Photo: Street food Phetchaburi Soi 10, Bangkok.

Southeast Asia forum

74 days in SE Asia - please look at my itinery!

Posted by Sair83 on 16/8/2008 at 00:01

Hi everyone.

As my topic title reveals, I will be spending 74 days (roughly 2 1/2 months) in the region, and have put together a rough itinery. I fly into Bangkok on the 30th September and out of Singapore on the 12th December. In between these two desinations I would like to visit some of Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Malaysia. I've put together an itinery... please have a look and let me know what you think. All advice/suggestions will be welcomed!

30-Sep Bangkok
1st Oct Bangkok
2nd Travel (early bus) to Kanchanaburi.
3rd Travel (bus) to Ayuthaya.
4th Ayuthaya
5th Travel (train) to Phitsanulok. Spend day in
6th Travel (bus) to Sukhothai. Spend day in
Sukhothai then catch o/n train to Chang Mai
7th Chang Mai
8th Chang Mai (cooking course)
9th Chang Mai
10th Chang Mai
11th Travel (bus) to Chang Khong for border
crossing to Huay Xai. Night in Huay Xai.
12th Slow boat to LP
13th Slow boat to LP
14th Luang Prabang
15th Luang Prabang
16th Travel (bus) LP to Vang Vieng
17th Vang Vieng
18th Travel (bus) to Vientiane
19th Vientiane. o/n bus to Savannakhet
20th Savannakhet
21st Travel (bus) Savannakhet to Pakse
22nd Pakse
23rd 4 Thousand islands (organised trip with Green
discovery, departs & ends in Pakse).
24th 4 Thousand islands
25th 4 Thousand islands
26th Pakse (day trip to Wat Phu Champasak)
27th Pakse (day trip to Tadlo, Bolaven Plateau)
28th Fly Pakse to Siem Reap.
29th Siem Reap
30th Siem Reap
31st Travel (bus) to Phnom Penh
1st Nov Phnom Penh
2nd Travel (bus) to Sihanoukville
3rd Sihanoukville
4th Travel (bus) to Phnom Penh.
5th Travel (bus) via Bravet/Moc Bai border to Ho
Chi Minh City.
6th Travel (bus) to Mui Ne.
7th Mui Ne
8th Travel (bus) to Nha Trang
9th Nha Trang.
10th Nha Trang. O/n sleeper train to Hoi An
11th Hoi An
12th Hoi An
13th Travel (bus) to Hue
14th Hue
15th Fly Hue to Hanoi
16th Hanoi
17th Ha Long Bay (3 day boat tour from Hanoi)
18th Ha Long Bay
19th Ha Long Bay
20th Travel to Hanoi. O/n train to Lao Cai (for
21st Sapa
22nd Sapa. O/n train to Hanoi.
23rd Fly Hanoi to Bangkok.
24th Bangkok. O/n train to Surat Thani and bus to
25th Phuket
26th Phuket
27th Travel (boat) to Ko Phi Phi
28th Ko Phi Phi
29th Travel (boat) to Krabi.
30th Krabi
1st Dec Travel (bus) to Hat Yai.
2nd Travel (bus) via Butterworth to catch boat to
3rd Penang
4th Travel (boat) via Butterworth to catch train
to Ipoh and bus to Tanah Rata (Cameron
5th Cameron Highlands
6th Travel (train) to Kuala Lumpar
7th Kuala Lumpar
8th Travel (bus) to Melaka.
9th Travel (bus) to Singapore.
10th Singapore
11th Singapore

Sory this post is so long.... now you understand why it seems to have taken me a lifetime to plan my trip!

Any suggestions? :-)

#1 Sair83 has been a member since 8/4/2008. Posts: 9

Posted by queanbeyan on 16/8/2008 at 05:39

Hi Sair83

I will be in North Laos at about the same time as you are in Luang Prabang. If you would like to meet we could visit some of the nice places together.

