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A few questions about SEA...

Travel Forums Asia A few questions about SEA...

1. Posted by brigham (Budding Member 19 posts) 6y

As it is 2 months til my trip I am trying to find out everything i can that can help me! I am going to Thailand, Cambopdia, Vientam, Laos and I was wondering

-firstly, out of the £2500-£3000 i am taking, how many US Dollars should I take in cash? I have heard that taking some $$ can be very useful I'm just not sure how much.

-secondly, could anyone provide me with any information on Pai? I haven't read that much about it and can't find a great deal of information but want to know whether it was worth visiting?

-lastly this is a rough idea of my itinerary, does this sound do-able or a good idea? this is in no way rigid, just an idea!

- Arrive in Bangkok with 60 day visa and spend day and night on Khao San Road
- Travel down to Chumphon, stay one night
- Travel to Koh Tao, then onto Koh Phangnan in time for full moon party, then to Koh Samui
- Then on to Surat Thani, travel to Phuket
- Make way up and spend time in Bangkok visit temples
- Visit Kanachaburi then back to Bangkok
- Spend time at Pattaya and Rayong
- Cross over to Cambodia
- Siem Reap
- Sihankouville
- phnom penh
- get visa for vietnam and travel to vietnam
- Vietnam
- Travel straight into Ho Chi Minh City
- Nha Trang with Mama Hans Boat Tour
- Hoi An
- Hanoi
- Ha Long Bay
- Sapa
-
- Onto Laos, need some itinerary help here!!
-
-
- Back into Thailand visiting Chaing Mai and Pai
- Down to Bangkok and head home :(

All help is greatly appreciated, thank you to everyone who has helped with my travelling plans :D!!

2. Posted by Daawgon (Travel Guru 1992 posts) 6y

The bit about USD is just that USD are often quoted for hotel prices, etc. Yes, USD are accepted (mainly in Indochina) but it's totally optional. I'm American and I never use USD in these countries. If a bill is presented to you in USD, you simply tell them you're paying in the local currency. You actually lose by using USD. I take as little cash as I can and rely totally on my debit/cr cards using ATM's most of the time.

3. Posted by vegasmike6 (Travel Guru 3562 posts) 6y

Brigham,
Only a few suggestions. Once in Phuket, I would spend more time in the Krab area. Less people and better beach options. In VN, I would hit DaLat after HCMC. Nice change in weather, scenery. Then on to Nha Trang. My blog has plenty of VN entries.

I disagree with Johnny on USD. I take my serious money in travel checks. I have many left over from previous trips. I also take 3-4 hundred in 5s, 10s & 20s. You will get smaller bills in change. Very handy in Cambodia, Laos & VN. Look over the bills they give you in change. Torn bills are very difficult to pass on to someone else. They won't accept torn USD, you shouldn't either. Take new bills over if possible.

Good luck with your planning. Send me a PM if you have any questions.

4. Posted by sacmike03 (Budding Member 60 posts) 6y

you need USD for your cambodian visa, $20, and around $30 for Laos. The atms in cambodia even dispense USD

5. Posted by bex76 (Moderator 3713 posts) 6y

Quoting brigham

-secondly, could anyone provide me with any information on Pai? I haven't read that much about it and can't find a great deal of information but want to know whether it was worth visiting?

Pai is a a lovely little town and well worth visiting, in my opinion. I did a trek from there, but otherwise it's a nice place just to relax in for a few days.

Any reason why you are thinking of doing the circuit that way round? It's more popular to travel up through Northern Thailand, down the Mekong into Laos, then Vietnam, Cambodia and back into Thailand. I think the main reason for this is that if you travel on the slowboat down the Mekong between Northern Thailand and Luang Prabang the boat would be travelling downstream, whereas your way is upstream.

Either way, once you get to Laos Luang Prabang is worth a few days and Vientiane is worth a stop too. The drive between Vang Vieng and Luang Prabang is stunning; Vang Vieng is worth a stop for the beautiful limestone scenery and the tubing down the river.

6. Posted by brigham (Budding Member 19 posts) 6y

:)Thankyou for all the help everyone it is really making me feel a lot more prepared! I think I will definitely take some US dollars with me to be safe. Think I will definitely go to Pai it seems like a good place to chill out before I go home!

Bex - I am taking this route as some friends of mine are coming out to meet me in Laos and they are flying out mid june so i figured this would be the perfect time to get to Laos? We want to go to Vang Vieng together, will definitely check out Luang Prabang, just need to find some more things to do in Laos :)

Mike - Thanks again for all the help, have checked out DaLat and will definitely make a stop there before we head on to Nha Trang. Has anyone stayed at Villa Pink House in DaLat? Looks really nice and has great reviews!

Thanks everyone!

7. Posted by elliots (Budding Member 57 posts) 6y

Get to Bac Ha market (day trip) from Sapa if you can. It is a great meetiong place for many different tribes - the best we've seen in SE Asia
Strongly recommend the fast boat on the Mekong between Huay Xai and Luang Prabang.
Road between Vientianne and Luang Prabang is stunning with a stop in Vang Viang for the tube riding & trapezing
Gibbon Experience outside Huay Xai.
Avoid Pattaya - was a giant brothel for Vietnam War R & R and retains much of that character - instead there are beautiful islands towards Cambodia.
3 day Sinh tour of the Mekong delta from Saigon.
If you have the cash strongly recommend Easy Riders in Dalat for 3 or 4 days.
Ninh Bin is stunning scenery. If the people in Hanoi get you down it is a great escape.
I would unhesitatingly replace Vietnam with Myanmar but that is a big change

8. Posted by loubylou (Travel Guru 664 posts) 6y

Just a hint for the Cambodian part of your journey. Do Siem Reap, then Phnom Penh and then onto Sihanoukville. A visa for Vietnam is cheaper and faster to get in Sihanoukville and you can then go to Vietnam straight from there.

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

Additional 2 cents worth:
Pai is on my next trip to Thailand. As stated, there is trekking, you can also hire a bicycle or bike and go cruising, visit Thom's Pai Elephant Camp (see website), Mhor Peng Fishing Park (see website) or just hang out in a hammock during the day and the reggae/blues bars at night.
BKK-Koh Ta:consider staying o'nite at Hua Hin (would have to be livelier than Chumpon). I have taken the 8.30am bus/minivan? from Hua Hin to Chumpon which connects with the Lomprayah Catamaran to Koh Tao.
I agree with Loublou: Siem Reap-PP-S'ville-Saigon is the practical route. And if you cross the border at HaTien? then you will travel through the Mekong Delta on way to Saigon. It comes down to time. I can only say that the bus from S'ville back to PP will involve staying o'nite and then taking the bus to Saigon next morning.
I've read many comments re that speedboat ride on the Mekong. Elliots is the first person I've read 'strongly recommending' it. They give you a crash helmet for very good reasons. Boils down to save time v safe travel.
I recommend Pattaya. From Pattaya you can take a bus to the border crossing at Aranyaprathet/Poipet then head to Siem Reap. Rayong is generally the step off place to Koh Samet.
Laos:certainly look in to (google) the Gibbon Experience(apparently better than the Thailand one). Whilst in the north also check out(google) Nong Khaiw and Muang Ngoi (can also do treks from these chill out places).
I agree with Elliots re Ninh Binh ('inland Halong') in VN (it's on my list of 'must do').

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