We will arrive in Kuala Lumpur on 1st December, can you suggest the best route to see all the the beautiful island up to Thailand, then Thailand itself, Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos?
I know this sounds like a lot of work to help me, but would reaallllllly appreciate it! We have 3 months to discover it all. Any suggestions? If not a route, places that must be seen!?
Many thanks in advance! Travellerspoint is wicked!
In three months you will be rushed to see all that, but it's definitely possible. I did the exact same trip a couple years ago - flying into KL and seeing all the places you mentioned in exactly 3 months. I would recommend a similar route. Here's a route map of where we visited. Follow the white route. For a general time frame - we spent the first three weeks going from Malaysia up to Bangkok. Then we spent slightly more than a week in Cambodia. We spent a whole month in Vietnam. Then the last month we spent in Laos, Northern Thailand, and back to Malaysia.
When I did this route there were a few things that I had to skip over a little quicker than I wanted to. We took our time on the beaches in Thailand and spent a week each in Lanta and Phi-Phi. In Cambodia I had already visited Angkor on a previous trip, so I just passed through that in a quick day's visit and then only visited PP and Sianoukville. If I was to do the trip again, I would have liked to spend at least another week in Cambodia visiting some different spots. For Vietnam, we spent the whole month there because we loved every minute of it and didn't want to leave until the day our visa ran out. I would recommend saving as much time as possible for Vietnam - at least 3 weeks. We also skipped through Laos and Northern Thailand pretty quick and if I was to do it all again, I would probably spend more than just a week in Laos. I had visited Northern Thailand on a previous trip as well, so was happy with only a few days there, but since its your first trip, try to spend a week or so in the Chiang Mai area. On the way back down we visited the beaches again in Thailand and Malaysia as well as Singapore. If Malaysia doesn't interest you much, you could cut that bit out of your trip and add it to the North.
So basically, there is time to see most of what you want to see, but you will have to pick and chose a bit, and visit a few places quicker than you may prefer in order to fit other places in. You'll definitely have to pick and chose your Islands in Thailand. There are many to chose from, and if you attempt to see them all you will be missing so much in the North. I would say stick to only one or two on the way up, and if you have time on the way down, then stop by another.
Thank you so much for getting back to me! Did you plan every day of your journey before you went? Do you think that is best to do?
We are going in December so will be looking at spending christmas and new year there, can you recommend anywhere to be? We are up for anything, crazy or chilled.
Thanks again, such a help.
I never plan anything more than a day or two in advance. I've never pre-booked a hotel in Southeast Asia. I'm a firm believer in spontaneous travel, especially when you have 3 months to do it. If you had only a week or two in a region that might be different, but with 3 months you have plenty of time to just make things up as you go along. However, I've also never traveled in Asia in December so I suspect that things might be a little busier and you may need to pre-arrange accommodation in beach towns around Christmas time. Hopefully someone else can help with with that.