There's some great info on this forum, but I'm looking for some timing advice - I'm planning on flying into Bangkok on May 25th and flying out of Singapore on August 1st - I want to get in as much as I can in the 2 months that I'm there, so can anybody recommend itinerary? I'm hoping to be able to get to Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia. I was thinking about staying a few days in Bangkok, then travelling north towards Chiang Mai, then cross over into Laos and north Vietnam, down alonog the coast from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City, stopping off along the way. The west into Cambodia to Phnom Phenh and visit Angkor Wat, and back to Bangkok. From Bangkok down the Thai peninsula and towards Singapore - stopping off along the way.
I've got a map done out of my (probably a bit over-ambitious) plans here. So basically I'm looking for advice on a)whether the trip is doable (without spending the majority of my time on a train/bus) and b)if I'm trying to cram in too much, what I should leave out.
Thanks in advance for any help you can give me.
[ Edit: Edited on Feb 12, 2007, at 3:07 PM by mcicol ]
I would say you are doing too much. I did pretty much that exact trip and took 3 months (though I did get to Northern Vietnam as well). There was a few places that I had to go pretty quick through and didn't get to see everything i wanted to. So I would say in two months, you'll have to narrow that down a whole lot. I would say skip Vietnam. Though its my favorite country in the region and I think it's a shame to have to skip it, I don't think you have time. You'll have plenty on your plate just with Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Malaysia.
I'm doing the same thing right now, I have 2.5 months and I'll probably not get to see much in Malaysia, in fact I might just have to drive right through to Singapore. As Degolasse I've also had to cut out some things in different places, to not get too stressed. I'm in Ho Chi Minh City now and so far I liked northern Laos the best, even though I didn't spend enough time there. I think you'll need at least 14 days if you want to go all the way to Muong Sing and make some stops along the way as well.
Thanks for the advice so far.
Adagio, can you give me some more info on your route so far?
Degolasse, seeing Malaysia isn't a big priority for me, so I was thinking I could just get a flight from Thailand direct to Singapore (and leaving out Malaysia), or change my departing flight to leave from Bangkok instead of Singapore, which would probably involve some backtracking. I also really don't want to skip Vietnam, since it's one of the places that I definetly want to see.
If Vietnam is one of your priorities, then scratch my earlier suggestions. Spend 3 weeks at least in Vietnam. If you have any less than you won't see much, and you probably won't get to the North which is the highlight of the country and a real shame to miss. Personally I think to do the whole Hanoi-HCMC route with all the stops that are unmissable (Sapa, Halong, Hue, HoiAn, Nha Trang, Dalat, Mekong) you need a whole month. You can do it in 3 weeks, but you will be rushing and will have to skip at least 2 of those places.
So I would say spend two weeks going from Bangkok through to Northern Thailand and into Laos, 1.5 weeks in Laos, 3 weeks in Vietnam, and then then 1.5 weeks in Cambodia and back to Bangkok. If you want to see the beaches in Thailand too, spend a couple days less in each of Northern Thailand, and Laos, and head to one of the beaches closer to Bangkok like Chang or Samet. Vietnam has great beaches too.
If you are interested, here is a map of the route that my girlfriend and I took. Follow the white route for the one that took us exactly 3 months. About 3 weeks of it was spent in the South of Thailand, and Malaysia, so from Bangkok and around Indochina took about 9 weeks - one month in Vietnam, 10 days in Laos, 10 days in Cambodia, and about 2 weeks in Central and Northern Thailand.