Photo: Street food Phetchaburi Soi 10, Bangkok.

Southeast Asia forum

the confused first time traveller!

Posted by laurahodges on 26/9/2008 at 06:11

I am currently planning a trip to span just over three weeks. flying from bangkok to luang prabang then by bus down to Vang Vieng and Vientiane. I really want to visit the Wat Phou temple and Champasak, however then I get stuck!!
I was thinking of going from there to Saigon but I have no idea how to do it reasonably quickly and cheaply. From Saigon I would head to Phnom Penh for a three month teaching placement.

Can anyone offer any ideas of the best way to structure my trip. Aso because I am a lone female traveller I'd like to have firm places and fixed dates to head for, but I'm starting to feel a little bewildered!
thank you!

#1 laurahodges has been a member since 22/7/2008. Posts: 2

Posted by nedz on 26/9/2008 at 17:55

HI, What you got already is good. relax.
Once your out there youll know more about what you feel to do and go. aclimatize a bit. it will serve you well.
Take lots of USA 1$ with you.
bANGKOK. STAYING soi ram buttri way just near Kao san road is a good part of BANGKOK TO START WITH.
other areas a a bit on the rude side if you get my drift
LUANG PRABANG. STAY NEAR JOMO BAKERY AND YOULL ALWAYS GET A GOOD BREAKFAST. go to the waterfall theres bears there, and a tiger. Dogs a bit suspect there.

vIENTIENE. MALI NAMPHU HOTEL check the bed is a good one first
go to the sculpture park. i was told sth LAOS WAS
i listened to those who had tho.
Cambodia. Siem reap temples are awsome take some time with you. THE cambodians are extremely wonderful people. If it gets hard in P/pen so Siem reap and
check out the Gecko project teaching street kids.
good luck. Nedz x

#2 nedz has been a member since 14/9/2008. Posts: 26

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Posted by Tilapia on 27/9/2008 at 02:01

Hi Laura,

There are many options, and I'm sure you'll come up with some of your own once you're there and get a feel for getting around, and after speaking with people who are traveling.

For Champasak, you could just stay in Laos and continue south from Vientiane by bus. There are probably flights to Savanaket, but I don't know much about flying around Laos. That way you won't have to worry about going back into Thailand and buying another visa when you cross back.

Or, you could go over to Nong Khai and take the 6:00 am train to Khon Kaen, then take a bus to Ubon Ratchatani. From there another short bus to Chong Mek and the border where you'll cross the Mekong into Pakse, just a bit north of Champasak. After seeing Wat Phou and the islands, you can continue south to the Cambodian border and cross at Veun Kham and then continue on #13 to PP. Going into PP this way would be quite an adventure!!!

From PP it is a 12 hour bus trip to Saigon.

You could always head to Saigon while you're working in PP, or you could go afterwards.

Personally, I think that 3 weeks is perfect for Bangkok, Luang Prabang, Vang Vieng, Vientiane and Champasak, and all the travel time in between each place.

#3 Tilapia has been a member since 21/4/2006. Location: Canada. Posts: 1,521
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Posted by Tilapia on 27/9/2008 at 02:07

Also, you'll be knocked over by the number of guest houses, inns, and hotels in Bangkok. As mentioned above, Soi Rambutri is a pretty good area. Busy, but not as busy as Khao San Road. But there are dozens of other nice, quiet areas that are still nice and close to the river, most of the main temples, great markets, and the like. The alleyways off Thanon Phra Athit, as well as Thanon Samsen, for example.

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Posted by Tilapia on 30/10/2008 at 01:33

Hi Laura,

I saw this posted today (Oct. 28) on another website. This guy goes over how he went into Cambodia from S. Laos. Looks pretty easy and seamless ...

>> I shuttled from Pakse to Don Khong, spent 2 nights there, and did a boat hire to Don Det, and then a van to watefalls, and also the dolphin tour, and you are at the border then. From the border to Siem Reap you can bus or shuttle, and from Seim Reap to the Capitol you can bus, shuttle or boat, and then from PP to HCMC the same again.

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Posted by charliekbrooks on 24/11/2008 at 20:55


I am about to do the same - 3 weeks in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam and I'm wondering if i'll have enough time! I have to admit i'm pretty scared as well. I'm thinking of passing through Cambodia quickly to see Angkor Wat and Phnom Penh, then going to Saigon - Hanoi and then Luang Prabang and Vientiane in Laos.

When are you going?


#6 charliekbrooks has been a member since 22/9/2008. Posts: 8

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