Ethan’s Backpacking SE Asia Notes

Notes for our post teaching trip…

VISAs suck so here’s the information we need!
Laos: VISA on Arrival (~$30)
Vietnam: In Advance in Luang Prabang (~$30-$40)
Cambodia: VISA on Arrival (~$20)
Thailand: VISA on Arrival (Free)
Bali, Indonesia: VISA on Arrival ($10 for 7-day transit; $30 for 30-day tourist)
Singapore: Visit pass for 30 days (free)
Malaysia: 30 days for free
Thailand: VISA on Arrival (Free) 

Travel: Tha Wang Pha to Nam Ngen (INFO) border crossing in Nan province by bus. Bus to Pakbeng (INFO) to get on the slowboat to Luang Prabang. (MORE INFO)
VISA: Visa on arrival for Laos OR Tha Wang Pha to Chiang Khong by bus and 2 day slowboat to Luang Prabang
VISA: Laos Visa on arrival

Luang Prabang, Laos
Get our Vietnam Visa ($40/2 day service)
1.) Pak Ou Caves
2.) Kuang Si Waterfalls
3.) Phu Si

Travel to Hanoi: Bus – approximately 24 hours ($20)
VISA: Vietnam Visa will be obtained in Luang Prabang

***Other possible routes through Laos:
Luang Prabang to Phonsavan
1.) Plain of Jars
Naluang Minibus Station – 09:00, 100,000 kip
Naluang Southern Bus Terminal T – Departs 08:30, costs 105,000 kip, takes 10 hours

Phonsavan to Sam Neua for Vieng Xai
1.) Pathet Lao Caves
Departs at 08:00, takes 10 hours and costs 80,000 kip

Phonsavan to Vietnam for Hanoi
Can get to Vinh or hopefully right to Hanoi (no information at this time- check bus station)

Sam Neua to Vieng Xai daytrip for Pathet Laos Caves
Rent a motorbike!! If not…
Phoutanou bus station – costs 25,000 kip, departs at 08:00 and takes 1 hour (arrive at least 30 minutes early)

Sam Neau to Thanh Hoa, Vietnam (for Hanoi/ Halong Bay)
Phoutanou bus station – costs 180,000 kip, departs at 08:00 and takes 11 hours (arrive at least 30 minutes early)


VIETNAM TRAIN TRAVEL

Hanoi, Vietnam

1.) Central Sector of the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long (UNESCO)
2.) Electric Train Loop around the Old Quarter
3.) Hoan Kiem Lake and Ngoc  Son Temple
4.) Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

Halong Bay, Vietnam
1.) Cat Ba Island
2.) Bay Tour

Travel to Hue: Overnight train – approximately 13 hours from Hanoi ($25 for soft seat air con; $40/$39/$33 for hard sleeper air con lower/middle/top berth; $43/$42 for soft sleeper air con lower/top berth)

Dong Hoi (On the way to Hue, maybe? maybe not?)
1.) Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park

Hue, Vietnam

1.) Complex of Hue Monuments (UNESCO)
2.) Imperial Enclosure of the Citadel
3.) Thien Mu Pagoda

Travel to Hoi An: Train to Da Nang goes through a beautiful pass that the bus does not – approximately 3 hours ($3.5 for soft seat air con); bus to Hoi An from Da Nang – approximately 45 minutes (bus approx $3; taxi approx $9-$15)

Da Nang, Vietnam (time permitting?)

Hoi An, Vietnam

1.) Quan Cong Temple, Hoi An ancient town (UNESCO)
2.) My Son Sanctuary (UNESCO)
3.) Japanese Covered Bridge

Travel to Nha Trang: Bus back to Da Nang (45 minutes); overnight train to Nha Trang – approximately 10 hours ($16 for soft seat air con; $24/$23/$19 for hard sleeper air con lower/middle/top berth; $25/$25 for soft sleeper air con lower/top berth)

Nha Trang, Vietnam

1.) Beach
2.) Hon Chong Promontory
3.) Long Son Pagoda (Buddha statue on a hill overlooking the city) 
4.) Po Nagar Cham Towers (North Tower)
5.) Vinpearl Land

6.) Thap Ba Hot Spring Center

Travel to Ho Chi Minh: Overnight train – approximately 8 hours ($10.5 for soft seat air con; $17/$16.5/$14 for hard sleeper air con lower/middle/top berth; $18/$17 for soft sleeper air con lower/top berth)

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Also known as Saigon. Reunification Palace, Cho Quan Church’s view from the belfry, Giac Lam Pagoda, Notre Dame Cathedral, Jade Emperor Pagoda, water puppetry, Saigon Race Track, Cu Chi Tunnels

Travel to Phnom Penh: Bus – approximately 6.5 hours ($11)
VISA on arrival for Cambodia

Phnom Penh, Cambodia
The Silver Pagoda of the Royal Palace, Psar Thmel central market, Tuol Sleng Museum about the killing fields, the killing fields themselves in Choeung Ek, Wat Phnom (or will we be templed out?), Phnom Tamao animal sanctuary, Olympic Stadium for some football, Wat Ounalom, Nail Bar for cheap pedicures…

Travel to Siem Riep: Bus – approximately 6 hours (Mekong Express – $12; Paramount Angkor $7) or Speed Boat – approximately 8.5 hours ($35)

Siem Reap, Cambodia
The top site here is Angkor Wat (UNESCO). If you haven’t heard of it, shame on you, and Google it. Angkor Balloon offers balloon rides with “great” views of the temple. TripAdvisor sounded skeptical, but those that went in the afternoon were generally happy with the experience. Ta Prohm is as seductive as Lara Croft according to Lonely Planet and that is good enough for me. Angkor Tham, Prek Toal bird sanctuary, the flooded forest of Kompong Phhluk, and maybe Bar Street.

Travel to Bangkok:
VISA on arrival for Thailand

Bangkok

Travel to Bali: Plane
VISA for Indonesia

Bali

Travel to Singapore: Plane
VISA for Singapore

Singapore

SINGAPORE – BANGKOK TRAIN TRAVEL

Travel to Kualu Lumpur: Train from Singapore to Johor Bahru to Kualu Lumpur – Buying the train ticket to Kualu Lumpur in Johor Bahru, Malaysia is 2x cheaper – approximately 7 hours ($15/$30 for 2nd/1st class)
VISA for Malaysia 

Kualu Lumpur

Travel to Penang: Train to Butterworth – approximately 7.5 hours ($5/$10/$20 for 3rd/2nd/1st class)

Penang/Georgetown

Travel to Ko Tao: Train from Penang to Surat Thani – approximately 11.5 hours – ($30 for 2nd class sleeper)
VISA on arrival for Thailand

Ko Tao / Ko Pha-gnan

Phuket/Ko Phi Phi
Ko Phi Phi is the setting of “The Beach” featuring Leo DiCaprio. Need I say more?

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