I'm due to travel to Asia next month, we fly into Chiang Mia and are looking to travel clockwise, taking in Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and finish off down in Krabi and the islands. We have approx 32 days for this trip. Would anyone be able to offer me any advice on this route and what the best transport options are along the way. Also, im thinking we're trying to do to much in 32 days, has anyone traveled this route and might know how long we would need? I know we could probably spend a full month in Vietnam along but would 32 days be enough to see the main places along the way.
Thanks in advance for any help on this matter.
To me this is more of a 2 - 2.5 months kind trip. In 32 days I could be done. But, you would have about 12-14 pretty full days of bus/train travel to do this route, which only leaves you about 18 days of actually visiting. You might be able to shave a couple days off by taking night trains or flying a couple legs, but it's still pretty busy. I think you would be better off trimming up your route and focusing on 1 or two countries.
Maybe do a Northern Indochina route. Chaing Mai, Pai, Chaing Rai - Luang Prabang, Vang Vieng, Vientienne - Hanoi, Sapa and Halong Bay. Fly from Hanoi to wherever your last destination is. This would have a couple long day trips and some night trains, but you will be able to spend 2-3 days in each place and enjoy your time more.
We pretty much did this route five years ago over Christmas. It is doable but it will be a rush, as ours was.
We started in Bangkok and took an overnight train to Chiang Mai and had three nights there. Then a minivan to Chiang Khong and one overnight there before getting the slow-boat down the Mekong with a night in Pak Beng before getting to Luang Prabang. Three nights in LP and then a minivan up to Sam Neua (15 hours, 8am - 11pm!) One night in SN and then a minivan out down to Thanh Hoa and straight up to Hanoi (another 15 hour journey). Four nights in Hanoi and then a bus trip to Halong Bay and a night on a junk cruising followed by a bus back to Hanoi and then a night sleeper train down to Hoi An and three nights there. Then another sleeper train down to Ho Chi Minh City for four nights. Then a bus over to Phnom Penh for two nights and another bus to Siem Reap for four nights. Then we took a minivan across the border and a ferry over to Koh Chang for some beach. You might have to go to Bangkok to get transport to Krabi - no idea.
We missed out on Vientiane and Vang Vieng in Laos, Sapa and Hue in Vietnam and Sihanoukville in Cambodia to name just a few but we just couldn't visit everywhere in the time we had available. We had a great time, really enjoyed the trip and there are still places we could go to on a second visit - brilliant.
Enjoy your trip, however you do it.