I'm new to this site and SE Asia. I am planning a trip to Thailand, Cambodia and Laos for 5-6 weeks in June - July. I have never travelled the area and would like some recommendations. Generally I don't want to plan it out to much, but rather go where the road leads me. I know I will want to spend a few days in BK, Chang Mai, Siem Reap, Laos then maybe the islands/beaches for the remainder if I have time. I don't want to specifically allot time to each destination as I prefer to stay somewhere until I either get bored or hear of something that excites me. I really just want to experience the area and relax as much as possible along the way. A few questions...
#1 - Is this a bad idea?
#2 - Will it be relatively easy to find my way about and make flight reservations on the fly.
#3 - Will the discovery airpass work for this type of trip or do I need to book flights well in advance to take advantage of the coupons?
#4 - I intend to fly when possible but are there any overland legs that I must not miss?
#5 - Lastly, does anyone have a suggested route they would take if they were in my position or have any places in mind where they would go to run into people with similar travel plans (or lack of plan)?
Sorry to be so vague, but you don't know what you don't know. I would love to hear from anyone who may have done this before.
#1 ropren has been a member since 22/5/2008. Posts: 3
1) Of course it's not a bad idea. It's a great idea! Do it!
2) Yes, depending on where you are and where you want to go, it should be no problem booking flights.
3) Committing yourself to an airpass and planning flights well in advance does not sound like going "where the road leads me." If you want to keep your trip open and go with the flow, having an airpass might not be the best way to accomplish this.
4) It depends again on where you want to go. There are many outstanding bus routes in Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia, and many that aren't. There are many great water routes, as well, like the Mekong slow boat between Huay Xai and Luang Prabang, as well as between Koh Kong and Sihanoukville. The highway along the Mekong between Chiang Khan and Nong Khai is super. Most bus routes through the province of Huay Xai are gorgeous. Same with Phrae. Whereas the land route between Bangkok and Siem Reap via Aranyaphrathet ain't so hot (well, it is HOT, actually). Better to fly in my opinion.
5) I have always found that low budget places with common eating areas (not restaurants) are best for meeting people and getting good travel info. As for suggested routes, I would check weather data and let that help guide you.
It's easy and a blast. You won't believe how many people are doing the exact same thing, too. Good luck.