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Old 11-29-2011, 08:51 AM
 
5,091 posts, read 8,066,917 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slackjaw View Post
I agree foadi, I'll take a train over a bus anyday.
I don't know about China, but I can imagine. relative to SE Asia, not all buses are rough to ride, but there are plenty that are sheer torture. Below is a video from a buddy traveling from Vietnam through Laos, and on to Thailand. Check out the squeeze room in the bus with people bending over to get in, at about 4:35 in the vid. The floors in the aisles and between the seats were filled with boxes of canned fish. No room to put your feet on the floor. Also note the roof of the bus was being loaded with more boxes of canned fish. He said the ride was a grueling 6 hours. Sometimes chickens and pigs are loaded on some of these buses. Buses like the one in the vid, and in Thailand, are old, rickety, cheap and used mostly by locals.

I've ridden in some of the cheap buses in Thailand. Definitely not a smooth, comfortable experience, especially for any long rides. I'd describe them as bone-crunching and gut-busting. These cheap-seats buses have no air-con, and ceiling fans that don''t often work, which made the ride very hot, even with the windows down. Memorable experiences for me, but I have no desire to travel on them again, except maybe for a very short 10-minute jaunt. On the other hand, at least in Thailand, there are buses that are much more roomy, relaxing and comfortable, even includes a restroom in the back, or on an elevated bus, restroom located on the lower level. My friend said the bus going to Vietnam was a good one, but for the return trip back to Thailand, opted for the cheap clunker.

The vid is best viewed in HD and Full Screen from the YT link below.



Traveling Highway 9 Across Viet Nam and Laos - YouTube
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Old 11-29-2011, 09:36 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SiddharthaGautama View Post
Here is the new revised list of definite countries: Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, and Indonesia.
Based on your time schedule of 4-6 months, this list of destinations are doable. Indonesia is going to mean taking a flight to get there. Out of all of them, a person could easily spend most of that time in Thailand. Thailand has a lot of diversity between the different regions of the country, and a lot of different things to see and do, but that's not meant to snub the other countries.

Just a thought, if you plan on making multiple returns to Thailand, you might want to look into a multiple return 6-month visa for that country. If you only plan to be there once, then it might not be necessary.

As for clothing, no real need to take loads of tee-shirts, jeans, etc. You can buy them locally pretty cheap. They might not be top in quality, but they should still hold up pretty well for quite a while.

Looking at your username, I'd strongly suggest not referring to it at all, at least in Thailand and Laos, as it might be seen as being very disrespectful by Buddhists, and possibly by Muslims in Indonesia (although for very different reasons). Shouldn't be a problem amongst Westerners, Aussies, and Europeans though. I'm sure you have no plan on doing so, but just thought it worth mentioning ahead of time.
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Old 11-30-2011, 12:19 AM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
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4-6 months isn't that long when you're backpacking. You can easily find yourself staying in a nice place a week, and there are so many places to see. SE Asia alone can easily eat up half a year; I would definitely try and see India and China though, even if only a part of it. The two biggest, most fascinating countries in Asia with the oldest civilisations and most influential cultures. Especially considering your username I'd think you'd want to visit India.
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Old 11-30-2011, 08:49 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trimac20 View Post
4-6 months isn't that long when you're backpacking. You can easily find yourself staying in a nice place a week, and there are so many places to see. SE Asia alone can easily eat up half a year; I would definitely try and see India and China though, even if only a part of it. The two biggest, most fascinating countries in Asia with the oldest civilisations and most influential cultures. Especially considering your username I'd think you'd want to visit India.
I agree. There's so much in SE Asia to see and do, and time can pass by a lot faster than planned. Sometimes, even with the best planned intentions, a person can find all kinds of interesting side trips. IMO, I'd say do China and India on another trip.
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Old 11-30-2011, 09:36 AM
 
Location: Victoria TX
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NightBazaar View Post
I don't know about China, but I can imagine. relative to SE Asia, not all buses are rough to ride, but there are plenty that are sheer torture. Below is a video from a buddy traveling from Vietnam through Laos, and on to Thailand. ]
Your video brought back great memories. I made that trip in 1996, and then, there was no direct public transport on either side of the border. We had to buy an excursion package from Hue, just to get up to the DMZ museum. From there, on motorbikes to the border. Into Laos, still no transport, and border officials arranged for us to ride on the top of a loaded truck, which made very slow progress toward Savannakhet, but the driver arranged to switch us over to a commercial van that had room for the three of us, and we were in Savannakhet around 10 pm, after leaving Hue at 8 am (300 km). There was no bridge yet at Savannakhet, so it was necessary to go to Vientiane to cross into Thailand. There were almost no travelers, as it took several days to get a Laos visa, which was good for only five days, and still completely impossible to get into Cambodia. Laos and Savannakhet were an absolute paradise, compared to Vietnam.

