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Tricky one. Got three weeks before NYE FMP. Where to go?

Posted by Greatlookinguy on 6/10/2012 at 09:40

Hi all, following on from a couple of threads where the forum gurus have been kind enough to help me plan my SEA itinerary, I now have a puzzle I hope one or some of you can help me solve.

You see, I was originally planning to arrive in BKK mid Nov and spend six weeks doing the Classic Backpacker Circuit (unable to find the link to it on this site just now,.. but the regulars will know what I am on about). Then proceed to Koh Phangan for NYE. A week there followed by maybe a week learning to dive or something in the west coast and/or proceed down into Malaysia, onto Singapore and out to New Zealand for my two year working holiday there. Was going to keep Indonesia, Phillipines etc for the next time.

NOW things have changed slightly. A friend of mine from the UK has invited me to his brother's wedding in Punjab, northern India, at the end of November. I have heard so much about Punjabi weddings that letting this chance pass me is too much to bear :-) In which case, I will be able to depart for SEA only by the end of Nov or 1st Dec or so. Which means I have three weeks or so before I have check into my hotel room in Koh Phangan for NYE on the 26th (staying there till the 2nd).

Question as follows: I need your advice and bright ideas on how I can use those first three weeks of Dec to do some traveling in the region before getting to Koh Phangan for the NYE week, and then how to resume my travels after that. Idea is to spend the least money for flights etc and still be able to complete the classic circuit.

Thank You so much for your time and advice!

#1 Greatlookinguy has been a member since 2/8/2012. Location: Earth. Posts: 43
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Posted by exacto on 6/10/2012 at 20:56

With three weeks to spend, I'd probably do an abbreviated circuit. One option would be working up to Chiang Mai and northern Thailand, then over to northern Laos and Luang Prabang, then down to Vientiane, across into Thailand, and down to Koh Phangan for NYE.

Option two would be across the lower part of northeastern Thailand to Ubon and then over to southern Laos and Pakse, Champassak, and the 4000 islands (Si Phan Don). From there down into Cambodia and Siem Reap/Angkor Wat. Then back to Thailand.

On either of these options, keep in mind that travel really books up over the NYE period in Thailand, so you'll want to figure out how you are getting to Koh Phangan in advance if at all possible. Arriving a few days early should also help with those travel logistics.

Also, with either option, you'll likely be coming back into Thailand overland, which means getting only a 15-day visa exemption on arrival at the Thai border.

A third option to consider for your three weeks is to stay within Thailand, making a big clockwise loop up through the north and then over to the northeast and along the Thai side of the Mekong river from Nong Khai through Mukdahan and all the way down to Ubon. If you do it this way, you may want to apply for a 60-day tourist visa before you depart for Thailand so you don't have to worry about getting an extension after you arrive.

What kind of stuff do you like to do? Treks? Temples? Cheers.

#2 exacto has been a member since 12/2/2006. Location: United States. Posts: 2,759
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Posted by Greatlookinguy on 7/10/2012 at 03:44

Thanks Exacto! Good tip there about booking trains (and possibly ferries & buses as well) during the month of December. Once I finalise the plan, will get right on it.

I was going to do the classic backpacker circuit this way (2nd from last post on that thread), so depending on flight costs, I might even be able to do Vietnam first or something first instead of starting out in BKK. After NYE, I can come back and complete the circuit if possible..

Not booked any flights yet whatsoever. I am flying out of South India so will have to see what the flight costs come to, to various points in SEA.

I'm into culture, food and activities in my holidays. A little bit of everything and not fussed about any one thing in particular. I do enjoy a vibrant backpacker nightlife scene though! :-)

#3 Greatlookinguy has been a member since 2/8/2012. Location: Earth. Posts: 43
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