2 1/2 weeks- Thailand, and Vietnam???

Old Jul 3rd, 2012, 09:00 PM
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How about Luang Prabang, Laos for the elephant experience (plus monks in a charming, spiritual town with fabulous hotels)? The plane from Hanoi to SR stops there anyway. We tried to go there originally during our holiday but couldn't get a flight.
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Old Jul 4th, 2012, 07:50 AM
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Wow - we wanted to get to luang prabang, but it was inconvenient to get to. What a great thought to combine the three destinations.
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Old Jul 4th, 2012, 08:27 AM
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Luang Prabang is one of my favorite places (though I was there many years ago when it was a sleepy little temple town). If you can time it right, as mrwunrfl says, you can fly from Hanoi to Luang Prabang, then a few days later catch a flight to Siem Reap from LP, and then fly through Bangkok to your beach vacation. The problem, of course, is that these flights are not daily, but you might be able to juggle your schedule enough to make it work. This would be a very efficient use of your time and cuts down on the complicated logistics.

As I said to someone else, do your research on the elephant place outside of Luang Prabang, as I don't know how well they treat their animals.
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Old Jul 4th, 2012, 08:39 AM
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In 2009 we went to Luang Prabang (4 nts), Siem Reap (6 nts), Phuket (5 nts) and Bangkok (4 nts,) using a Bangkok Air Discovery Airpass. It all worked out fine, and was everything we hoped for.
This kind of circuit is done pretty often, and Fodorites will be able to give advice.
We really loved Luang Prabang. It provides a kind of charm unmatched elsewhere.
By eliminating northern Thailand and Hanoi, and spending a minimum of 3 nights in each place, a similar three-country trip would certainly be do-able, and fulfill pretty well all of Gabi's vacation objectives.
The flight times are all short, though you have to choose the order carefully in order to get the best connections on Bangkok Air.
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Old Jul 4th, 2012, 08:58 AM
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Meant to say you wouldn't want to get SR-CR on Travelocity (probably other sites, as they didn't show Bangkok Air options).

Hanoi - Luang Prabang would be easier to manage. You could go from Halong Bay to LP via that 6:50 PM flight, 1 hour, Vietnam Airlines operated by Lao Aviation. Or the 9:50 AM, 1 hr 25 min, op by Vietnam Ailines. About four hours door-to-door.

Next, LP to SR, 1 hour 55 min on the 1 a day nonstop. Then Bangkok Air nonstop SR to Phuket.

Hanoi-LP-SR-Phuket in three short nonstops vs 3 connections, Hanoi-x-SR-x-CR-x-Phuket. That is do-able.

I couldn't find nonstops for Shanghai to Hanoi, but there is one for Shanghai to Siem Reap.
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Old Jul 4th, 2012, 09:05 AM
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Oh, just saw the post by WillJame. Bangkok Air is an optionn for Luang Prabang to Siem Reap. And that nonstop for Siem Reap to Phuket.
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Old Jul 4th, 2012, 10:06 AM
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You are shortchanging Bangkok..spend the extra time there.
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Old Jul 4th, 2012, 11:39 AM
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Agree that Bangkok is being shortchanged, but the connections work out nicely with luang probing. Since Bangkok deserves more time and can be paired with ayuthaya, suko Thai and northern Thailand on a separate trip, IMO Bangkok can be skipped this time. While I think the OP is shortchanging Vietnam (note I spent 3 1/2 weeks there alone), it sounds like this makes perfectly good sense if the connections work out.
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Old Jul 4th, 2012, 01:00 PM
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Wow guys! So helpful!
It seams like north of thailand is loosing priority on my list...

So these seams to be the best options


Hanoi-LP- SR - Phuket.

