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Itinerary Advice - Thailand, Laos and Malaysia

Posted by plew10 on 1/4/2012 at 11:18

Hi all,

Looking for some quick feedback on a rough itinerary for our SE Asia trip this June/July. We are flying into BKK on June 6 and out of Singapore on July 24th - about 7 weeks total. I'm mainly looking to see how feasible this is, if we're spending too much/not enough time at certain places, and good transport options between destinations. We don't want our plan to be too rigid; we'd like to leave some flexibility if we get sidetracked. We enjoy outdoor activities, markets and culinary tourism.

BKK - 2 nights
BKK - Vientiene (overnight train)
Vientiene - 2-3 nights
Vientiene - Luang Prabang (bus)
Luang Prabang - 5-6 nights
Nong Kioaw/Muang Ngoi - 2/3 nights
Not sure about this next bit; maybe try to fit in a stop in Luang Nam Tha for a short trek
Transit to Chiang Khong border crossing
Chiang Khong - Chiang Mai (bus) - maybe a stop in Chiang Rai - worth it?
Chiang Mai Area - About 1 week (maybe some side trips, Chiang Dao for example)
CM - BKK (overnight train)
BKK - 1 night to break up the trip south
BKK - Ko Pha Ngan (train/ferry)
Ko Pha Ngan - 5-6 nights (diving and beach time)
KP - Penang (not sure about this route - how easy is it?)
Penang - 2-3 nights
Penang to KL
KL - 1-2 nights
KL to Singapore
Singapore - 2-3 nights
Fly out of Singapore on July 24

We might have time to fit in something else in Malaysia - Cameron Highlands, Perhentian Islands, Taman Negara - would love some recommendations.

Thanks in advance!

#1 plew10 has been a member since 4/1/2010. Posts: 20

Posted by MADMAC on 1/4/2012 at 11:31

You've got some really long legs in there and some things are a little difficult to figure.

Is this your first time to SEA? Because if it is, you are not spending very much time in arguably the most important population center in the region - Bangkok. Any particular reason for that? There is a ton to see and do in Bangkok and aa lot of history as well.

You've got a number of very long, very painful bus / train rides in there.
BKK to Vientiane
Vientiane to Laung Prabang.
Chiang Mai to BKK
BKK to Koh Phangnan.

As long as you understand they eat a lot of time and for most people nights spent on these transportation modes are pretty sleepless, eating into the next day and generally wearing you down.

As long as you go in knowing the deal it's OK.

Not making your plan rigid is smart. Don't worry about whether or not your plan is for too many or too few days - because you can change it on the fly. The only place you got to be at a certain time is your airport of departure.

Good luck and have a great trip.

#2 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
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Posted by plew10 on 1/4/2012 at 16:33

Thanks for the feedback, Madmac. This is our second trip and we did spend a bit of time in Bangkok last time...mainly looking to wander around and eat this trip.

I know we have some long travel legs in there...we tried to figure in a few rest/recovery days after each segment. But might take your advice and try to break them up with stops along the way. Any suggestions for worthwhile stops along those routes? The only common one I know of is Vang Vieng on the Vientiane-LP route and we have no interest in the tubing/party scene so were going to pass.

Thanks again!

#3 plew10 has been a member since 4/1/2010. Posts: 20

Posted by MADMAC on 1/4/2012 at 23:36

Sorry, I'm kind of an Issan specialist, and you are only taking the train through Issan without stopping. I'm afraid I'm not much help on that one. I suggest you PM Rufus for advice on Laos, as he lives there and knows the area you are going to well.

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