COVID-19 Travel Advisory: Stay up to date with the latest on the coronavirus pandemic.   Learn More >

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

Suggestions on 23 Day Itinerary: Thailand - Laos - Cambodia

Suggestions on 23 Day Itinerary: Thailand - Laos - Cambodia

Old Jul 4th, 2017, 06:44 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2015
Posts: 12
Suggestions on 23 Day Itinerary: Thailand - Laos - Cambodia

Hello Fellow Travelers!

I'm planning a solo trip in late November/December 2017 to Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia. I'd like to see a piece of each country, with the understanding that I won't be able to see everything, and knowing I'll be back to SEA in the future. I'm flying in/out of BKK, as this is the shortest and cheapest flight from Seattle, WA.

With that in mind, I've come up with a preliminary itinerary. I don't mind moving quickly, and in the past have found it comfortable to spend 3 - 5 nights in one place. I prefer nature, culture, and history to beaches and nightlife. I also love hiking, so would love to fit in a 1-2 night trek. Here's what I'm thinking so far:

Day 1 Leave Seattle 12:50 am

Day 2 Arrive in Bangkok at 11:35 am

Day 3 Bangkok

Day 4 Bangkok (Possible day trip to Wildlife Friends Foundation - Elephant Sanctuary/Rescue)

Day 5 Bangkok

Day 6 Bangkok (Overnight train to Chiang Mai)

Day 7 Chiang Mai

Day 8 Chiang Mai

Day 9 Chiang Mai (Possible day trip to Chiang Rai to see Wat Rong Khun)

Day 10 Chiang Mai

Day 11 Fly to Luang Prabang in the morning

Day 12 Luang Prabang

Day 13 Luang Prabang (Kuang Si Fall)

Day 14 Luang Prabang

Day 15 Luang Prabang

Day 16 2 Day/1 night trek near Luang Prabang

Day 17 2 Day/1 night trek near Luang Prabang

Day 18 Fly to Siem Reap

Day 19 Siem Reap

Day 20 Siem Reap

Day 21 Siem Reap

Day 22 Siem Reap

Day 23 Fly Siem Reap > BKK > Home

Here are my questions:

- Is this a reasonable itinerary considering my goals/preferences?

- How long does it take to get through customs in each county if you've obtained a visa beforehand?

- Do you have recommendations for trekking companies?

- I'm also considering Nong Khiaw in lieu of the overnight trek, which would make for a long travel day to Siem Reap on day 18 - Is it worth it to see Nong Khiaw?

Thanks in advance for your help!

jessinaround is offline  
Old Jul 4th, 2017, 08:25 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 33,106
Overall, I think you have a reasonable plan. You are giving yourself enough time in each place to get a sense of it.

A few notes: I'm not familiar with "Wildlife Friends Foundation - Elephant Sanctuary/Rescue." Do your research on it, as most places in SE Asia that advertise themselves as a sanctuary/rescue operation are not. Most of the elephants camps treat the elephants horribly. The elephant camp that was long rated the "best" attraction in Chiang Mai abused their elephants and visitors saw gashes in their hides from being beaten with a stick with a nail in it, but thought nothing of it and continued to rate it highly. A few places I do know that treat their elephants well are the Elephant Nature Park and the Thai Elephants conservation Center, both near Chiang Mai.

You are spending a lot of time in Chiang Mai and almost no time in Bangkok. If you are interested in the culture, there are lots thing things to see in Bangkok - dozens of wats, all very different from each other. Outside of CM is Doi Suthep, well worth a stop. Go early in the morning for the best atmosphere and for the best views from the mountain top.

Customs never has a line in my experience, where you will encounter lines is at Passport control. You will get visa-free entry to Thailand. You can buy your visas for Cambodia and Laos upon arrival (forms will be distributed on the plane - make sure to fill out your form before getting off the plane). Cambodia has an e-visa you can apply for from home. People have had mixed reviews of this, some claim the lines for people with e-visas are longer than those where you purchase a visa.

