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Itinerary Question for short but extensive SE Asia Trip!

Travel Forums Asia Itinerary Question for short but extensive SE Asia Trip!

1. Posted by a_ronaghi (Budding Member, 12 posts) 13 Jul '13 14:37

Hi Everyone,

Me and my girlfriend have been planning on going to South East Asia this October. We can only travel for 56 days, which I've heard is kinda short for the kind of trip we are making. I backpacked throughout Eastern Europe 2 years ago, (my posts should still be on this forum), where I travelled through 15 countries in 45 days... So I believe this might be do-able as well.

I was wondering if the days spent on certains cities can be extended or shortened, since I'm not sure how much there is to do/see in each country.

Here is the itinerary:

  1. Phnom Penh, Camb -- 3 days
  2. Siem Reap, Camb-- 2 days
  3. Sihanoukville, Camb -- 2 days
  4. Ho Chi Minh City, Viet -- 4 days (where we check out Can Tho)
  5. Mui Ne, Viet -- 1 day
  6. Da Lat, Viet -- 2 days
  7. Nha Trang, Viet -- 3 days
  8. Hoi An, Viet -- 2 days
  9. Hue, Viet -- 2 days
  10. Hanoi, Viet -- 4 days (where we go to Ha long bay)
  11. Sa Pa, Viet -- 2 days
  12. Luang Prabang, Laos -- 2 days
  13. Vang Vieng, Laos -- 1 day
  14. Vientiane, Laos -- 1 day
  15. Chiang Mai, Thai -- 3 days
  16. Ayutthaya, Thai -- .5 days
  17. Khao Yai Park, Thai -- 2 days
  18. Bangkok, Thai -- 2 days
  19. Surat Thani, Thai -- 1 day
  20. Ko Samui, Thai - 2 days
  21. Kuala Lumpure, Mala - 2 days
  22. Singapore - 1 day
  23. Bali, Indonesia -- 4 days

I think I misnamed days for nights, but yeah.

Any input will be MUCH MUCH appreciated!!!

Thanks :)
Amin

2. Posted by Cyberia (Travel Guru, 1748 posts) 14 Jul '13 11:07

Chiang Mai has not much but you could do a short trek into the nearby mountains. Ayutthaya is usually one day (is that 5 days or half a day?) and travel agents do it as a day return trip from Bangkok.

Bangkok like Singapore deserves more time.

Since you are short of time, fly when you can. Flights normally need to be booked some time beforehand to keep prices down, and they do fill up sometimes.

Bali is a bit of a tourist trap and a fair distance out of your way. Not really a lot there. Worth going to?

3. Posted by birgitatombokan (Budding Member, 2 posts) 18 Jul '13 05:10

Suggestion to you, add more days in Bali and less day in viet. But if only, you are truly interested with viet. :)

4. Posted by MarcoPolo89 (Budding Member, 90 posts) 18 Jul '13 10:23

I think you will be EXHAUSTED with all that traveling - some trips between Vietnamese cities can take up to 12 hours. Personally I think you're taking on too much. In my person opinion, I'd remove Mui Ne and stick with Nha Trang, Hue was very disappointing so I'd suggest removing it, 4 days in Laos just doesn't give it credit - takes a while get around anywhere too, anything particular in Surat Thani? I'd probably remove that too and Singapore is a nice country - 1 day isn't enough.
Honestly you'd enjoy yourself much more if you took it slower and not crammed everything in!

5. Posted by a_ronaghi (Budding Member, 12 posts) 18 Jul '13 10:28

Thanks a lot for all your tips! It's all about trying to only go to the places that are worth it. For example, Mui Ne and Nha Trang are both coastal cities, so I feel like they might be a bit similar.

Are there other substitution or deletions in the itinerary you suggest? I know it will be fast-paced, but I started out with a full itinerary that can be shortened down.

THANKS!!! You guys are awesome. I'm getting plane-tickets today, but the itinerary inside the countries can be modified all the way into the trip. :)

6. Posted by MarcoPolo89 (Budding Member, 90 posts) 18 Jul '13 11:27

For the most part, all of the places you want to go I'd recommend going to so it's difficult to suggest what to remove. How are you planning to get in and out of Laos? It can take between 1-2 days to get to and from Thailand & Vietnam, unless you fly (and that's not especially cheap).
Like Cyberia said, Bali is a bit of a trap. Don't get me wrong it's a beautiful island but if you want to relax its not a great place to be. Kuala Lumpur is also a marmite city - some people love and others really don't. All depends what you want.
In MY opinion these can go: Mui Ne (for Nha Trang), Hue (the historical sites aren't all they're cracked up to be), Vientaine (yaaaawn basically) and Surat Thani (unless you have a reason).
Phnom Penh could maybe warrant 2 days and Singapore needs more than 1 day because its big and brilliant!

