im travelling around thailand, vietnam, and cambodia from june to the end of august and i was wondering has anyone done this before and what kind of route they took. il be flying into bangkok. id also like some info on the must see places in these countries. iv only decided on this trip recently and any information would be appreciated.
thanks in advance.
Best route is probably to head east from Bangkok into Cambodia, into Vietnam, up the country and fly back to Bangkok (or Chaing Mai if possible) and do your stops in Thailand, either down south, or up north. I'm not sure what your time frame is - if you are arriving in late June than you'll have 2 months and will have to pick and choose from the highlights of these places. But if you are arriving at the begining of June you may have closer to 3 months and should be able to visit both north and south Thailand. Cambodia should take a 7-10 days to see some of the highlights, though more if you really want to see it in depth. To see the main highlights of Vietnam you need at least 3 weeks, and a month is much better. Thailand needs a month to see the highlights of the north and relax on the beach in the south.
Thailand - Chaing Mai and Pai in the north, the beaches in the south, Kanchanaburi, Bangkok, and historical sights like Ayathaya and Soukathai
Cambodia - Angkor is the main highlight that you cant miss
Vietnam - (From south to north) Mekong Delta, Saigon, Dalat, Nha Trang, Hoi An, Hue, Hanoi, Halong Bay, Sapa
I did that, but I didn't do much of Thailand on that trip as I'd already seen some of it before. The route I took was get a flight from Bangkok-Hanoi on Air Asia (cheap ticket if you book well in advance). I then did a tour to Halong Bay, but due to lack of time I didn't get to Sapa. I then got the open tour bus which cost $20US when I went last year from Hanoi-Saigon. The cost appears to have gone up slightly since then but still a bargain. For the open tour buses it had two options I got the one that went via Da Lat. I stopped at all the stops on the ticket for a minimum of a day, but usually 2 days if their was any amount to see. After I got as far south as Saigon, I then got this 3 day 2 night Mekong Delta tour (available through lots of travel agents in Saigon). It was very good value even by scruge backpacker standard. That tour went to Phnom Penh. Then after a few days in Phnom Penh I went to Siem Reap for a couple of days. Then I headed to Sihanoukville before heading back to Phnom Penh where I got a cheap Air Asia flight to Bangkok. I was cramming a lot in to a short amount of time, so if time had of permitted I could have definitely seen more places in Cambodia, Vietnam I saw a huge amount by maximising my time but I reckon you can easily use the 30 days allowed on the visa no problems at all.
I think the itinerary I did in Vietnam was a very good one. If you had more time, you could take a side trip to Mui ne at extra cost. Instead of doing a daytrip to Halong Bay from Hanoi like I did, you could do a couple of day cruise which looks really nice. Sapa is also meant to be great, so all those added things to what I did would defintely bring you up to the 30 day visa limit.
In Thailand your options are so open that you have a never ending supply of options for itineraries. What itinerary would suit you in Thailand would all depend on your interests and what you are travelling for ie are you an adventure traveller, are you generally a beach bum, are you a party animal, are you after more of a cultural experience etc. In Bangkok I think that 4-5 days is a minimum if you really want to see it well. I spent 5 days there and I still don't think I have seen everything that is worth seeing, but I did take a long daytrip to Ayutthaya.
For information on sites to see in Vietnam a website you should definitely look at is http://www.sinhcafe.com.vn/
The prices quoted on there are usually a lot more than what you'll pay if you book from one of the hundreds of tourist shops when you arrive. So DO NOT book on that site, only use it as a guide to see the sorts of tours that are available. Note that that site is the same company who operates the tours which you'll buy when you get to Vietnam. One thing that this site does show that you should look at closely is the timetables and route information for the opentour buses which is a cheap and good way to see Vietnam well. http://vietnamhotels.vn/?view=openbus is the direct page for the opentour bus services.
Have a great trip.
ok thanks for your help, il keep it in mind when planning my route. im gonna be gone for close to 3 months but im not sure about getting internal flights as im on a tight budget! i kinda wanna do as much as possible in thailand and bits of everything from partying to relaxing to doing exciting treks etc.
im also curious about the visas, should i sort them out before i go or will it be safe to leave it till i get to bangkok?
i was wondering about shots and anti malaria medication, is this necessary?
[ Edit: Edited on Apr 10, 2007, at 12:39 PM by mac1234 ]
Sort your visas out in Bangkok or at the border (for Cambodia)
With three full months you have lots of time to see Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and even a bit of Laos, even without flying.
