We have been having a great time the last two weeks in Na Kae, Isan, Thailand. Today is the fourth and final day of Songkran and it looks to be as wet and wild as the last three.
But tomorrow we hit the road once again. I am excited to announce our tentative travel plans. I had originally planned to visit these three countries last year before I was hit by a pickup truck and broke my hand. Now fully healed and with a very full-time girlfriend, we can hardly wait.
So here is our tentative itinerary for Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. It is definitely a work in progress and there is a lot of flex built into it.
We leave Isan and drive to Udon Thani on the 16th where we take a short one hour flight to Chiang Mai. Halfway through our three-hour car trip there is amazingly a World Heritage Site. Ban Chiang is considered the most important prehistoric settlement so far discovered in South-East Asia. Of course we will be stopping and reporting back.
We will be staying at Noble House once again. I’ll be getting my annual physical for about US$40 including labs, really, at Chiang Mai Ram International Hospital on Friday. Some good food, good walks, and good friends should fill out this very quick stay.
On Easter Sunday, we leave for Luang Prabang , Laos, where I found a cool guesthouse for a few nights in this World Heritage Site city. A new direct low cost 45 minute flight should make this an easy hop.
I have not booked anything else yet which is typical for the way I travel. But here is a very tentative itinerary. All dates are flexible of course. Any additional suggestions area always welcome. Is there somewhere we should really visit? Please leave a comment or suggestion below.
4/24: Take a two-day slowboat up the Mekong River to Huay Xai. Do the Gibbon Experience zipline and two overnight stays in a jungle canopy treehouse. Many possible wildlife sightings here where former poachers now support their families through ecotourism.
4/27: Head up to Luang Nam Tha for an ecoconscious trek in the wild Nam Ha National Protected Area.
4/30: Vang Vieng the adventure capital of Laos. (Tubing, hiking, hot air ballooning? All possibilities.)
Optional sidetrip: Plain of jars
5/3: Down to Vietienne for a couple of nights (probably plenty for me but it is on the way).
5/4: Head south. Optional stop at Kong Lo Cave for 7.5km boat ride through cave.
5/6: Si Phan Don, the hammock capital of Laos, otherwise known
as Four Thousand Islands; “a steamy traveller’s idyll where the Mekong turns turquoise.”
5/9: Land cross into Cambodia (or whenever we are done with Laos).
Spend a couple of days or more heading south.
Phnom Penh–couple days
Siem Reap and the temples of Angkor–minimum 7 days.
Kampot, about a week or more. Great value, great food, stand up paddle boarding, yoga and more.
Ferry to Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam.
That’s as far as I’ve got so far. Of course there are many places we hope to see in Vietnam as well. All these dates will probably change as I always tend to stay longer in places I (we ) like. As a rule of thumb, I generally figure one month minimum to explore a country and experience its people and culture. But with the coming of the monsoon season it may be more like three countries in two months.
After that is anyone’s guess. But perhaps we will return via Malaysia and/or Indonesia where the monsoon season and dry season are the reverse of this part of SE Asia.
Are there any favorite spots of yours that we missed? There is plenty of room for changes and additions so leave a comment below.