In general your trip looks pretty good - i am jealous - but I would suggest that you could spend some days in the more northern area of laos - there are some wonderful things to see. Let me know if you would like to see my itinery - it is only for 35 days but mostly focussed in North Laos.

I am travelling alone - and its always nice to meet someone to look out for.


#2 queanbeyan has been a member since 9/6/2008. Location: Australia. Posts: 28

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Posted by marianwarren on 17/8/2008 at 16:07

Hi Sair83

Personally I think you are trying to cover too much distance. I would decide what are your must sees and maybe consider flying a few sectors to give you more time on the ground. I think from your itinerary your holiday will be spent mostly inside buses - these are all long countries - roughly 1000 kms, that's a lot of land travel which is very time consuming. You won't get the feel of a country from the inside of a bus or train.

In 11 weeks I spent 11 days in Chiang Mai; a week in Luang Prabang; 4 days on Don Khon - 4 thousand islands;5 days in PP; 5 days HCMC; Siem Reap 5 days; 4 days Ko Lipe; 10 days in Georgetown, Penang - all mainly by bus or boat. I think you need a rough skeleton with lots of flexibility - then if you find somewhere you really like you can spend more time there - if you find somewhere less interesting then move on to the next place on the agenda.

If you follow your itinerary I think you will be exhausted and need a holiday when you return home - remember less is more. If you don't get to see everything you want this time round it gives you an excuse to go back again.

Just my thoughts

Travel well


#3 marianwarren has been a member since 12/3/2006. Posts: 270

Posted by Sair83 on 18/8/2008 at 17:30

Thanks Marian and Doug!

Doug - meeting in Northern Laos sounds great. I too am a lone traveller (and have never been to SE Asia before), so some company would be great! I'd also love to see a copy of your itinery... how can I contact you?

Marian - I understand what you're saying, and I thought about that myself, but being tired is not really a massive problem, as this is the first part of a round-the-wprld trip for me. After Singapore I fly to Hong Kong for 1 week, then down to Australia (Perth) where I will have a few weeks to relax whilst waiting for my tax number to come through (enabling me to work there). So in a way, I will have a holiday to get over my trip. Also, my schedule is not necessarily rigid. If, as you suggest, I feel that I am spending too much time on buses and not enough time on the ground then I can always adapt it. The only parts that will be in place are my flight legs in/out of particular countries.

Any other thoughts?

#4 Sair83 has been a member since 8/4/2008. Posts: 9

Posted by somtam2000 on 18/8/2008 at 19:13 admin

Hi Sair83,

Wow, I'm exhausted after just reading that plan!

A few suggestions/pointers:

a) I'd allow an extra night in Kanchanaburi or skip it entirely.
b) Sukhothai has no train station, so you'll need to bus it from there to Chiang Mai
c) I'd overnight in Chiang Khong rather than Huay Xai -- no reason,, just like it more
d) If you want to break the Vientiane to Pakse trip at one place, the better option is Tha Khaek so you can do the trip to Kong Lor Cave -- but you'll need to give an extra day to Tha Khaek to be able to do so
e) Given your schedule, if you're not up for a triple heart bypass by the time you reach Pakse, I'd suggest skipping the day-trip to Tad Lo and Bolaven and instead get a good book, go sit by the river, drink cold beers and eat BBQ fish -- it;s good -- really... thank me later ;-)
f) Unless you really need the beach hit, I'd skip Sihanoukville, add an extra day to Phnom Penh and give the other to Tha Khaek.
g) You've got one night in Saigon... I've give it at least two...
h) It's a common thing that people try to see too much in Vietnam -- I think you need to drop a destination or add two days.
i) Back in bangkok, I'd fly to Phuket rather than bus and train combo -- it will be far faster, and not cost much more.
j) I'd skip Penang - just no time
k) Give an extra night to KL of Melaka

The plan you have looks good on paper, but once you're on the road -- especially in laos and Vietnam, things never go as planned. I'd look into Bangkok Airway's Discovery Airpass and also check out AirAsia for cheap airfares to save you time without costing too much.

