Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Asia
Reload this Page >

Bangkok - Luang Prabang - Siem Reap - Thai Beach Resort or Saigon?

Bangkok - Luang Prabang - Siem Reap - Thai Beach Resort or Saigon?

Old Jul 23rd, 2012, 01:22 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 17
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Bangkok - Luang Prabang - Siem Reap - Thai Beach Resort or Saigon?

I am planning a trip for my husband and myself (late 60s) and our daughter (late 20s) to SE Asia. This is our first time in SE Asia; however, my daughter lives in Korea and we have traveled extensively in China/Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, Japan, Korea (of course) and other areas of the world.

I've tried to cobble together an itinerary that will give us broad exposure without going too many places. From what I've read, Bangkok is a city worth seeing. From Bangkok I'm thinking we could fly to Chiang Rei and take transportation to Huay Xai to take the 2-day boat trip to Luang Prabang. From Luang Prabang we would fly to Siem Reap, and from Siem Reap we would either return to Bangkok or, depending on the time left, perhaps go to a beach resort.

We have 2 1/2 to 3 weeks. I am thinking: 4 nights in Bangkok / 4 nights in Luang Prabang (+ 2 days for Mekong boat) / 4 nights in Siem Reap / 5 nights at the beach. I have the following questions:

1. Any comments regarding the amount of time at each location? I love history, art, architecture, temples and will tour dawn to dusk; however, my husband and daughter are not likely to do so (my husband cannot walk long distances, although he did make it all the way up to the Tiger's Nest!) -- so I'm trying to balance interests.

2. I'm not interested in going to Phuket. Any suggestions for Thai beach resorts that are not overly built up? A friend of ours mentioned Krabi. Any other suggestions?

3. Is it worth going to Saigon, Mekong Delta rather than to a beach resort or should Vietnam be left for another trip? I am thinking the latter, but would like travelers experienced in this region to put in their thoughts on this.

4. If I were to hire a travel agent to put the transportation together for us, any suggestions?
Should it be a Lao agent?

5. Any place where we should have a pre-arranged tour guide or is this better to do on the spot from the hotel?

Thank you. I welcome your thoughts and ideas.
ElaineK is offline  
Old Jul 23rd, 2012, 01:37 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 33,209
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
This sounds like a wonderful trip. I think you have the right number of stops, the right amount of time in each place. I'd save VN for another trip.

What time of year are you going? That makes a difference for beach recommendations.

There really isn't a need for a travel agent to book this. Though if you wanted one, perhaps my old friend Eddie at the Am Ex office in Bangkok could do it. [email protected]

If you want to use the Bangkok Air Discovery Pass, you have to book it yourself, as it cannot be booked from inside SE Asia.

Mostly, you don't need guides. You may want a guide at Angkor. If so, you could contact Ponheary Ly or her brother, Dara. Also, take a look at www.theplf.org
Kathie is online now  
Old Jul 23rd, 2012, 02:56 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 29,049
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
i agree it looks quite perfect.. do it yourself with our help..

krabi is very nice.. we are your age and i am like your husband (slow). we like the krabi sheraton. you could hire a boat to take you from the hotel beach to the islands for a day--fab..

i also like amari vogue but it costs more in krabi..

you fly to krabi

hua hin is 3 hours drive from bkk and is nice.. we like the hyatt there..

VN is a trip in itself.. imo

many of us like tong in bkk for trips in town and outside town...google: tour with tong

otherwise i think tour guides arranged on site are better..

in siem reap ponherry ly is a preferred guide---your husband will be challenged by parts of angkor...have an a/c car for him to retreat to..

many of us prefer hotels on the river in bkk--its unique and fun. tell us about your hotel budget and we can make suggestions..

you are going to have a fab time
rhkkmk is offline  
Old Jul 23rd, 2012, 08:05 PM
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 17
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Wow! You both wasted no time replying! I am so grateful -- Kathie, I've read many of your posts in related forums. You are indeed knowledgeable. RHKKMK -- I sincerely appreciate your input on hotels, etc. I will have to post a report when we get back because this forum has been so helpful in many ways.

We will be traveling in February, 2013. I'm hoping it's slightly toward the tail end of the high season. We were hoping not to spend more than $250 / night for hotels. I've looked at some of the higher end hotels and been blown out of the water! I'll use whatever input you can give me in that regard. I figure it's not too early to start booking and we may even be a little late.

Have either of you done the Mekong river boat trip from No. Thailand to Luang Prabang? Is it worth doing? Thanks again
ElaineK is offline  
Old Jul 24th, 2012, 03:02 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 22,187
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
The Tet holiday comes in early February next year (9th - 14th) and Saigon will be teeming with returnees from abroad before and during the holiday. So that might guide your decision.

