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my SEAsia itenery...

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1. Posted by bennnn (Inactive 93 posts) 8y

hi all,

I just want to get a second opinion on my 'rough' plan...
4 weeks Thailand + Laos

1 week in Bangkok (where i'll start)
fly down to Ko Samui and spend 4-5 days doing the islands, plus FMP
fly back up to Bangkok and take a bus to Chiang Mai
4 days in Chiang Mai, and bus to Chiang Rai for a day.
Bus over the border to Luang Prabang for 2-3 days
Bus to Vientiane for rest of the week. Then fly back to Bangkok where I'll end.

Does all these sound reasonable? I'm a bit worried about all the bus rides, whether if its even possible to go from Luang Prabang to Vientiane, and hope it doesn't comprimise my schedule (i do'nt have much time to work with!).

Sorry if i'm being paranoid!

thanks!

2. Posted by Degolasse (Travel Guru 823 posts) 8y

A few comments about your itinerary,
One week is too long in Bangkok when you only have a month. Great city, and worth a couple days to explore, but don't waste a whole week there. If however, you are thinking of hitting some of the other towns in the region, like Ayathaya and Kanchanburi, than you can probably use 5 days in the region. However, if you are going to try to see all that Chiang Mai has to offer, particularly a proper hike/visit in the hills, then you may be able to use a couple extra days there.
Luang Prabang is not just a "bus over the border" from Thailand. To get there it requires a boat from the border, which is either on a one day uncomfortable (so I'm told) and potentially dangerous speedboat, or a two day slowboat with a night stop in Pakbeng. Once in Luang Prabang, give yourself at least 3 days to soak up the place.
I think 2 days is more than enough in Vientianne. Actually, I would say one full day of sightseeing would probably do. Though I here things are picking up these days, and maybe things have changed since I was there, I still can't imagine it's become one of Asia's most exciting cities. More to see in other places in Laos. One thought is to stop at Vang Vieng, a really cool town between Luang Prabang and Vientianne. Buses between these two cities are fine.
Another option for the beaches, since you are limited in time, is to hit one of the Islands closer to Bangkok, like Chang and Samet. But I guess if you are able to fly then it may not make too much of a difference.

3. Posted by Daawgon (Travel Guru 1993 posts) 8y

I'm thinking about a similar trip + N. Vietnam (can't get enough of this country). I do think you might be overdoing the bus travel? I'm thinking about flying in and out of Laos myself, but I can't find any flights from Chiang Mai direct to LP, and I understand that Laos Air might have gone belly-up (their website is very unclear about this???) Can someone tell me about the Bangkok Air coupons, and if they can be used on any flights or just domestic routes?

4. Posted by bennnn (Inactive 93 posts) 8y

thanks for the reply guys!

I haven't even considered the places you mentioned Degolasse, and thus re-drew my plans:

  • roughly 3-4 days in Bangkok
  • 2 days in Kanchanburi
  • how long should I spend in Ayutthaya? (but i might skip this if I'm too attached to the above two...)
  • fly down to Ko Samui 3-4 days doing the islands
  • fly back to Bangkok, bus to Chiang Mai
  • 3 days in Chiang Mai
  • I'll give Chiang Rai a miss

and then I'm stuck! Daawgon may be right, i can't find my way out of Chiang Mai to Laos. I'm not keen on bus or boat though...
Bangkok Air doesn't have flights to LP (I can't seem to find a route on the site)..
Could someone confirm the closure of Laos Air??

thanks!

  • Edit - I guess I could fly back to Bangkok, only to fly back up to LP via Bangkok Airways... but that's not really ideal :(

And I don't want to take a bus between LP and Vientiane (it's 11hours!), and since there are no flights, guess I'll have to skip the latter city as well ... noooo :(

[ Edit: Edited on May 22, 2008, at 6:47 AM by bennnn ]

5. Posted by bennnn (Inactive 93 posts) 8y

Quoting Daawgon

I'm thinking about flying in and out of Laos myself, but I can't find any flights from Chiang Mai direct to LP, and I understand that Laos Air might have gone belly-up (their website is very unclear about this???)

