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Three weeks in South East Asia

Old Jul 30th, 2017, 09:24 AM
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Three weeks in South East Asia

Dear fellow travellers!

I'm looking to travel to SE Asia early November with a couple of friends and we have three weeks to explore. I'm hoping people can give general advice on our "early" itinerary and general tips on what to see/where to go and any hidden gems people can think of. Wondering if anyone has had similar adventures and how they've found it and what they think the best travel options are. Our rough draft looks like this at the moment (yes it's very rough ha!).

Day 1: Fly out to Thailand
Day 2 - 6 Explore as much as Thailand as we can. (Looking at Mountain towns in North Thailand and places to hike)
Day 7: Travel to Cambodia
Day 8-12 Stay in Cambodia (don't know where but want to visit Angkor Wat and Ta Prohm temple)
Day 13 Travel to Vietnam
Day 14-18 Stay in Vietnam (We want to do an overnight cruise in Halong bay but is two nights better?
Day 19-23 Indonesia and travel home (would like to see Borobudur and go to Padar Island)

It would be nice to have two or three days on quite an isolated Island if from the mainland and if anyone can give advice on where we could put that in or the best place to do that, that would be great. Any advice on where best to stay during the time so we can visit the places mentioned would also be really helpful and any help or assistance generally would be greatly appreciated!
boasel is offline  
Old Jul 30th, 2017, 09:46 AM
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Too much = too little.

Days 2-6.....You won't see much of Thailand in 5 days, you'll need to let your body clock adjust for the first 24/48 hours, so probably best to stay in Bangkok, close to a skytrain station/MRT Underground.

If you completely ignore my last paragraph, you could fly straight to Chiang Mai, to take in a bit of the North.

Days 7-12.....As Angkor is in Siem Reap, that's where you need to fly to. You won't really have much time to visit anywhere else, so I'd knock at least a day off and add it to one of the other destinations.

Days 13-18.....If you want to take in Halong Bay, it involves quite a lot of time on the road getting there and back from Hanoi, ie, time lost. So you'll only really have time for Hanoi and Halong Bay in the time you've allowed.

Days 19-23.....I think you'd be better using that time extending your stay in one of the above.
LancasterLad is offline  
Old Jul 30th, 2017, 09:54 AM
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I think you are trying to visit too many places in too little time. You haven't really thought about transit time form one place to another. I don't know where you are flying from, but if you are flying from North America, you will lose a whole day by crossing the international dateline on your way to Thailand. And when you arrive in Thailand, you will arrive in Bangkok which is not near the northern Thailand "mountain towns" you say you want to visit. You would need to fly to northern Thailand, and get a bus or drive some distance to get to the kinds of hiking you are talking about.

Be aware that each time you change location, you will use up at least half a day, an often whole day when you count from checking out of your lodgings in one place and checking in in another.

Get yourself some guidebooks to help you decide where to go. Get one for each country, as the combined ones don't have enough detail to be helpful.

For Cambodia, it will take a full day to get to your first destination in Cambodia. Are you interested in the temples of Angkor, or do you just want to see Ta Prohm? The temples of Angkor are a huge group of temples, stretching far to the north as well as the dozens of temples near Siem Reap. If you have any interest in the temples, get a copy of Dawn Rooney's book, Angkor: A Guide to Cambodia's Wondrous Temples. You could easily spend all of the time you have designated for Cambodia in Siem Reap and victim. Do you have any interest in modern Cambodian history? If you do, you will want to spend at least a couple of days in Phnom Penh.

You have all of four nights in VN, which is just three days. And you are considering spending two of them at Halong Bay. Be aware that people either love Halong Bay or hate it. It's a long, boring drive from Hanoi, about 6 hours each way. Some of the two night cruises are two one-night cruises, back to back. No one recommends those. IF you want to do a two night cruise, do your research and decide which tour company's boat will be best for you. You really have no time to explore VN, you could have a couple of nights in Hanoi (since that is where you will fly in to get to Halong Bay, but that is merely one full day, then you are off to Indonesia. Actually given the details of travel, you'll end up using more time just to get to Halong Bay from Cambodia and then to get to Indonesia.

Indonesia is the outlier on the trip, a four hour flight from mainland SE Asia. The country is huge, and the transportation infrastructure is rudimentary. Getting to Borobudur is not too difficult, you can fly into Yogja from Singapore or from KL, and its an hour's drive with no traffic or a couple of hours with normal traffic. Getting to Padar is much more complicated and may well use up a couple of days time. (you'll have to fly to Komodo, which likely means you'll have fly to Bali first).

Do some research and decide what your highest priorities are and cut the rest. Then investigate your transport options from place to place. In general, you will need to fly.

Be aware that you need visas for VN, Cambodia and Indonesia. You will get visa-free entry in Thailand for up to 28 days.
Kathie is offline  
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