Bit of advice if possible
My girlfriend and I are planning to attempt to visit Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam & Laos during a six week holiday..... my question is, is that enough time!? If not which country should we miss out!?
Our rough plan in to land in Bangkok, head across land to Cambodia, then further across land to southern Vietnam, Travel overland by train to north Vietnam, then overland into Laos, overland back into northern Thailand, and finally back to Bangkok.
We want to see all the usual temple sites, natural wonders etc. Not too fussed on spending much time in the major cities but still probably would like to see them.
What we want to avoid is the majority of our holiday being spent traveeling on the road etc.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated
#1 jimmymahoney has been a member since 3/1/2011. Posts: 1
Are you going to hit the beaches in Thailand when you first arrive? If you fly into Chiang Mai at the end of the trip you'll have more time (30 day visa) in Thailand as the overland visa is only 15 days. That way you could save the beaches for the end of the trip - it's always nice to sit back and relax after you've been hiking around with a backpack for a few weeks. Though you didn't mention it so maybe its BKK straight into Cambodia.
You could probably get from BKK to HCMC in a week and a half, two weeks if you spend a few days in BKK before you depart.
BKK (2 nights)
Siem Reap (2/3 nights)
PP (2 nights)
Delta w/ stay (3/4 nights)
HCMC (2 nights)
That gives you only 4 weeks for the rest of Vietnam by train, Laos, and Northern Thailand. If you take two weeks for the remainder of Vietnam and then fly to Vientiane, spend a week between there and Luang Prabang and then fly to Chiang Mai for your last week. Or work your way overland and have a few days in Chiang Mai.
I think it is doable, but your not going to have time to see a few natural wonders and temple sites that are nice. I imagine you'll skip most of Laos (Southern Laos, Plain of Jars, hiking in the north), but that gives you more time to travel overland in Vietnam. If you really want to see temples I think you have to keep Cambodia and Laos in the itinerary.
"What we want to avoid is the majority of our holiday being spent traveeling on the road etc."
I think you have two things that are at basic odds with each other. You want to see all the usual sights in these four cuntries, but you want to avoid spending a lot of time on the road. To see all the sights, you have to spend a lot of time on the road. So you will have to decide what your real preferences are. I have always maintained - speaking for myself of course - that it's better to pick one specific geograghic are and see that intimately than race all over, spending a lot of your valueable vacation time on buses, trains, etc. But everyone is different. Maybe for you that's a small price to pay to see great attractions.
I am planning on doing exactly the same thing and have come to the conclusion that MADMAC is probably right. I want to see all of Thailand, Vietnam and Laos including a trip to Hong Kong and Singapore but have realised that doing too much is not a good idea. I've decided to concentrate most of my time in Vietnam with brief visits to the other places. It's all down to personal preference at the end of the day so if you like one place more than another its worth staying a bit longer. It can be quite stressful and not the best of holiday's if all you are doing is travelling and not staying in one place long enough to relax and truly soak up the culture and atmosphere.
Have a great time!
If you want to avoid spending lots of time on the road yet still want to see all these countries, you seriously need to consider adding a few flights to your itinerary.
Vietnam is a looong country and travel is quite slow. The train from HCMC to Hanoi is 30 hours and the bus ride from Hanoi to Vientiane is another 24 hours.