I am spending 4-5 weeks in SEA coming from London to my new home in Sydney Australia.
I will no doubt arrive in Bankok and am doing the usual over planning. I was looking for sugguestions about which way round to do things to best save time. I'm planning to fly intercountry to save time.
I was thinking of a few days in bankok, heading north to a few major towns 7-10 days inc travel, venture into laos for 5 days from Phi on a recommendation. Head down to the south (need help here epecially on an effective route) then to the Gulf islands. I want to relax here abit and also do my scuba PADI at Ko Tao.
Would like to do some partying, don't fancy the Full moon party as that seems a cliche and have always been a disconcerning clubber (read heading to unique hidden or not so hidden gem places rather than pretentious nonsense) think Berghain, zoo in ibiza, some of Hackney's mini raves. I guess this will be 10 days from top of thailand to finish on the islands
Would like to squeeze in cambodia and do the predictable ankor wat and PP (although i am flexible on advice on this one) 5-7 days and i guess i won't fly direct from Cambodia to sydney and will have a night off during the interachange HK prehaps 3-4 days.
5 weeks is going to be push huh? Is my route the right way round? is there a better way, i have no preferance in how to do it?
Also what would be a good base to rent a bike and do some exploring?
Many thanks in advance, partial advice is just as welcome as whole advice
#1 simonmobiledisco has been a member since 16/1/2009. Posts: 19
Keep in mind that if you go into Laos for a week, or so, when you come back into Thailand (if you come by land) you will only have a 15-day visa, which won't give you much time on Koh Tao. Unless you're planning on flying to Koh Samui, or somewhere close on the mainland, it will take you at least 2 days to get to Koh Tao from the Lao border, and then another whole day to get back to Bangkok if that's where you plan on flying from.
Also, if you plan on going into Laos from Pai, then I expect you'll leave Thailand via Chiang Khong and enter Laos in Huay Xai and then take the boat to Luang Prabang. It's a great trip, but it will take at least 2 full days just to get to LP. LP is worth about 3 or 4 days alone, and then it's another full day to Vientiane by bus (without stopping in Vang Vieng), and then the Thai border. You might want to stick around in Laos a bit longer. It's worth it. The south is very good. Well worth exploring. You might consider going south in Laos to Siphandon, and then crossing the border into Cambodia and going from there to Siem Reap .
Or, if you've got the money, you can fly from Bangkok to Siem Reap (after your PADI course), then take the boat to PP and fly to HK from there. 6 or 7 days around there would probably be enough if you're only interested in those two parts of the country.
Also, you didn't say when you would be coming to the area. This could make a big difference with regards to your diving plans.
I think that 4-5 weeks will be enough time to do what you want, without really rushing around. I'd say 5 to be safe.
Thanks for such a detailed response. I forgot to say this is my first time backbacking so excuse any naivity.
I am planning to be there in 2 weeks.
Surely if i have a 30 day visa in Thailand is is still valid if i leave and come back, no?
So maybe it might be worth going to the south of thailand first then fly to the north of the island and explore there then laos --> cambodia?
#3 simonmobiledisco has been a member since 16/1/2009. Posts: 19
also i think you can get flights from vietnam to Sydney i believe so maybe that might be a good idea instead of HK (save that for the next holiday)
#4 simonmobiledisco has been a member since 16/1/2009. Posts: 19
Once you leave Thailand the 30 day visa is null and void even if you have not used the full 30 days.If you fly back you get another 30 days;if you come back by land you get 15days.
I'm pretty certain Jetstar fly from Hanoi to Sydney[or Melbourne].Hope that helps
Thanks guys, so do you suggest going to the south and islands, then flying to the north then Laos then cambodia then hanoi to fly to OZ?
Also where would be a good base for a bit of scooter exploration. Bearing in mind I'm a novice?
#8 simonmobiledisco has been a member since 16/1/2009. Posts: 19
losts of people crash on scooters so dont go too far. krabi is ok for that, not to busy.
#9 travelrock has been a member since 19/4/2008. Posts: 209
Considering the short amount of time you have available, options for you would include travelling to the south of Thailand first, return to Bangkok and fly or overnight train/bus to Chiang Mai. From here you can fly to Luang Prabang (saving the two days on a boat, which while a good trip eats up a lot of your time). From Luang Prabang you could fly onwards to Vientiane, Bangkok, Siem Reap or Hanoi.
thanks very much, I think flying will be very much part of my plans although I wanted to take one slow boat journey and possibly home stay for a night in Laos. Am i being to optimistic
#11 simonmobiledisco has been a member since 16/1/2009. Posts: 19