7. Posted by stoneman (Respected Member, 212 posts) 20 Jul '13 22:56

Luang Prabang - Vang Vieng - by minibus
Vang Vieng - tubing down the river
Vang Vieng - Ventiane - by minibus

I agree with earlier comment re Ventiane being boring (and I'm an old fart lol)

Ventiane - Chiang Mai - if at all possible take a plane. Alternative (from my research) is bus down to Udon Thani, probably overnight stay, bus to Chiang Mai over mountains taking many hours.

Chiang Mai - Ayutthaya - overnight train, negotiate a price at the train station with a tuk tuk for how many hours you want to see what you want.

Khao Yai Park - sorry never researched

Bangkok - min. 2 days

Forget Surit Thani, it is primarily a transport hub. Book your ticket Bangkok direct to Koh Samui whether by overnight bus/train then boat from Surit Thani

Koh Samui - KL - I would check out plane options as boat/land would take some time.

Singapore -
Agree with adding extra time to Singapore but it is a matter of doing your research to work out how much time you need to do & see what you want.

I usually only answer specific questions but as you have attempted some research maybe some of my comments can assist. There is info on every place/question you have asked on the net. The more research you do the less chance of encountering frustration.

Good luck with your planning.

8. Posted by stoneman (Respected Member, 212 posts) 20 Jul '13 22:58

Sorry, here is the first part of my post:

Given your itinerary I can assume you have done some research. To what extent is tempered by your comment "not sure how much there is to do". I can say every place you have cited has a wealth of info on the net re things to do/tours etc.

As a general comment DO NOT expect buses & trains to run on time so bear this in mind when travelling from one place to the next. Planes save time but come at a $ cost though practical to cover long distances (if plane is an option).

From personal experience & research on the net I'll make the following comments:

Phnom Penh - 2 days max.
PP - SR - Giant Ibis/Mekong bus
Siem Reap - min. 2 days ( 1 for Angkor Wat)
SR - S'ville - understand plane is possible otherwise 2 daytime bus trips (change PP) which will take a day. If you value your safety do not take any overnight buses. Read comments on the net.
S'ville - HCMC - you will either have to take a bus back to PP then daily bus service or I believe there is a bus service to Kep then local transport to border. I believe to cross the border at Vietnam via land you will need to have your visa prebooked with entry & departure dates. You can do this at Sihanoukville.

I would recommend S'ville - Kep - Ha Tien border crossing - bus to Can Tho. If I'm not mistaken you have to overnight PP if going by bus that route. Of course you can always fly from PP to HCMC then you can apply for VOA.

HCMC - Da Lat by bus (if possible, have not researched this leg)
Da Lat - 1 day bike tour with one of the easyrider outfits
Da Lat - Nha Trang - Phu Quong (sp) bus

I agree with comment Nha Trang rather than Mui Ne. I would not bother spending all the time travelling to & from Mui Ne for 1 day.
Nha Trang - Hoi An - many people use overnight buses in VN but for me I will prefer the safety of an overnight train. Up to you. Long distance so maybe a plane option? I only know the airport is about 40km from Nha Trang.

Hue - as advised, research to see if you really want to visit. Otherwise overnight bus/train to Hanoi

Halong Bay - there is a wealth of info on the net about HB cruises. Many to choose from, prices vary, research can reveal itineraries (particularly via travel agent sites) as well as 100's of reviews, this will come down to personal preference. With 4 days do a 2 night cruise, many speak against a day trip because you spend 3-4 hours travelling there each way.

Hanoi - Sapa - possible by overnight bus but by far the majority of people travel overnight by train. Again, plenty of info/reviews on the net to help you decide.

Sapa - organise your trek(s) through your accom. or through one of the hotels recommended via reviews.

Hanoi - Luang Prabang - again long distance but I think the plane only takes you to Ventiane. I may be wrong, others may know better/research the net. It is possible by bus but I have read, and I quote, "the bus ride from hell". Takes 24 hours.

9. Posted by a_ronaghi (Budding Member, 12 posts) 21 Jul '13 14:04

Cyberia, birgitatombokan, and especially Olliwog44 and stoneman. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR all your help!!!

I can now adjust and skip out on towns that are really not necessary, and giving way for more time in Singapore and Thailand. Thanks a lot!

The transportation methods from place to place helped a lot stoneman. I will further research them to figure out a cheap but convenient way of travel from place to place. The biggest question was whether that itenerary was just "too much", or doable. After cutting out some places I think I can actually do it now!

Thanks again! I bought my flight tickets!! :)