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Is my itinerary too ambitious

Posted by konnan101 on 31/3/2011 at 21:29

Hey, so I was unsure of which forum to post this in, seeing as to it was a little broad for any one of the country specific forums, so I put it in this one. Anyways I have two itineraries below, one is taking my time, not rushing, having an extra week or so in the Thai islands. The other one is more rushed, and a lot of movign around, but it has Laos (Luang Prabang and the gibbon experience) which is supposed to be incredible. Either way I think this trip is going to change drastically once I get over there...I am really not one for set schedules, and enjoy being spontaneous, I just had a few 12 hour shifts at work, with nothing to do, so I kind of obsessed with making the itineraries. Most of the travel between these places has been accounted for and is being considered in my itinerary. Also I have to be in Saigon, on the 21st to meet my brother, so that part of my trip cannot change. The flight into Tokyo and out of Bangkok have already been paid for, so those are set in stone too.

Anyways, I know this is long winded, but from people who have done similiar trips, give me some advice on wich one of these itineraries you would rather go on:



ITINERARY without Laos:
-5/20 Friday - Leave Charleston, Travel to LA
-5/23 Monday - Leave LA, Travel to Tokyo
-5/24 Tuesday - Land in Tokyo 7pm, Travel to Hostel
-6/2 Thursday - Leave Tokyo, Travel to Hanoi
-6/3 Friday - Arrive in Hanoi early AM

-6/7 Tuesday - Leave Hanoi early, Travel to Halong Bay
-6/12 Sunday - Leave Halong Bay, Travle to Hue
-6/15 Wednesday - Leave Hue, Travel to Hoi An
-6/18 Saturday - Leave Hoi An, Travel to Nha Trang
-6/21 Tuesday - Leave Nha Trang, Travel to Ho Chi Minh
-6/25 Saturday - Leave Saigon, Travel to Phnom Penh
-6/28 Tuesday - Leave Phnom Penh, Travel to Siem Reap
-7/1 Friday - Leave Siem Reap, Travek to Bangkok
-7/5 Tuesday - Leave Bangkok, Fly to Ko Samui (Ko Samui, Ko Tao and Ko Phangan (Sunday, July17th is full moon party))
-7/18 Monday - Leave East Islands, Fly into Phuket (Phuket, Ko Phi Phi, Ko Yao, Ko Lanta)
-7/26 Tuesday - Leave Phuket, Fly to Bangkok AM
-7/26 Tuesday - Fly home out of Bangkok PM (~9:30pm)
-7/27 Wednesday - Arrive Newark (7:30am)





ITINERARY with Laos:
-5/20 Friday - Leave Charleston, Travel to LA
-5/23 Monday - Leave LA, Travel to Tokyo
-5/24 Tuesday - Land in Tokyo 7pm, Travel to Hostel
-5/31 Tuesday- Leave Tokyo, Travel to Hanoi (Late pm)
-6/1 Wednesday- Arrive in Hanoi (Early am)
-6/5 Sunday - Leave Hanoi early, Travel to Halong Bay
-6/9 Thursday - Leave Halong Bay, Travle to Hue
-6/12 Sunday - Leave Hue, Travel to Hoi An
-6/15 Wednesday - Leave Hoi An, Travel to Nha Trang (might skip Nha Trang for time)
-6/18 Saturday - Leave Nha Trang, Travel to Ho Chi Minh
-6/22 Wednesday - Leave Saigon, Travel to Phnom Penh
-6/25 Saturday - Leave Phnom Penh, Travel to Siem Reap
-6/28 Tuesday - Leave Siem Reap, Travel to Bangkok to fly to Luang Prabang
-6/29 Wednesday - Arrive in Luang Prabang
-7/2 Saturday - Leave Luang Prabang, Travel to Huay Xai by boat
-7/3 Sunday - Arrive in Huay Xai
-7/4 Monday - Gibbon Experience - 2 Nights
-7/7 Thursday - Leave Huay Xai, Travel to Luang Prabang
-7/8 Friday - Leave Luang Prabang, Travel to Bangkok
-7/12 Tuesday - Leave Bangkok, Fly to Ko Samui (Ko Samui, Ko Tao and Ko Phangan (Sunday, July17th is full moon party))
-7/20 Wednesday - Leave East Islands, Fly into Phuket (Phuket, Ko Phi Phi)
-7/26 Tuesday - Leave Phuket, Fly to Bangkok AM
-7/26 Tuesday - Fly home out of Bangkok PM (~9:30pm)
-7/27 Wednesday - Arrive Newark (7:30am)


If you made it to the bottom, thanks for reading all this.

#1 konnan101 has been a member since 31/3/2011. Posts: 18

Posted by konnan101 on 31/3/2011 at 21:30

by the way I am a 24yo male, if that makes any difference.

