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Three weeks in Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and China?

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Jun 30th, 2013, 10:22 AM
  #1
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Three weeks in Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and China?

My boyfriend and I are planning to go for three weeks to Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and China. We were thinking of flying into Bangkok, going up through the central part of Thailand to Laos, spending a few days in Laos, then a few days in Vietnam by Hanoi, and then the last week in Macau/Hong Kong.

Any suggestions of where we should go? I have never been to Southeast Asia, but my boyfriend has, so we are looking for a mixture of "must sees" and unique and different places people may not think to go on.
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Jun 30th, 2013, 11:00 AM
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Spend more time in the first 3 and less in HKG. Even better eliminate HKG altogether. A week in the 3 destinations is a bare minimum. Pick up HKG on another trip, maybe if you decide to see mainland China.
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Jun 30th, 2013, 11:03 AM
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Three weeks in each country or three weeks total?

If you are interested in SE Asia, choose one or two countries for your three weeks. You could really spend three full weeks in any of them.

Do be aware that while much of SE Asia is inexpensive for travel, Hong Kong is very expensive. You will save yourselves some money by skipping that. WHile you could spend a week each in Thailand, VN and Laos, be aware you'll only get a very cursory view of any country in a mere week.

If you tell us what you are interested in - what attracts you to SE Asia, we can be of more assistance. Also, what time of year are you planning to travel?
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Jun 30th, 2013, 05:06 PM
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Thank you! We were thinking of flying into Bangkok, spending a few days there, spending a week in Laos, spending a few days in Vietnam, and a week in China/Hong Kong (at least 2 in Hong Kong). We are visiting my sister who is living near Hong Kong, so cutting Hong Kong isn't really an option. Total trip will be about 24 days.
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Jun 30th, 2013, 05:31 PM
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Sounds too rushed to me! But it depends on what you hope to see and experience.
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Jul 1st, 2013, 06:11 AM
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That's what we were concerned about. The main part of our trip was going to be Laos and China. We are traveling to Bangkok because of the way the flights worked out, and we were going to visit Hanoi because it is on the way from Laos to China. But we aren't set on a route yet or places to visit, or how we will get from Bangkok to Hong Kong.
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Jul 1st, 2013, 06:49 AM
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Ok, it sounds like you do have a focus, Laos and China. It is true that Bangkok is usually the least expensive gateway to Asia from North America. So it makes sense to take advantage of that to see a bit of Bangkok.

With the time you have, I seriously doubt that you are going overland from Bangkok to Hong Kong, so Hanoi is not "on the way."

How much time do you have aside from your visit to your sister in China? What time do you have time to work with in the first part of your trip? It sounds like you plan to go overland into Laos... where do you plan to go in Laos?
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Jul 2nd, 2013, 10:56 PM
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We might fly from Hanoi to Hong Kong to cut down time. We are planning 6 days in China/Hong Kong. We were looking at a few different places in Laos but can't decide which way to go and what to hit. We might go east from Bangkok to Si Phan Dong and then up to Vietniane and Luang Prabang, or we might travel up north through Chiang Mai to Bokeo (Gibbons Experience), Luang Prabang, Vieniane and Vang Vieng. We are planning 8 days in Laos, so we think we can probably only do three (maybe four). Any suggestions?
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Jul 3rd, 2013, 06:31 AM
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Overland travel in Laos is slow. I'd suggest just two places in Laos, Luang Prabang and VIentiane. If you try to visit 3 places in 8 days in Laos, you'll spend most of your time in transit.

Do you have guidebooks yet? I ask because guidebooks can help give you a better idea of what you want to do/see/experience. And the Lonely Planet will help you be more realistic about overland travel. The clearer you are about your priorities, the better the trip will be.

If you wanted to do this all overland, you'd spend most of your time in transit. Getting from Hanoi to Hong Kong is a very long overland trip but a relatively short flight. Judicious use of flights can make your trip much better.
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Jul 3rd, 2013, 06:38 AM
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Hanoi to HK overland takes two overnight trains. See: http://seat61.com/Vietnam.htm#Hong%20Kong Much more interesting than flying. Note that there is a good overnight train from BKK to the border near Vientiane.
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Jul 3rd, 2013, 03:14 PM
  #11
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We have the Lonely Planet that covers Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos & Northern Thailand. We definitely want to do Luang Prabang and Vietniane. One of the things that Lonely Planet mentions is the Gibbons Experience. Is that worth doing? We have also heard that Vang Vieng is a good place to go.

We will look into the overnight trains from Hanoi to Hong Kong... that is a possible option. We figure we might have to fly at one point in the trip because of time constraints, and are trying to figure out the best point for that.
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Jul 3rd, 2013, 04:07 PM
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Gibbons Experience is a new one on me. I thought Vang Vieng was WAY too (beer and bikini) touristy and that was in 2002.
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Jul 6th, 2013, 06:21 PM
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How anyone can post advice from 2002 and expect it to be current is beyond me! I would definitely visit Vientiane, Vang Vieng and Luang Prabang. Tubing and boozing on VV is very tame now.
As far as guidebooks are concerned, Lonely Planet is a waste of space; it is outdated and inaccurate. Download, (free), guides from Travelfish.
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Jul 6th, 2013, 06:57 PM
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Given that LP had become MUCH more touristy over the years (2002, 2004, 2011) it is reasonable to expect the same for VV. In any case VV was not worth visiting in 2002, and tubing and boozing are touristy regardless of whether they are "tame". All guidebooks are out of date the day they hit the bookstore, but I still find LP useful. YMMV but there's no need to be rude about it.
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Jul 6th, 2013, 07:40 PM
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Vientianeboy - you posted that Laos is your country in another thread so how did you manage to get the Laotian citizenship? Did you give up your Australian citizenship as required by Laotian law, learn to speak Laos etc?
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Jul 7th, 2013, 06:23 PM
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For the Laos part of our trip, we are now planning:
Two days on the slow boat ride from Huay Xiao to Luang Prabang
Two and a half days in Luang Prabang
Overnight bus to Vientiane, and nearly two days in Vientiane.

We are using Lonely Planet because my boyfriend had a good experience with them for southeast Asia travels when he lived for a few years in China. LP seems to fairly reflect a lot of the experiences we've seen on internet forums. Save the Gibbons experience, which LP likes but which a lot of people are saying is overpriced for what you get.
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Jul 7th, 2013, 07:22 PM
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It's a pity you have to take the overnight bus, because the scenery is great (and it's a lot less safe), but you really can't cut LP any more.
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Jul 15th, 2013, 10:12 PM
  #18
 
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"so how did you manage to get the Laotian citizenship?"
Not really your business, is it Hanuman? Yes I do speak Lao if you must know, as I have already stated some time ago.
Vang Vieng was certainly worth visiting in 2002 and is of course still so now. The scenery is stunning.

As far as LP is concerned, much of the information is recycled from year to year and updated by information posted on Thorntree. Only rarely is Lao visited by reviewers.
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Jul 16th, 2013, 06:49 AM
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VB I presumed you wanted people to know hence you post the comment that Laos is your country on a public forum for all to see. From reading your reply above I also presumed that you did not give up your native citizenship and you are only an expat in Laos. This is very useful information for your readers.
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Jul 26th, 2013, 09:26 AM
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Don't include too many places to your itinerary. You will see and experience more if you spend two weeks in Mainland China. And the rest week to one other country, Thailand or Vietnam. Wish you a nice trip.
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