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Southeast Asia forum

Which way round?!

Posted by lcreller on 2/1/2009 at 02:58

Hi there, have 7 and a half weeks between getting into Bangkok and flying out of Kuala Lumpur. Will spend say 10 days on a Thai island, so about 5/6 weeks for the following:

Trying not to plan how long in each place, just go with the flow but would love your advice on which direction (clockwise/anti-clockwise or a variation!) to go to:

2)One of: a) area north of Chiang Mai for trekking
b) Chiang Khan/Sangkhom region (any good??)
3)Luang Prabang and inevitably Vang Vieng (+Vientiane if you recommend b) over a))
4)Sapa (better trekking/rural life than Chiang Mai??)
5)Hanoi and Halong Bay
6)Hue and Hoi An

Im thinking in terms of practicalities of transport (ie. how to do Hoi An-Bangkok or v.v) and visa (get multi-entry or two separate Thai visas??)

So grateful for all the info on the places to go, now just need your help with which way round to do them!!

Thanks in advance!!

#1 lcreller has been a member since 2/1/2009. Posts: 4

Posted by somtam2000 on 3/1/2009 at 07:24 admin

I'd lean towards doing that anticlockwise. I'd get your Vietnamese visa in Laos, and if you really want to return from Hoi An straight to Bangkok, I'd recommend flying from Da Nang - PB Air fly it.

Comparing Chiang Mai and Chiang Khan/Sangkhom are apples and oranges -- very different places. The latter is mostly chilled out river scenery -- good for cycling etc, former is a trekking and tourist centre.

The scenery around Sapa is more spectacular than around Chiang Mai , and the weather is considerably cooler.

For your Thai visa, I'd get a tourist visa for the initial stay and get another one while in Laos (unless you fly back from Da Nang which will give you 30 days.

Hope that helps.

#2 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,943
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Posted by lcreller on 5/1/2009 at 22:20


1) Where is it possibile to fly from Vietnam to S.Thailand (trying to miss out a repeat Bangkok journey)?
2) Is it feasible to go Bangkok - Siem Reap - Hoi An ?

My thoughts at the moment are:

Bangkok to Vientiane to Luang Prabang to Hanoi (Sapa & Halong Bay) to Hue to Hoi An to Trang/Satun islands.
- how would I best fit Angkor Wat in here?

Thanks so much!

#3 lcreller has been a member since 2/1/2009. Posts: 4

Posted by brucemoon on 19/1/2009 at 09:12


May I suggest you take an altogether different approach?

First, the reason. I recently spent 4 weeks in VN and another just at the Angkor ruins. That makes 5 weeks, and you have 7 1/2 and seek to travel over more 'miles', stopping at more places.

My suggestion is to begin by looking at what you want to do at/in/around each (possible) destination.

You could easily spend 7 1/2 weeks just in Thailand and still be searching for more time to 'explore', have fun, etc. in Thailand.

That is not to say you should remain just in Thailand.

Rather, what I'm suggesting is that if you do your research, that will indicate to you how much time you need to see/achieve/do the things on your list for that place.

For example, many people go to the Angkor area, spend a day there seeing 'monuments' and go away awestruck, but really not having any idea about purpose, culture, etc. In other words they don't get to know what the whole 'issue' was about.

To 'do' the Angkor area 'justice', one needs to spend at least 4 days at Siem Reap (and that's a minimum).

Similarly, Bangkok needs 1 day for royal palace/temples, another for Ayuthaya, another for floating market & surrounds, and at least another for a shopping 'experience. So, with coming and going, that means about 6 days.

And, if you plan to go to an island (or islands), will the weather at the time of year allow you to experience the 'magic' of a tropical place (or will it be rained out, wind-blown out, etc.).

So, my suggestion is to read up on the places that are 'linkable', work out how long you want to stay at each/any place, and then consider transport (and visa's etc.).

ps. I found Hoi An to be 'so so'. It's nice, but so so over-rated. For those doing the 'tourist' thing of just visiting cities/towns to say they've been there (ie. a hotel - travel - hotel - sight see - hotel -travel sort of trip), then Hoi An is OK. But, I found other places more enjoyable (eg. Dalat, Nha Trang, etc.)


#4 brucemoon has been a member since 27/12/2008. Location: Australia. Posts: 1,941

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