Thailand and Laos OR Vietnam in Laos

Old Oct 21st, 2013, 07:53 PM
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Thailand and Laos OR Vietnam in Laos

Hey guys! I know this topic has been questioned already but I'd still love to hear about your opinions and own experiences.
I would like to go to Southeast Asia for one month this December and I'm torn between Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam. I am traveling with a friend and we want adventure and scenery. I'm a photographer so I'm really excited to take pictures of the exotic landscape that will be unfamiliar to me while I'm there. Our goals are to see either the rock formations, islands, and floating village outside of Phuket, Thailand OR the rock formations and islands outside of Halong Bay, Vietnam. I'm not sure if there is a floating village there as well. We love to hike and cave kayaking somewhere would be awesome. I'd also like to ride on the back of an elephant.. maybe in Laos. Vang Vieng looks gorgeous but I'm not a huge party animal, but the scenery looks awesome and so beautiful and fairy-tale like from the pictures I saw. Any advice on scenic off the beaten path areas!? I'd love to hear your thoughts.
kirsten123 is offline  
Old Oct 22nd, 2013, 08:44 AM
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Phuket over Halong Bay IMO but it will be more expensive for Phuket!

Thailand + Laos or Myanmar will make your camera very happy. For Laos - Luang Prabang, for Myanmar - Bagan or Inle.
Hanuman is offline  
Old Oct 22nd, 2013, 01:03 PM
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Neither Phuket not Halong Bay in any way qualify as off the beaten path. If off the tourist track is what is important to you, look at Laos - outside of Luang Prabang and Vang Vieng.

If spectacular scenery is what is important, you will usually share the view with other travelers. Certainly the Krabi area is beautiful, but many people will be there, especially in December.

If kayaking interests you, consider the John Gray Sea Canoes trips from Phuket.

If you want to ride an elephant and you care how the elephant has been treated, go to the Thai Elephant Conservation Center in Lampang, near Chiang Mai. I would not go to see elephants in the Phuket area.

Hanuman's idea of Myanmar is a good one, though it will be difficult to plan a trip for this December, as there is a severe shortage of accommodations there.

Probably the most scenic off the beaten path places I've seen were in Sikkim.

take a look at some photos:
Kathie is offline  
Old Oct 23rd, 2013, 11:10 AM
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I would go for Vietnam, Sapa, Ba be, Dien Bien Phu Loop fro pm Sapa stopping at the beautiful Mai Chau Valley on the way back to Hanoi. All these places, with the exception Of Sapa are "off the beaten path" and even in Sapa it is relatively easy to get out to the outlying villages in the valley.

That lot should take a couple of weeks after which I would head off to northern Laos. Start in Luang Prabang and then head north to Luang Namtha, Muang Sing, Phongsali etc. for some great trekking, some stunning scenery and minority people villages some great photo opps there.

You could either fly from Hanoi to LP ( I think directly or, if not indirectly ) or, for a more adventurous approach, go overland. The border crossings change all the time so do check out the current status. would be a good start.
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Old Oct 27th, 2013, 10:49 AM
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Have not been to Laos, but have been to both Thailand and Vietnam. We were in Vietnam in dec. two years ago. We loved being in Halong Bay at that time of year (though too cold to go in the water, many were kayaking). The beautiful scenery that was shrouded in a light fog was stunning - I felt like I was transported to another place and time. Overall we enjoyed Vietnam to Thailand (were there in March). I suspect that parts of Thailand in Dec. will be more crowded than Vietnam just because it will be a lot warmer. We found the south of Vietnam (HCMC/Mekong delta) to be nice and warm in dec. but Hoi An/Hanoi/Halong much cooler, but did not really affect our trip.

Here are some links to my trip reports along with pictures:
jgg is offline  
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