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Thailand, Laos, Cambodia - 5 weeks

Posted by catty1987 on 2/3/2011 at 23:34

I will be arriving in Kuala Lumpur on July 1st. I plan on traveling Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia in 5 weeks. I was thinking of traveling southern Thailand first for 2 weeks (so that I can hit the Full Moon party on the 17th). I also want to travel to Bankok, Chang Mai, and Pai.
Then I want to head to Laos (tubing on the Nam Song River) and then Cambodia (where I want to see Ankor Wat). The sights I mentioned are merely ideas I am looking for more suggestions.

I want this to be a nature and cultural trip versus a religious/temple visit.
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated on how I can have the best trip in 5 weeks.
Thanks :)

#1 catty1987 has been a member since 2/3/2011. Posts: 4

Posted by Tilapia on 3/3/2011 at 01:47

Catty, if you're sure you're going to be getting out of Thailand within 2 weeks or unless you're going to fly from KL to somewhere in Thailand, you might want to get a visa in advance. You'll only get 15 days on arrival if you arrive by land.

You're going to be doing a lot of bus and/or train travel. You may want to catch a flight from Vientiane to Siem Reap to cut down on some time. It might save you a couple of days worth of travel. Laos Airlines has fairly inexpensive flights.

I'm sure you'll get a good dose of nature and culture at a FMP and tubing on the Nam Song.

#2 Tilapia has been a member since 21/4/2006. Location: Canada. Posts: 1,499
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Posted by caseyprich on 3/3/2011 at 13:04

I'm confused about KL arrival and 5 weeks. So that 5 weeks does not include the time you'll have in Malaysia? 5 weeks that you've set aside for Thailand/Laos/Cambodia only?

You'll have to fly into BKK and then head back down south as Tilapia says - visa issue. So you include a few days in BKK into your two weeks in the South. I'm imagining you don't want too many flights so you'll have to make your way back up to BKK and then get a sleeper bus or a train to Chiang Mai . Your best nature/culture area is Northern Thailand - take a few day trek into the hills - I like Pooh Eco Travel in Chiang Mai. Give yourself no less than a week there. (3 weeks)

Probably a good idea after that is going to be a flight from Chiang Mai to Luang Prabang . Even if you're not into temples its a nice area to base-camp for a few days and see some nature on day-trips out of town, and there is a lot of culture, temples included. Then you can go down to Nam Song on your way to Vientiane where you'd need to catch another flight down to Siem Reap. (1 - 1 1/2 week).

You can probably get away with 3 full days in SR and then a full day bus ride back to BKK. Shortening your time somewhere, or cutting something out, like Angkor - would give you more time to relax somewhere and/or the chance to exchange a fight for an overland long-haul bus. If you're not that interested in temples you could consider saving the flight and visa to Cambodia and just doing Thailand and Laos this trip. There are some other places in Laos that are nice - Nong Kiao/Mung Ngoi - and you could always overland from Chiang Mai to Luang Prabang that way.

#3 caseyprich has been a member since 3/3/2010. Location: China. Posts: 1,281
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Posted by catty1987 on 17/3/2011 at 13:12

Thanks everyone!

I'm thinking of taking mostly flying instead of long bus rides to save time. Although maybbe traveling within Thailand, buses would be better? This is my itinerary so far. Thoughts and suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Southeast Trip
Friday, July 1st South Korea – Kuala Lampur
stop over

July2nd- 18th Kuala Lampur –Southern Thailand
In the Gulf:
Krabi (Railay beach)
Koh Tao -koh tao road and PADI cert.
Full Moon Party July 17th (Koh Pha Ngan)
Koh phi phi

July 19th-20th Southern Thailand – Bankok
~Khao San Road
~Patpong Night Market
Floating market (Damnoen Saduak or Koh Kret~ better)
The Grand Palace
Temple of Emerald Buddah(Wat Phra Kaeo)
Wat Po and Wat Arun
Ladyboy shows
Thai boxing
Ancient City

July 21st – 25th Bankok – Northern Thailand
Chang mai
-bamboo rafting
-Thai Elephant Conservation Center
(near Lampang at Tung Kwian)~
-Tiger Kingdom (mae rim)
-cooking classes
-flight of the gibbons
-Kayan (Long-neck) people (Mae Hong Son)
Chang wat-
Kamphaeng Phet (huge buddhas)???
Chiang Rai
Hilltribe trekking

July 26th-29th Northern Thailand – Laos
Luangprabang (2days)
-night market, Kuang Si waterfall

Vang Vieng in Vientian province(2days)
-Nam song river (river tubing)

July 30th-4th Laos – Cambodia
(Siem Riep)(4days)
Ankor Wat
-bamboo train
-Psar Chas shopping
-floating village
- Fire a rocket launcher or M-16.

