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Need help on my Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand trip in September

Posted by d0rk1e on 11/8/2006 at 08:12

Hello all,

After browsing all over the internet for days on infos for this trip, I have to say that this is one of the most extensive site.

I need some more input/ideas for my travel plan .. any suggestion will be greatly appricated. I'm planning to backpack alone in September for 4 weeks to Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and Thailand.

Below's my rough rundown:
1st day: Jakarta - KL - Phnom Penh (air asia)
2: Phnom Penh - Siem Riep (morning boat)
3. Siem Riep
4. Siem Riep - Battambang (bus)
5. Battambang
6. Battambang - Phnom Penh
7. Phnom Penh - Saigon (bus)
8. Saigon - Nha Trang (train)
9. Nha Trang
10. Nha Trang - Hanoi (train)
11. Hanoi - Ha Long Bay (city tour?)
12. Hanoi
13. Hanoi - Vientiane (laos air)
14. Vientiane - Vang Vieng (bus)
15. Vang Vieng
16. Vang Vieng - Luang Prabang (bus)
17. Luang Prabang
18. Luang Prabang
19. Luang Prabang - Chiang Mai (better ship or plane?? cost & time?)
20. Chiang Mai
21. Chiang Mai - Bkk (air asia.. or should i take a bus to sukothai first?)
22-24 Bkk
25. Bkk-Singapore
26. Singapore
27. Singapore - Batam - Jakarta

Now my questions:
1. Is my plan feasible? Any suggestions?
2. Excluding airfare, how much should I prepare for this trip? is USD$1000 enough? 200 of $1 bills and $800 in 100s and 50s? Where should/can I change my dollar bills to local currencies without losing too much on the exchange rate?
3. Is the land route from Vientiane - Vang Vieng - Luang Prabang safe?
4. Can I get Cambodian & Laos Visa from Jakarta?
5. Anyone travelling moreless the same route as me in September??? hehe

That's all I can think of now. Thanks in advance!! Pls give me some suggestions if possible.. :-)


ps: Somtam, I live in Jakarta too!!

#1 d0rk1e has been a member since 11/8/2006. Posts: 5

Posted by somtam2000 on 11/8/2006 at 13:55 admin

Hi B,

Welcome to Travelfish and glad you like the site!

That's a lot of miles, but with all the flying it isn't too rushed -- its great how much easier the budget airlines make getting around... though I really wish there was a direct Jakarta - Saigon flight!

A couple of comments:
1)I'd suggest shaving a day off Battambang and instead going by boat from Phnom Penh down to Chau Doc, overnight in Chau Doc and then continue on to Saigon (by bus). I suggest that because it is a pretty trip and you can do some floating around on the delta around Chau Doc - may be of interest.

2) Nha Trang - Hanoi -- that's a LONG trip and you're missing some of Vietnam's highlights -- Hoi An, Hue, DMZ for example -- if time allows, maybe break the trip up a little.

3) I'd fly Luang Prabang to Chiang Mai.

4) US$1000 for a 27 day trip comes out at US$37 a day which should be enough -- Vietnam will be the most pricey part of your trip as accommodation is a little more expensive there than elsewhere.

5) Money part 2: $200 is $1 bills -- I think not! Assumng you're planning on taking it all as cash I'd suggest something like:
$600 in 100s
$300 in $50s
$80 in $10s
$20 in $1s

Believe me you'll accumulate enough $1s along the way! If anything I'd just leave with ten $100s -- you'll get a better rate for a 100 than a smaller note. Don't forget the option of traveller's cheques - far more secure than cash.

6) land route LP to Vientiane is fine.

7) Cambodian and Lao visas in jakarta -- good question! I am picking up my Vietnamese one this afternoon - so you can get a Vietnamese one here - I know that! Cambodian you can get visa on arrival (depending on your nationality). Lao visa you could pick up in Hanoi if not possible in Jakarta.

If you do find out the details for getting Lao and Cambodian visa in Jakarta, please post them in the Visa and border crossings section...