Be sure to look at the suggested itinerary section for pointers on how long it takes to get around the place.

Have fun planning!

#5 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,941
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Posted by queanbeyan on 19/8/2008 at 01:22


You can contact me at my email address
luangprabang at live dot com dot au

obviously replace the 'at' with '@' and the 'dot' with '.'.

I would strongly suggest more time in north laos - you may never want to leave after you see luang prabang - and that is only the start of the joys of northern laos.

I started travelling in SE Asia in 1987 and I am still excited about every trip. I decided that i should learn some languages to enhance my love of the region - so i studied Thai ant universtity for 4 years and at some colleges in Bangkok. I am learning Lao now too - so I am keen to travel and use those skills as much as possible.

Keep in touch - even if we only have time for a beer somewhere - its fun to meet up.


#6 queanbeyan has been a member since 9/6/2008. Location: Australia. Posts: 28

Posted by Sair83 on 27/8/2008 at 22:24

Thanks everybody.

Somtam2000 - I've change my itinery as per your instructions. However, I'm not sure what to do about Vietnam.

I can't really add anymore days, unless I get rid of Kanchanaburi in Thailand.

So - in your opinion, would it be best to remove kanchanaburi from my itinery and add the extra 2 days in Vietnam, or get rid of one destination in Vietnam?

If the former, where should I add the 2 days, and if the latter, which destination do you suggest I cut out?

#7 Sair83 has been a member since 8/4/2008. Posts: 9

Posted by somtam2000 on 28/8/2008 at 16:49 admin

Hi Sair83,

I'd cut Mui Ne as you're getting a beach-fix in the Thailand section of your trip.

#8 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,941
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Posted by Sair83 on 28/8/2008 at 21:27

And add the extra two nights in where?

1 in Hanoi, 1 in HCMC?

#9 Sair83 has been a member since 8/4/2008. Posts: 9

Posted by idreamofdurian on 6/9/2008 at 00:11 TF writer

I found Mui Ne to be much nicer than Nha Trang . They're not that far apart, so it's easy enough to pack up and head on early to Nha Trang if you don't like it.

#10 idreamofdurian has been a member since 5/9/2008. Location: Singapore. Posts: 576
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Posted by idreamofdurian on 6/9/2008 at 00:12 TF writer

Let me add.. I'd give another day to KL - what a cool city!

#11 idreamofdurian has been a member since 5/9/2008. Location: Singapore. Posts: 576
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Posted by Bronita on 8/9/2008 at 10:28

Wow! Your trip is very similar to mine, only I arrive in BKK on the 3rd, and (say if we were travelling together) we'd split after Phnom Penh. I think I think I might be travelling a bit slower than you, and I only have 63 days, that's why I had to cut out Vietnam (this time).

I don't have advice to offer, as I haven't been there yet, except that I think you itinerary looks good, and I hope you have a great time! I'd offer to meet up, but as you're going so fast, I think we'd miss each other every time. I'll be chasing you around SEAsia!

Have fun :)

#12 Bronita has been a member since 14/8/2008. Posts: 2

Posted by queanbeyan on 8/9/2008 at 13:24

Hi Bronita

I arrrive in bkk on 5 october and leave for luang prabang on 8 october - when will you be in luang prabang? I will leave Luang Prabang on 12 for the northern part of my adventure - and return on 29 October ready to return to ChiangMai on 31.

Let me know if you are interested in catching up for a beer Lao or some food.


#13 queanbeyan has been a member since 9/6/2008. Location: Australia. Posts: 28

Posted by Sair83 on 8/9/2008 at 16:21

Hi Bronita!
My itinery is not set in stone (except for my flight from Pakse to Siem Reap) so we may just bump into each other along the way! I'd love to have somebody to travel with, so if you would like to try and meet up I'm sure it could be arranged(at least up until the Phnom Penh section anyway).
Leave me a messgae on here if you fancy it, or even as Doug says, meeting up for a beer.

#14 Sair83 has been a member since 8/4/2008. Posts: 9

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