I'm an American living in China right now, just finishing up a teaching contract. Requesting a little help with travel plans. I am planning on a 10 week excursion starting in Januargy, but not exactly sure how to divvy things up. I know it is a substantial amount of time, but there is so much to see, right? The trip will definitely be budget, and I am more interested in natural beauty than big cities. Here's the tentative plan:
1.5 weeks South China
3 weeks Vietnam
1.5 weeks Cambodia
4 weeks Thailand
Fly Home from Bangkok.
Any suggestions would really be helpful, including budget expectations!
"I like Geography best, he said, because rivers and mountains know the secret... Pay no attention to boundaries." B Andreas
That's a pretty tough one because you really don't have much time in the region with only 10 weeks. It would be a shame to only have 1.5 weeks in Southern China as there is so much to see. rDon't miss Lijiang-Dali-Tige Leaging Gorge-Zhongdian, or Guilin. They are all fantastic. If you can add another week on here you would be doing yourself a favor.
3 weeks is good for a brief trip through Vietnam seeing the main highlights of Sapa, Hanoi, Halong Bay, HoiAn, HCMC and the Mekong. Of course there are many other highlights but with only 3 weeks these are the places I would recomend.
The highlights of Cambodia can easily be seen in 1.5 weeks, though personally I would be happy with only a week to check out Phomn Pehn and Angkor. So maybe, if there is nothing specific in the country that you want to see (other than what I mentioned) you could spare a couple days to throw on China or Vietnam.
4 weeks in Thailand is just about right, though it depends on how much beach time you need. If beaches aren't your priority and you are happy with just a few days or a week relaxing, then you would probably take off a week and add it to China. Two weeks is good to see a few of the highlights of the North. So in the end, this is how I would divvy my time if I was doing this trip:
China - 2.5 weeks
Vietnam - 3 weeks
Cambodia - 1 week
Thailand - 3 weeks
That leaves you with a half week to spare which you can tack on to whatever country you feel you need more time in (probably Vietnam).
Budget will depend on what sort of luxuries you need. In most of Southeast Asia a good low end budget is around $20-30/day. Southwest China is much cheaper than the rest of the country and prices are closer to Thailand.
don't miss out loas is all i can say im there now and have done vietnam and cambodia! cambodia and loas win hands down. and everyone i have met loas has been the highlight of the trip especially vang viegn.