Photo: Street food Phetchaburi Soi 10, Bangkok.

Southeast Asia forum


Posted by Ignite on 22/8/2009 at 20:04

To all bloggers and travellers who invested their time in this , thnx a lot. The site and forums are truly great!
I'm leaving with a friend the 1st of nevember for SE Asia , since this is our first time going to Asia we could rlly use some tips how to plan our route. We're arriving in Kuala Lumpur and from there on we would like to travel thru thailand , laos , cambodja and vietnam , we have 3 months to complete our journey and i was wondering if someone could give us some tips about wich route to take?

#1 Ignite has been a member since 22/8/2009. Posts: 9

Posted by seagypsy on 22/8/2009 at 22:03

KL>Penang>Langkawi>speedboat across to Thailand Ko Lipe in the Tarutaos (but not sure if the speedboats are still running between these 2 islands and whether you can get full immigration on Lipe or if you need to return to Langkawi and onward to Kuala Perlis for passage to Thailand.

If not, then Kuala Perlise to Satun>Taruataos>Ko Lipe>Pak Bara>Trang-town and nearby islands of Ko Kradan, Muk, Ngai>Ko Lanta>Krabi-town>West Raileh and/or Ao Nang>Ko Phi Phi> Phuket >Khao Lak>Similans>Surins>Takuapa for transport to Surathani OR back to Phuket to fly up to Bangkok.

Bangkok>Sukothai>Chiang Mai>(options of Pai and/or Mae Hong Son/Soppong)>Chiang Rai>Chiang Khong and across to Laos/Hauy Xai with visa upon arrival.

Huay Xai>Luang Namtha and/or Muang Sing>Namtha>Muang Khua>Moung Ngoi>Nong Khiaw>Luang Prabang>Vang Vieng>Vientiane>Tham Kong Lor near Thakek (first to Tham, then Thakek afterwards)>Pakse>Bolaven Plateau>Champasak and Wat Phu>Nakasang for short ferry ride to Don Det/Khon (4,000 islands area)> Cambodia (via 'organized transfer to Phnom Penh)>Siem Reap>(option of Battambang)>Sihanoukville>Phnom Penh to HCMC/Saigon via organized VIP bus such as Mekong Express.

Saigon to Mekong Delta or Vung Tao>MuiNe>NhaTrang>Hoi-An>Hue>Hanoi>Halong Bay>northwest trekking>Hanoi>fly Air Asia back to BKK>HOME at last!

#2 seagypsy has been a member since 5/2/2009. Posts: 136

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Posted by BruceMoon on 23/8/2009 at 05:44


Seagypsy has resolved your options regarding route. On the mainland, it is largely what is referred to as the Banana Pancake Trail (go here for more on what this means ). There is nothing necessarily wrong with the BPT, it's just that it is a well trodden route. For some, the BPT is full of tourists, and people wanting to rip-off tourists. Others say that the 'real' SE Asian experiences are found away from the BPT. But, that many do it, and come away happy suggests it aint all bad.

As this is your first time in SE Asia, good travel planning will be crucial.

When I say 'good travel planning', I'm not saying you should have a day-to-day itinerary of where you go and what you do - and stomp around SE Asia like people on a tour. Rather, do your research so that you have a detailed plan organised of the many possibilities, and use that as a frame to go and enjoy yourself.

I fear that by asking others to provide a route, you may end up jumping from place to place merely because someone said it was OK. And, when you return home much was forgettable (or even worse, forgotten).

- - -

I have elsewhere written that travel is a trade-off between (1) seeing places and doing things, and (2) having experiences that will live in your memory for a lifetime. Go here to read what I wrote (mainly posts #1 & #5).

- - -

I've written much on the view that one ought try planning for ONE city or region per WEEK and at a minimum of ONE city AND at least TWO or THREE regions per country.

So, when looking at an area / region for a week or so, work out what activities you are likely to be doing.

