Im a total newbie on the far east :o) so expect many questions between now and next April some stupid, some daft, some random, and well a bit of everything really.
Anyway 1st one here goes, we are looking at a 6 wk trip and cant decide between the full 6 wks exploring thailand and really getting to see as much of it as possible or 4 wks in thailand with maybe a wk in vietnam and a wk in malaysia or any other places you can suggest that makes us think.
#1 sweetlikechoc has been a member since 25/9/2010. Posts: 1
Once you pay for your plane tickets to Thailand the largest expense is over with.
Some tourists do split their trips when in South East Asia. You can purchase plane tickets or even train tickets while you are in Thailand. From Bangkok you can even take the train to Malaysia if you want to, even on to Singapore.
Other tourists think 6 weeks is too short a time to visit Thailand. It is up to you really. If this may be the only time in the near future when you will have a chance to visit a foreign country why not take some side trips to check out the nearby countries.
Verify that you can stay in Thailand for 6 weeks. Also see if you need a visa for Malaysia. You will probably need a visa for Vietnam, most of the Communist countries require them.
Some tourists try to see several countries in less time than you have allowed for your Thailand holiday.
Up to you.
like sirhalberd says, it really is up to you and would depend on both your travel style and what types of things you want to see. in terms of logistics, laos and cambodia are a bit easier to reach on quick side trips from thailand than malaysia and vietnam. then again, if you are really interested in spending your time on the beach, then little land-locked laos may not be your best choice, although the 4,000 islands area does have that laid-back, beach-like vibe.
anyway, i'd say with six weeks at least one side trip is a good idea, if for no other reason than to make your visa situation easier. most folks (check on the regs for your nationality) qualify for a 30-day visa exemption when they arrive by air in thailand. so, you could hang out in thailand for up to 30 days, cross the border (or fly) to another place, and then when you make your way back to thailand, you'll get either a 15 day visa exemption when you arrive by land or another 30 days by air, which has your time completely covered.
i guess if i were looking to visit a place a bit farther away from thailand like malaysia or vietnam, i'd likely look into an open jaw ticket, arriving in bangkok and flying out of KL or HCMC or something like that. assuming it wasn't too expensive to do it that way, you'd save time and effort by not having to get your cookies all the way back to bangers for the return flight.
if you decide to do the full six weeks in thailand, make sure you sort out a 60-day tourist visa before you arrive. that will save you loads of time and effort during your holiday. many thai consulates are offering these for free or reduced fees these days too. regards.
Visa issues aside, I think you could find plenty to do in Thailand for 6 weeks without ever getting bored.
However, to deal with the visa issue, one suggestion is to fly (or bus) into Cambodia and spend 7-8 days in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh (which is what I did back on a 6 week trip in 2008.) Our itinerary was as follows:
Bkk (2-3 days)
East Thailand island (Koh Chang - Koh Mak) (7 days)
Flight from Trang - Bkk - Siem Reap
Siem Reap - 4 days
Bus to Siem Reap - Phnom Penh
Phnom Penh - 3 days
Flight PP - BKK - Chaing Mai
North/Central Thailand - 1 week (Chiang Mai, Tak, Kachanburi, Amphawa....) - by rental car
Southern Thai islands - 2 weeks(Krabi/Railay, Koh Samui/Koh Phangan/Koh Tao)
We had the luxury of a few flights and a rental car since we could afford it, and more importantly wanted to make the most of our time. (Sitting on a 12 hour bus ride wasn't considered good use of our time when we had limited time).
I was glad we went to Cambodia (Siem Reap and Phnom Penh) - I found the food very good, the people very friendly, the history and culture side interesting. Personallly, I think Vietnam warrants longer than a week or two, so would suggest leaving that for a separate dedicated trip.
Hope that helps.
Last Feb we went for four weeks to Thailand. It was not nearly enough to see it all and do it all! We kept saying: next time we'll do this, if we ever go back we're gonna see that... So next Jan/Feb we go for six weeks, only Thailand. And I still have to make choices.
But it depends on how you travel, we like the slow travel, taking daytrains, don't bother delays, staying somewhere an extra night just to wander around.
My advice: don't try to see as much as possible, try to enjoy as much as possible.