I am planning a trip from Beijing to Kuala Lumpur overland (train, bus and boat) for about 50 days starting on january 14. Its the first time to do a trip like that and first time in those countries, so I am feeling a bit anxious about the trip and itinerary. If anyone could give me a hand with the planning and how long spend in each place, I would be very happy.
There goes the itinerary:
CHINA - 15 days (14~29/JAN)
Beijing, Shanghai, Zhangjiajie, Guilin, Nanning
VIETNAM - 10 days (30/Jan ~ 10/Fev)
Hanoi, Ha Long Bay, Ninh Binh, Hue, Hoi An, Saigon, Chau Doc
CAMBODIA - 5 days (11/Fev ~ 14/Fev)
Phnom Penh, Siem Reap
THAILAND / LAOS 18 days (16/Fev ~ 04/ Mar)
Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Luang Prabang, Bangkok, Ko Prabang, Surat Thani
1 or 2 days to get to Kuala Lumpur by train from Surat Thani
1. Is 50 days ok for all those
#1 marianaspagnuolo has been a member since 3/1/2010. Posts: 3
1. Is 50 days ok for all those places or its gonna end up too rush and frustrating?
2. What is a good spot to take a boat tour on Mekong river on the way? Thinking about the boat crossing the border from Vietnam to Cambodia or the boat from Chiang May (Thai) to Laos. Anyone has done one of these before?
3. Anything else I should add to the itinerary, like some can't miss place?
Thank, any info will be appreciated,
#2 marianaspagnuolo has been a member since 3/1/2010. Posts: 3
VIETNAM - 10 days (30/Jan ~ 10/Fev)
Hanoi, Ha Long Bay, Ninh Binh , Hue , Hoi An, Saigon, Chau Doc
That is going to be a real squeeze. If you can't give Vn more time, then I'd suggest dropping Ninh Binh and perhaps Hue (depending on how long you are spending at Ha Long Bay).
For The Thai/Lao leg, I assume you're flying in and out of Luang Prabang? If not, you're going to run out of time.
Think the boat from Chau Doc to Phnom Penh fits the bill for the "Mekong experience"
Hope that helps
#3 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,755
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That seems to me a bit like planning to travel overland from Washington DC to Rio. You can do it, but it's a long way. I hope you like sitting in a bus, train or boat for a long time - because this trip means sitting in those contraptions for long periods of time over and over and over again.
Sounds like the makings of a great trip to me! I'm planning something similar from Beijing, though just to PP or Bangkok, not Kuala Lumpur.
Anyway, for myself, I would either go through Vietnam and Cambodia to Thailand or through Laos to Thailand (possibly via Cambodia), and leave either Laos or Vietnam out. That way you'll have more time to see things and won't spend the majority of your time in a bus or train, as fun/interesting as that can be too. Of course you could fit all the countries in if you fly, as somtam points out, but doesn't that kind of defeat the purpose of going overland?
"That way you'll have more time to see things and won't spend the majority of your time in a bus or train, as fun/interesting as that can be too."
You and I definitely have a different view regarding busses. I seldom find them to be anything other than boring or even tortuous.
Thanks a lot for the replies, I am changing the itinerary now... Yeah, Madmac, I will try to avoid seeing the contries just from the buses or trains windows.
Thinking about flying some destinations in China and Vietnam and going by land between Guilin and Bangkok. It would be like this:
China 12 days
Beijing > Shanghai > Guilin (connect by flights)
Vietnam 15 days
Hanoi, Ha Long Bay, Ninh Binh, Hoi An, HCMC, Chau Doc
Cambodia 8 days
Phnom Phen, Siem Reap, Stung Treng
Laos 6 days
Pakse, Vientiane, Luang Prabang
Thailand 8 days
Chiang Mai, Bangkok and some other city
Fly to Kuala Lumpur...
What about? Should be less rush!
Thanks again everybody!
#7 marianaspagnuolo has been a member since 3/1/2010. Posts: 3
15 days in China! No it is not long enough. 50 days to do the whole trip? You'll be exhausted. Your route in China misses some or most of the main attractions. I lived there for 10 years and I can advise that with no Chinese your life will be slowed down considerably. Also it is FREEZING in Beijing and you are moving into warmer climes. Great wall at 3PM on a Monday and how many tourists will you see in Jan? Vietnam in 10 days? Cambodia in 5? It all sounds like th makings of a totally bananas trip. Forget it or triple the length of the trip or better still look at a map before posting idiotic questions here.
#8 lostagent has been a member since 6/1/2010. Posts: 2
I looked at your changed plans - still bananans. WHy even go to Laos for 6 days. What are you going to do? Nothing ... your whole 6 days will be on a bus. Vientiane to LP is a day trip and Pakse to Vientiane is the most pointless trip on a bus in S-E Asia as you could exit Laos and go up through Thailand in half the time and then reenter laos. Pakse - Vientiane nothing to see except traffic speeding past you in Thailand.
Cambodia? Stung treng / PP and Ankor in 8 days? I have now decided that your post is a joke and will stop here.
#9 lostagent has been a member since 6/1/2010. Posts: 2
Please ignore the silly hostility above.
As to your revised itinerary, I can't comment much on the China or Vietnam parts (only been to Southern Vietnam), but 8 days for Phnom Penh and Siem Reap sounds okay, as does another 8 for CM and Bangkok.
However, I would reconsider going overland all through Laos to Luang Prabang in just 6 days. The trip from the southern end of Laos through Pakse to Vientiane is very long and probably not that interesting if you're not stopping anywhere. If you're set on seeing Luang Prabang, maybe a flight from Siem Reap would be in order? Or you could go overland from Cambodia to Bangkok and then fly to Chiang Mai and cross over to Laos for a week or so from there.
if you're going to Beijing, Shanghai and Guilin you will definately NOT need to know any chinese. I visited these places sept 09 on my 30 day jaunt round China. I didn't know any Chinese and was travelling alone. You just have to make sure you do a bit of research. The most important thing is to find out directions to where ever it is you're staying from wherever you arrive from. These are usually available on websites like hostelworld, or alternatively just email the accomodation.
I think navigating round China used to be a major challenge but, since the Olympics especially, it's been made much easier for non-chinese speakers. Of course, this isn't the case everywhere but certainly where you're going i had no problem. I found everyone very friendly and helpful. The Beijing and Shanghai tube systems are really easy to use. I found getting round Beijing very easy. On the other hand, you should probably be prepared to get lost in China - i know i did - but i was never lost to the extent that i was worried. Just the odd wrong turn or perhaps i was looking for a museum and couldn't find it...in fact, i got lost in a park in Beijing for 45 minutes or so...
Guilin isn't anything special, despite the fact that all the Chinese i met raved about it. I would personally leave as soon as you arrive and head to Yangshuo. Yangshuo is a really good destination and, although it can be quite busy with tourists, you can easily escape them by renting bikes, going rock climbing etc
If you want any more info on my fairly recent experiences with Beijing and Guilin let me know and ill post my email address up or post yours and ill drop you a line