Backpacking Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos & Thailand: 11-Day Itinerary & Cost Breakdown

Backpacking Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos & Thailand: 11-Day Itinerary & Cost Breakdown

11 days, 6 cities, 4 countries, this couple backpacked Indochina with a budget of only ₱40k each.

Contributed by The WANDER (FULL) LIFE

I wanted to do this post after I’ve documented the everyday adventure, but the thought of knowing how poor have we become won’t let me rest. I didn’t even want to go out since we arrived on Thursday because of it. But the husband was unusually restless. He went out on Friday and begged me to join him on a movie with friends on Saturday (Train to Busan). All throughout, I felt like I was there but not really there. All I wanted to do is just sit down and track our damage, which I did this dawn. I slept around 3:00 AM just to get it all laid out. (Yeah, OC!) I wanted to write a post immediately but I remembered piktochart. I can’t make a post without it.

backpacking indochina Image credit: The Wanderfull Life

Now everything is ready.🙂 I had an initial accounting on Friday while the husband was playing board games. I noted that we spent around ₱25,000 per person, almost the same amount with our Hongkong-Macau trip for 5 days but I forgot to include the flight fares and accommodations which were already paid, plus our expenses in Manila and some ATM charges.

All in all, we spent around ₱40,000 per person – that’s everything already. ₱10,000 less than my estimated ₱50,000 pocket money only. I actually thought we spent bigger since we had some extra splurges like the souvenirs and shopping, which were not part of the estimates. See the details here. Everything is plotted – schedules, itinerary, expenses, transportation and accommodation.

Also read: The Essential Southeast Asia Backpacking List

Was it worth our money?

Of course! It was worth every penny. The joy of wandering is totally overwhelming. Much more to me because I loved everything about the trip since the planning. And being able to achieve everything that was planned is mind blowing. I attribute it all to God, to the good people of the place we’ve been to, especially to the husband who has been very supportive in everything. Once again, the Lord has shown me that nothing is impossible if you only put your mind and heart into it. People thought it was crazy – 4 countries in less than 2 weeks? Who’d do that? We JUST did. Crazy Couple, are we not?!o_O

Where’s the awesome pics?

Much as I wanted to share it now, this blog’s storage is, unfortunately, full already. And it might take some time to select favourites with an almost 8 GB of pics from Day 0 to Day 12. The husband did post our Go Pro selfies on his Facebook. That would be for now, but I will find a way in the coming days. Stay tuned.🙂

The itinerary

I had a very detailed itinerary in our planning board but on our next trip, I think I will adapt the newly plotted itinerary found in our updated board. Putting in just the goals of the day is way better that OC-ing everything with time limits. Flexibility is much more fun. Also, I loved it that every time we arrived at a new place, the husband would just ask our target place to visit and then he will search it on his maps and find a way to get us there either by walking or riding a bus and train. Well, you could do this if you have a very reliable and direction-savvy husband or travel partner, especially if you are like me who is only good at planning but zero in directions and map reading.

Day 0 Cebu->Manila, Manila->Siem Reap

  • Flight to Manila (unfortunately Cebu Pac doesn’t have Cebu->Siem Reap. Right now, there are only 5 international destinations that can be reached directly from Cebu: Singapore, Hongkong, Taipei, Incheon, Tokyo-Narita. Maybe, we’ll have Singapore or Taipei next. The husband and I had a consensus not to do Korea and Japan anytime soon. Will blog about it in the coming days.)
  • 8 hours of lay-over
  • Flight to Siem Reap
  • Late night hostel check-in
  • Slept at Khmere’s Place

Day 1 Siem Reap, Cambodia (Currency spent: USD-cash on hand)

  • Sunrise @ Angkor Wat
  • Bayon, Baphoun, Royal Enclosure, Terraces of Elephants
  • Check out
  • Lunch
  • Bantay Kdei, Ta Phrom, Sunset @ Phnom Bakeng
  • Night bus to Phnom Penh

Day 2 Phnom Penh, Cambodia (Currency spent: USD-cash on hand)

  • Early arrival in Phnom Penh
  • SLA early check-in
  • Killing fields 9:00 AM -12:00 PM
  • Lunch
  • Toul Sleng 2:00-4:00 PM
  • Royal Palace
  • Independent Monument
  • Buy tix to PP & Laos
  • Slept @ SLA

Day 3-4 Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (Currency spent: VND-withdrawn)

Day 3:

