I'm starting to look into a possible trip to take from Thailand (starting in Bangkok) through Cambodia, to Vietnam and then possibly to Laos depending on the transportation within Laos. Anyways, I haven't set any dates yet since I'm still working out when I can get off my study and get enough time to take the trip but I figure there's no harm in getting as much information as possible to make it happen as soon as possible :P
I was thinking of going for a few months so I can see as much as possible and I was wondering if I could get some feedback on my current plan, and maybe some recommendations of what I'm missing, some places might be ridiculous (hard to get to, no accommodation, etc) so feel free to give me some critique. I figured I would take the train from Bangkok to Aranyaprathet, then buses through Cambodia and once in Vietnam I was hoping to take the trains from city to city, unless thats not possible and I'd have to take buses ?
1 : Bangkok (3-4 days)
2 : Aranyaprathet, Sa Kaeo, Thailand (1 day)
3 : Bat Dambang, Cambodia (1-2 days)
4 : Angkor Wat, Angkor, Siem Reap, Cambodia (2 days)
5 : Phnom Penh, Cambodia (2 days)
6 : Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (2-3 days)
7 : tt. Củ Chi, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (while I'm in Ho Chi Minh)
8 : Mui Ne, Binh Thuan province, Vietnam (2 days)
9 : Dà Lat, Lam Dong, Vietnam (3 days)
10 : Nha Trang, Khanh Hoa province, Vietnam (3-4 days)
11 : Qui Nhon, Binh Dinh province, Vietnam (2 days)
12 : Hoi An, Quang Nam province, Vietnam (2-3 days)
13 : Hue, Thua Thien - Hue province, Vietnam (3-4 days, checking out the caves too)
14 : Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, Quang Binh province, Vietnam (1-2 days)
15 : Ha Long, Quang Ninh province, Vietnam (1-2 days)
16 : Hanoi (3-4 days)
17 : Luang Prabang, Louangphrabang, Laos (2-3 days)
18 : ....
I want to find some more spots in Laos to go to but I'm having some trouble finding decent transportation through there as I need to somehow get back to Bangkok after to catch the flight back home. Luang Prabang seems like the place to be and other than that it seems the easiest way to get back to BKK is through
Mind you that I have never done a trip like this before, nor have I looked into accommodation since I have no exact dates or anything and I've just started planning it recently. What season would be the best to do this specific trip? Any experience, tips, remarks, cautions, accommodations would be much appreciated!
EDIT: When I finally do get the dates, do you suggest booking hostels before hand or as you go along ? Any reason to be nervous about finding accommodation or is it always relatively easy to find?
[ Edit: Edited on 26-Mar-2013, at 14:58 by fonzt ]
April, May and October are the best time to visit Vietnam. Not too much touristy and the weather is nice, not hot and humid. Accommodation isn't difficult to find but you'd better book in advance. Or you may find a local travel agency to do that for you. Some agents are really great and they don't mind to change the bookings schedule due to your flexibility.
Welcome you to Vietnam. Actually, Hoi An and Hue will not take you nearly 1 week. Why not think about Danang, near Hoi An, with beaches, mountain and river. ^^ I will introduce you some local food and travel spot as well as help you to book ticket,hostel for Hue and Phong Nha cave.
In Laos you can go to Vang Vieng and Vientienne. I think this is pretty much done by bus, and I've heard it can be 6 hours or 12 hours. You can also travel down the river, but that takes much more time. To get back to Bankgok, you can go to Vientienne take a train to the border, taje a train into Thailand to Udon Thani and take an AirAsia flight back to Bangkok.
You can spend $15-35US a day or less easy to eat and sleep. I find places as I look, and usually you get the better deal that way. You can pay $3 a night in most of these cities but that is not advertised on the internet. It also usually easy to find accommodations unless it is a national holiday or event.
I would also suggest Ko Rong, Cambodia.
[ Edit: Edited on 02-Apr-2013, at 15:48 by LaurenLolz ]
I'm in the process if planning a vet similar trip. I'm planning to fly into Bangkok at the end of September, spend a few days there then go down to Indonesia. Then I want to travel back up to do the Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and maybe Malaysia.
I'm taking fall quarter off school so I have to get back by January, unfortunately. Have you decided when you're going yet? This is my first trip to SEA so I'd love to know how your planning goes.
Good luck! Cheers
Went to all those countries about a year ago, the highlights are:
Luang Prabang - night markets, elephant village (amazing)
Vang Vieng - Good place to chill and hang out with western travellers and laos people. Not sure if all the bars along the river are still open (I've heard they have plans to reopen them)
Vientiane - Not much going on. Probably 1 day max
Travel by bus from LP to VV takes 6 hours and costs like $10 and then VV to Vientiane also about 6 hours. Theres only one main road in laos and if theres roadworks prepare for delays.
Definitely go to Hoi An. Escape the big cities like Hanoi and HCMC. I stayed in town but you can stay closer to the beach. The beach is about 4km away from the town centre and you can ride bikes or take a cab for day trips.
Ha Long bay - Speaks for itself. All the ships are the same, there will be a lot of touristy places trying to get your business. Sin Cafe is the best.
Hanoi and HCMC - plenty of markets. In HCMC stay in the backpacking district - eat food with other travellers on the side of the road
Da Lat was pretty cruisey place. Very hilly! Check out the crazy house and the night market
Trains only operate from major cities to major cities. Otherwise get a sleeper bus! Pretty cheap too!
Angkor Wat - Get there at sunrise for good photo shots. And then you can check out other temples. Tomb raider temple was my favourite. 2 days is enough there. Plenty of night markets in Siem reap too! And check out Pub Street
I'd suggest more time in Thailand - Check out the islands - Koh Samui. And also Krabi!
I was recently in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Thai. A big note - don't get too caught up in rushing around to see "everything." You can't see everything. Stay longer in places you love and leave sooner in places you dislike.
On to notes -
HCMC - I ended up staying there 2 weeks. I know that's a bit long by some standards, but there's tons to do both in the city and on day trips outside and if it's in the middle of your trip, it's nice to stop and chill for a bit so you don't get burned out.
Da lat - Beautiful town, lots of outdoorsy stuff to do. Go Canyoning!! Abseil down waterfalls. So worth it. 3-5 days should be good.
Nha Trang - 3-4 days - it's mostly a beach town
I'd give 3 days for Angkor Wat.
2-3 days for PP.
Konglor Cave - it's about midway up the country and an absolute b*tch to get to, but so worth it. Nestled in the midst of lush farmland, You ride a tiny boat 7km on a subterranean river through a cave with ceilings 100m high.
If you're going to Luang Prabang and need to get back to Bangkok, go via Vientiane. There's not much to do there, but you can take a overnight train straight to Bangkok. It's actually pretty cushy and the open bunks have curtains. Almost the same price as the bus and far more comfortable. I recommend it.
Try to make it to a national park in any of these countries and do some jungle trekking. It's amazing.
This is all incredible information, thank you all so much!
@Massyn I haven't set a date yet since it's difficult to plan far ahead of tim. Good luck on your trip!
How expensive it it to get to Ko Samui and the Thai islands?