Have a wonderful trip! You are visiting my favorite part of the world. Best wishes for an amazing trip from a fellow Seattle-ite.
Kathie is offline  
Old Jul 4th, 2017, 09:00 AM
Join Date: Jun 2017
Posts: 27
Hi...WFF is a REAL sanctuary.Founded by Edwin Weik. I've been to the
Facility they do good work. You will be happy you went excellent.
Kathy is correct always do your homework.

I can vouch WFF is only there too help the animals including Sun bears,Elephants,
Monkeys, tigers.Not a Zoo.

If you go to Siem Reap and want to see another rescue camp there is one a hr out
Of Siem Reap Cambodia Wildlife Santuary owned by LEK of Elephant Nature Park.
You can Volunteer out just spend the thru Elephant Nature Park.
I've been going for 5 yrs now.
lookingforadventure is offline  
Old Jul 4th, 2017, 10:11 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 33,106
Hey, looking, thanks for the info on Wildlife Friends Foundation. I know LEK's work, and often recommend her sanctuaries.
Kathie is offline  
Old Jul 4th, 2017, 03:23 PM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 7,923
A few random thoughts based on your goals/preferences.

You could probably lose a day in Chiang Mai and perhaps add it to CR. if you can manage to arrange spending a Saturday night there some much the better as the walking market is excellent, much nicer than the ones in CM. Als, in addition to the white temple, the Black House is definitely worth a visit.

I agree with spending more time in places which is exactly what we tend to do, however, in the context of your overall trip, I do think 5 nights in LP is too much. You can walk around and see all,the temples in a day.

Trekking around LP is OK but there are much nicer options further afield. Muang Sing in the far north is very good but closer to LP, Luang Namtha etc, will have some good options - I think you can still go by river from there to LP which would be nice.

Years since we used them but Tiger Trails and Green Discovery were reasonably good trekking operators. They have an online presence and offices in LP. We will possibly return to laos for some trekking in October this year on our way back from New Zealand. If we do and I find further info, I will post it here.

Getting through customs in those countries has never been an issue. An eVisa for Vietnam will get you in in minutes. Cambodia takes forever overland but usually only 10-15 mins at airports. Likewise Laos
crellston is offline  
Old Jul 4th, 2017, 04:17 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 33,106
I think LP is a place to savor. If you just want to walk through the various temples yes, you could do it in a day. But if you want to visit various temples and talk with the monks/novices, that will take longer. There are also some out of town trips to two waterfalls, and we visited a Hmong village outside of LP. Also, the traditional Buddhist pilgrimage site of the Oak Ou caves is worth a visit. I think of LP as a place to slow down and experience a bit of Laos. We spent a week there and loved it.
Kathie is offline  
Old Jul 4th, 2017, 09:38 PM
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 2,003
A lot of Big Birds fly into Bangkok, so it's not easy to predict how long it takes to complete the formalities.....our recent experience was that we had to wait quite a while at the luggage carousel.

The are a lot of currency kiosks on the Arrivals Level.....ignore them. You'll get a better rate at Super Rich on the Basement Level by the Rail Link ticket office.
LancasterLad is offline  
Old Jul 10th, 2017, 11:07 PM
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 15
Looks good but if I were to do this itinerary, I'd remove 1 day in CM and 1 day in LP, and simply add a day in Chiang Rai or BKK. You could also spend 2 days in Pai for a meditation/kung fu camp. Good luck! Happy and safe travels!
fromdusktilldawn is offline  
Old Jul 11th, 2017, 10:45 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 29,043
good IT.

Bangkok is a fab place, I suggest more time there
rhkkmk is offline  
Related Topics
Original Poster
Last Post
Feb 5th, 2016 12:17 PM
Apr 16th, 2010 08:22 PM
Aug 26th, 2006 06:21 PM

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 - Do Not Sell My Personal Information