A group of 3/4 plan on visiting these counrtys during July. I am wondering what is the best route to take. We want to get in the full moon in Thailand on the 24th. And a week on the islands after this possibly. We are big party people would be looking for fun every night. Can anyone suggest a route to go on. Thanks
Plan a budget out and see how much per night you can spend on a hotel room. If you plan to stuff 4 guys in one room expect to pay more for extra people. When you ask for hotel help also say how much you want to spend on a room.
If you are flying long distance - like from UK or US - fly round trip to Bangkok and then go from Thailand to Cambodia or Laos and return to Thailand for your ride home. Often there is not a big difference on what a round trip costs compared to a one way flight using major airlines. Coming from India or other nearby country at least do the math.
You must investigate what visas you need. Different countries means different rules. For Thailand if you need to pay for a visa or not depends on what passport you enter with. For Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia most tourists have to pay for visas.
Thailand has excellent transportation. You can reach many places with train rides or bus rides. Bangkok has good cheap rail service and cheap meter taxis. Bangkok, when you figure in the cost of city transportation, is cheaper than beach cities like Phuket.
You can fly to some countries using discount airlines. Many discount airlines fly from Don Muang Airport in Bangkok. (Most international flights do arrive at Suvarnabhumi. Suvarnabhumi also has rail service into the city.) There is land travel to Laos and Cambodia. Check visa requirements for return to Thailand if entering overland.
"We are big party people would be looking for fun every night."
There is "fun" that attracts mostly younger tourists to Koh Phangan (Full Moon Parties) but often it is looking at the moon while getting wasted on alcohol and dope with other young tourists. Google up how to get to Koh Phangan and what is available. Then there is other "fun" slightly older tourists get involved in like hitting beer bars, nightclubs and go-go bars in Bangkok, Pattaya and Phuket. Pattaya being the cheapest for hotels, nightlife, local transportation and easiest to get to from Bangkok. Then there is other "fun" such as "Flight of the Gibbon" ziplining and diving in some areas. (Weather may limit you.)
July means cheaper hotels but also some weather issues. Usually more rain or heat. But most of the time the rain stops in a few hours. Some areas may have torrential rain storms and some minor flooding until the drains can handle the rainfall. For Thailand I like the rainy season, grass and other plant life looks alive. A little rain that stops in an hour or two is okay. Gives you a chance to eat, drink in a bar, go to a movie or sleep.
Maybe drop Vietnam or one of the countries anyway to make it easier to plan your holiday. Work up a monthly calendar and if you want a full moon party then plan your other trips around that date. Don't skip Bangkok. Try to schedule a final night in Bangkok before you fly home so you don't miss your flight.
July - still time to modify your plans! (Flying in June might be cheaper than July from some countries. When kids get out of school in July many airlines, especially from N. America, raise their ticket prices.) You can use Google type search engines for quick "how to get from here to here" type questions.
As mentioned, July is the rainy season and it can be very wet, day after day, as well as hot even for those countries.
Thailand you don't need to worry about a visa as you will be there less than 30 days.
Vietnam you get a letter by email from there beforehand which enables you to get a visa at immigration in Vietnam that you must have American dollars to pay for. Any other currency and they will rip you off. $45 for one visit, $65 for multiple visits and $95 for one month. Note the latter. If your letter says one month, you pay $95 even if you are only in the country for a few days. You will also need a passport sized photo.
Cambodia you pay $20 at the border (where they take your finger and thumb prints) and you get your visa.
An AirAsia flight will get you from Bangkok to Ho Chi Minh (Saigon. Tunnels plus Mekong Delta) and a six hour bus will take you to Phnom Penh (killing fields, prison, history museum, etc) and another six hour bus will take you to Siem Reap (Angkor Wat and other temples). You could fly back to Thailand or wherever.
By the way, the American dollar is accepted by just about everyone in Vietnam and Cambodia. ATM's give them out too.
Do make sure you know the exchange rate with local currencies in both countries before you go. It was 4,000 Cambodian riels to the dollar when I was there recently but at the border, women who exchanged money and an eating place were offering just 2,100.
In Siem Reap there are some beggars about; elderly people and those who have had limbs blown off by land mines. Ignore them as almost all tourists do and they will go away. Give them 1,000 riels, just 25 cents, and watch their eyes light up. Such a tiny sum can mean they eat that day.
Two scams to watch out for in Siem Reap. If a woman with a baby asks you to buy milk powder (over $10) for her baby, walk away. She sells it back to the shop for half price after you have left. Scam two: If someone starts chatting with you and invites you back to their house to meet the family and for dinner, don't go as the brother will lure you into a card game where tourists have lost hundreds, even thousands of dollars very quickly.