I'm planning the above trip and whilst I've got ideas of places to see, things to do etc I'm not sure what order I should complete my trip in.
This is what I had in mind:
Fly to Bangkok
Cross the border in to Laos
Through Laos to Vietnam
Through Vietnam and down in to Cambodia
Cross the border back in to Thailand
The above is only a very brief guide of the places and whilst i have a basic idea of time id like to spend in each place im not sure where to begin! I need to take in to consideration the weather/ seasons etc too. I would have 3/4 months in total so plenty of time to make the most of each place visited.
I would look at staying in a mixture of hostels and the occasional hotel (mainly southern Thailand islands) and I'm really open to ideas for places to stay and things to see and do that are "off the beaten track" in addition to places that just can't be missed!
I've never travelled at all before so really have no idea other than ideas ive found reading these forums- which have been very helpful but I just need some help being pointed in the right direction.
Also, does anyone know how safe these countries are for females that are travelling solo? The plan is to travel with a friend but just thinking worst case they drop out ill still be going. Time waits for no one and all that!!
I know there are loads of people out there with so much info about this- please feel free to share this to help me and other budding travellers reading this post :)
#1 JayeAC has been a member since 15/5/2013. Posts: 2
The route you described (with beach time at the end as you head south) is a very logical and popular SE Asia circuit followed by many travelers. Don't be surprised if you run into the same people along the way and it is quite easy to join up and share the experience. Three/four months is plenty of time, but there are too many "off the beaten path" places to mention unless you give more specifics. Your suggested timeframe June-September is rainy season for most of the region, but it's also nice in many ways - rains usually come in the late afternoon after hot sunny spells and rain makes the region green and growing plus takes the edge off the heat. Rarely is rain a problem more like a welcome relief. Also, the lower gulf of Thailand and east coast peninsular Malaysia are actually more sunny at this time (e.g. Koh Phangan, etc. and the Perhentian islands). Personal safety is mostly good throughout the region, just exercise common sense. Keep valuables with you as much as possible, don't accept drink buckets/cocktails from strangers, beware the Full Moon party scene, don't walk back to your bungalow alone in the dark/drunk, etc. Any more specific questions welcome.
First of all, I hope you're not talking about June this year as a departure date because if you are, there isn't enough time to get the recommended jabs against Hepatitis A & B. It's administered as a combination vaccine called Twinrix in three doses at 0, 1 and 6 month intervals. You can be infected with Hepatitis through contanimated food and water regardless of where you propose to stay. Even if you do mean you're going to be departing next month, you should still visit your physician a.s.a.p. so that you can at least get some protection against the virus.
Next comes the question of visas. If you don't obtain a Thai tourist visa, you'll only be allowed to stay in the country for 30 days when arriving by air, or 15 days if you arrive via a land border. The latter is something to consider for your planned crossing back into Thailand from Cambodia.
You're also going to have a problem on arrival at Thai immigration if you cannot show proof of onward flight within the 30 day period after arriving in the country (assuming you don't have a tourist visa). A bus or train ticket to Laos won't do.
To alleviate the problem slightly, obtain a Thai tourist visa with two permitted entry endorsements. A single entry visa is no good to you because it'll expire as soon as you leave the country. The visa is valid for 60 days and you can extend it for another 30 days at any Thai immigration office. But without that and without proof of an onward flight to another country, you could be refused boarding at your departure point, that is to say, at the airport in your own country.
You can obtain a visa on arrival at Vientiane, Laos, but to go from there to Vietnam, you'll need to obtain a visa from the Vietnamese Embassy in your own country first. There are agencies which can handle the process for you for a fee and it's the least complicated route of obtaining one, but you cannot simply arrive via a land border or even by air and expect to get a visa without having gone through the formalities. If you do, you'll be spending your vacation on the wrong side of the immigration barrier.
Some parts of southern Thailand are positively dangerous due to an active insurgency in Pattani where shootings and bombings are an almost daily occurrence. Something to be aware of if you're planning to go to that part of the country.
For Cambodian visa regulations, see: http://www.cambodianembassy.org.uk/index.php?menu=5
Hope this helps.
Thank you all for your replies.
Captain_Bob- your post was really helpful! I think when it comes to off the beaten track ideas I'm thinking of places to visit and things to do in Vietnam / Cambodia- are there any places in particular you would recommend to visit in these two countries? I've looked at beng mealea and koh russei in Cambodia- places like this are what really interest me. Also do you know if there are any dive sites in Thailand that are not along the coast? I'm thinking more ruins than coral/ reef diving. I was unsure of visiting in the rainy season but from your post it sounds like the scenery would be beautiful and I'm sure your right- I would welcome the rain in the heat!
Xircal- your response was also very helpful. I'm planning my trip for next year- I wanted to make sure I left myself enough time but in all honesty I hadn't even thought about visas etc so thanks for your advice. That is something I will definately start looking in to now- I'd get no where without one! I had thought about the vaccinations but will look at a travel clinic and get some more info about them because I didn't realise how far in advance I would need them.
Both of your posts have been extremely helpful and they have definately given me some things to start thinking about!
#5 JayeAC has been a member since 15/5/2013. Posts: 2
Im planning for the same time next year and pretty much the same path as you. Ive been hunting forums, trying to learn as much as I can so I have a sense of what to do when I get there. I dont want to have a strict itinerary but want to be familiar with how to get from place to place, visas, currency, special places, etc. I am also thinking a friend may join but it will most likely be me travelling alone!
#6 Becky134 has been a member since 12/6/2013. Posts: 1
Hi Jaye and Becky,
I've just come across this forum as I am planning a similar trip to you guys. How are your plans coming along?
I've only just started the planning process so cutting it a bit fine, with regards to injections think I just need the boosters so getting that sorted shortly and visas in the next couple of weeks.
This trip is all I can think about now that it's getting closer to the time! I'm leaving on the 30th of April - eek!
#7 KuvA has been a member since 28/2/2014. Posts: 1
There are many tourists with the similar trip to you, just search at travelfish to join with them. It will be helpful to travel in group and help each other.
Or you can share your plan and experience to make your trip in smooth water.
#8 Grunberg has been a member since 3/3/2014. Posts: 20