Ok..so..first time backpacker and I've got one month (nov to dec 07). I'd like to travel through 4 countries, that being Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, and Malaysia...but not sure if its do-able. Any suggestions?
[ Edit: Edited on Jun 19, 2007, at 11:48 PM by Kelso ]
I did Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos in 39 days i think it was - was pretty damn rushed though. But I did spend a week on one of the islands, so it is doable. Travel through Vietnam and Laos are incredibally slow and uncomfortable though. Be prepared for lots of cramped 10 hour bus journeys.
If you want to enjoy these countries then I would say don't even try to see them all in one month. The route you propose is usually done in 3-4 months by most backpackers. I did a route like this in 3 months and I had to skp through alot of it, and it was my second time in most of those countries.
So what I would suggest is to limit yourself to only 2 or 3 countries at most. Thailand makes a perfect one month trip, and if you see the highlights of the north and south then at least 3 weeks of your trip will be taken up. If you do want to skip though things quick, and spend little or no time on the beach, then you could add some of the highlights of northern Malaysia such as Penang and the Cameron highlands. Going all the way down KL and Melaka will take more time. If you still think you have time, then heading east from Bangkok into Cambodia to see the highlights of Angkor will take another 5 days off your trip.
This is a route that I spent 6 weeks doing, but if you want to do it quick, you could spend two weeks in Thailand (head up north for a week and then take a quick visit to the Islands), spend a week or so in Malaysia, and then 5 days in Cambodia.
Vietnam is unfortunatley missed out on this trip. The only reason for this is because its far away from the rest, and will require either flying there and back, or going through Cambodia and/or Laos to get there and back. This can be time consuming. The highlights of Vietnam also take at least 3-4 weeks to see, so it's best left for your next trip.
Finally, to save time, a good idea is to try to get a flight that goes into KL and out of Bangkok (or visa versa) so that you don't have to backtrack through Thailand and Malaysia, which will take couple extra days off your trip.
degolasse is right - there is no way this can be done in a month, at least not properly. I spent a month each in Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia and needed more. I would suggest doing either Vietnam and Cambodia or Thailand and Cambodia. this way you could spend 5/6 days in Cambodia visiting Angkor and Phnom Penh, and leave the rest for the other country, which would at least enable you to see most of the main sites. Otherwise you won't see anywhere properly and will be spending most of your time going from place to place without a proper chance to see anywhere or feel like you are having a holiday.