My boyfriend and I are travelling to SE Asia next year in November after spending 3 months in Africa. We are looking to stay for 2 months or more, depending on the budget.
I was wondering if anyone could tell me the best route to take. We fly into Bangkok and wouldnt mind spending a day or 2 there and then moving swiftly on. But where do I go first? Do I cross into Cambodia from there or head up to Laos? What is the route that most people take?
I am looking to get as much coverage as possible... I really want to experience the culture and traditions, as well as the typical backpacker things (but not so much). How much would you recommend each day. The price to include travel, accommodation, food, touring and spending? What are the highlights and things to see in each of the places and what can not be missed.
Any information is greatly appreciated...
I am glad for you to have such time to travel. Here is what I suggest.
Fly to Bangkok, then head to Luang Prabang in Laos, spend some days there then go to Vientian. Cross the border to Vietnam.
Drive up north to Tam Coc, spend 1 day 2 nights there to do some biking in the picturesque country side and boating along the river to Tam Coc 3 water caves. Then drive to Halong Bay for an over night cruise. You may consider going to Cat Ba island for a bit of jungle trek too. If so, you need about 4days 3 nights for the part of Halong Bay and Catba island.
Drive to Hanoi, spend at least 1 full day for the city, then take the night train to Sapa. Spend 4 days there for trekking, homestay and enjoy the scenery and local cuture.
Back to Hanoi, fly (or night train again) to Hue. 2 days in Hue is enough then drive to Hoi An for 3 days of leisure and shopping.
Fly or train to Nha Trang for the beach and bars, then drive up to Da Lat for a romantic stay in this city of flowers. Then drive or fly down to Ho Chi Minh city.
Spend 2 or 3 days in Ho Chi Minh city while you can see Cu Chi tunnels and Cao Dai temple in Tay Ninh.
Go down to Can Tho to experience life on Mekong Delta. I suggest 2 nights there with 1 night homestay too. Then drive to Chau Doc for 1 or 2 nights.
Cross the border to Cambodia, take the high speed boat to Phnompenh. 1 night there is enough for this a bit boring city. Then take water way to Siem Reap where at least 3 nights are required. Fly back to Bangkok.
If the time is still good for you, perhaps you consider going down to Phuket to chill out before going home.
I know a very good company based in Hanoi called Indochina Pioneer travel (their website is http://www.indochinapioneer.com). They are very professional and offering good value services. I suggest you fill their booking form, let them know what you're interested in then they will tailor a very good tour for you. I used their service last August, my friends went with them on 20 days tours in Vietnam and Angkor Wat, we are all very happy with what they did for us.
Hope it helps and enjoy your adventure!
Fred about 10 years ago
As you are doing backpacking, I suggest you take a bus from Thailand to Laos, from Laos you cross the border to Vietnam in Nghe An provinces.
In Vietnam it is very easy to travel by bus, car, train to any place.
If you head south Vietnam you will have a good bus to connect to Cambodia from Ho Chi Minh city.
By taking this route, you will save your money and enjoy a trip through 3 countries properly.
Wish you good luck!
over 8 years ago