#2 konnan101 has been a member since 31/3/2011. Posts: 18


Posted by konnan101 on 1/4/2011 at 19:42

modertaors, can this please be moved from the trip reports forum, to the Southeast Asia forum?

Thank you, Kinnon

#3 konnan101 has been a member since 31/3/2011. Posts: 18

Posted by jnelson232 on 1/4/2011 at 20:30

Whoa,
ambitious is an understatement. First of all your trip is taking for granted that travel is both reliable and quick between different areas.....it isn't.
Especially in Vietnam and Cambodia.
A 7 hours bus ride turns into 11 hours and leaves an hour later than scheduled all the time. Whats your budget like? This trip could be done if you fly some legs of the journey.

And when it comes to the Thai islands, just pick one or two and spend more time at those spots. A night or two on each will feel really rushed. I'd recommend Ko Phangan by itself, unless your into diving then go to Ko Tao.

But you should really think about editing your trip a bit and take time to relax in places. Don't rush through just so you can say you saw a ton of stuff. Some of your most memorable days will be lying in a hammock in your beach bungalow reading a book.

#4 jnelson232 has been a member since 28/3/2011. Location: United States. Posts: 37
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Posted by Nokka on 1/4/2011 at 20:42

Well, I've seen worse. Your first itinerary flows a lot better. The second one isn't impossible, but is does get quite rushed.

At least most of the time you stay at least a few nights in each place. It is tight, though, so not lots of time to just hang out in a place. The second trip is much more frantic, so you really need to want to go to Laos.

A couple of thoughts.

1. Why so long in Halong Bay ? I'm sure you have your reasons, but many go there for either a one or two night trip.

2. If you do decide on going to Laos, spend longer there. That part look very rushed. Laos is not a rushed kind of place, plus, you'll want to stay longer. Also, remember the slow boat takes 2 days.

3. Personally I'd skip a night at Hue and add one to Hoi An.

3. From Samui, why not take the ferry and bus through to Krabi ? Then hop to Lanta or Phi Phi and end up in Phuket ? If you do want to fly to save time I'd do the Saigon to Phnom Penh leg - otherwise you've got a lot of travelling round then.

4. To be honest, I think you're trying to see too many islands. By then you'll want to slow right down. 2 islands will suffice. If you decide to go to Laos, my view would be steal a few days from the islands and add to Laos. But, hey, its your trip.

#5 Nokka has been a member since 6/4/2009. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 259
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Posted by konnan101 on 1/4/2011 at 21:27

Yea, my schedule has gotten a little busy...I think i might skip Nha Trang, since I am going to be getting the beach thing in Thailand. Also, I might skip phnom penh, or just spend one night there, it is supposed to be cool, but not that incredible. Also I think the only islands I am going to do are Ko Samui, Ko Phangan, and Ko Phi Phi....might have to stay a night or two in Phuket cause I am flying in and out of there.

And yes, my budget isn't huge, but it also isn't shoestring. I am going to be sleeping, eating and drinkingg cheap, I hope, but I plan on flying a good bit around SE asia. I plan on flying from tokyo to Hanoi, siem reap to luang prabang, luang prabang to bangkok, bangkok to ko samui, ko samui to phuket, and phuket back to bangkok. This also might be a bit ambititous, catching this many flights...and I feel like the buses and trains are part of the experience, but if flying more means I can include Laos and enjoy it, then I believe it would be worth it...I really should probably cut out Laos, and spend three weeks having fun on the thai islands, but I hear such incredible things about Laos and the Gibbon experience. I do not plan on buying any flights till i am over there, and I am sure I will kind of make it up as I go and end up seeing half of what i set out to see...but if I want to include Laos, I need to make some plans relatively soon.

Anyways, thanks for the input, and moderators if you could move this to the general Southeast Asia forum I would appreciate it.

#6 konnan101 has been a member since 31/3/2011. Posts: 18

Posted by Nokka on 1/4/2011 at 21:59

After the Gibbon Experience why not cross the border to Thailand, drop down to Chiang Mai and get a flight or train from there. Saves having to go all the way back to Luang Prabang on the slow boat and then getting an expensive flight to B'kok. You could even fly straight toKo Samui from there - saves lots of time and maybe allows you to do more of the things you want.

#7 Nokka has been a member since 6/4/2009. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 259
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Posted by konnan101 on 1/4/2011 at 23:10

I like the suggestions.

As far as the islands go, I might just do Ko Samui, Ko Tao , and Ko Phangan...stay on that eastern side, and really enjoy them. Get my diving done in Ko Tao and my partying and beach living done in Ko Phangan. The only reason I was really trying to go west was to dive in Ko Phi Phi, as I hear it is incredible, but Ko Tao is supposed to be an incredible dive spot too, so I guess I can't really go wrong. My stay at Halong bay is probably a little long winded, but having to be in Saigon on June, 21st to meet my brother, means I am spending a little more time in Vietnam than I would like. I would like to shave four or five days off of Vietnam, and spend 9 or 10 days in Laos, but am left having trouble finding these extra days because of the situation with my brother in Saigon, and the fact that the Thai islands are a part of this trip I am looking very forward too, and would like to spend enough time there, out of anywhere, to really enjoy.

