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Travelling to Vietnam-Cambodia-Thailand summer 2013

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1. Posted by r.davilaponce (Budding Member, 7 posts) 19 Feb '13 13:54

r.davilaponce has indicated that this thread is about Thailand

Hey there travellers!!

I am planning to go to Southeastern Asia (Thailand specially, but we would like to visit Siem Reap in Cambodia in order to go to Angkor temples; and also we're thinking about going to Vietnam...).

We are a couple of young Europeans (20 years old, from Spain), its our first time in Asia (for both of us) and we are looking for some recommendations:

1) We've got only 20 days for our travel, so we cannot go up and down all round Thailand as we would have liked. What are the main spots we should not miss?? Both in Thailand, Cambodia and... if there's enough time Vietnam.

2) We have seen that transport round there is cheap, so there's no big deal for our -really small- budget; now then... what about renting a motorbike or something like that?? Is it crazy?? They say traffic there is insane...

3) Now, talking about money... our budget is more or less 1300/1500$ for the whole stay (20 days) (apart flight). Would it be enough?? or should we make an effort and save some more??

4) Back to Thailand: assuming we'll start from Bangkok (easiest way) what would be better?? North? heading to Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai or South way to Phuket...

So many places to see and so little time to travel... (I guess you all feel the same guys...)

Those are the main questions we've got, but any other advise or recommendation would be trully appreciated.

Thanks a lot and nice travel y'all...!!

:) Rafa

2. Posted by meganjane03 (Budding Member, 46 posts) 19 Feb '13 17:30

Hi Rafa!

We went to South East Asia (Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, and Vietnam) last year for 3.5 months, it was my first time but my boyfriend had previously been to Thailand. We're both 23 and from Australia.

First off, I'm very jealous, you'll have an amazing time!

1) Our favourites in Thailand: Kanchanaburi (2/3 night tours available from Bangkok), Koh Phi Phi, Koh Samui (Ang Thong National Marine Park is stunning), Khao Sok, Similan Islands (Khao Sok and Similans can be reached on tours from Khao Lak)

Our favourites in Cambodia: Siem Reap and Sihanoukville (has some beautiful and secluded islands you can spend a night or two on)

- with your limited time, I'd recommend using Phnom Penh as simply a one-night stop-over between these two)

Our favourites in Vietnam (if you have time): Nha Trang, Ho Chi Minh (maybe consider taking a tour down the Mekong from Phnom Penh to HCM, but this will take 2-3 days), Mui Ne, Hoi An, Halong Bay, Sapa

-to be honest Vietnam was awesome, so it's hard to suggest just a few places! I assume though, if you aren't doing Vietnam unless you have time, you'll probably only get to one or two places in the same area, in that case I'd recommend the south.

We didn't rent motorbikes in Vietnam because it is crazy. My boyfriend has previously rented in Thailand and said everything was good and easy. It'll depend where you rent and where you're driving to.

We spent $4000 each over 3.5 months (excluding flights), so your budget will be plenty! We stayed in the cheapest accommodation we could find that was in a good location and booked on Agoda a day or two in advance. We ate cheap food but a lot of it. We did tours and occasionally used taxis. We also got ripped off a few times. So I wouldn't worry too much about your budget, it should be fine. Just make sure (just in case) you are able to get money in the rare circumstance stuff is stolen or you do (somehow!) run out - just so you're not stranded!

4) From Bangkok we took a tour out to Kanchanaburi. Then we went back to Bangkok and to Chiang Mai by train. If you want to do north, then this is a good option (but with your time limit I'd suggest one or the other). You can then take a train (or overnight bus if the train is booked out like it was for us) from Bangkok (or Chiang Mai) all the way down to the ferry dock for Koh Tao, Koh Samui and Koh Phangan. From there if you want to go west, there are daily ferries and buses (as a package deal) to Phuket or Krabi or Koh Lanta or Khao Lak or anywhere. This is how we did it, but we had a month and we criss-crossed across the country a lot.

If there's anything else I can help with, let me know!

Megan

3. Posted by trangdinh16 (Budding Member, 2 posts) 19 Feb '13 19:26

Hi Rafa!
Your ideal is so great. I think you will have wonderful time in Vietnam. I'd like to introduce some destinations to you such as:
Sapa: is a frontier town and capital of Sa Pa District in the Lao Cai province in northwest Vietnam. It is one of the main market towns in the area, where several ethnic minority groups such as Hmong, Dao (Yao), Giay, Pho Lu, and Tay live. It’s suitable for honeymoon. You can use motorbike or bicycle
Hanoi: It's capital of Vietnam with many museums, sightseeing; especially you can discover Old Quarter with many interesting things.
Ha Long Bay: is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and a popular travel destination. Swimming and kayaking in HLB is very interesting
Ho Chi Minh City: is the biggest city in Vietnam with many things for you enjoy: cruising in Mekong delta, visiting some war museums, etc
Food in Vietnam is so fantastic. You can taste so many kinds of traditional food in each of destinations
Of course you can use a motorbike to have experience here like a famous couple - Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. The traffic is not really difficult for you to use.
Beside that, you also can travel to Thailand or Cambodia with our services. We will arrange for your needs.
If you have any questions you can ask me. I will give you answers clearly. Pls contact with me via: trang_vietlongtravel
Ms Trang :)

4. Posted by vegasmike6 (Travel Guru, 3534 posts) 19 Feb '13 20:08

Rafa,
With only 20 days in SEA, you will have to maximize your time. Let's allow 2 days in BKK for sightseeing. On your third day, check out of your room, but store your bag with them. All day sightseeing, then overnight train or bus up to Chiang Mai. You might consider Pac-safe to keep your bag secure when out of sight. The advantage of the overnight bus/train is saving one night's accommodation, having a full day in BKK sightseeing and arriving in CM early am. Perfect time to find a room. Sightseeing in CM that first day, then book your trek. 3 days trekking. Or go right from the bus/train to your GH and start your trek! You get in early enough to pull it off, but would make more sense IMO to explore CM your first day. This will use up 4 of your days.

