Hi, I'm new here, currently planning a trip to Thailand and Cambodia next month. Little budget, no experience (this's going to be my first backpacking trip), and most probably will be doing it alone. I've come out with the following route:
Penang->Koh Samui->Bangkok->Damnoen Saduak->Kanchanaburi->Sangkaburi->Bangkok->Chiang Mai->Chiang Rai-> Isaan -> [Bangkok?] -> Siem Reap -> Phnom Penh -> KL?
Do you think this route is feasible? Any problems forseen? Do I need to go back to Bangkok or I can enter Cambodia straight from the Isaan area?Which one is recommended? Plan to spend around a month there and do most of the trip overland as I'm on tight budget.
Another question is, do we normally need to book the accomodations in advance, for visiting Thailand in mid and end of Nov? If do book in advance, what if suddenly something happen and need to alter the date a bit, do they charge for this change?
After the trip, I'm considering flying to Japan to visit one of my friend staying in Kobe. Does anyone know whether there's a way to fly from Phnom Penh to Osaka? or I need to fly to Kuala Lumpur to fly to Osaka? Would prefer the cheapest one.
Hope to get some advices and suggestions here. Thanks!
Your itinerary looks realistic. One word of warning though-be careful on the BKK to Siam Reap overland route. It can be quite dangerous and we had a bad experience. The locals in Siam Reap laugh about westerners travelling overland. The road is often blocked, you can end up getting scammed, and it pretty much always takes ALOT longer than advertised. I would highly recommend a flight, or entering some other way....I believe there is a boat from the Cambodian coast to the gulf of Thailand. If you do get the bus, try to do it in a group.
This July I travelled from Isaan to Siem Reap over land. We took a local bus to Aranyaprathet. On the bus, they do not speak english, fortunately, we knew a thai couple who told the bus driver where to drop us off. The bus was old, but the ride was comfortable enough. We were the only foreigners on board, so it was a different experienced. The price was really low (maybe 60 bath), but we did not have aircon, so the doors were open all the time. But it was really fun to see the countryside in Thailand, as we drove by farmers and local communities.
Aranyaprathet (the city at the border) has a big busstation, so it is easy to find out where to get off. There is a lot of Tuk tuk drivers and moto drivers all around. You have to take a tuk tuk or moto driver to the border. The drivers want to sell you a visa to Cambodia, but say NO!They tried to scam us twice. You go through the Thai border and get to "no mans land" between Thailand and Cambodia, and here you find a Visa stand. It is so easy to get a visa upon arrival in Cambodia, and then you are sure not to get scammed.
When you are through the border and at Poipet (the Cambodian city when you get through the border) there are busses and taxies to take you to a station.... I think we got scammed into taking a bureau of a kind, which drives tourists to Siem Reap. But we didn't care... We paid 60 dollars for a cab. It can carry up to 4 persons. The cab had aircon but the driver did not speak English. The roads to Siem reap are dirt roads filled with holes!! You drive very fast and in the wrong side because you overtake cars all the time! It took 3 hours to get there, and we got there save. It was a scary but fun experience. We decided not to go overlands home, but took a plane... Wauw, that was a good experience. It took 45 minutes, the food was good and the plane in excellent condition! The price was a bit higher, but you save a lot of time getting to Bangkok.
Well, that was my experience. Hope you can use the information. If you fly it is so much easier and you save a lot of time, but it is expensive. The advantage of going over land is that you get a totally different experience of the nature, the people and the culture. And you are greatful for living when you arrive!! I am happy that I tried going by the dirt roads... It is definately an experience I will remember my entire life!!
Have a great trip!!
Thanks for the information.
Helle, which part of Isaan did u depart for Aranyaprathet? Is it Korat(Nakhon Ratchasima)? How long did it take u to reach Aranyaprathet?
There is a terrific website for Cambodia called 'tales of asia'. Gordon Sharpless breaks down the trip from BKK to Siem Reap overland better than anywhere else. Try here. A wealth of info on Asia.
I suggest you fly from BKK- PNH on Air Asia. Cheap at $75 one way. BKK to REP is around $250 one way. Once in PP, then it is easy to take a boat or bus up to Siem Reap. Then overland back to BKK. Much easier than BKK-REP overland. Or fly Air Asia back to KL. Good Luck.