You need shots and malaria meds -go talk to a travel clinic who are pros and are trained to know what you need.
im not sure about getting internal flights as im on a tight budget!
The flight I got to Hanoi from Bangkok was way cheaper than you could possibly have done it by any method except walking, stealing a dingy and rowing the distance or swimming. Even then you would have paid more for food and drink to refuel your energy levels than the flight cost, including transport to and from the airport! That was booked a couple of months in advance and when a sale was on Air Asia, so that helped a lot. Leaving it to the last minute to make a booking is very expensive, but often if you are going a long distance on a route Air Asia flies well it'd still be cheaper to fly than catch various forms of transport.
As for visas, the Cambodia one you can just get at the border by paying $20-$25US (It's meant to be $20US but you may get told different depending on who you get), the Thailand visa you'll get when you arrive, the Vietnam one needs to be arranged in advance before you head there, but you should be able to do that in Bangkok.
When in Thailand you should definitely go and spend a bit of time in Pattaya (Sin City Thailand style) and Patpong in Bangkok for your partying and the 2nd one for a very eye opening experience that would only be recommended for single males to see!
Have a great trip.
I just got back from 2nd times visit of Ankor Wat and Ankor Thom in Siem Reap Cambodia and confirm that this is the place that you should not miss, if you are planning to go to Cambodia. But, i have no suggestion on other vehicles but air plane, cause I heard that go by bus from Bangkok to Thai-Cambodia border is 3 hrs, after that to Seim Reap is more that 3 hrs with rough route.
I have traveled around Vietnam and Cambodia by working quite a few trips. Last year I went to mid of Vietnam- Hue,Danang, Hoi An. I would suggest that you can choose low-cost air ticket by Air Aisia from Bangkok to Hanoi, seeing water puppet theater, and trip to Halong Bay. After that catch domestic flight or train to Hue where is a Imperial citadel or forbidden city located, then go to Hoi An by Open Tour (bus), which you can see a beautiful scenery of mountain on the way. Spend 2 nights in Hoi An is enough, there are many places and activities to do in Vietnam and Thailand, you can google.
Since I live in Thailand, so in BKK you should not miss the Emerald Buddha and temples around there including cruise along Chaophraya river. North and South are suggested, but you need times and good plan.
Have a good time in your trip and welcome to Thailand.
I have just been back from Vietnam and Cambodia. If you have limited time or have difficulties in itinerary, please visit some travel operators who can help you. You have choices to visit Cambodia from Vietnam but my suggestion is by air. Angkor should not be missed during your trip.
Here is my itinerary: Hanoi arrival - Halong bay - Hanoi - Siem Reap...
I have been to these countries many times both on business (I worked for a tour operator) and pleasure. If arriving in to Bangkok I would spend a few days there to acclimatise (I suggest you get your Vietnamese visa before you depart your homeland...less hassle). I would then fly to Hanoi, (Vietnam is generally easier to travel from North to South). Whilst in Hanoi make sure you go to Halong Bay, if you have the budget do an overnight boat trip as you will be there for the best weather. Hanoi is a great place to relax spend at least a week here. Another great place to see tribal villages (unspoilt, nt like the ones in N Thailand) is Sapa...there is a train to Lao Cai and local bus from there. Then back to Hanoi. Take a train from Hanoi to Hue for a few days....dont miss the trip down the Perfume River to the old Emperors tombs, very atmospheric. From here to Hoi An via Danang. There's a great beach near Hoi An and again the weather should be warm dry sunny. Hoi An is my fav place in Vietnam, loads of great bars, restaurants and generally a good place to hang out and meet people. From here head to Nha Trang for more great beach (on the surrounding islands not the town beach). There is the train from here down to Saigon, the weather down in Southern Vietnam will now start to become hotter and wetter. The Mekong Delta is a great area to explore but could be wet and will be humid. From Saigon I would fly to Phnom Penh in Cambodia for a few days (visit the National Museum to see the artefacts that were once housed in the temples of Angkor). From here take the boat to Siem Reap....defo the grand finale to this trip. I would recommend at least a week here. It should be relatively quiet here as you are out of season. You can then travel overland back to Bangkok (although it is quite an arduous trip) or take the easy but expensive option and fly. Hope this helps
I live in Hanoi-Vietnam, if you have any questions about this country please feel free to ask me.