Overnight bus or train back to BKK. I vote you pass on Phuket, too crowded/expensive. Air Asia will get you to Krabi, BKK Air to Koh Samui. Do a bit research and decide if you prefer Samui or the Krabi area. I don't think you should spend more than 4 days of your 20 playing on the beaches. Of course you can use the overnight bus to Krabi or Surat Thani. Use the Southern Bus Station for your bus. DO NOT use the tourist buses the travel shops promote. There have been many reports of theft and scams on the private bus system. Not on the buses the Thai people use. Make the effort to get over to the bus station and book your trip yourself.

After 4 days of beach time, back to BKK. Fly, bus or train, you should know what you prefer by now. You will have to book your flight a week or so beforehand for a better quote. Air Asia: BKK-PNH. 1-2 days in Phnom Penh, bus down to Sihanoukville. 3 days beach time. Bus back to PP, bus up to Siem Reap. 3 day, then one long day overland back to BKK. Or fly BKK Air if you need to. Expensive but might work for you. I am seeing $150-250 one way. You could fly to BKK and fly home the same day if your flight home is late in the day.

I just don't think you can work VN in unless you drop CM, Krabi or Sihanoukville. You have to find 5 days to fly to HAN or SGN and see anything. Good luck with your planning.

5. Posted by jessicazones (Budding Member, 2 posts) 19 Feb '13 22:11

Hi Rafa,

I have searched vietnam advisor for you.It is specialized in organizing Thailand,Cambodia and Vietnam tours.Just few days ago one of my friends visited Thailand and took services of vietnam advisor and was satisfied with their services.

Hope this will help you.

6. Posted by r.davilaponce (Budding Member, 7 posts) 20 Feb '13 05:10

Megan! I'm the one who is jealous!! 3.5 months, you are a couple of lucky guys!! I've written down all you told me about Thailand and Cambodia, because Vietnam its too much for 20 days, we will try next time Vietnam and Laos. Thanks a lot for your advices!!

The recommendations Mike gave me have been just wonderful too. I will take every little thing into account. Thanks to you also, Mike!.

Thanks to Jessica & Ms Trang too!!

I will keep telling you about my planning and maybe ask some more!!

7. Posted by meganjane03 (Budding Member, 46 posts) 20 Feb '13 06:18

Haha yeah we were pretty lucky! Looking forward to our next trip!

I'd love to hear how it goes if you do a travel blog, and when you need advice on Vietnam and Laos (assuming my advice for Cambodia and Thailand proves to be okay) then let me know, I'd be happy to help again!

Have an awesome time

Megan

8. Posted by Tiddy Wallapa (Budding Member, 17 posts) 5 Mar '13 22:49

Hi Rafa!

Have you done your plan or your trip yet? [I don't know the date and time you will visit SEA]

I saw you ask about Thailand, here where I am LOL For both north and south are interesting. Btw it depends on your style of travelling. I agree that you start from BKK and take city tour for just one day or only a half if you prefer to go somewhere else. Then I'd like to ask you for maybe 2 choices, you like to travel in style of arts and culture with some historical places and traditional routine orprefer to go on with beach and sun? If you prfer sea sand and sun you'd better go down to south of Thailand like Samui Phuket.....but if you like to test some cultural travelling so you gotta go for Chiangmai Chiangrai.

For more options if you interest in the city near BKK you may go to Karnchanaburi where you can touch the nature or Rajchaburi where the famous floating market exists! And for night life or hang out travelling with beach, there is also an interesting option Pattaya.

Due to your limit of time you may take budget airline to travel from BKK to north or south of Thailand because you may take less time for transportation. And in BKK you can find public bycycle to travel around.

Hope it's not too late and can help you in anyway.:)

9. Posted by r.davilaponce (Budding Member, 7 posts) 17 Mar '13 13:01

Tiddy!! Its absolutely not too late: I'm still planning the travel, I'm just getting the plane tickets, we're going to Thailand for 20 days more or less at the end of August and the beginning of September.

First of all we'll stay a night or two in BKK and visit Ayutthaya. Then we start moving. We're going to spend a couple of days in the south (probably Koh Samui, what do you think about that, Megan and Mike just posted it is a good spot). And then back to the north, we want to visit Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, also Lampang, Mae Hong Song and Sukhotai. What do you think?? There we would like to spend like 10 or 12 days and then leave Thailand and go to Cambodia.

Any advise??

We're checking every website and travel guide but your help (just like Megan's and Mike's and everybody else's) has a great value, specially because you live there!!

Thanks a lot Tiddy!!

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