Hi everyone, I am planning a 3 week trip in May 2014 to Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. I am flying from London and plan to head to Bangkok first as I believe this where I can get cheapest direct flights to get into the region. I am travelling with my wife and we are keen photographers looking for a mixture of temples, natural scenery, and good food.
So here is my rough itinerary:-
-Fly from Bangkok to Phnom Penh (Flight using Bangkok Airlines)
-Phnom Penh (2 nights and 1.5 days
-Bus (Mekong Express or Giant Ibis) from Phnom Penh to Siam Reap
-Siam Reap (5 nights and 4.5 days)
-Fly from SR to Luang Prabang (using Laos Airline)
-Luang Prabang (5 nights and 4.5 days) before getting a bus to Vang Vieng
-Vang Vieng (2 nights and 1.5 days) before getting a bus to Vientiane
-Vientiane (3 nights and 2 days)
-Fly from Vientiane to Bangkok (Flight on Laos Airlines)
-Spend 2.5 days in Bangkok before flying back to London
Please could you give any comments as to my itinerary? Specifically:-
i) I have tried to allocate a good amount of time in each place - please let me know if I should be spending more or less time in each place
ii) Are there any other interesting towns/places which I have missed which could potentially be added to the itinerary? Or things which I should consider taking off?
iii) I have seen other itineraries where people have gone to Bangkok, then Laos and then Cambodia - are there any cost or time savings from doing this?
iv) I believe that Bangkok is the best place to start our trip around Laos and Cambodia - are there any other options which I have missed?
v) I have taken flights where I can in order to save time as I have quite a limited time to spend in the region - are these the best available options or could I get a train/bus?
I apologise for the really detailed questions and many thanks in advance
#1 corion has been a member since 18/11/2013. Posts: 3
i) I would say your itinerary looks quite reasonable. The only thing you might change is the 03 nights in Vientiane . You might add one day to SR or LPB instead.
ii) With your limited time I wouldn't add or remove anything unless you wanted to see more in Thailand other than just Bangkok.
iii) Not that I can see.
iv) Yes, Bangkok is the major air hub for this part of SE Asia. The only other option would be Singapore, which is further away and probably more expensive.
v) There are no trains really in Cambodia and Laos and bus rides are long and unreliable in terms of schedules. It would literally take you days to get from SR to LPB by bus. It's possible to take a train from Vientiane to Bangkok, but the railway is not well-maintained and there have been a rash of derailments in 2013.
Anyway, I'd say stick with your plan except for maybe a few minor adjustments as mentioned.
One thing could be to drop Vang Vieng, which could give you time to perhaps go further north to Nong Kiaow which is a bit more 'off the beaten track', as it were. That does mean having to retrace your steps coming back towards Luang Prabang to get to Vientiane, but you could then take a flight from LP to Vientiane, cutting out that long bus journey through the mountains!
Other than that it's a great itinerary: you're seeing the 'highlights' while not trying to do too much with the little time you have!