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South east asia trip

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1. Posted by Bronco (Budding Member 35 posts) 6y

Hey guys

Just planning a 10 week trip round south east asia aiming to go from mid april to mid june and was wanting some help with an Itinerary. Im wanting to get round Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and maybe a bit of Laos. hoping to cover a fair bit of ground, see the sights, experience a bit of local culture and get into a bit of out door adventure stuff. if anyone has any proposed routes or know of any hidden gems off the beaten track that would be worlth pusuing that would be greatly appreciated.

cheers

2. Posted by stoneman (Respected Member 216 posts) 6y

Bronco, apart from undertaking research on various websites, reading blogs etc etc I suggest you outline your interests. That way others will target in on their relevant experiences and may feel inclined to reply. Also, even though you are planning on 10 weeks you will still be limited on visiting 'x' no. of places. If you have a basic list then suggested routes could also be forthcoming. Routes, mode of transport, cost factor, time contraints, outdoor adventure tours, sights/attractions etc are endless. From my research I have noted if you ask specific questions you virtually guarantee replies. Hope this assists.

3. Posted by Bronco (Budding Member 35 posts) 6y

Cheers Stoneman

some good advice. heres what i was thinking.

1. southern thailand. i want to go diving, snorkeling, kayaking and just check out some nice scenery is the main thing, not really sure which island is the best, probably spend 10 days to two weeks in the south, keen to stay away from anything too touristy. any ideas?

2. from there head to Bangkok for a few days before heading north to Chiang Mai and the surrounding area to spend some time in the hills and experience a bit more traditional culture, if anyone has any suggestions on any treks, activities or cultural experiences in or on the way to northern thailand would be great.

3. Then head east through Laos to Vietnam to Hanoi. probably not gonna spend too much time in Laos unless i find something thats a 'must do.' check out Hanoi maybe get to Dien Bien Phu and Haiphong bay to look round, maybe do some kayaking or canoing round haiphong.

4. then make my way down to Nga Trang and Ho Chi Minh City either via the coast or through the inland conservation areas, which ever comes recommended. explore Ho Chi Minh City before heading west to Phnom Penh spend a few days there before heading through one of the wildlife sanctuaries (if someone could recommend one and a patricular tour would be great) on my way to Angkor Wat. will spend a few days here before heading back to Bangkok and headin home.

Ill be heading over with my girlfriend probably with £3000-£3500 each, and hope to achieve all this over bout a 10 week period. Is this too ambitious?

If anyone has any ideas or things they enjoyed in there time in southeast asia would be great as this is a pretty rough plan at the moment.

cheers

4. Posted by stoneman (Respected Member 216 posts) 6y

Bronco,
I can give you the following info. then others can correct, disagree, expand etc. I'm going on my memory re things I have not experienced.
1.southern Thailand: Diving - the most popular spots are the Similan Islands (north of Phuket on the Andaman Coast) and Koh Tao island (north of Koh Phangan island which is north of Koh Samui). Tip: find out what the water visibility expectation is for the time you visit. I've read blogs where people were disappointed because they couldn't see further than their hand in front of them.
Kayaking - I have done a 1 day trip to Phrang Nga Bay (from Phuket I think). Also 1 day trip to Ao Thalane (out of Krabie). Enjoyed both experiences.
2. Can't really recall reading about any treks between Bangkok and Chiang Mai. Everyone heads to CM to go trekking. Numerous trekking tours available,multiple nights,visiting villages etc. I've visited CM twice. I recomm. taking the o'nite train (2nd class sleeping bunk), save on a night's accom. I've only done 1 day tours out of CM but if your young and adventurous then I recomm. you go for a 3-4 day trek.
3.East to Laos: I intend to revisit Chiang Mai in 2011. From there I am going north (by bus) for 2 nights in Pai (quiet place, good scenery, hire bicycle or motor bike). Lot of young people visit this place as well as oldies like me. From here bus back to CM then connect with a bus to Chiang Rai (overnight) then bus to Chiang Khong (overnight) at Laos border. Huay Xai is the town on the Laos side. I think it is from HX you can take off on the Gibbon Experience, a 3/4 night trip trekking, sleeping in a tree house etc. There is a Gibbon Experience that runs out of Chiang Mai but I have read the Laos trip is by far the better of the two. Then heading to Nong Khaiw and Muang Ngoi. Both these places are on the Mekong, small, quiet,surrounded by good scenery. Oops, out of space.....another post reqd.

5. Posted by stoneman (Respected Member 216 posts) 6y

Not sure if you can travel by bus across the top of Laos to Hanoi. I've only read about Vientiane-Hanoi either by a gruelling 24hrs bus trip or by plane (cheap airfare). If so, then I recomm. visiting Vang Vieng to go tubing. Everybody raves about it. I might be old but I don't intend to miss out on that experience. By Haiphong do you mean Halong Bay? If so, then there are many tours which include kayaking around and inside karsts. I'm planning on visiting Vietnam next year. Halong Bay is definately on my itinerary. Many people visit Sapa to go trekking, village experience, great scenery. I initially had Sapa on my itinerary but opted out because you have to travel o'nite sleeper bus or train (most take the train) to get there and another night to get back to Hanoi. As I will be travelling sth to nth I've decided to visit Ninh Binh (the inland Halong Bay) and Mai Chau instead. If I had 10 weeks I would visit Sapa. Nga Trang is on my list as well as Hue and Hoi An and HCMC. Many people take the Open Tour Bus (the real Sinh Cafe (see website) is highly recomm.) as it is the cheapest way to travel between Hanoi and HCMC. From HCMC you can take a bus through to Phnom Penn. Then take another bus to Siem Reap. I visited Angkor Wat last year. It was the only reason I went to SR. Apparently there are buses that travel between SR and Bangkok.
I think your budget should be okay. Helpful to advise if your intention is to take the cheapest transport eg bus, cheapest accom. eg hostel/guesthouse. Plenty of cheap guesthouses/hotels particularly if you share a fan room.
You can google any of the info I've provided. With my proposed VN trip I started off by reading online travel guides and reading people's blogs to see where they visited. If I decided yep I want to see that or do that I would then undertake a specific google on that. Then you start coming across other people's comments/reviews etc.
Give me a list of places you definately want to visit and I'll email you what info I have that may assist you.