I'll be in Vietnam from tomorrow for a few weeks .. p'haps a beer in Jakarta when I return ;-)

#2 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 8,062

Posted by d0rk1e on 12/8/2006 at 02:23

Hi Somtam,

Thanks for the sugegstions!! I'll keep them in mind.

Actually there's a slight change in my travel plan.. I'll be flying to Bali on 22 aug. I'll be flying to KL str8 from Bali (instead of Jakarta) and fly to Siem Riep on the next day. I think I'll have the time to keep Battambang even if I go to Chau Doc.. :-)

I'll check about cambodian and lao visas on monday at the embassies here. As for jkt-saigon cheap flight.. IF money is an issue, I believe u can fly air asia jkt-batam, then cross to sg by ferry. There's a tiger airways flight from sg-saigon(ho chi minh). You'll save quite a lot .. (or you can fly lion air jkt-sg)..

A beer sounds nice! Or we can even have it in saigon if u're still there .. hehe I'll be in saigon on 5th or 7th sept if i keep to my schedule.


#3 d0rk1e has been a member since 11/8/2006. Posts: 5

Posted by d0rk1e on 11/9/2006 at 20:14

Hi again guys!!

Well I'm halfway on my trip with 3 more countries to go. So far so good, but there's some bumps along the way. Here's some tips:

1. Watch out for your wallets (duh).. especially in cambodia. I lost my wallet in siem riep (which contained arnd 150+ usd), id and atm card. I know it's been said so many times, but don't let your guard down. Okay guesthouse in siem riep is a great place to meet people. Overall I'm not really impressed with cambodia.. maybe I'm just biased coz I lost a wallet there....

2. Bargain hard in vietnam ... they seem to have a different rate for foreigners.... I did the mekong delta trip, not really impressed... total waste of money as they only transfer us between borders with minimum sight-seeing (but maybe that's because i took the one day trip *shrugs*)

Ho chi minh, great place. :-P .. don't miss out cu chi tunnel.. tnk travel has this ex- vietcong guy as the tour guide.

I love nha trang tho.. beautiful beach.. and they have this 6 usd boat trip, with free-flow grape wine happy hour near the end (you have to jump into the ocean tho, as the bartender is floating on a styrofoam tyre.. prepare 40,000 dong for entrance fee to marine aquarium etc).

Try to visit hoi an during the full moon as they light up the lanterns and there's a special performance on the river.

Prepare lots of vietnamese dong if u want to take the city tour in Hue as the entrance fee for each place u visit is 55,000 dong.

Hanoi, DON'T EVER BOOK PHO XUA hostel through the internet as the hotel is non-existent. The address given is actually little hanoi hostel. Don't buy any stuff in the old market building, try to buy them (silk bags especially) on the street near hanoi cathedral (old market building: 15 usd, small shop: 4usd ..try to buy in an old shop.. not the fancy ones). Eat lotsa pho bo (beef noodle) if u want to save on cash ... 10,000 dong. There's also a supermarket near the water puppet theater, where u can get 1.5 litre of water for 5500 dong.. (street side vendor: 9000 dong).. and lots of snacks on acceptable prices. There's lots of CERTAIN shops where you can buy cheaper drinks and food, but I don't know how to describe the location as I don't have a map with me... doh.

I'm leaving for laos in 2 days time.. wish me luck!!!

#4 d0rk1e has been a member since 11/8/2006. Posts: 5

Posted by marianwarren on 12/9/2006 at 05:26

Hi d0rk1e

Sorry to hear about the wallet, for my own future reference ... how were you carrying it?

Best wishes for Laos


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

Posted by d0rk1e on 12/9/2006 at 19:37

Hi Marian,

I put it in the front part of my bag. I seriously dunno how they managed to open the bag without me noticing. Nimble fingers?

All the best for your trip too! :-)


#6 d0rk1e has been a member since 11/8/2006. Posts: 5

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