I'm travelling through Thailand with a friend during the month September 2009.
Though, we'd like to add another country. Actually we'd like to do them all (Cambodja, Laos, Vietnam) but we realise that is not quite possible if we'd like to enjoy enough.
Which one do you recommend and why?
We like local culture and beautiful landscapes.
Thanks in advance!
I would choose Laos. I loved all the 3 countries you mention, but if you choose Laos you could enter from the North of Thailand, near Chiang Rai, and then get the 2 day slowboat down to Luang Prabang. you could then head down to Vang Vieng (this drive is stunning) and then on to Vientiane, where you could cross back into Thailand via the Friendship bridge.
I must second Bex's remarks. Laos and Luang Prabang are well worth visiting. While nobody will be able to understand the 'scouse" language you at least will be able to understand them!!. More seriously, as you will probably only be able to spare about 6 days or so Vietnam would be too far and you would arrive in a big city,Hanoi or Saigon; Cambodia is closer but agaqin you would probably end up in Phnom Penh where the whole waterfront is being dug up at the moment, or Siem Reap which is fine if you are interested in temples etc. but not much else going on. Luang Prabang, on the other hand, is a very small town with plenty of cheap rooms; it is World Heritage listed and I have yet to find anybody who did not enjoy their visit - I've been 3 times. Given your time frame 3 to 4 days would be fine to see everything there and perhaps go back to Thailand via bus to Vientiene and then over the border.
Best of luck and give my regards to the Pier Head!.
Allright! Thanks Bex and ToniL!
Though, I must say I'm not quite Scouse or even English... I'm from Belgium, but a big supporter of the football club Liverpool FC. That's way my nick's Liverbird!
Anyway... So, you recommend spending most of the time in Thailand? Well, I really would like to see more of the other countries, but my mate would like to visit Thailand in particular. I don't really mind, though... Unless, you would suggest and prefer to do more of the other countries...
Thailand will be very great, no doubt. But I've got this idea that it's too touristic and "everybody" has been to Thailand, but not so many have been to the others (Laos, Vietnam, Cambodja). And I admit... I'm always the one to choose different or that what has not been chosen to much already. Don't know the exact name for that or such a person in English, but you'll get my point, right?
So? Thailand - Laos? We're still in the very beginning of our planning, but I've already picked out some nice spots and things to do like watching a Muay Thai fight, visiting Khao San Road, Floating Market, China Town, Kuang Si Waterfall (Laos), ...
But do you have some other great tips and/or places to go? I'd really appreciate places of nice views of landscapes, waterfalls, etc.
Thanks in advance again!
[ Edit: Edited on Jan 15, 2009, at 9:58 AM by Liverbird ]
Its very hard to make suggestions without knowing your approximate budget and how you intend to get about bus,train,Bangkok Air etc. and also interests. A lot of backpackers tend to go upto Chaing Mai and then to the Thai border, pick up a boat on the Mekong and into Luang Prabang. The waterfall you mention is only half an hour from Luang Prabang and there are a number of trip every afternoon - cost about US$ 5 or 6.
A very good website to look at for tips, prices guest houses etc specifically for the SE Asia area with threads for Thailand, Laos,Cambodia etc is travelfish.com - hope that the Travellers Point editor doesn't delete this !!
You should also consider climate in planning - for the areas you want to visit Nov to March is the best time - it can get hot,wet and humid at other times. Dont try and do too much and spend half your time on the bus or train.
Sorry - I said Chaing Mai. It should have been Chaing Rai. Im getting senile!.
Yes I certainly am getting senile. The website is travelfish.org NOT com Just look at the Thai, Laos or Cambodia forums for tips.
I forgot to mention that (in my opinion) Laos is the most beautiful country in SE Asia, and I've just noticed that you mention specifically beautiful landscapes.
If you have a month, I'd spend 20 days in Thailand and 10 in Laos. This would enable you to fit in the places I mentioned above in Laos and see quite a bit in Thailand. You could spend a few days in Bangkok (check out this thread for stuff to do there) and then head to one of the islands for a few days - perhaps one of the ones close by Bangkok such as Ko Chang or Ko Samet. you could then head northwards and take in Ayutthaya (the ancient capital), possibly Kanchanaburi too and then spend some time in the north doing some treks. Pai is a cool place to hang out for a few days and from here you can organise transport/packages to the Thai/Laos border.
Khao Sok national park is pretty but that's near Phuket, so not sure if you could fit this in. There are also some other nice waterfalls near Phuket; we hired a jeep to get there for the day - they're called Erawan falls if I remember rightly.
Thailand is touristy but it didn't spoil it for me - I loved it and I still found it exciting and exotic!
If you really want to get away from the tourists then go somewhere apart from Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam as these are done by everyone that goes outside of Thailand. Try Malaysia or Indonesia or the Philippines. They are all cheap to get to with a budget airline and you can go to places that westerners have never seen!
I'm not too keen on Laos anymore. Vang Viang has turned into the Goa of South-East Asia full of pot-smoking travellers with no objective in life. Luang Prabang too is turning into a tourist trap where hundreds of monks go on their big alms round in the morning just to get donations from tourists in return for having pictures taken. Laos isn't that beautiful at all.
I advise you go to Cambodia. From Bangkok go to the Poipet border, from there the taxi to Siam Reap and see Angkor Wat. From there the bus to Phnom Penh a really great capital city. From there the beach at Sihanoukville. From there go to Koh Chang in Thailand a very beautiful island. Just make your trip Thailand and Cambodia - forget Laos and especially a two day boat ride from Chiang Mai. Do you want to sit in a long-tail boat motionless for 8 hours + 2 days wth no toilet nothing?