I'm hoping there are some well seasoned travellers who can help me out with this. I've got a route in mind but i'm giving myself 5 weeks to do it before I travel on to Australia. I haven't given myself a length of time for each country as i've never been before. My question is will this be enough time? Essentially, i'm going in a clock-wise circle over the area, it goes:
THAILAND: (flying into) Bangkok - Chiang Mai - Chiang Rai - Chiang Khong/Huay Xay border crossing
LAOS: (slowboat to) Louangphabang - Viang Vieng- Vientiane
VIETNAM: (flying from Vientiane to) Hanoi - down the East Coast to HCMC (via usually stops; Hue, Da Nang, Nah Trang etc) - Tay Ninh/Svay Rieng border crossing
CAMBODIA: Svay Rieng - Phnum Penh - Siem Riep - Angkor - Poipet/Aranyaprathet border crossing
THAILAND: Aranyaprathet - Bangkok - (train to) Phi Phi Islands/ Phuket
From here, I will be going onto Kuala Lumpur and Singapore where I will be then flying onto Australia. (I have no massive desire to backpack around Malaysia/Singapore, it's merely a point of getting from SE Asia to Australia, rather than heading back up to Bangkok which seems quite pointless). However, if i have enough time, I'll spend a few days there.
I would be immensely grateful if anybody who has spent time trekking throughout SE Asia could give me their opinion on anything. I appreciate it will be pretty fast paced to achieve it in 5 weeks, but if anyone believes an extra week or two is necessary then i'll gladly do it.
Thanks loads folks!
you can consider India in your trip.
[ Edit: Edited on 11-Jul-2009, at 07:51 by ezeeflight ]
I visited Vietnam at Christmas, I wasn't there for long but would recommend visiting Halong Bay, whilst you are in the north, you can do different length trips there on the three day one a visit ti Cat Ba Island is included
If you want a beach place to chill out in Nha Trang is good for that but otherwise you wouldn't miss much if you skipped it.
A couple of mates visited Hoi An and said it was well worth the visit as you can get lovely clothes made to fit there!
I would also recommend visiting the Chu Chi Tunnels in the south of the country.
Why do you not want to do Malaysia? Seems a bit wierd. Everyone does thailand etc, but not so many people do Malaysia, yet you don't really want to. Why? I am confused. This is a genuine question by the way.
I agree with Bwiiian...puzzled as to why you don't want to go to Malaysia, such a fantastic country!
Anyway, I personally think your itinerary will be too rushed. We spent 1 month alone in Vietnam, 1 month in Cambodia and 2 weeks in Laos and that isn't even starting on where you want to go in Thailand. Realistically to do all countries justice you would need 4 months.
If you only have 5 weeks I would say to concentrate on two countries - probably either Thailand and Laos or Thailand and Cambodia. Otherwise you'll just find yourself travelling all the time and not being able to enjoy the places you are visiting!
I spent 3 months doing a route very similar to yours and felt rushed so I don't think there's any way you can fit all this in and feel like you have actually stopped to enjoy anywhere! I agree with Loubylou's suggestion of just concentrating on Thailand and Laos; from Vientiane you could loop back into Thailand then down to Singapore to get your flight.
Malaysia is fantastic by the way, and Singapore is interesting too.
Thanks for the suggestions all.
I was half expecting that I wouldn't have near enough time to fully appreciate it, I was just trying to get in as much as possible! Regrettably, I can't give myself as much as 3-4 months so would it be more worthwhile giving myself an extra fortnight and sticking to three countries- maybe thailand, malaysia, singapore- and then travel the others- Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia- on my return leg from Oz? I've read often enough that once you go to SE Asia chances are you will want to go back. I've never been before so the hard part is deciding what countries to chop from my plans!
I think doing Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore on this trip is a good plan. You could do roughly 3 weeks in both Thailand and Malaysia and squeeze a few of days in Singapore at the end, which is enough to see the main sights there. Then the next time you go back you could do Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos together, which makes sense geographically. Thailand and Malaysia are good places to start in the region as you haven't been before, and I'm sure once you've done them you'll be desperate to see the rest! I loved all the countries I visited in SE Asia.
Philippines and Indonesia are two archipelagic countries which are also part of Southeast Asia so u may also include them as well on ur itinerary. Philippines is one of the most beautiful countries in SE Asia and the cheaper than most of the overrated destinations like Malaysia and Thailand. The advantage of inlcuding the Philippines is that most people speak English, commerce and trade and businesses are all in English so u dont get lost as streets, shops and all signs are written in English.
spend some more time in Thailand, Go to Koh Samet or Koh Chang - beautiful places, not too far from Bangkok.