love to experience Vietnam! Curious as to why you liked it better @flijten?

And thanks @amnicoll I know that was probably a hard question to answer. I really want a blend of non-super crowded touristy culture/nature/beach. I'd love the majority of time spent exploring smaller cities perhaps by bike and taking a thai cooking class. I'd also love a small chunk to be reserved for a mellow non-party scene beach. I don't want to be spending all my time traveling from place to place ideally as i'd like the time to experience a few days in each spot if possible.Main priorities are: time to explore Chiang Mai ( cooking class, mountains, cycling).... Trips to less crowded smaller cities with character ( thinking kanchanburi/sangkhlaburi)... and gorgeous non-tacky/seedy beach for good food, mellow exploring and downtime. Also was pondering the notion of a free diving class but that's just a thought : )

I'm mostly torn on whether to do north Thailand then across to do north to south Vietnam...OR north Thailand then southeast Thailand across Cambodia into south Vietnam..OR north Thailand to andamand islands over to south Vietnam... trying to choose the best options with least amount of flying/train/bus all over the place as I really want to maximize my time there. If you loved Vietnam I'd love to hear your reasons why you'd spend more time there in stead of Thailand as well as what areas/cities really stole your heart.

I also had another itinerary that would be the same Bangkok-Chiang mai-Kanchanaburi/Sangkhlaburi.... then head to Chanthaburi-Ko Chang-Ko Maak/Ko Wai-Sihanoukville-Koh rong-Ho chi minh( maybe phu quoc or mekong delta if time)

As always super duper appreciative of all your help and insights!

#4 wanderingemlessly has been a member since 9/6/2017. Posts: 2

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