Photo: Street food Phetchaburi Soi 10, Bangkok.

Southeast Asia forum

Laos or Vietnam?

Posted by travelchitown on 26/5/2009 at 12:12

I am planning a trip with my husband. We have about thirty days to spend and fly into and out of Bangkok. Nothing else is planned--we'll be there for July. We want to spend at least a week on beaches and possibly another beach in N. Thailand (Chiang Mai, Pai), as well as a few days in Angkor Wat.

Do we have time to go to both Vietnam and Laos? Is there one that you would recommend over the other?

Also, which beach areas are not too wet during July???


#1 travelchitown has been a member since 26/5/2009. Posts: 4

Posted by brucemoon on 27/5/2009 at 09:32


The beach areas will probably be wet. On some days, you'll get an occasional dump shower, and long hot sunny patches. On other days, it may be just wet all day.

That's life in the tropics during the monsoon season.

Unless you're talking about river sands in Nth Thailand, there are no beaches at Chiang Mai or Pai. Anyway, the rivers will be 'up', so sunning yourself on a river beach probably won't happen. Maybe you wanted to write something else about nthn Thailand.

As for Laos / Vietnam, that's easy.

First, Thailand, Cambodia & Laos are all (largely) Buddhist, so the personal interaction you'll get will be similar. Vietnamese have a totally different approach to life. And, many say that the contrast makes their experience less than desirable. Thus, I'd suggest Laos.

But, Laos is also 'laid back', meaning that what you'd expect to occur may - or may not - happen.

So, if you're the sort of person that likes snapping their fingers and things happening, Laos is going to be a challenge. That said, I really like the relaxed approach in Laos - makes one wonder why we get all uptight about life.


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

Agoda coupon: Get an extra 7% off selected properties with the coupon code

Posted by exacto on 27/5/2009 at 09:49

hi chitown!

as bruce says, definitely not many beaches in northern thailand! :-) but i suspect that was just a typo and what you meant was that you'll be spending a week on the beaches and possibly another week in northern thailand. is that right?

either way, your best bet for a less soggy beach experience in thailand in july will be on the gulf side and places like samui or tao. have a look at the interactive weather map for thailand. it will help you sort out exactly what to expect rain-wise in july. you'll find it at:

i don't think with the one month you have to spend that you'll have time for both laos and vietnam in addition to thailand and cambodia/angkor wat. if you really feel the need to visit another country, then i also agree with bruce that laos is your better choice. besides the reasons he gives above, it will also be a matter of logistics, with laos within an easy reach of northern thailand by air, river, and overland options. from chiang mai you could work your way over to luang prabang then down to vientiane and before heading back into thailand on onward to siem reap (for example).

finally, don't try to cram too much into your 30 days. less is more in this case. slow down. have fun. cheers.

#3 exacto has been a member since 12/2/2006. Location: United States. Posts: 2,759
 Send exacto a private message   Where has exacto been? 

Posted by manooe on 27/5/2009 at 09:55

Posted from within Vietnam.

at least a week in N. Thailand + a few days in Angkok Wat >> U have about 15 days left which are enough for Lao and Vietnam.

U can boat from Thailand border (Chiang Rai ?? which is close to Chiang Mai) along Mekong river to Luang Prabang (a must-see places including Buddha cave), then heading to Vientiane. From there U can go to Hanoi either by car or by plane. I recommend by car, because en-route, you can visit Plain of Jar. I m not sure about the public bus from VienTiane to Hanoi via Plain of Jar (Xienkhuang)>> its better to hide a private car for this route.

Then You spend a few day in the North of Vietnam (Hanoi - 1 day, Ha Long - 2 days or Ninh Binh - 1day, Sapa 3nights - 2 days), flight to Hue(an ancient citadel and Tombs of King - 2 days,Da Nang+Hoi An - 2days ). Ending up your trip in the noisy city - Saigon, or some beaches in the South of Vietnam (Nha Trang, Mui Ne,etc )

Besides you have another option, heading for Sai Gon via the delta of Mekong from Angko Wat then going in the opposite route of above.

#4 manooe has been a member since 12/9/2007. Posts: 34

Posted by travelchitown on 27/5/2009 at 12:05

Thanks for the suggestions!

Yes, that was a typo. Going to the beaches in S. Thailand -- thank you for the comment on which side to go to.

Will look at all these ideas to make our decisions. What a fantastic website this is!!!

#5 travelchitown has been a member since 26/5/2009. Posts: 4

Posted by brucemoon on 27/5/2009 at 12:42


It is possible to see much of SE Asia in a short time frame if one is motivated to spend inordinate amounts of time in buses/trains/planes/etc.

While manooe tells you a quick flit through SE Asia is achievable, sadly, you'll spend much time in transport (or transport waiting rooms), etc.

Maybe go to the top grey area on Travelfish (titled 'Before you leave...') and have a look at some of the options there. Maybe start with:


and then keep on scrolling down to look at some of the journey descriptions.

Hope this helps.

Also, another website for weather is:


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

Posted by travelchitown on 27/5/2009 at 12:56

Thanks for these links Bruce! There is so much info on Travelfish, I'm still sorting through all of it. My guess is that we'll stick to Laos for a relaxing visit -- and not worry about getting the visa ahead of time for Vietnam. Most of the posts say that the weather in July shouldn't be too rainy--only a little bit of rain. Coming from Chicago, we just want some warmth and sunshine so we should be fine!

#7 travelchitown has been a member since 26/5/2009. Posts: 4

Posted by MADMAC on 10/6/2009 at 23:01

In my opinion, of everything that was written in this thread, this was the best advice:

"Finally, don't try to cram too much into your 30 days. less is more in this case. slow down. have fun. cheers."

#8 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
 Send MADMAC a private message 

Please login to add a reply

You need to be a Travelfish member to be able to add a reply to this post. Please use the button below to log in. After logging in you'll be returned to this page automatically to add your post. Not a member? Join up here.