  • Check out at SLA at 7:00 AM
  • Early departure to HCMC
  • Check in at Rich’s Place
  • Afternoon and night in HCMC
  • City walk to riverside, etc
  • Book Cu Chi tunnel tour
  • Slept at Rich’s Place

Day 4:

  • Check out at Rich’s at 6:00 AM
  • Breakfast outside
  • Left the big packs at VietWay Tours
  • Cu Chi Tour 8:00 AM to 2:30 PM
  • Bus back to PPenh 4:00 PM
  • Arrive 10PM, slept at Village Hostel

Day 5 Bus from HCMC, Vietnam ->PP, Cambodia ->Vientiane, Laos (Currency spent: USD, LAK-withdrawn in Pakse, Laos)

  • Check out at Village Hostel
  • Van to Stung Treng 4:00 AM
  • Arrival in Stung Treng 12:00 PM
  • Van to Pakse 12:30PM
  • Arrival in Pakse 5:00PM
  • Dinner
  • Night bus to Vientiane 8:30 PM

Day 6 Vientiane, Laos (Currency spent: LAK)

  • Arrival in Vientiane 7:00 AM
  • Early check in @ Sing’s
  • Rest & lunch after
  • Buy tix to Vang Vieng
  • Visit Buddha Park
  • Riverside & night market
  • Slept at Sing’s

Day 7-9 Vang Vieng (Currency spent: LAK-withdrawn in Vang Vieng)

Day 7:

  • Check out @ Sing’s
  • Breakfast at karenderia
  • Departure to VangV 9:00 AM
  • Arrival in VangV 1:00 PM
  • Check in at Nouth’s
  • Rented a bike and do a tour
  • Slept at Nouth’s

Day 8:

  • Free breakfast
  • Join a half-day tour w/ zip lining, caving & tubing
  • Rent a motorbike
  • Trek to Phon Ngern Mountain
  • Dinner & tried a Lao Massage
  • Slept @ Nouth’s

Day 9:

  • Free breakfast
  • Motorbike to Blue Lagoon
  • Check out at Nouth’s
  • Left VangV at 1:00 PM
  • Dinner while waiting for bus
  • Sleeper bus by 8:00 PM
  • Slept at bus

Day 10-11 Bangkok (Currency spent: BAHT-withdrawn in Nong Khai)

Day 10:

  • Arrive in Bangkok at 6:00 AM
  • Early check in not possible
  • Left bag and do an early temple visit at Royal Palace and Wat Pra Kaew
  • Check in at 3:00 PM, slept
  • Free dinner @ 7:00 PM
  • Visit a board game cafe
  • Slept @ Daniele’s

Day 11:

  • Woke up late
  • Free brunch
  • Check out and left bag
  • Visit Wat Pho
  • Back to pick up bag
  • Dinner at airport
  • Left Bangkok at 12:00 AM

Day 12 Flight out of Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok

  • Arrive in Mla at 4:00 AM
  • Check in at The Wings
  • Slept until 12:00 PM
  • Free brunch
  • Check out at 1:30 PM
  • Left Manila at 4:00 PM
  • Home by 5:00 PM
  • Dinner at Bigby’s till 10:00 PM

Also read: Singapore to Bangkok: How to Make This Journey by Train

Highlights

  • Able to withdraw VND, LAK and BAHT
  • Affordable internet sim in Laos and Thailand
  • All bus tix were bought on the day, and we were able to pick a new sched, thus extending wander time
  • Tried a lot of means of transport
  • Eat at street foods and cafes alike
  • Able to bike and motorbike in Vang V
  • Able to trek in Vang V
  • Meet new friends in Cu Chi and Vang V tour
  • Achieved the 4 country target with no bus sked aberrations and etc
  • No bad experiences in people and etc
  • Able to navigate on our own via maps
  • Amazed by The Wings in NAIA 3
  • Awesome trip!!!

Total damage

Category Cost
PRE-PAID (via credit card) ₱18,831.40
Ceb<->Mla;
Mla->Siem;
BKK->Mla
₱10,802.40
Accommodations ₱8,029.00
PAID DURING TRIP ₱61,729.95
Transport in between cities ₱14,736.00
Expenses* ₱46,993.95
TOTAL FOR TWO PERSONS ₱80,561.35
Per person cost ₱40,280.68

*Expenses include meals, transport, entrances, tours and others

Documents

  • Indochina in 11 Days (Cam-Vie-Lao-Tha) Infographic
  • Trip Details (Schedules, Itinerary, Expenses, Transportation, Accommodation)

