Hello fellow Travelfish,
I am taking a trip to Thailand & Laos for 6 weeks in July. I am heading north to Chang Mai, Pai and then across to Laos (to take the slow boat, fast boat or bus to Nam Tha is a whole other post). Once back in Bangkok I head south for about a week (or whatever time is left before my flight home) to briefly visit Raileh Beach, Phi Phi, Phang Nga and east for some time on Koh Phangan & Koh Tao.
I would like to see at least one ancient ruin site while on my trip. As I am somewhat squeezed for time, I have considered skipping Ayuthaya & Sukhothai. My original plan was to try for Phimai (Khmer Ruins) or Phanom Rung on my way back from Vientiane to Bangkok (yes I like to plan ;) I am now swaying in the direction of skipping all four and making the trek to Angkor Wat instead.
So, finally to my questions: Is there an easy way to get from Udon Thani (near Vientiane) to Siem Reap by bus/train without going back to Bangkok? How long should it take? And finally, is it worth trying to fit Angkor Wat into my plan instead the above four mentioned sites? (I understand this is subjective)
Thank you for your help!
#1 scudder3 has been a member since 20/2/2006. Posts: 6
Thats quite the preamble before your question-- sounds like a fine trip.
In answer to your question, You can go Udon Thani to Khorat by bus, then swap for a bus from there to Aranyprathet -- assuming you made a good connection, you could do that in a day. I'm not sure of the timetables -- sorry.
However, there is another option -- you could come south from Vientiane -- see Phimai and Phanom Rung then continue south and cross into Cambodia at the Chong Jom/O Smach crossing rather than heading around to Poipet. See the map border post, for summaries of all the crossings -- we've not used the crossing before, but it is a full international crossing, and from O Smach it is a long bumpy ride -- but it leads straight to Angkor -- you'd almost be following the old trading route -- Phimai -- Phanom Rung - Angkor...
#2 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,738
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is your name Joe by any chance? i knew a joe scudder once who was (and probably still is) quite an interesting guy (and a good softball player).
anyway, i've been to all those ruin sites you mention, and as good as they are, angkor is by far superior. hopefully you'll be able to make it over to siem reap to see for yourself.
you mentioned travelling from udon to siem reap. is there a specific reason you need to be in udon? i ask because lao airlines flies from vientiane to siem reap several times per week (with a stop in pakse).
i don't know how you feel about the $130 or so one-way fare, but that is a possible solution to your limited time problem.
also, give ayutthaya a look, even if only on your way to chiang mai. with a little planning, you can make a day trip to ayutthaya and catch the overnight sleeper train to chiang mai, getting to enjoy two great experiences and losing very little time in the process. regards.
Thank you for the info.
Exacto - my name is not Joe, but that would have been random if it was and I played softball :)
It is mostly the price that will keep me from flying Vientiane to Siem Reap. I was already considering stretching my budget by flying BKK - Krabi and then Sumai - BKK to save some time and comfort.
I may have to just see how things unfold once I get there.
#4 scudder3 has been a member since 20/2/2006. Posts: 6
joe had blonde hair and used to be in the air force. good guy.
anyway, you might be a candidate for the Discovery Airpass offered by Bangkok Airways, as it also includes Lao Airlines and Siem Reap Airways. it requires a minimum of three air segments, such as vientiane to siem reap, siem reap to bangkok, and samui to bangkok. you'll need to get it sorted before you arrive in thailand. i don't know if the savings with the pass will make these flights affordable for you or not, but it shouldn't hurt to check with a travel agent to see. (i don't believe AirAsia is part of the pass).
overnight trains, if available to take you where you want to go, are a good way to stretch your budget and save time too. check out the state railways of thailand website to see if there are trains going where you want to be, like chiang mai, surat thani, trang, etc. cheers.