Also, Laos gets hit a little harder with the rainy season around June and July than Thailand or Vietnam do, as I understand it. Everyone says the rainy season isn't that big of a deal, no week long seattle rains, just short pours, but would the higher chance of rainy days in Laos, make my first itinerary more appealing?

concerning the boat trip from luang Prabang to Huay Xai, I hear the two day slow boat, while scenic and interesting, is not something to do if you can avoid it, because of the overcrowding and general inconveniences associated with it. the speedboats sounded appealing, but I hear are loud as all hell and can be incredibly dangerous...which could be exciting, but who knows. there is also a bus as I understand but it doesn't sound any better than the slow boat. the idea of not backtracking but going to Chiang Mai is a good idea, and the idea of flying from Chiang Mia to Samui, and then just going back to bangkok four days before my flight home isn't a bad idea either.

Anyways, thanks for the suggestions, keep em coming.

#8 konnan101 has been a member since 31/3/2011. Posts: 18

Posted by konnan101 on 2/4/2011 at 02:39

Ok, this is still a little busy, but it is definitely an itinerary I think will be much easier to manage, also cheaper with less flights


ITINERARY with Laos:
-5/20 Friday - Leave Charleston, Travel to LA
-5/23 Monday - Leave LA, Travel to Tokyo
-5/24 Tuesday - Land in Tokyo 7pm, Travel to Hostel
-6/1 Wednesday - Leave Tokyo, Travel to Hanoi (Late pm) (connect in Kuala Lampur)
-6/2 Thursday - Arrive in Hanoi (Early am)
-6/6 Monday - Leave Hanoi early, Travel to Halong Bay
-6/9 Thursday - Leave Halong Bay, Travel to Hue
-6/11 Saturday - Leave Hue, Travel to Hoi An
-6/15 Wednesday - Leave Hoi An, Travel to Nha Trang
-6/17 Friday - Leave Nha Trang, Travel to Saigon
-6/22 Wednesday - Leave Saigon, Travel to Phnom Penh
-6/24 Friday - Leave Phnom Penh, Travel to Siem Reap
-6/27 Monday - Leave Siem Reap, Travel to Luang Prabang
-7/2 Saturday - Leave Luang Prabang, Travel to Huay Xai by boat (2 days)
-7/3 Sunday - Arrive in Huay Xai
-7/4 Monday - Gibbon Experience (2 nights)
-7/6 Wednesday - Leave Huay Xai, Travel to Chiang Mai
-7/9 Saturday - Leave Chiang Mai, Fly to Ko Samui (Ko Samui, Ko Tao and Ko Phangan (Sunday, July17th is full moon party))
-7/21 Thursday - Leave Ko Samui, travel to Bangkok
-7/26 Tuesday - Fly home out of Bangkok PM (~9:30pm)
-7/27 Wednesday - Arrive Newark (7:30am)

#9 konnan101 has been a member since 31/3/2011. Posts: 18

Posted by wanderingcat on 2/4/2011 at 05:17

concerning the boat trip from luang Prabang to Huay Xai , I hear the two day slow boat, while scenic and interesting, is not something to do if you can avoid it, because of the overcrowding and general inconveniences associated with it.

overcrowding is for the Huay Xai to Luang Prabang (downriver) direction. for some reason much much fewer tourists do the trip in the upriver direction, & boats are far emptier.

-7/2 Saturday - Leave Luang Prabang, Travel to Huay Xai by boat (2 days)
-7/3 Sunday - Arrive in Huay Xai

2 days, so arrive HX on 7/4 evening (usually too late to cross the border).

#10 wanderingcat has been a member since 21/10/2006. Posts: 730
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Posted by konnan101 on 2/4/2011 at 05:30

2 days not 2 nights, right? Sail all day saturday, spend saturday night at the stop over port, sail all day sunday, arrive in Huay Xai on Sunday night, do Gibbon experience Monday and Tuesday night, then wednesday or maybe thursday, depending on how late I get back to Huay xai from the Gibbon experience, cross the Thai laos border to Chiang Mai.

#11 konnan101 has been a member since 31/3/2011. Posts: 18


Posted by wanderingcat on 2/4/2011 at 05:36

my mistake! yup 2 full days on the boat with 1 night in Pak Beng.

#12 wanderingcat has been a member since 21/10/2006. Posts: 730
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Posted by shirasam on 21/6/2011 at 00:56

May I ask where you are staying in Tokyo? I may be stopped in Tokyo for a few days before arriving in Singapore and looking for a budget place to stay.

#13 shirasam has been a member since 6/5/2011. Posts: 6
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