Phom Phnen (1 day)
-killing fields and Tuol Sleng Genocide Camp (1day)

#4 catty1987 has been a member since 2/3/2011. Posts: 4

Posted by caseyprich on 17/3/2011 at 16:17

That's a lot to do in BKK for two days. It seems like you're squeezing a lot in still. Maybe cut something out of the stay in Northern Thailand . . .I wonder if you wouldn't be better off deciding between Laos and Cambodia. That way you'd get a lot more quality time in either of the places.

#5 caseyprich has been a member since 3/3/2010. Location: China. Posts: 1,281
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Posted by MADMAC on 17/3/2011 at 17:49

I agree with Casey - less is more.

#6 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by Thomas922 on 19/3/2011 at 06:02

Add in ..less is more. Patpong night market? Patpong has this rep from years ago but there isn't anything special there that you won't see in every market all over Thailand. Or the Lumpini night market...or MBK (with Air-con) or at the Jatujak weekend market, or in Chiang Mai....etc. As well as around the Khao Sarn area. Ancient City? The museum place? Why not go to Sukhothai or Ayutthaya? Of course these are suggestions but as long as you have no plans to try to squeeze it all in, in two days you will be OK.

#7 Thomas922 has been a member since 1/7/2007. Location: United States. Posts: 352

Posted by ailish2003 on 22/3/2011 at 04:06

Hey Catty,

Myself and friends going to Thailand for 5 weeks going start of July. Flying into and out of Bangkok. I have been googling places to visit and who has ideas where to go.

Ended up signing up to travelfish because your itinerary seems really good and wanted to say thanks. I know you were looking for advice from others but your ideas have helped me.

Enjoy your travelling and sure we might come across each other :)
Its my friend birthday on the 17th and will Def be at the Full moon party for her to celebrate.

Thanks again,

#8 ailish2003 has been a member since 22/3/2011. Posts: 1

Posted by Sycamore82 on 22/3/2011 at 15:42

this itinerary seems very rushed. sloooowww down turbo.

#9 Sycamore82 has been a member since 14/12/2010. Location: United States. Posts: 3

Posted by chriswotton on 27/3/2011 at 16:00

Another voice to add in that you're planning too much in. Spending your whole trip travelling between places (and then having far less time to actually spend at them) is no fun, trust me.

#10 chriswotton has been a member since 7/9/2008. Location: Thailand. Posts: 96
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Posted by tinoh on 28/3/2011 at 20:28

Although maybbe traveling within Thailand, buses would be better

You don't have time to take a bus with this travel plan. If you want to see the south of thailand, bangkok, the north of thailand, laos and cambodja in just 5 weeks you have to fly between every section. If you really want to see the 3 cities mentoined in the inertia you will have to get a plane between those places as well. Also you will need to fly from SR and Phnom Penh. And from PP to bangkok. So either book 6-8 flights or skip 1 country.

Some comments about the cambodia planning:

Do the Fire a rocket launcher or M-16 in Phnom Penh. You can go to the killing fields in the morning, have the driver drive you to a shooting range on the way back and than go to
TS in the afternoon. To bad that you won't have time for the palace or the russian market.

bamboo train is not in Siem Reap or PP but Battambang so leave that out of your plans.

#11 tinoh has been a member since 13/2/2010. Posts: 40

Posted by busylizzy on 29/3/2011 at 02:55

And of course, the problem with the flights is trying to find ones that will work out for your limited schedule.

Don't underestimate the distances in SEA. To travel between each destination, you need to allow a day - but the time you check out, get to the bus station, wait for the bus, get on the bus, wait on the bus, travel for 5-10 hours, find accom at the other end and get checked in. That's a day gone. Multiply that by each of your travel days and you lose over a week in travelling time. Flying will cut that down to half days, anyhow - but don't forget to allow for checkin times, etc.

Skip either Laos or Cambodia - you'd be crazy to try both as well as Thailand. If you go to Cambodia, either spend an extra day or two in PP, or don't bother going at all. Honestly! And pay attention to the detailed suggestions provided by the above posters.

#12 busylizzy has been a member since 31/12/2007. Location: New Zealand. Posts: 2,155
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Posted by catty1987 on 1/4/2011 at 16:01

Hi everyone, thanks so much for your input. It's helped me cut out some things in my trip. I realize everyone is saying to cut out one country, but I cannot do it. I'll be taking flights between all destinations to cut down on times.

1.Does anyone have any suggestions about an island in S.Thailand I can cut out? I need to go to Koh Tao for diving certification and I'd prefer to spend most of my time in the Gulf as its going to be rainy season in the Andaman.
2. I would love to take a boat ride on the Mekong river. Am I able to take a few hour ride?
3. Any other reccommended places to go?