Go look here on Travelfish at the Sights and Attractions section for each place (region, city, town, island, groups of close places, etc.). Also go look on the net, and/or ask others.

Build yourself a list of possible options on a route. Seagypsy has listed a heap of places along a route. If you were to spend about a week in the principle places, you'd probably not reach Vietnam, and maybe not even Cambodia.

So, in the way I see the world, it's important to work out what YOU would actually like to be doing in any of the places Seagypsy has mentioned (or you choose).

My view is to make a list of the fun things you could enjoy at each of the possible destinations. Having a list that is greater than the time allocated means you'll not be wanting for ideas. It also means you can adapt as you feel like as you travel.

In so doing, you'll not only be preparing yourself to enjoy your time there, but also, if you have to choose between two places/regions, you'll have a researched reason as to why.

Hope this helps.


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

Posted by Ignite on 23/8/2009 at 21:01

Seagypsy and BruceMoon , thnx alot for the quick reply to my post , both are very helpfull.
considering the amount of places seagypsy mentioned , i think it will be kinda hard to do so many places as Vietnam is also one of my top priorities to visit.
So i think i will try to spend less time in thailand.
Also, normally we will not be celibrating NY eve at ko pangnang so any suggestions for a cool NY eve in laos cambodja or vietnam are welcome ( dont wanna spent it tubing neither).

#4 Ignite has been a member since 22/8/2009. Posts: 9

Posted by Ignite on 23/8/2009 at 21:03

PS. Seagypsy , unless ur saying u can do all this in 3 months and get back to KL to catch my flight back home.

#5 Ignite has been a member since 22/8/2009. Posts: 9

Posted by seagypsy on 24/8/2009 at 00:16

Hi Ignite,

So, now that I know you're not part of the full moon party and tubing crowd, anything else you wanna let me know to inform an itinerary? your interests, etc? Any must-sees on your part?
I'll mull it over and can rework an itinerary. As I understand it, you've got to return to KL by late January/early Feb. for your flight home, right?

#6 seagypsy has been a member since 5/2/2009. Posts: 136

Posted by Ignite on 24/8/2009 at 15:41

Well in Thailand we pretty much know what highlights we wanna check ( bangkok , floating market , before we get to BKK do some island hopping and see changmai i guess) The Goal of our journey is to distance ourselves from our western culture. We will go tubing one or two days just to relax but not planning to stick there too long as it is basically just a tourist attraction. as in interests ; beautifull nature , remote beaches and waterfalls , Ha-Long is a must see together with angkor wath ofcourse.Heard about some pretty cool caves aswell in ha-long. And we were kinda planning to do vietnam by motorcycle so any tips on that are welcome aswell. Flight back to london leaves 6th of february.
Cheers & ty for the reply

#7 Ignite has been a member since 22/8/2009. Posts: 9

Posted by Lother on 24/8/2009 at 15:58

If by the floating market you mean Damnoen Saduak, I'd say give it a miss. I agree with Travelfish that it's a serious tourist trap. You can see more pleasant and authentic floating markets (and villages!) in Vietnam (Mekong Delta) or Cambodia (e.g., near Kampong Chhnang).

Seeing that you wish to distance yourself from western culture but like beaches, I could recommend Quy Nhon in Vietnam. It's a pleasant little town that sees very few visitors and the Leprosy Hospital beach a few kilometers out of town is a really nice one with practically no-one around on weekdays. And no, you won't catch leprosy there. For waterfalls, there are some cool, pretty impressive ones around the Bolaven Plateau in Southern Laos as well as in Rattanakiri, Cambodia, and both are nice spots for motorbiking too.

#8 Lother has been a member since 12/5/2006. Location: Earth. Posts: 214
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Posted by Ignite on 28/8/2009 at 19:49

Thnx everyone for the effort and the great tips!

#9 Ignite has been a member since 22/8/2009. Posts: 9

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