Planned itinerary - Southeast Asia

May 20th, 2011, 08:38 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 162
Planned itinerary - Southeast Asia

Hi...some further planning questions regarding our South East Asia trip. We will be traveling in January/February for about two months. We will begin in Thailand and finish in Vietnam and have chosen the following sequence to minimize impact of Vietnamese Tet holiday travel in Laos and Cambodia. Our interests (this trip) are temples, archeological sites, outdoors and food. We like to travel slowly. Our tentative sequence is:

Bangkok - 7 nights
Siem Reap/Angkor - 4 nights
Luang Prabang – 4 nights
Chiang Mai/Northern Thailand – 10 nights
Krabi [via Bangkok]– 5 nights
Bangkok – 1 night, then on to Hanoi

Our questions:

1) We’re doing Ayutthaya as a day trip from Bangkok. Are there any other worthwhile day trips from Bangkok that we should do?
2) We’re currently planning on only visiting Luang Prabang in Laos. Are there other places in Laos (e.g., Vientiane) we should be adding?
3) Are we devoting enough time to Chiang Mai and the north…we would also like to go to Chiang Rai, Nan and the Mae Hong Son loop. Would 14 days be better than ten.
4) What’s the best starting point to visit Sukhothai? Should we try to see it by returning overland from Chiang Mai to Bangkok with a stopoff in Sukhothai?

gottravel is offline  
May 21st, 2011, 12:53 AM
Join Date: May 2004
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1. Bangkok will take at least 5 days to explore properly (some would say you could spend 50 and still not see it all!)
2. LP is a great stopping off point for northern Laos. Hire a guide and spend 5 days traveling by car boat etc. around Luang Namtha, Muang Sing Phongsali - off the beaten track but great scenery and even better people once eyou get out to some of the minority peoples villages. Can't say I am keen on Vientienne but it does have some significant temples and decent markets.
3. I like Chiang Mai (one of the few on this forum!) but 10 days is too long. Spend 5-6 days hiring a car & driving the Mai Hong Sorn loop. Lots to interest you along the way. Free guides at
4. We got the train fom BKK to Sukothai and picked up a our rental car there. I suppose you could do the same in reverse.

As you like to "travel slowly" consider travelling overland from Cambodia into Laos via Kratie and through the Si Phan Don (4000 islands) area on the Mekong. Possible to get integrated bus and boat tickets and it is a really peaceful and beatutiful area. A few photos etc of or time there entrie 8-9 on our blog

Lots of other places to incorporate if only going to Southern Lao, Tad Lo, Bolavens Plateau, Wat Phu is a good resource
crellston is offline  
May 21st, 2011, 05:09 AM
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I too am one of the few on Fodors who like Chang Mai, but 10 nights is too long, IMO. Perhaps you could spend some time in and around Chang Rai while up north. As for day trips from Bangkok, we enjoyed the Damien Sudek floating market and the Prasart Museum. You need to make advance reservations for the latter, and get a driver who is able to find it, but it is totally worth the effort. It's a very special place.
shelleyk is offline  
May 21st, 2011, 06:30 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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i think you are suggesting 10 nights total in northern thailand which i think is fine split between the places you rushing...

if you are going to angkor, i would consider not going to AY.... angkor is so much better... you might even consider an additional day in SR.

i think your plan is perfect overall....

outside of bkk there is the floating market and the tiger temple which make a nice long day visit... hire a driver/guide like tong to get you there and make the day more enjoyable... you could also visit the orphanage in the forrest which was so worthwhile
rhkkmk is offline  
May 21st, 2011, 08:14 AM
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Overall, I think you have an excellent plan. As others have said, of your 10 nights in northern Thailand, you'll likely only want a couple in CM. I'm one who doesn't like CM - no public transport, more particulates in the air than in Bangkok, shopping tends to be more expensive than Bangkok, and with a few exceptions, everything you find in CM you can find better quality and cheaper in Bangkok. So spend you 10 days exploring outside of CM.

You could certainly add other places in Laos, but then you'll have to take time away from somewhere else. If it were me, I'd be more interested in going north as per crellston's advice.

I'd skip Ayutthaya as you are going to Angkor Wat and to Suhkothai. It will be a disappointment after those places. I'd highly recommend the Prasart. I do not recommend the Tiger Temple or the floating market, both of which I consider to be examples of the downside of tourism.
Kathie is offline  
May 21st, 2011, 02:49 PM
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Thanks! We're still early in the planning stage, but this advice is invaluable. Will research northern Laos recommendations and reconsider Ayutthaya. BTW, we didn't envision spending all ten days in Chiang Mai...we're planning on spending a couple days there and then using it as the base for exploring the North, which seems to be in line w/ everyone's suggestions.
gottravel is offline  
May 21st, 2011, 02:58 PM
Join Date: Nov 2006
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Give some thought to a river 'cruise' between L.P. and Chaing Rai/Mai in Thailand.
Here's one option. There are many others.

Check around in the site - there are also some Nth. Thailand options.
dogster is offline  
May 21st, 2011, 08:01 PM
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Dogster, thanks for link. We were just discussing this cruise earlier this evening.
gottravel is offline  
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