Hi everyone! I'm new to the world of backpacking - I've always always wanted to visit SE Asia, see the temples, jungles, beaches! But for various reasons I've never done it. But New Year new start and I'm determined to do it either Dec 2013/Jan 2014! (any comments on times as well always welcome!)
Anyway I've pretty much only just started looking at putting "the plan" together and theres so much I want to see and do but with work I think realistically I'm only getting two weeks. 2 1/2 at a push! So I have cut out tropical beaches which is a shame and more places in Cambodia and have narrowed it down to:
Ayutthaya -> Pak Chong -> Khao Yai National Park
Back to Ayutthaya -> Chiang Mai
Back to Bangkok
Aranyaprathet -> Poipet -> Siem Reap
I might aim for 2 1/2 weeks just for jet lag recovery/travel to and from SE Asia, just occurred to me I hadn't accounted for that lol.
So question is, especially for a first timer is this too much in two weeks? It's doable yes but can I still take my time and enjoy it with all the travelling we have to do in between? I've never had to navigate anywhere like this on my own (well I'm going with my BFriend but we're both as clueless as each other!) so really appreciate your advice!! thanks guys
#1 evans03 has been a member since 1/1/2013. Posts: 5
Siem Reap is going to blow away Ayutthaya , so I would replace Ayutthaya with something else. You could spend the extra time in Cambodia visiting the Tonle Sap lake and some of the more out of the way places around Siem Reap, such as Kbal Speam (aka the River of a Thousand Lingas; not such an amazing destination itself, IMO, but a really beautiful ride thru the Cambodian countryside) and/or Beng Melea, another Angkor era temple outside of town and supposedly still pretty much buried in trees.
Hi thanks for the reply.
I was really only thinking of passing through Ayutthaya to get to the National Park and thought it would be a nice stop on the way to Chiang Mai.
Do you think I could make better use of the time not going there at all, maybe going somewhere else instead or spending more time in one of my other stops?
#3 evans03 has been a member since 1/1/2013. Posts: 5
Ok I'm really stuck now - I've discovered Khao Sok National Park and now I have to go there!! Now the main places I want to go are on complete opposite sides of each other - Chiang Mai, Siem Reap and Khao Sok lol. What do I do??
I think I need to be cut throat here and do some serious re-planning, the distances between them all are too great to manage in just two weeks. Any advice is hugely appreciated!
#4 evans03 has been a member since 1/1/2013. Posts: 5
A couple of thoughts:
While I'd agree with Greg that Angkor Wat is more impressive than Ayutthaya the latter does fit well with going to Khao Yai, so at least for an overnight I'd still see it -- plus the ruins are very different + it gives you more time to eat loads to Thai food
Why do you want to go to Chiang Mai? You're not really going to have time to do a trek...
Let's say you have two weeks, you could do something like:
Day 1: Arrive Bangkok
Day 2: Bangkok
Day 3: Morning train to Ayutthaya, full day and overnight there (I recommend Baan Lotus as a place to stay)
Day 4: Morning train to Pak Chong , then either join a tour or head to the park independently
Day 5: Khao Yai
Day 6: Khao Yai, afternoon departure back to Pak Chong for bus to Bangkok
Day 7: Bangkok
Day 8: If all you want to see in Cambodia is Angkor, I'd bite the bullet and fly there and back as then you'll be in Siem Reap by late morning. If you go overland (train or bus to border then, onwards to Siem Reap) it'll take all day -- and you'll have to repeat the trip in reverse.
Day 9: Angkor Wat
Day 10: Angkor Wat, evening flight back to Bangkok
Day 11: Bus south to Khao Sok, arrive mid afternoon
Day 12: Khao Sok
Day 13: Khao Sok
Day 14: Khao Sok, day bus back to Bangkok & exit.
In my opinion that is a lot to pack into 14 days, but it is possible. I think if you want to see Chiang Mai, you'll need to choose just one of the two national parks, and I'd recommend flying to Siem Reap to save the greater part of two days overland travel.
Doing Khao Sok independently
How to do Khao Yai
Khao Yai farm & wine trail
Day trip to Ayuttaya,
Warning the above will only make you want to see even more
Hi thanks both, really appreciate your help!!
I am willing to cut out Khao Yai and replace with Khao Sok so really being harsh about it I MUST see Khao Sok and Angkor. Chiang Mai just looked beautiful and have heard great things but if you think its not worth going if you don't have the time to get a worthwhie experience, then I could cut that out and spend my time split between Siem Reap, Bangkok and the Khao Sok (which from what I've read you have to go through Phuket /Surat Thani and only from Bangkok?)
So... arrive straight into Siem Reap, few days there, travel to Bangkok - few days there. Flight to Phuket where I make my way over to Khao Sok - few days there. Maybe gives me more time to explore/travel/side trips?
#7 evans03 has been a member since 1/1/2013. Posts: 5
Chiang Mai is a nice town, but given your time constraints it is pushing it a little - if you drop Khao Yai you could certainly fit it in... plus if you start at Siem Reap that does save you a little time... as will flying to Phuket (from where you can get a bus to the park.
Maybe you could fit it back in
Great news, you're my new favourite person!! Ok well at least I know it's possible. Now all I need to do is work out the how and how much!
thanks for your advice really appreciated
#9 evans03 has been a member since 1/1/2013. Posts: 5