Hi Daawgon,

I think someone may have mentioned in other threads, that the site www.laos-airlines.com isn't the official Laos Airlines website, but owned by a French company - which recently just closed down.

The real website is http://www.laoairlines.com/, and good news, they do flights in and out of Laos! yay!

Make sure you view the site in Internet Explorer though. For some reason the booking doesn't work on Firefox browser... (just a side unimportant note).

So, now my trip becomes:

  • Bangkok (3 days), train to Kanchanburi (1 day)
  • train back to Bangkok
  • fly to Ko Samui (3 days), fly back to Bangkok (1 day)
  • Train to Chiang Mai (3 days), fly to LP (2-3 days)
  • then fly again to Vientiane (1 day)
  • and perhaps train back to Bangkok where I'll end

I think this sounds much more reasonable...? I have 4 weeks, and those days could go either way i suppose..

bennnn

6. Posted by clarife (Respected Member 294 posts) 8y

Hi Bennn,

You should really consider stopping off at vang vieng in Laos, great backpacker spot with tubing(a must, at least once!) We spent 5 days in Vientienne purely out of necessity (arrived on the friday of a festival weekend and we couldnt get our visa sorted untill the monday!) but I would have much preferred to have stayed longer in either luang prebang (one of the prettiest places in SEA) or Vang Vieng.

As for the extra days you have, you should keep at least 2-3 days for kanchanaburi, and you will want more than 3 days when you get to the islands - if possible you could go to Koh Tao - beside samui and Koh Phangan but a lot quieter and less tourist-y!

Enjoy the trip!

7. Posted by Lavafalls (Travel Guru 155 posts) 8y

Maybe leave out Lao, there are flights from Chang Mai to Siem Reap in Cambodia and you can see Angkor, which is freaking amazing. I know this is SEA backpacker blasphemy but i wasn't that impressed with LP.

8. Posted by bennnn (Inactive 93 posts) 8y

Quoting clarife

Hi Bennn,

You should really consider stopping off at vang vieng in Laos, great backpacker spot with tubing(a must, at least once!) We spent 5 days in Vientienne purely out of necessity (arrived on the friday of a festival weekend and we couldnt get our visa sorted untill the monday!) but I would have much preferred to have stayed longer in either luang prebang (one of the prettiest places in SEA) or Vang Vieng.

As for the extra days you have, you should keep at least 2-3 days for kanchanaburi, and you will want more than 3 days when you get to the islands - if possible you could go to Koh Tao - beside samui and Koh Phangan but a lot quieter and less tourist-y!

Enjoy the trip!

Hi clarife, I did think about Vang Vieng, but I'm not much of a swimmer- in fact i can't swim to be doing any rough water stuff...
and if i fall too deeply in love with the islands, i might have to give kanchanaburi a miss!

Quoting Lavafalls

Maybe leave out Lao, there are flights from Chang Mai to Siem Reap in Cambodia and you can see Angkor, which is freaking amazing. I know this is SEA backpacker blasphemy but i wasn't that impressed with LP.

Hi Lavafalls,
I ended up picking Laos because.. i do'nt know why actually.. guess its just closer to Chiang Mai - but I plan to do a cambodia + ALL of vietnam trip very soon after.
By the way, thanks for the Wiki on the full moon party - very handy info!

[ Edit: Edited on May 31, 2008, at 5:54 AM by bennnn ]

9. Posted by clarife (Respected Member 294 posts) 8y

Hi Bennn,

Neither myself or my boyfriend can really swim but we just got lifejackets and after a couple of drinks you just dont care

10. Posted by Lavafalls (Travel Guru 155 posts) 8y

Cool man, Have a great trip, just added an article on Hat Yao, which was the beach i stayed at when i went to the full moon party a few years ago. I loved Hat Yao, nice and relaxed although had a few bars of its own to chill at too.