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Seven Weeks: Vietnam + Thailand/Myanmar + ?

Steve Smith

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Tickets are bought, into Hanoi mid May, out early July. At very least, I plan to spend some time in Vietnam, Thailand and Myanmar.

With that amount of time, is it advisable to add another destination or to devote more time to those three? I am considering going overland from Thailand through Laos or Cambodia to get back to Hanoi.

FWIW:
I am traveling with my 21 year old daughter.
I like to walk the earth, meet people, get in adventures.
Hitting all of the "must see" sights is not necessary.
I don't require luxury.

How would you spend that time? Any advice appreciated.
 
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Rambo

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PM Matt for recs on Vietnam. And other parts I'd assume.

Are you looking for specific activities? Scuba, ruins, big cities, etc? Would help to narrow it down.

When you say you don't require luxury, does this mean you want to stay in Hostels, or Hotels but just not the Ritz?
 

Ambulance Chaser

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I can't imagine going to SE Asia for nearly two months and not seeing Angkor Wat.
 

Rambo

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I can't imagine going to SE Asia for nearly two months and not seeing Angkor Wat.

honestly, you'd probably be surprised at how many people are just not into history and/or ruins. i know i was every time I'd run into someone in Mexico City and they were all 'nah, i'm not going to Chitzen Itza or teotihuacan. Seems nuts to me.
 

acidboy

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7 weeks seems like a pretty long time... you could always hit bali or borobudur in indonesia. I'd also hit burma (if you don't have issues politically with its government, or if you don't have travel restrictions going there)
 

Huntsman

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It is a long time. I realize this is not a substantive comment, but I just don't understand how people have the freedom to go on an extended vacation for seven weeks!
 

Steve Smith

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It is a long time. I realize this is not a substantive comment, but I just don't understand how people have the freedom to go on an extended vacation for seven weeks!

Self employed. I have been working at a faster pace for the last few months and my wife will take care of shipping when I am away.
 

impolyt_one

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Even two weeks in Vietnam would probably bore me, I think I'd do a week max, all over Vietnam (Hanoi down to Saigon, then down to the beach) and then do Bangkok and then the beaches for awhile, maybe hit civilization in Singapore for a bit, then go back to the beach in Thailand, then just fly out of Hanoi as a layover. I love Hong Kong though, and would probably make a few weeks of just Hong Kong alone.
 

Fuuma

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Just hit Vietnam, Lao, Cambodia and Thailand (maybe go to Bali, I dunno, I don't like places like that so I'd say Jakarta). Don't go to places like Singapore, HK or whatever unless you want the city experience.
 

LonerMatt

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Chiang Mai is excellent - there's a great hostel called 'a little bird' which always has great people chilling in it. Run by really friendly guys. Good place to meet plenty of others, too.

If you're there please make your way to the Elephant Nature Park - which I could have spent 3-4 days at easily, it's amazing.

It's on your way if you go from Laos to Thailand. You can also head out to Pai and learn how to motorbike, or trek, or go to cooking school. It's a pretty easy, relaxed and navigable city.

When in Laos maybe avoid Vang Vien - it's basically alcohol and prostitute central. People ride in tubes down the river there and bars pull them in for cheap alcohol. Imagine 100s of drunk tourists and you get the idea.

If go want to hit beaches in Thailand I've been to Koh Tao - which was OK, but not really amazing. I heard good things about Koh Phi Phi and Koh Samui. Avoid Phuket was also pretty general advice.
 
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zerostyle

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Chiang Mai is excellent - there's a great hostel called 'a little bird' which always has great people chilling in it. Run by really friendly guys. Good place to meet plenty of others, too.

If you're there please make your way to the Elephant Nature Park - which I could have spent 3-4 days at easily, it's amazing.

It's on your way if you go from Laos to Thailand. You can also head out to Pai and learn how to motorbike, or trek, or go to cooking school. It's a pretty easy, relaxed and navigable city.

When in Laos maybe avoid Vang Vien - it's basically alcohol and prostitute central. People ride in tubes down the river there and bars pull them in for cheap alcohol. Imagine 100s of drunk tourists and you get the idea.

If go want to hit beaches in Thailand I've been to Koh Tao - which was OK, but not really amazing. I heard good things about Koh Phi Phi and Koh Samui. Avoid Phuket was also pretty general advice.

It's also worth nothing that the Vang Vien tubing scene is pretty much shut down. The government went in and tore down all of the slides/etc and the majority of the little bars from what I read.

Here's my rough agenda through thailand/cambodia:
- a few days in bangkok ( muay thai fights, temples, nightlife )
- head up to chiang mai / ri for about a week and explore more temples, elephant park
- fly down to phuket and immediately hop to phi-phi and then krabi (railay beach). I think I'll do my SCUBA certification here.
- shuttle transfer over to the gulf coast side and his ko sumai and phangnan for the full moon party
- return to bkk for a flight to phnem penh, spend a day there checking out the killing fields and museums
- take the bus up to angkor wat and spend around 2-3 days there
- fly back to BKK and back home

That's my 6 week schedule for May. I'm most worried about the weather on the andaman side (phuket/phi phi/krabi).
 
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660

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Would definitely consider going to the Philippines, I love Boracay, very touristic, but in a good way that Phuket, Railay, Ko Samui isn't and never was. The beach is great, water absolutely crystal clear, there's a good vibe and tons to do. Also there are tons of other places in the Philippines that are worth visiting.

Would stay away from Ko Samui, from recent reports I've heard it has really gone down the drain, expensive and pretty much run as a money printing machine by the mafia.

Love Vietnam, esp. Saigon and Hanoi, but the beaches are not much in my taste. There is no good diving or snorkelling.

Malaysia has some good spots too esp. on the east coast for diving/snorkelling, Perhentian Island, Tioman. For food and culture Penang and especially Malacca on the east coast are worth a visit too.

Hong Kong is amazing, but as a tourist a couple of days will do. Singapore likewise, great place to live, but not very exiting as tourist for more than a couple of days.
 

acidboy

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^ if the op's considering the philippines, I'd recommend islands off palawan and spend a week in some secluded beach
 

jobro

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The full moon on Koh Phangan is spectacular.
 

Steve Smith

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I have been to the Philippines twice and I like the place, but I don't want to spread myself too thin. I had toyed with the idea of spending 10 days in India, but I think India needs at least a couple of months.

Thanks for all of the input.

The number of days in each spot is flexible. After playing with an itinerary, I have narrowed it to this:

Hanoi
train to Hue
train to Saigon
bus to Phnom Penh
maybe a couple of days in Sihanoukville
Siem Reap
Bangkok
Myanmar
Bangkok
Chang Mai
Chang Rai
Northern Laos
Hanoi

My time flexibility comes in at the Laos / Hanoi portion in the end. There are some interesting day trips out of Hanoi if we haven't used all of our time in Laos.
 

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