I am planning a trip to Thailand, Laos, Cambodia & Vietnam in January. I am going for 4 months but am starting to worry that I haven't got enough time to travel that much ground! I am not flying to fly between countries so will be using the trains & buses. I have been to Thailand before & know where I would like to go there, but I am finding it hard to plan where to go in the other countries! There is so much to see! I'd like to know what the unmissable sights are & what places people most enjoyed! Any info would be most appreciated!
Most members would love to have your problem. Only four months to bump around SEA. Oh you poor girl!
This gives you roughly one month in each country. You will be bored silly with a month in Cambodia and I doubt you will spend a month in Laos. This allows you to spend more time in Thailand and VN.
I will assume you will land in BKK and spend a month or so in Thailand. You have been there before, so you will have an idea where you want to spend your time. Now you have a choice of going into Laos, tour and enter VN, head for HaNoi. Then work your way down to HCMC via the open tour buses. Then it is pretty easy to take the bus from HCMC to Phnom Penh. Perhaps hit the beach at Sihanoukville, back to PP, bus or boat to Siem Reap. After Angkor, overland to BKK. Or do the loop from BKK to Siem Reap, down to PP, over to HCMC, open tour up to HaNoi, into Laos, tour and back into Thailand from Vientiane. One resource that will be helpful is the website 'talesofasia'.
I have done this route except for Laos. Send me a PM if you have a specific question.
I know Mike was being sarcastic-- but I'm sure we all envy you- you are going to have an incredible trip- His suggested ideas are great.
I think you can easily spend a month or more in Vietnam going the length of the country, and you can easily spend a month in Laos without getting bored if you see both the north and the south (rather than just the highlites that a lot of people do- Luang Prabang, VangVieng and Vientiane-- there are tons of other places to see). Cambodia I agree probably a month is too long but a couple weeks at least.. Now how much of Thailand you want to see depends on what you have already seen and what you still want to do.. I guess you could also consider another country -- I have been to malaysia and there are some nice places to visit- or I have heard incredible things about Myanmar- With 4 months you really have endless options....
If I were you, I would probably get a good SE asia guidebook and start reading---
I'm gonna stick up for Cambodia here! While Thailand and Vietnam are larger countries, and there are more places to visit there, you could easily spend a month in Cambodia and not get bored either. Besides the typical tourist run (Siem Reap, Phnom Penh, and perhaps the beaches at Sihanoukville) there are some other outstanding places to visit such as Kampot (and the nearby seaside town of Kep) and Bokor Mountain, Kompong Thom (a good way to breakup the road trip from PP to SR; Sambor Prei Kuk has some cool ruins to visit), a Mekong River ride up to Kratie, further north to the remote provice of Ratanakiri, a river or road trip to Battambang (nice town with some very cool temple ruins in the area, plus great rural scenery). And there are also many more remote ancient Khmer temples to check out if you are into that stuff (which I am). In the Siem Reap/Angkor area alone you could spend a full week just visiting temple sites in the area (some are 2-3 hours away).
Good response Donald--
No offense meant to all the Cambodian fans....
The honest truth is just about every place on the map, if you set your mind to it, you will find something interesting and stimulating. Everyone has their own interests-- if you invest in a guidebook or do some research online, you will best be able to find what is out there to match your interests , and then determine how long to stay in a given area.... I think the reality is few SE Asian backpackers will spend 1 month in Cambodia, but it certianly is possible....
I see your point, but you really do have to be a fan of khmer ruins to spend a full month in Cambodia. I have been to Angkor 3 separate times, but not to crawl around the rocks one more time. I was helping my little tour guide with her school fees and a bike. A week of rock hopping in the heat is about all most of us can take. I think Heather will enoy another week in VN or Thailand more than spending a full month in Cambodia, IMHO.
Highlight things to do in Laos.
1) Gibbon experience in Bokeo province, Northern Laos.
2) Ecotourism in Luang Namtha province, Laos.
3) Visit world heritate city of Luang prabang
4) Big plain of Jars in Northeast of Laos in Xieng kuang province ( will get a world heritate site soon)
5) Tubing in Vang vieng
6) Enjoy city life in vientiane, hundred of good restaurants and massages, beautiful sunset on the mekong
7) Visit Khammoune province, there are a lot of caves and ethnic groups here
8) Visit Savannakhet, the second biggest city of Laos.
9) Down to Champasak, dozen of beautiful waterfall. There is the biggest waterfall in SEA. Enjoy the 4,000 islands,
You will also be able to see the dolphine here.
10) Last but not least, beerlao, the best beer in Asia.
(check out dos and don't in Laos at : - REMOVED - )
Enjoy your stay in Laos
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