Bangkok to Laos, Cambodia, South Islands of Thailand in 30 days

by Jules

Question: Hi, I am thinking of spending a couple of days in Bangkok then heading to Laos (Vang Vieng) to go tubing for a few days then want to see the temples and Killing Fields of Cambodia. Then the south island of Thailand; Ko Pha Ngan then over to Phi Phi, and Phuket. I know I can only stay 30 days without a visa in Thailand but wondering about transport. I know there is either a sleeper train/bus up to Laos, but its the rest that concerns me. Will it be easy to sort transport for the rest???

I am planning on booking a flight out of Phuket before I leave home for 29 days after I land in Bangkok... Is this realistic???? Any info would be great x

Answer: How's your budget? If you want to do it the cheap way, you might consider border crossing a lot, but this takes time of course...

From Vang Vieng, you can travel through Vientiane (minibus eg), border cross to Thailand, take the bus to Nong Khai. From Nong Khai take the bus to Nakorn Ratchasima (Korat). From Korat to the border town Aranyaprathet. Cross the border to Cambodia, to the Cambodian border town Poipet. From Poipet, you can choose whatever transport you want (share taxi, bus, minibus etc) and travel to Siem Reap/Phnom Penh. This route will take at approximately 1-2 days, depending on when you leave Vientiane.

You can also take the bus through south Laos, border cross to north Cambodia, then travel to Phnom Penh by minibus to see the Killing Fields. I haven't tried this route non-stop, but I'm guessing that it takes longer than Vientiane-Thailand-Poipet (maybe 2-3 days).

It's easy to arrange transport from Cambodia to Thailand. You can sort out the transport through your guesthouse in Siem Reap/Phnom Penh, through a travel agent or even better: buy your bus tickets directly at the bus company (there's usually a commission involved if you use a travel agent or your guesthouse).

When you get to Bangkok, you can arrange the whole trip to Koh Pha Ngan through the company Lomprayah. Used Lomprayah to get to Koh Pha Ngan in April/May 2010, and was effortless. The ticket includes VIP bus to Chumphon and the ferry from Chumphon to Koh Phangan.

To get from Koh Phangan to Phi Phi, take the ferry from Phangan to Surat Thani. From there, VIP buses leave for Krabi frequently. From Krabi, take the ferry to Phi Phi. From Phi Phi, take the ferry to Phuket.

When it comes to your second question, I personally think that 29 days is too short to visit all those places, but it is doable if you like speed traveling. To save time I would use overnight buses/fly at least once.

For example you can fly from Phnom Penh to Koh Samui using Bangkok Airways. Koh Samui is located right beside Koh Phangan. Ferries ply the route between Samui and Phangan all day.

Bangkok Airways website

Hope this helps!


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Sep 26, 2010
trip around asia
by: gary

i have done this route various ways many times,have read last comments, and you would have to speed travel without doubt, and miss out on many things, every bus you take will be overnight , you will lose so many days travelling, i rushed my son round asia last yr,to show him as much as possible, he was worn out after a mth, but loved every minute!

Nov 04, 2010
Avid crossing thailand to cambodia at Poipet
by: Albatros

I just did the crossing at the Cambodian border town Poipet and it's a nightmare!! I would strongly advise you not to do it. For started the all trip is a scam. The bus from BKK only takes you near the border, there they will try to force you to buy visa at an inflatable rate. Once you finally cross the border they take you to a bus station where the bus never arrives, at that point you are forced to take one of their taxi. But this is not the end, once you get just outside Siam Reap you are dropt off and sold to a bunch of tuck-tuck driver waiting to get you to their commission hotel and if you don't go there or have made your own booking, then they leave you in the middle of the road!!

Nov 04, 2010
Border Crossings Thailand - Cambodia
by: Backpacking Tips Asia

Yes, crossing the border to Poipet can be a nightmare. But so can the other border crossings into Cambodia from Thailand, like Koh Kong and Hat Lek.

Here's my experience from Hat Lek and Koh Kong

As long as you're aware of the scams going on the borders, you can try to avoid them!

Dec 23, 2010
by: Peter

Poipet border is one of the easiest borders you can get. No scams, within 15 minutes your visa done, stamp out. I've done it several times over the last 10 years, the most recent in October 2010.

There is a problem. If you travel by bus from Khao San Rd you may be forced to get a visa in one of the "official tourist offices". I've heard stories about them. There is NO need to buy a visa in advance. At the border it costs $20, no hassle.

The scams happen at the southern border of Laos /Cambodia and Laos/Thailand (Chong Mek) where you have to pay "overtime" fees ($@) to the Lao customs (sometimes to the Cambodian customs too).

Visa for Laos is however VERY easy to get at the border ($35 in October 2010).

At the Cambodian/Lao border you may have to wait quite some time for a bus. I didn't have that problem as I was cycling.

Should you want to have a train to Nong Khai.. departure: 18.35, arr. 5.05
departure: 20.00 arr. 8.25
departure: 20.45 arr. 9.45
2nd class aircon around 500 Bath (forgot it but the schedule says:

2nd class sleeper:
UP 488. Low 538
2nd class sleeper (aircon)
Up 708. Low 788

At the railway station, take a tuktuk/taxi to the border.

Road in Laos are excellent, buses too.

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