6. Posted by Bronco (Budding Member 35 posts) 6y

cheers stoneman

lots of helpful info.

Heres a list of the things im pretty set on doing.

-angkor
-diving or snorkeling on one of the reefs
-scenic kayak or canoe trip
-mountain trek, see rural thailand
-the missus is dying to ride an elephant
-see some wild-life in the jungle
-visit some on the war sites in vietnam
-scenic bike ride, not sure where

If i achieved all this in my 8-10 weeks I'd be pretty happy with my trip.

We're two fit young people (24), so keen to do it as cheap as possible, stay in more budget accomadation most of the trip and travel and live as cheap as possible.

you sound like you know the place well and your trip to vietnam sounds like it'll be good times.
you've been lots of help thanks stoneman pointing me in the right direction.

cheers

7. Posted by hunzaguy (Budding Member 7 posts) 6y

Quoting stoneman

Bronco, apart from undertaking research on various websites, reading blogs etc etc I suggest you outline your interests. That way others will target in on their relevant experiences and may feel inclined to reply. Also, even though you are planning on 10 weeks you will still be limited on visiting 'x' no. of places. If you have a basic list then suggested routes could also be forthcoming. Routes, mode of transport, cost factor, time contraints, outdoor adventure tours, sights/attractions etc are endless. From my research I have noted if you ask specific questions you virtually guarantee replies. Hope this assists.

If you have plan for Hunza, Skardu, Chitral in Pakistan just let me know i will give you the information..

8. Posted by stoneman (Respected Member 216 posts) 6y

Bronco,
Sorry, I googled Haiphong and I see it it a town adjacent to Halong Bay.
1. Angkor: Last year a 3 day pass cost $40US per person. Some are happy to see a few temples/buildings in a day ($20). As this area is one of the wonders of the world IMHO I wanted to see all the highly rated sites. I researched and came up with an itinerary which I will email you. I gave this to my tuk tuk driver to look over and suggest any changes as he knows the geographic layout. You can hire a tuk tuk or aircon car both with driver. I shortlisted recomm. tuk truk drivers and booked one via email prior to arriving in Siem Reap. You can also hire a guide at extra cost. Only guides are allowed on to the sites with you. Tuk tuk drivers wait outside each site for you. There are food/drink outlets here and there. Recomm. a cap/hat as its quite hot out there when your walking/climbing around.
2.kayak/canoe: Phrang Nga Bay, Ao Thalane(LOS),Halong Bay(VN). Most probably other places.
3.mountain trek:ex Chiang Mai
4.elelphant riding:many elephant parks north of Chiang Mai. I did a 1 day trip which included 1hr ride + river rafting. I had never rode an elephant before. I got to replace the mahout for a while as he walked. I thought I was so cool. Elephant was tourist savvy though-he'd stop every 30-50metres for a banana topup. Wouldn't be surprised that the 3-4 day treks include an elephant ride so research that.
5.wildlife in the jungle:not to helpful here.Suggest you send a personal email to some of the Destination Experts on this site. I've done this before and found them to be extremely helpful.
5.war sites VN:see HCMC and Hue.
6.scenic bike ride:see Ninh Binh,Mai Chau,Sapa(VN).I intend to do a tour ride from Hoi An-Hue(180kms)great scenery.
Will email you some more in depth info.

9. Posted by Bronco (Budding Member 35 posts) 6y

cheers stoneman

yeah ive been doing a bit of research and most of those spots come as recommended. what time of the year did you go? Im a little bit worried that itll be too hot or too wet as im planning on going may-june so ill catch the end of the hot season which can apparently get to 40+ degrees, and the start of the wet season. as a kiwi lad living in scotland i dont know if i'd be able to enjoy myself if it was consistently that hot. Im pretty inflexible with travel dates because of work so i've tried to head to the cooler mountains in the north first and head through laos vietnam and cambodia before heading to southern thailand where it'll hopefully be a bit cooler by late june, and hopefully if i stay on the gulf coast I can avoid the monsoon also. if you've got any suggestions for working an itinerary around the heat and monsoon, that would be great.

cheers

10. Posted by stoneman (Respected Member 216 posts) 6y

Bronco,
Sorry, I to am subjected to work downtime as to when I can travel. And that is June/July. Which is fine by me as I escape the Aussie winter and benefit from travelling in the low season (cheaper accom. costs). As for the weather,apart from it being hot all year round, it is supposedly the rainy season and from my experience you can visit a place when there is a torrential downpour or 2-3 days later when it is stinking hot. Luck of the draw. I have visited Ao Nang/Krabi twice, once gorgeous weather the other constant rain (missed out on a day on Railey Beach). Visited Phuket twice and same experience. When it comes to the weather there are no guarantees. Like everything else you just have to go with the flow.