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Still contemplating SEA this winter and have questions

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I've been following up on advice some of you have given me and am trying to sort things out in my mind about a possible Jan./Feb. trip of close to six weeks. I've also gotten some guidebooks from the library and have been skimming them. This is my take, and I may be wrong.

Myanmar--rapidly changing but no longer a hidden destination, "good" lodging is in short supply in peak season, worth perhaps 2 weeks time, probably the most expensive destination, dusty, major tourist locales can be overrun with package tourists

Laos--less developed, a good choice for those who love nature and outdoor activities, in the middle range of this group of countries as far as price, perhaps a good place to slow down in several of the towns, potential for smoke and soot from burning off the fields in places

Cambodia--extremely crowded at Angkor Wat but it is possible to avoid crowds, maybe more low key not as intriguing as the other countries listed. I am not certain my take on this country is correct

Thailand--the most developed and most touristy, probably the cheapest, may have the most diversity of things to do

Vietnam--is the only country among these that we have already visited, so I am a bit familiar with it but would contemplate adding it into the mix to see places we did not see before. However, I need to do the real deal as far as getting a visa whereas the other countries I can more easily get a visa. So, I would need a really firm plan soon if I want to include Vietnam.

Are my assumptions about these countries generally correct?

I am thinking that for any of these destinations other than Vietnam my best bet for cheapest flights from the US would be in and out of Bangkok and then figure out connecting transportation from there? Am I right? Or, are there other gateways I should be looking at? Or, if I had a firm plan would I be better off trying to find flights directly into the countries we want to visit?

If we do this, right now I am thinking about an in-depth tour of Laos and visiting Siem Reap (perhaps other parts of Cambodia too) as top contenders for realistically pulling together a last minute trip during peak season.

Do you think Laos and Cambodia could fill about 5-6 weeks, or would I need to add in something else? Some places we like to stop to savor, and some don't hold our attention very long. We've found that often just observing and taking in the everyday captures our attention as much as the normal tourist biggies. Rural areas and smaller villages call to us, and we'd probably be interested in a couple days of hill tribe trekking. We are pretty adventuresome, and our trips are always a mix of activities rather than an exclusive focus on one type of thing such as temples or trekking or big cities. We are in our 60s but active and like observing cultural differences, just wandering around in interesting towns, visiting intriguing markets, interesting architecture, nature-based activities, days of not super strenuous walking/hiking, getting away from the crowds and tour bus groups, visiting temples and sites in unique natural settings, taking in some museums. We don't want to go to the beach, aren't shoppers, aren't fans of large cities void of charm, and can become victims of temple fatigue.

Once again, thanks much.

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