Mar 25th, 2018, 09:28 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 16

I am working on a 3 week trip to Thailand and Cambodia next January.
Day 1: We arrive at 1 or 2 a.m. and plan to stay at a hotel near the airport. I figure we can rest by the pool and take the rail into Bangkok if we feel up to it.
Day 2 - 4: The next day we will fly to Surat Thani to pick up the transfer to Elephant Hills for 2 nights/3 days.
Day 4 - 7: After that, fly back to Bangkok for 4 nights.
Day 8 - 10:Then on to. Chiang Rai for 3 nights.
Day 11- 13: Chiang Mai for 3 nights.
We then have 5 nights to plan. Day 14 - 16 Siem Reap
Day 17 - 18: Phonm Penh
Day 19: Fly back to Bangkok and catch plane for our home destination at midnight.

Should we bother going to Phnom Penh? Would it be better to add an extra day to Siem Reap or some other place on our itinerary. If we fly to Bangkok in the morning of Day 19, we can check our luggage at the airport and take the rail into the city for a last look. That avoids checking into a hotel for one night at the end of our trip. However, is there a risk we could miss our plane home? We could rearrange the order of the trip and go to Cambodia after Bangkok and then end our trip in the North. Would that make more sense?

Any and all suggestions/ideas welcome. Thanks. Akb
akb is offline  
Mar 26th, 2018, 07:47 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 33,000
I think you need to add another day to Siem Reap. It takes three full days, meaning four nights, just to visit the major temples. You will want more time there if you are especially interested in the Temples at Angkor. Pick up a copy of Dawn Rooney's book, Angkor: A Guide to Cambodia's wondrous temples to prepare for your visit. Some people feel that a stop in PP is necessary to get a fuller picture of Cambodia, but other feee time in Siem Reap is what they came for.

I wouldn't fly back to Bangkok on the day of my international flight. Come back to Bangkok the day before our flight and spend a last day shopping and sightseeing. While it seems unlikely that you would miss your flight home, sometimes things can happen that really throw off flights. I wouldn't chance it. And you won't be able to check your luggage in for your homebound flight until a few hours before the flight.

BTW, your day/night count seems to be off. Note that two nights is never three days, but only one full day and a few hours on two other days.

Have a wonderful trip!
Kathie is offline  
Mar 26th, 2018, 11:03 AM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 7,617
Lots of ways you can do this. A few random thoughts:
1. Definitely stick with Phnom Penh. A fascinating city and way more manageable than Bangkok. Two nights ( one full day) will enable you to see the major sights such as a Tuol Sleng, the Central Market, the Killing Fields, Russian Market.
2. Two full days in Siem Reap would be enough for me. More if you are really into temples.
3. Forget about taking the train into Bangkok. It doesn’t go anywhere you want to be! Get a taxi to a decent hotel close to the river and get over the jet lag. If you feel up to it have a boat ride or a look around before heading back to the airport.
4. Consider flying to Phuket rather than Surat Thani. I think Ele Hills transfer from there.
5. We have flown from Phuket to Siem Reap via Bangkok with Air Asia. Decent connecting times which may be more efficient than sticking Bangkok in the middle of your trip.
6. Consider leaving Bangkok until the end of your trip and your flight home from there.
7. 6 days split between Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai is a good amountbof time but decide on excactly what you want to see and do and you can maybe save a day here. It is only a two hour drive between the two towns. Renting a car is a great idea to get around the north.
8. I would have a look at the Air Asia schedules between the north and south of Thailand and Cambodia. We used them a lot on recent trips and, even transiting via Bangkok we found it to be te most efficient way of getting around ( and the cheapest!) . You could also take a look at the Bangkok Air Pass. It didn’t work for us but may for your trip.
9. One thought is that rather than spend six days in the north of Thailand, maybe drop CM or CR and add the time to Cambodia, Kratie and Kep are easily reachable from Phnom Penh. Some photos and detail of our time Kampot and Phnom Penh in our blog @

Hope this helps rather than complicates matter!
crellston is offline  
Mar 26th, 2018, 01:55 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 16
Thanks for all the info. To complicate our itinerary,I am considering stealing some days from Chiang Rai to add Luang Prabang for 2 or 3 nights. Any thoughts on that? The reason I was going back to Bangkok after Elephant Camp was to meet friends joining us there. Also, we were told not to schedule flights until after 6 pm, which seems limiting for places other than Bangkok. However, this is all a work in progress so I like all the feedback.
akb is offline  
Mar 26th, 2018, 02:01 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 33,000
I highly recommend that you not add another destination (in another country) to your plan. And two or three nights is not enough time to visit Luang Prabang.

If the Elephant camp says don't schedule a flight until after 6 pm, I'd go with their recommendation. An alternative would be to stay close to the airport that night and fly out to the destination of your choice in the morning or fly to Bangkok that night and stay near the airport for a flight to the place of your choice in the morning.
Kathie is offline  
Mar 26th, 2018, 06:20 PM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 25,295
I agree with crellston about Phnom Penh. I find it really sad that people are going to Cambodia JUST to visit Siem Reap, which has become tourist central, rather than experiencing other aspects of the country. Also, I am not a big fan of Bangkok (unlike a number of posters here) and I would take time from Bangkok for PP.

I would not add Luang Prabang. You have plenty as it is, and LP is another place that has been overrun by tourists. It was magical when I first went in 2001, still pretty atmospheric in 2004, but in 2011 I said never again.

What are you going to do with the six days in CM and CR?
thursdaysd is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2018, 06:11 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 16
Thanks for all the suggestions. After a busy few weeks welcoming a new grandson, traveling to play baby night nurse for a week, and celebrating holidays and family birthdays, I am concentrating on the trip again.I have thought a lot about the design of the trip and what will work with our wants and needs. My husband and I are in our late 60s. We prefer to see highlights of these countries in case we never get back to the region again. In case we do return, we can add on to this trip experience in the future.The plan now is to break the trip up into 4 night segments. It looks like this:

First 4 nights: Arrive and stay 2 nights in Bangkok and then transfer to Elephant Hills Camp.

Next 4 nights: Fly to Chiang Mai in the early evening, which gives us 3 full days and a half day before we leave for Laos.

Next 4 nights: Leave Chiang Mai around 3:15 p.m. and arrive in Luang Prabang around 4:30 p.m. Get into town in time for dinner and night market fun. We will have 3 full days and an evening and half day before we leave for Siem Reap.

Next 4 nights: Fly to Siem Reap around 3 pm, arriving an hour and a half later in time for dinner. We will have 3 full days and a good part of the last day before we leave for Bangkok.

Rest of trip: Fly back to Bangkok in the late afternoon or early evening. Spend 3 days exploring Bangkok before departing for home.

We luckily have lots of hotel points to spread around except for hotels in Luang Prabang. I like staying in town or close to it. Any thoughts on Apsara, Hotel 3 Nagas, or Belle Rive Boutique Hotel?

Also, in Siem Reap, we could stay at either the Courtyard Marriott or the Park Hyatt. Any suggestions to help us make that decision.

Thanks in advance for any feedback.
akb is offline  
May 9th, 2018, 09:20 AM
Join Date: May 2018
Posts: 4
Phnom Penh is the capital of Cambodia and how can anyone forget to visit it especially I heard a lot about its shopping centres.
virginiaheydt is offline  
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