Or

SR- Bangkok -phuket
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Old Jul 4th, 2012, 01:23 PM
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Or

LP-SR-BKK-PHU
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Old Jul 5th, 2012, 05:33 AM
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You have a tough decision to make as all the locations are incredible. You should really do a bit of research, look at pictures and see what you think might be more appealing for you for this trip. If it were me, I would forgo the beach portion of your trip and include Bangkok which is one of the most incredible cities. But perhaps that is because I live in Florida and have access to beaches all the time. Whatever you do, you will enjoy. Just be careful not to flit from one place to another, spending more time traveling than enjoying the sites.
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Old Jul 5th, 2012, 09:13 AM
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I looooove beach, so that is a must.
And everyone agrees siem reap is a must.
Bangkok is on theway... So it seams right.
So if i have time to add one more, would be hanoi or luan prabang.

I prefer the less busy one.. With more ruralmor country experience,. Villages.. Not so city like.
If anyone wants to give me their opinion.. I'm once again very grateful...

My trip has changed so much from when instarted planning... Crazy! But happy to have heard so many opinions.
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Old Jul 5th, 2012, 09:37 AM
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Well, Luang Prabang is moew rural (by far) than Hanoi. The problem is getting there.

MrW says there is a flight from Shanghai to Siem Reap, so fly to Siem Reap first. Some days, there is a flight from Siem Reap to Luang Prabang on Lao Air. If you can get that flight, then it's easy. From LP, fly to Bangkok for a few days, then on the the beach.

On your last posted itineray, you have nine days between Shanghai and the beach. So you could get three nights in each place. That isn't a lot of time, but it is do-able. You'll get a taste of each of those places.

Photos can help, as others have said. Here is a link to our photo site, which has photos of all of those places: www.marlandc.com
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Old Jul 5th, 2012, 01:48 PM
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I see the flight from Shanghai to Siem Reap is just 3x per wk.
That's the same problem that wd arise if Gabi did Shanghai-BKK-LP-SR-PHU-BKK-NYC using a Discovery Airpass for 4 flights--LP to SR is just offered 3 or 4 times per week as well on Lao Air (included within the Airpass).
But the best use of the Pass wd be to spend time in BKK at the outset, and later fly directly from SR to PHU which wd count as one segment.
Bottom line: You have to juggle destinations and flights a bit to make these things work. Or be prepared to pay more and take, e.g., Vietnam Air one way from LP to SR.
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Old Jul 5th, 2012, 02:56 PM
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WillJame
did you end up doing the elephant experience in tiger trails LP?
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Old Jul 5th, 2012, 06:11 PM
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No, we didn't, but we considered it. For one thing we had another elephant experience lined up at LP that fell through. And, second, we had been to an elephant camp previously near Chiang Mai. And, for a third, there was something about Tiger Trails that made us a bit uncertain, but I forget whether it was mixed reviews or a recent change of management--something like that. In retrospect, we wish we had gone. Check it out and see if it gets good reviews today--that was three years ago.
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Old Jul 5th, 2012, 08:21 PM
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Shanghai - Siem Reap isn't available on the 29th but is on the 28th but at a fare of $1022.

Took a look at Shanghai to LP and only saw 20+ hours travel time, connecting in Hanoi, overnight in Hanoi.

That result showed a nonstop from Shanghai to Hanoi that didnt show up when I put in PVG-HAN. There is a nonstop from Shanghai to Hanoi on Vietnam Airlines on the 29th. Assuming they are on the same time zone then the flight is two and a half hours.

I would go Shanghai-Hanoi-LP-SR-Phuket on the four nonstops if the price was right. Save Bangkok for another trip when I had more time to spend there with a sidetrip to Chiang Rai.
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Old Jul 5th, 2012, 08:44 PM
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But the price might not be right: $681 for Shanghai to Hanoi. But Shanghai to Bangkok is over $800 for the nonstop.
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Old Jul 6th, 2012, 06:29 AM
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Gabi, I think the flight connection might end up making the choice for you on where to go. Try to spend a minimum of three nights in all of your destinations. Less than that will give you no time to experience what you came so far for.
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Old Jul 6th, 2012, 07:02 AM
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mrwunrfl, kayak.com shows nonstop flights from Shanghai to Bangkok on Sept 29 as low as $219 (Sri Lankan), and $520 (That Air), and $630 (Shanghai or China Eastern).
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