hi all. in going to the region in early january 2010 for anywhere between 6 to 8 weeks. i fly into bangkok and leave out of singapore.
i have lived in the caribbean for 4 yrs so spending every day in the sun or on the beach isnt a top priority but would be nice to have some chill out time.
i can fly, bus, train or boat where need be.
my basic plan so far is this but i dont have any set idea's on time in all the places...
into bkk -2-3 days
bkk - pattaya - 3 days then back to bkk
bkk - siem reap 3-4 days
siem reap - phnom penh - time ?
phnom - saigon - time ?
saigon up east coast of vietman to hanoi
hanoi - luang prabang - time ?
luang prabang - chiang mai 3 - 4 days?
chiang mai - bkk
bkk - ko samui 4 days
to phuket 2 - 3 days?
down to kuala lumpur 3 days?
down to singapore 2-3 days
i am currently reading up on the interweb and have brought lonely planey books i currently going through.
any advice on changing my route and or things i have to see would be great.
#1 splash has been a member since 24/3/2009. Posts: 5
You really should have posted this on SE Asia. Maybe you should think about reposting.
I'm an Australian and live on the coast. Beach stuff is so good here, and SE Asia so less than appealing, I don't bother. You say your sort of the same, but are planning to spend time doing same. I believe I can chill out anywhere, I don't need the beach scene. You can see I'm biased!
Why do you want to go to Pattaya. As others have demonstrated here on Travelfish, its largely a brothel town.
You need to allocate 1 full day from Siem Reap to PP. Also, I'd allocate 4 full days in Siem Reap (3 in temples, and 1 at Tonle Sap).
PP needs at least 1 full day to 'do' museums & Royal Palace.
PP to Saigon is either overland by bus (1 full day) of down the Mekong and to Saigon by bus - this route is 2 full days.
You don't say where you'd like to go 'up the VN coast'. As a rule, I suggest people get off the beaten track, VN touts are pretty full on.
From HaNoi, are you intending Halong Bay (recommend 2 nights on water - try www.columbustours.com)? And are you thinking of SaPa? If so, get to Lao cai (where the train terminates for SaPa on a Sunday am, and 'do' the BacHa market, then go to SaPa. You can go overland from SaPa to Luang Prabang, or back to HaNoi and fly. Depends on the sort of journey you want.
Some of the best trekking and also the Gibbon Experience (check out here) is in the north, so you may have to rethink this part of Laos.
From the border of Laos/Thailand to Chiang Mai is 5 hours on VIP minibus. I say that because I think the scenery and activities in northern Thailand are better in the western area than the eastern side (again, my prejudice). Try Pai, Mae Hong Son, Mae Sariang, Mae Sot, (deviate to Um Phang & return), Sukhothai, then to Bangkok.
KL is great, but its just a bigger, dirtier (and slightly cheaper) version of Singapore. I'd consider Penang or Malacca instead.
Hope this helps start the ball rolling.
This happens a lot on the site here in the short time I have been here. People log on with a travel itinerary looking for tips but forgot to mention the purpose of the trip and their interests.
For example, you mention going to Pattaya, but, as Bruce points out, unless you want to go whoring and drinking, it's not really worth going there (and maybe that's what you want to do - there are certainly plenty of travellers going there for that purpose and the place is great for it).
People have different interests and different reasons for coming here, and it would help those who have experience here if you indicated what you enjoy and what you are trying to get out of the trip.
I don't have time to give much specific advice right now, but your itinerary strikes me as being a bit much for the amount of time you have. Unless you're flying a lot, it would be a lot of travel time. That said, look into Jetstar and Air Asia for cheap flights. Jetstar flies all over Vietnam and Air Asia flies all over Thailand and Malaysia.
Beyond that, I wouldn't go to both Koh Samui and Phuket. And, as Bruce and Mac mentioned, Pattaya is one seedy place. It may actually be my least favorite place in Southeast Asia that I've been to, but hey, if you want to get wild, I ain't gonna judge. If you're just going for the beach, Pattaya's is not nice; save it for the south.
I just spent 2 and a half months in Vietnam, so if you have any specific questions there I can try to help.