My bf and I are planning a 3.5 month trip through SE Asia starting Jan 2013. We intend on covering Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Malaysia (with a 2 day stop in Singapore)
I wanted to get some advice on our rough itinerary.
Arrive BKK 2-3 days
bus/boat to Koh Samet 4-5 days for some R&R
back to BKK
train-bus to Aranyaprathet
onwards to Siemp Reap 4 days
slow boat or bus to Phnom Pehn 3 days
Sihanoukville + neighbouring islands 5-7 days
Ho Chi Minh 4 days
up to coast of Vietnam (no exact stops yet) but probably Dalat, Nha Trang, Da Nang, Hoi An spend about 2 weeks
working our way to Hanoi - 3 days
This is where we're not sure if to go to Laos (heard very colourful stories about 30 hour bus rides) and flights into Vientiane are quite pricey..
or just fly from Hanoi to KL (2-3 days) then into Singapore 2-3 days..my bf really wants to see Singapore so we're just doing a quickie stop there.
We're kind of on the fence on whether to bother with Laos altogether..I know it's a beautiful country but we're not sure we want to bother with the extensive travel to get there from Vietnam.
from Singapore we'll probably just fly into Krabi or Phuket then spend 3 weeks lazing on the islands and doing some diving..then we'll take a train to Chiang Mai..then maybe from Chiang Mai we can cross over into Laos for a few days..and return via train to BKK to fly home
I know it doesn't quite make up 3.5 months but I've left some room for unexpected stops / delays. Your comments are greatly appreciated!!
[ Edit: Edited on 12-Apr-2012, at 09:34 by AlinaDave ]
I really think you should not miss Laos (one of the last unspoiled destinations in SEA in my opinion), but you want to go there at the right time. In my opinion that time might be right after landing in BKK in January. Fly into Luang Prabang and work your way south to Vientaine and on to Siem Reap from there. You also probably want to avoid Tet in Vietnam (early Feb '13) because of travel restrictions and increased cost.
If you do head up to N. Laos, beware that rice stubble burning can ruin a trip at certain times in late winter. It just seems to me that your current itinerary has you running circles. Also consider an open-jaw ticket to save you from having to backtrack for a flight home.
[ Edit: Edited on 12-Apr-2012, at 11:21 by Daawgon ]
I agree completely with daawgon. I chose not to go to laos once when I had the chance and I regret it. You have enough time to include it in my opinion. And your route does seem to go in circles.
I've been looking at doing an open jaw flight myself, then you don't have to double back to your city of arrival, and can spend that time seeing more.
Good luck, I'll be interested to see what you choose. I'll be in se asia next feb/mar. I'm going to see east malaysia and bali for the first time
Thank for the comments guys! mucho appreciated.
I think we may just do Laos in the end of our trip...so after Thai islands we'll head north to do Chiang Mai and cross over into Laos for a few days before making our way back to BKK. That way we're not missing out and also get another 15 day visa when we cross back to Thailand.
Also jnegraiff, if you'd ever want to meet up and travel a bit together PM me although not sure if we're going to cross paths in our travels as we're only going to KL for a few days.