July2nd- 18th Kuala Lampur –S. Thailand


2.Koh phi phi (3 days)

In the Gulf:
2.Koh Tao: diving cert (4 days)

3.Krabi (Railay beach) (5 days)
4.Full Moon Party July 17th (Koh Pha Ngan)~ (4 days)

July 19th-20th (2 days) S. Thailand – Bangkok
The Grand Palace
Wat Po and Wat Arun
Khao San Road (Shopping)
Floating market (Damnoen Saduak or Koh Kret~ better)
Ladyboy shows
Thai boxing

July 21st – 25th (5days) Bankok – Chiang Mai
-bamboo rafting (pooh eco treks) 1 day
-Thai Elephant Conservation Center (near Lampang at Tung Kwian)~one day training course
-Tiger Kingdom (mae rim, chiang mai) one day
-cooking classes
-flight of the gibbons (Chiang Mai (one day)~$90)

July 25th-30th (6days) N. Thailand – Luangprabang
-night market
-Kuang Si waterfall
-Mekong river

July 31st-4th (5days) Luangprabang – Cambodia
(Siem Riep)(3 days)
Ankor Wat
-Psar Chas shopping??
-floating village

Phom Phnen (2 days)
-killing fields and Tuol Sleng Genocide Camp

Thanks again:)

#13 catty1987 has been a member since 2/3/2011. Posts: 4

Posted by MADMAC on 1/4/2011 at 17:25

Well, Catty, it's up to you. But this isn't a vacation plan, it's a wild race across SEA. If that's what you want to do, fine. But you will be spending mega time travelling around, and on all of your destinations you will be checking your watch to get to the next place you want to go to. Bangkok in two days and you're hitting a million spots. WAY too hectic. There is no time here at all to actually get to know any indigenous peoples in any of the countries you are visiting.

#14 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by chriswotton on 1/4/2011 at 18:18

Apart from echoing what Madmac has said, just a small thing - Krabi is on the Andaman side, not the Gulf. If you want to avoid the Andaman, and thereby benefit from cutting out the time spent travelling between the two, then axe Phuket, Phi Phi and Krabi, and just do Tao and Pha Ngan...have longer and both and enjoy the time relaxing before your marathon runaround..

#15 chriswotton has been a member since 7/9/2008. Location: Thailand. Posts: 96
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Posted by Thomas922 on 4/4/2011 at 03:52

Look at your 2 days in Bangkok. All of that in two days will NOT be enjoyable. I have never seen anyone walk into the Grand Palace and out very quickly. 2 hours won't even get you two see half of it without running through. Then Wat Pho AND Wat Arun....unless you are just taking a quick few pics, you just gave us a whole day and an exhausting one at that. You leave no time for the unexpected experiences with locals r other travelers or the thing you will see that stop you and cause wonderment. None of these are small places and all have lots of detail. Ladyboy shows? Really? That cheezy crap? Ok I won't judge but that is a night thing and so is the Thai boxing. When you see the price charged to foreigners compared to the locals and the quality of some of the fights you may be unhappy. Because so many farang want to see it they cobble together any fighters to put on a show of dubious skill. You may want to find out from someone if good fighters are on schedule for the week you are there or it ain't worth up to 1000 baht plus. Cheaper on the islands though. The most famous floating market is basically tourists. Unless you stay all night there and get out there for pics at dawn when the ladies are setting up. By 9 am it is you taking pics of tons of other white folks and the ladies are floating around selling postcards and tourist stuff too. Not entirely but you get the drift. The ladyboy stuff in Bangkok are horrible tourist rip offs. Beware your bill (padded) and pick pockets. This info comes not from once or twice, but from every week that it happens to unsuspecting tourists suckered by ladyboys in Bangkok. Just be aware.

#16 Thomas922 has been a member since 1/7/2007. Location: United States. Posts: 352

Posted by catty1987 on 14/4/2011 at 15:20

Thanks everyone!! After more consideration I've decided to axe Laos:( I will take a tour on the Mekong river in Phnom Penh and I will have to come back to visit Laos another time. This will give me an extra 5-6 days to spread around in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Cambodia.
I am thinking 3 days in Bangkok, 7 days in Chiang Mai, and a week in Cambodia (Siem Reap/Phnom Penh). Any other suggestions?

#17 catty1987 has been a member since 2/3/2011. Posts: 4

Posted by MADMAC on 14/4/2011 at 17:01

I would not buy airplane tickets in advance and take the chance you don't get a flight out on the day you want. You might very well decide on the day before you are due to leave that you don't want to... Glad you axed Laos. I'd have acxed Cambodia too - but at least you've slowed down a bit... now it's just somewhat hectic. Some people are high energy and just don't like the idea of sitting still, in which case maybe hectic is good for you.

#18 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by chriswotton on 14/4/2011 at 17:05

Sounds good to me, refreshing to see people heed warnings about cramming too much in! :) Have a great trip!

#19 chriswotton has been a member since 7/9/2008. Location: Thailand. Posts: 96
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