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Southeast Asia New Years Tips?

Posted by alokw on 13/11/2013 at 22:25

Hey all,

I'm planning to be in Southeast Asia from Dec. 18th - January 2nd. Here are my goals for the trip:
- visit and maybe stay at some monasteries
- see some beautiful scenery, architecture, and/or art
- experience some new and unique cities/cultures
- spend some time with nature and myself
- have an awesome and fun new years

My current route thoughts are:
1. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
2. Phuket, Thailand
3. Bangkok, Thailand
4. Angkor Wat, Cambodia
5. Chiang Mai, Thailand
6. Luang Prabang, Laos
7. Hanoi, Vietnam
8. Macau, China
9. Hong Kong, China

So here are my questions:
- I know I'm cramming a lot into only 15 days, so any thoughts about places I should skip?
- Is there anywhere else I MUST visit, that's not on the list?
- Where do you think would be the best place to celebrate new years and end my trip?
- I'm having a hard time figuring out bus routes getting from city to city, and how to "confirm" trips... any suggestions?
- Any other thoughts or advice from people that may have done a similar trip?


#1 alokw has been a member since 13/11/2013. Posts: 2

Posted by Captain_Bob on 14/11/2013 at 07:27

Being on the move almost every day is not fun and IMO kinda ruins the experience. You might want to knock it down to around 4-5 places, allowing time for transport and at least a couple days in each place. You can tick many of your boxes in and around Chiang Mai - go trekking in the hills, stay at hilltribe villages, tons of Buddhist temples in town and around, some which offer "monk chat" opportunities to gain insights into monastic life. Luang Prabang would also fit the bill - many old temples in the UNESCO area are beautiful and well-preserved, and many of the resident monks are willing/eager to communicate with visitors (just make sure it's for the right reasons). Some good wild treks in northern Laos too. Instead of trying to rope in six countries in 15 days, maybe focus on Thailand and either Laos or Cambodia or Vietnam but not all of the above. Just a suggestion. Where you'll spend New Year is pretty much tied to where you fly out of on Jan-2nd.

#2 Captain_Bob has been a member since 27/5/2006. Location: Thailand. Posts: 1,950

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Posted by LeonardCohen1 on 14/11/2013 at 08:29

You need at least 3-4 nights to do anything significant. I wouldn't do something similar because 1 it will cost heaps with flights and 2 it's way too much moving around.

Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos will require a visa payment and Vietnam needs to be bought in advance. Paying visa fees for 3 countries for a 2 night visit is madness.

#3 LeonardCohen1 has been a member since 24/7/2012. Posts: 2,148
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Posted by alokw on 14/11/2013 at 08:40

Good thoughts - thanks guys! Makes a lot of sense. What do you guys think of this?
In this case I'd fly in to Bangkok, and celebrate New Years and fly out of Macau.

1. Bangkok, Thailand (3 days)
2. Angkor Wat, Cambodia (2 days)
3. Chiang Mai, Thailand (4 days)
4. Luang Prabang, Laos (3 days)
5. Macau, China (3 days)

In your experience, what's the best way to book bus trips between cities?

Thanks again!

#4 alokw has been a member since 13/11/2013. Posts: 2

Posted by Captain_Bob on 14/11/2013 at 11:59

Bear in mind the logistics (transfers/delays) of moving from place to place. Bangkok to Siem Reap is either a flight (allow time for taxi/airport/immigration/customs) or one full day by bus - border hassles - bus/taxi, Siem Reap to Chiang Mai requires two connecting flights with the same issues, Chiang Mai to Luang Prabang only option with your timetable is fly (same same airport logistics). Macau? You're really dealing with a load of travel fatigue by then. I'd simplify the plan and stick to just a couple countries and (again) maybe 4-5 destinations.

#5 Captain_Bob has been a member since 27/5/2006. Location: Thailand. Posts: 1,950

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