There are a few threads on that boat trip here, I think.
ekscrunchy is offline  
Old Jul 24th, 2012, 06:31 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 33,209
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
You should be able to get lovely hotels for that price.

I have not done the LuangSay trip from Northern Thailand to Luang Prabang, but it is on my wish list.

Take a look at some of the hotel booking sites such as www.agoda.com or for Thailand, www.sawasdee.com for good deals.
Kathie is online now  
Old Jul 25th, 2012, 09:53 AM
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 17
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks to all for your tips. Ekscrunchy -- your info on Tet holiday puts finality to save Vietnam for another trip. Rhkkmk -- your tip on having the air conditioned car is invaluable -- its not something that would have occurred to me. I will definitely investigate Hua Hin. Kathie, your expertise in the area is greatly appreciated. Your reassurance that the itinerary is about right is nice to have. Also, I did not know about sawadee and will go on that website. Thanks to both Rhkkmk and Kathie for mentioning the Lys -- I am contacting them today.
ElaineK is offline  
Old Jul 25th, 2012, 12:16 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 29,049
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
i never spend that much.. my target for hotels is !00-125, but for something special i will spend to $175
rhkkmk is offline  
Old Jul 25th, 2012, 06:13 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 10,650
Likes: 0
Received 7 Likes on 1 Post
We did the Luang Say boat trip in the other direction,. I didn't love it. If u click on my name u can find my very long trip report of our nine week trip to SEAsia. There is a portion which describes the two days on the boat.
yestravel is offline  
Old Jul 26th, 2012, 11:58 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 7,938
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
ElaineK - I have done the boat trip from Northern Thailand to Luang Prabang twice once in 1999 on a public boat and again in 2007 by hiring a private boat. The first time was magical, the second was very disappointing. The majority of the forest along the banks has now been destroyed by "slash and burn" agriculture and it is not a pretty sight. To add to the problems we last travelled there in April which was the height opf the burning season and travelling on the boat was akin to sitting next to a giant bonfire the whole time. That year was an exception but it does happen to some degree every year around that time.

On balance, I would give the boat trip a miss and spend more visiting other places in Lao. Maybe south to Tad Lo on the Bolalvens plateau or Si Phan Don although this would probably involve a flight from LP to Pakse.
crellston is offline  
Old Jul 27th, 2012, 05:49 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 10,650
Likes: 0
Received 7 Likes on 1 Post
I might add to Crellston's comments that the guide on our boat trip said that the effects of the "slash and burn" can be felt as early as January and into the Spring. He said at varying times, it can be smoky and/or very hot.

On your question re the beach - we also spent a week at Aonang. The area is beautiful and the surrounding islands are fabulous to visit. I thought the town itself just like any other beach town. Again we have a detailed description in our lengthy TR
http://www.fodors.com/community/asia...ia-odyssey.cfm
You can find the Aonang portion on May 16, 12 at 11:53am by gottravel
yestravel is offline  
Old Aug 16th, 2012, 12:02 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 79
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Maybe you could consider saving the time from the boat trip and doing a shorter boat trip? We caught a boat from Battambong to Siem Reap which was one of the highlights of our trip last February. I have however read very mixed reports of this and other boat trips on Trip Advisor - a lot depends on the season and the water levels. The boat was pretty basic and may not be all that comfortable for your husband. We hired a driver to take us from Siem Reap to Battambong, leaving most of our luggage in Siem Reap at our hotel. We stayed 2 nights in Battambong (at a lovely place called Au Cabaret Vert) then caught the boat back to Siem Reap.
Your trip sounds fantastic but I would definitely save Vietnam for another trip altogether.
Judith_Hunter is offline  
Old Aug 16th, 2012, 12:37 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,646
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Judith- I stayed at Au Caberet Vet when it first opened (2010), and we really enjoyed it.

Battambang is a great side trip from Siem Reap. We took the boat down from SR and the bus back up. The bus is not a cruise, just a 5 hour shuttle. I do know someone who did the Luang sey trip from Thailand to LP. They enjoyed it, but I think they went in late October, when things are very green.
lcuy is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
foggybridges
Asia
11
Jan 6th, 2014 09:05 AM
Minab
Asia
12
Aug 8th, 2011 03:41 PM
hucklecat
Asia
6
Feb 12th, 2007 01:38 PM
DeepBluesDude
Asia
7
May 7th, 2003 01:16 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information