Hi Mefites! I could use some help planning my SE Asia itinerary. I'll have 5 weeks in Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand, starting next week. I fly into Bangkok first, and would like to spend 2 weeks in Laos & Cambodia, go back to Bangkok for Songkran (sometime around April 12 - 17) to visit friends, and then end my trip somewhere in Southern Thailand for yoga/cooking classes/chilling out.
My goal is to have a laidback trip and am happy to let someone else plan my SEAsia itinerary. I've always always planned my own itinerary and logistics in the past, but this time around want to see a country through the eyes of an expert, use some free time for reading/studying (maybe 2 hours a day), and don't want to hoof it alone as a single female traveler.
I've read through a lot of the threads already here, and have a few questions:
1. I'm having trouble finding packages online, especially before Songkrang - any input on how to do this? I'm sure there's a correlation to availability and Songkrang, but I would prefer to visit Laos/Cambodia before my Thailand plans, and I'm hoping Mefites may be able to help me here!
2. Corollary: Is it better/feasible to do Laos and Cambodia before or after Songkrang? Will it be pretty impossible to get back to Bangkok once the festivities start? My friend in Bangkok had advised me already that it's busy, but would like to hear if anyone has any firsthand experience.
3. I would like to hear about any tour experiences (Gap Adventures, other tour packages) as to whether they were worth the cost and if they were fun. In particular, does anyone have experience with Lonely Planet World Expeditions? This cycling/adventure tour
sounds interesting, and I especially like that there's 2 - 3 days in Siem Reap, so I can spend time exploring Angkor Wat and other sites. Especially interested in tours that are active, with people btw 21 - 40. Any input on the routing/tour itinerary would be appreciated.
4. Is Phnom Penh a must see? I don't know if I should choose a tour that covers that city as well, or if it's easy enough to get around in Phnom Penh without a guide.
Any other tips on must-see sights in Laos & Cambodia would be appreciated!