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SE Asia Trip Ideas for November/December 2012

SE Asia Trip Ideas for November/December 2012

Feb 8th, 2012, 08:36 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 2
SE Asia Trip Ideas for November/December 2012

My sister and I are planning to spend roughly a month in SE Asia. This will be our first trip to Asia. We have visited Europe, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean Islands. We're currently thinking Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and possibly Vietnam. We'll probably spend 10 days in Thailand, 5-7 days in Cambodia, 5-7 days in Laos and maybe a couple of days in Vietnam. We're also interested in doing some volunteering while we're there. We have someone to stay with and show us around in Laos. Any suggestions for the other countries is greatly appreciated. I've already read about some of the suggestions provided in other postings.
When traveling from country to country, which is the best method of transportation? Plane or Train?
Vietnam is the only country that requires you to get a tourist visa prior to arriving? Was this an easy process?
What airlines did you use? We'll be flying roundtrip from LAX to BKK.
Chastain_Smith is offline  
Feb 8th, 2012, 09:12 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 32,628
SE Asia is best savored slowly. The idea of going to VN for "maybe a couple of days" will increase your expenses and decrease your experience. In a month, even three countries is a lot to cover.

The easiest method of transportation is flying. Overland travel is time-consuming and often, not very comfortable. There are no trains between these countries.

VN is the only one of these countries where you need a visa in advance. Given that you thought you'd just spend a few days there and the expense of the visa and getting to/from VN, I'd suggest you save it for a trip when you have time to enjoy it.

For volunteering, consider this: www.theplf.org You'll see lots of reports about it here, as many Fodorites have volunteered through the PLF. Be wary of "volunteer opportunities" where you are charged to volunteer.

For visiting Thailand, Cambodia and Laos, take a look at Bangkok Air's Discovery Pass. Also, Air Asia is a budget airline, but doesn't fly all the places you want to go.
Kathie is offline  
Feb 12th, 2012, 05:49 PM
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 443
Far too many countries in far too little time. Forget Vietnam for now. Be careful about volunteering; in my opinion, volunteers often do more harm than good.
Vientianeboy is offline  
Feb 12th, 2012, 06:26 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 28,925
vietnam is a country requiring more time really...

look at air asia for discounted flts---limits on luggage however..

fly for sure..
rhkkmk is offline  
Feb 12th, 2012, 06:43 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 282
There are many articles on the internet on why short-term volunteering may not be as helpful as you may think. This is but one of many and the tip of a glacier: http://www.travelfish.org/blogs/siem...ome-questions/

Also, Laos is a fairly spread out country so when you say you have accomodation already fixed in Laos do you mean in several locations or in one or two?

I also agree that just one month is too short for 4 countries, especially considering that you haven't been to any of these areas before. Also, much depends on where in these countries you are planning to travel, and what you hope to do.
kuluk is offline  
Feb 13th, 2012, 04:23 PM
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 1,340
Check out the Elephant Nature Sanctuary north of Chiang Mai for a fantastic volunteer experience. Amazing place.
Cattail is offline  
Feb 29th, 2012, 03:12 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 2
Thank you all for your responses. I truly appreciate it. I keep trying to tell my sister that we might be trying to do too much but she isn't listening. She says, this might be the only time I get to SE Asia and I want to see as much as possible. Vietnam is out. Now she's thinking Bali instead of Cambodia. We have one place to stay in Laos and I'm not sure of the area. We're staying with someone who lives here in the states but is from Laos and will be home visiting family while we are there. So the only thing currently definite is Thailand and Laos.
Chastain_Smith is offline  
Mar 10th, 2012, 03:18 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 282
I think the places you plan to go would depend more on what interests you than how easy these places are to get to or where to stay. Cambodia is a fantastic country and I think if you want amazing temples Angkor Wat park is a not to be missed experience. You might really regret it if you are so close to Siem Reap and do not visit there. But it would take at leasts 4 days and preferably more if you want to savor the temples. And Cambodian food is delicious!

Actually, once you visit SEA you might find it so enchanting that you can't wait to come back and will be able to enjoy all of these countries eventually!
Living in Bali, I always think it's a great place to visit but it's a four hour flight to Denpasar airport from Bangkok and the island is big enough that you need a minimum of a week here.

Do find out where your friend lives in Laos, you will want to make enough time to visit Luang Prabang and Vientiane. Hotels are very very inexpensive so don't feel locked in to stay only at your friends house.

Have a great trip.
kuluk is offline  

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