My husband and I are on an around the world trip. We're currently in South America but will be travelling to Australia followed by Taiwan then Hong Kong.
After that we want to travel onto Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand (over the course of 3 months) and need some help with planning our itinerary. After these places we are thinking of catching a flight from Bangkok to somewhere in India.
1) What is the best/cheapest way to travel from Hong Kong to the countries mentioned above?
2) Should we fly into Bangkok and start to explore from there? (I have just seen some cheap flights with Air Asia from Macau/Shenzen to Bangkok), but I guess this would mean we'd end up back-tracking back to Bangkok, in order to fly on to India.
3) What is Shenzen like, is it worth making a stop? I'm not sure if there is much to see there.
4) Or is there a train from somewhere near Hong Kong to Hanoi, so we can take in the landscape etc.?
5) How does one generally get around these countries (Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand), by bus, plane or train? We are on a tight budget so an idea of prices would be helpful!
Thanks for your help!
You could fly from Macau to Ho Chi Minh City on Viva Macau Airlines quite cheaply, then travel within Vietnam on Vietnam Airlines or Jetstar Pacific. Train is also available, but air travel is the best way to go. Whatever you do, don't miss Hanoi and Hoi An. Vietnam, in my opinion, is the true gem of SE Asia!
The expensive part comes next. Air travel to Laos/Cambodia is expensive from Vietnam. It is possible to go from Saigon to Cambodia on a combination of bus and boat. It makes more sense to me that you transit Laos/Cambodia on your way to Thailand, and from Thailand to India. You might look at the Discovery Airpass which helps you travel this region (Thailand/Laos/Cambodia), but it is also quite expensive for the international legs.
I have been to VN 5 times and can help out there. I have taken the open tour bus: HCMC-Hue, and also HaNoi-HCMC. Been to most of the major cities in VN. You will arive in HAN, I advise at least a week there, that will inclue a few days on HaLong Bay, and a trip up to Sapa. Then head south on the open tour bus system. This allows for flexiblity on staying in any city for as long as you want. Then jump and the bus the next day and hit the next city. I have also taken the bus: HCMC-Phnom Penh just a few months ago. I wrote about this in my blog. Also quite a few on VN and one on Sihanoukville, these may help you with your planning.
From PP, you can take the bus or boat up to Siem Reap, bus is cheaper. Then there, you can either go into Laos, or take the road through Poipet into Thailand. There is a very helpful website that has up to date info on all these countries. It should answer any question you have on this part of SEA.
Send me a PM if you have any questions.
trying to pinch in.... why not try including the Philippines in your route... and from Manila or Cebu you can connect to Hanoi, Hong Kong, Taiwan, HC, Malaysia, Singapore, and China using the cheap flights of Cebu Pacific Air...
you can try diving in Palawan, see historical sites in Manila, Cebu and Vigan, see war memorials in Corregidor and Subic, see nature parks in Subic, Puerto Princesa and Bohol..
is there a good website to find out information/sched about a open bus tickets in Vietnam? Do open buses tend to travel overnight?
Thanks for your replies guys! Got a few more questions for you, sorry!
To get from Hong Kong to Hanoi, we're thinking of taking the train, via Guangzhou and Nanning. Has anyone done this? It would be great to hear your experiences of the journey.
From Hanoi we're not sure of the best way to travel through Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and then Thailand.
- Is it best to work our way down, zig-zagging between the countries as we go, or just work our way down through Vietnam, then cross into Cambodia, and then work our way back up through Laos before moving on to Thailand?
- Are there any restrictions about crossing between each of these countries? Especially crossing multiple times in a relatively short period?
- Is it straightforward to cross from Cambodia into Laos?