Going to South East Asia with my girlfriend on March the 19th for four months, really excited! We will be flying into Bangkok and then travelling to Laos, Cambodia, Vietname and all the Thai islands. We are on a pretty low budget and will be staying in hostels throughout our trip. We were just wondering some things we should definitely do, some we should avoid, any other tips you can give us? Or even a suggested intinerary for the four months? All help is appreciated
Most visitors do the SEA loop. BKK to Siem Reap in one long day. Here is an excellent resource for all things Cambodian. Down to Phnom Penh via bus/boat, perhaps some beach time in Sihanoukville. You can visit Kampot/Kep and enter VN at Ha Tien, or return to PP and take bus or boat into VN. Buy your VN visa while in PP or Sihanoukville. HCMC to HaNoi via either open tour bus or use the trains. Stay off the mini-vans that run between cities. From VN, into Laos. Laos back into Thailand. This standard route avoids backtracking. Good luck with your planning.
thankyou vegasmike! do we need visas for laos and cambodia, i've looked at some websites and they are all pretty confusing regarding the visas we need to get :S from arriving in bangkok we were thinking of going to the south of thailand, and then probably making out way up. Thank you for the advice, do you know of any good places to stay, i've been looking at all the hostel websites and found some great hostels, spicylaos in vang vieng looked great, just wondering if you knew anywhere from experience?
I did a similar loop to what Mike suggested but in the opposite direction:
- Bangkok up to Northern Thailand, crossing over to Laos at Chiang Khong
- 2-day slow boat down to Luang Prabang
- bus down to Vang Vieng (a beautiful drive) and then on to Vientiane.
- flight from Vientiane to Hanoi with Vietnamese Airlines
- visited Halong Bay, then down to Ho Chi Minh via bus and train, stopping at Hue, Hoi An and Nha Trang.
- bus to Phnom Penh and then on to Siem Reap.
We flew from Siem Reap back to Bkk but the road is now paved and much improved, so you can easily get the bus on this route now. You can get your Cambodian and Laos visas on the respective borders; we got our Vietnamese visa in Laos. On this route you could do the Thai Islands either at the start or end of you trip.
In Bangkok I stayed at My House and Bella Bella, both of which are on Soi Rambuttri not far from Khao San Road. I can't recall the names of any of the other places I stayed at throughout SEA but there are budget options everywhere so there is normally no need to book in advance.
Thank you, I was wondering would you recommend Chiang Mai? The photographs look beautiful but I haven't read much about it? And I would really like to travel down to Phuket, I have read on a lot of posts that Phuket can be missed out but as I am travelling for four months a lot of the time I will be relaxing and would like to go, would you recommend anything around Phuket and Krabi?
Chiang Mai is a good base for trekking, and is a nice city to spend a couple of days in. Personally I'd recommend Pai rather than Chiang Mai if you are going to be in that area. It's a lovely, chilled out little town and you can do treks from there too. If you decide to do the slowboat through Laos, you can book packages in Pai and go from there.
Phuket is nice in parts - we stayed in Hat Karon as it's quieter and less touristy than Patong, which I'd avoid. I probably wouldn't recommend going out of your way to visit Phuket though. Krabi is prettier so I'd recommend that out of the two.
[ Edit: Edited on 14-Dec-2009, at 12:51 by bex76 ]