Accommodations

Date Place Link to Stay Cost /Person (US$) Total Cost (US$) Total Cost (₱)* Notes
1 8/20 – 8/21 Siem Reap, Cambodia Khmere’s Place US$10 US$20 ₱942 Sat Night, Booked
2 8/22 – 8/23 Phnom Penh, Cambodia Local Riverside Guesthouse US$10 US$22 ₱1,036 Mon Night, Booked
3 8/23 – 8/24 Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam Rich’s Place US$13 US$15 ₱705 Tue Night, Booked
4 8/24 – 8/25 Phnom Penh, Cambodia Khmer Village Hostel US$10 US$20 ₱960 Wed Night
5 8/26 – 8/27 Vientiane, Laos Singsanti’s US$13 US$15 ₱802 Fri Night, Booked
6 8/27 – 8/29 Vang Vieng, Laos Lao Valhalla Bungalows & Restaurant US$25 US$25 ₱2,641 Sat,Sun Night, Booked
7 8/30 – 8/31 Bangkok, Thailand Daniele’s US$15 US$15 ₱943 Tue Night, Booked
TOTAL US$96 US$132 ₱8,029

*US$1 = ₱48

Transportation

Date From To Transportation (Ticketing/Bus) Travel Time (hrs) Cost /Person (US$) Total Cost (US$) Total Cost (₱)*
1 8/21 (Sun), 22:30 Siem Reap, Cambodia Phnom Penh, Cambodia Night Bus (Cambodia Angkor Express) 7 US$18 US$36 ₱1,728
2 8/23 (Tue), 08:00 Phnom Penh, Cambodia Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam Day Bus (Phuong Heng (Sun Leang)) 7 US$15 US$30 ₱1,440
3 8/24 (Wed), 16:00 Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam Phnom Penh, Cambodia Day Bus (Phuong Heng (Sun Leang)) 7 US$15 US$15 ₱1,440
4 8/25 (Thu), 4:30 Phnom Penh, Cambodia Stung Treng, Cambodia Van (Sun Leang) 7 US$65 US$130 ₱6,240
8/25 (Thu), 12:30 Stung Treng, Cambodia Pakse, Laos Van 5
8/25 (Thu), 20:30 Pakse, Laos Vientiane, Laos Sleeper Bus 11
5 8/27 (Sat), 9:30 Vientiane, Laos Vang Vieng, Laos Day Bus (Yortdoy Service) 4 US$5.50 US$11 ₱528
6 8/29 (Mon), 13:30 Vang Vieng, Laos Udonthani, Laos Van (Southchai) 6 US$35 US$70 ₱3,360
8/25 (Thu), 20:30 Udonthani, Laos Nakhon Ratcha, Thailand Sleeper Bus 7
8/30 (Tue), 3:00 Nakhon Ratcha, Thailand Bangkok, Thailand Sleeper Bus 3
TOTAL 64 (2.67 days) US$153.50 US$307 ₱14,736

*US$1 = ₱48

Basically, above are the details that you will need if you ever want to do what we did. But maybe you can find a better option than do a crazy all day travel from Vietnam to Laos. You can also scrap Laos altogether like this itinerary.

When we booked this trip, we didn’t really think about what we will do. We just booked the cheapest flight that we found. You can do better. That’s if you are willing to gamble like what we did here since basically, I didn’t find the same itinerary of what we did when we planned this. Laos was the odd one out but I really wanted to visit Vang Vieng. No regrets though because Vang Vieng is way better than what I have dreamed of.

Finally, this is it. I will try my best to continue writing the everyday happenings, but most of the non-personal details are already here. You can ask me anything if you have more questions about doing this adventure. If you ever thought about doing this, listen to that voice.

Also read: The Craziest Things I Found Myself Doing While Backpacking Asia

No matter what other people tell you, doing what you love is the best thing in the world EVER! Go and seize it. YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE so make the most out of it. You can’t bring possessions to your grave but memories live forever.

Cheering on you,

Migo & Miga

About Author

Kresia Julio
Kresia Julio

Kring is a woman of style whose fashion would make you doubt the validity of her stories in conquering mountains. She is a software engineer by profession, financial literacy advocate, fitness buff, DIY fan, AirBNB host and a big promoter of self-love but with a big heart to those in need. Her hobby includes blogging, scrap/photo booking, travelling, trekking and volunteering. She is easily bored thus the need to have more activities. This is where board gaming and jewellery making comes in. She is married to an introvert who understands and supports her OVERLY extrovert personality.

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