Last edited by jtur88; 11-30-2011 at 09:48 AM..
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Old 11-30-2011, 11:24 AM
 
5,091 posts, read 8,066,917 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtur88 View Post
Your video brought back great memories. I made that trip in 1996, and then, there was no direct public transport on either side of the border. We had to buy an excursion package from Hue, just to get up to the DMZ museum. From there, on motorbikes to the border. Into Laos, still no transport, and border officials arranged for us to ride on the top of a loaded truck, which made very slow progress toward Savannakhet, but the driver arranged to switch us over to a commercial van that had room for the three of us, and we were in Savannakhet around 10 pm, after leaving Hue at 8 am (300 km). There was no bridge yet at Savannakhet, so it was necessary to go to Vientiane to cross into Thailand. There were almost no travelers, as it took several days to get a Laos visa, which was good for only five days, and still completely impossible to get into Cambodia. Laos and Savannakhet were an absolute paradise, compared to Vietnam.
I hear ya. Glad the vid jogged to memories for you. I have many great memories as well looking back over time. Been a lot of changes over the decades, but then some things still seem to stay the same, like the clunker buses. Rode a clunker a couple of times between Chiang Mai to Sukhothai. It seemed like the longest, hottest, butt-busting trip ever. A couple of pit stops are permanently burned in my brain. One was a small spot to get something to eat. The restroom there was outdoors, no roof, just walls, and some kind of concrete ditch with water flowing through it to do your business in. The other was a small bus terminal in the middle of nowhere to pick up or drop off passengers. The restroom at that place was broken down with water flooding the floor. I didn't bother to find out if it was from an overflowing toilet or not, although a number of people chose to wade in anyway. If you needed any TP, a lady out front sold a few squares of tissue for a couple of baht.

Ahhh, the memories....
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Old 11-30-2011, 04:41 PM
 
Location: Eindhoven, Netherlands
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Honshu, Japan (5 weeks) --- South Korea (3 weeks) --- East & South Central China, Hong Kong, Taiwan (8 weeks)

If you still have some time & money left i would go and check out Vietnam, Laos & Cambodia (4 weeks), Thailand (4 weeks), Malaysia & Singapore (2 weeks)

Save Indonesia and Philippines for your next trip.

India, Bangladesh & Myanmar are not for me but i don't know what your standards are.

Last edited by Davy-040; 11-30-2011 at 04:59 PM..
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Old 11-30-2011, 09:16 PM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
24,683 posts, read 45,369,517 times
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Buses and trains are tolerable in Vietnam, China and Thailand for the most part. No idea about Laos and Cambodia. What annoys me is often a lack of toilets/restrooms on the buses. Sometimes it's 3 hours before the next toilet break.
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Old 11-30-2011, 10:45 PM
 
Location: Eindhoven, Netherlands
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trimac20 View Post
Buses and trains are tolerable in Vietnam, China and Thailand for the most part. No idea about Laos and Cambodia. What annoys me is often a lack of toilets/restrooms on the buses. Sometimes it's 3 hours before the next toilet break.
Open a window or **** in a bottle.
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Old 11-30-2011, 11:00 PM
 
Location: Brisbane
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trimac20 View Post
Buses and trains are tolerable in Vietnam, China and Thailand for the most part. No idea about Laos and Cambodia. What annoys me is often a lack of toilets/restrooms on the buses. Sometimes it's 3 hours before the next toilet break.
I once made the mistake of taking the Lao Cai to Hanoi Train in Third class.
10 hours to travel 150 miles on a stinking hot summers day, no airconditioning or fans to speak of, and a carriage full of farmers, complete with their produce and animals.
It was a great experience, but my advice to the OP, spend the extra $5 and the take first class carriage where possible.
That was back in 2006, no idea if its improved since then.

Last edited by danielsa1775; 11-30-2011 at 11:15 PM..
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