Photo: Street food Phetchaburi Soi 10, Bangkok.

Southeast Asia forum

Bangkok to Hanoi or Vice Versa,?

Posted by Marlbs on 24/8/2009 at 19:06

I arrive in Bangkok at the begining of October and have 10 weeks before flying back out from there home.
I want to go to Nth Thailand, down through Laos and Cambodia and up through Vietnam to Hanoi then fly back to Bangkok.
I'm not sure whether to do the above route or do it in reverse starting with the flight to Hanoi.
Does it really make any difference and is there any advantage one direction has over the other?

#1 Marlbs has been a member since 24/8/2009. Posts: 3

Posted by seagypsy on 25/8/2009 at 03:15

Hi Marlbs,

You're itinerary is pretty much as the one I out-lined for ignite in the thread below/above or here:

Just ignore the southern Thailand beaches/islands part and start with the BKK>Sukothia>Chiang Mai and onwards to the Lao border part.

I don't think it really matters all that much whether you start in Hanoi first except for the possibility of inclimate weather in central and southern Vietnam that can get hit by monsoonal rains in mid-Oct to November. Just off memory, it seems that there's regular flooding along the central coast southwards that time of the year whereas northern Laos and Thailand is winding down its rainy season.

And yes, Air Asia does offer inexpensive flights between Bangkok and Hanoi but the route I proposed for Ignite can easily be reversed OR modified in a number of ways.

With 10 weeks, you could pretty much cover most of the Indochina section of the itinerary I outlined for Ignite. Amongst the festivals to attend if timing permits are the Boun Awk Phansa festival in Laos early October or the Boun Om Tuk festival in Cambodia (I've forgotten the exact dates but you could easily search on yahoo, bing, google, etc.).

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

Posted by BruceMoon on 25/8/2009 at 06:13


Seagypsy has most covered. He makes a reference to another page. Please check out my post there (at #3).

I suggest that two issues may come into play. First, the weather. seagypsy has suggested you consider this (I fully agree). There is a good weather website (look here ) that I use to keep track of the weather when I'm away. I've referenced it to Vietnam (just click on any one city to see the overview, and then onto the map on the left to see the satellite view).

My thinking is (as per seagypsy) that Vietnam may be 'rained out', and you may need to pursue other options. I'll come back to this.

Second, mid-end December is when the world comes knocking on Thailand's holiday doors. So, accommodation options may be limited if you do decide to end there, at that time.

So, returning...

Maybe it's best to travel overland from BKK, keep an eye on the weather, and then choose the travel speed that suits the circumstances. It's possible that by November, if Vietnam is sodden, you could choose to leave that part of your journey to another occasion, and explore (say) southern Cambodia or southern Thailand.


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

Posted by Marlbs on 26/8/2009 at 00:09

Thanks for the link it looks really helpful. It was the weather that prompted my question as I had originally thought I'd leave Hanoi til last but then was looking in a guide that made me wonder whether it would be better to get there earlier hence the idea of reversing the route. I'll read up a bit more and definately check out your recommendations.

Thanks too for your help, I had already figured that the weather would be the determining factor and so your link will be very helpful. I read your thoughts on the BPT, my route was worked out simply by looking at the places I want to see and joining the dots, later realising that this is a well trodden route but I guess a lot of the well trod routes become so because they link popular places of interest. I like to have an overall idea of route but be flexible enough to change plans on the road so start by picking out a few obvious spots but make time for the more obscure ones on the way. As for Thailand I'm only planning a few days in Bangkok as that's where my flights are routed through plus a stop in Chang Mai other than that I'm focusing on the other areas this trip.

Thanks again to you both.

#4 Marlbs has been a member since 24/8/2009. Posts: 3

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