Backpacking Indochina : 4 Countries in 7 days
Cambodia Destinations Laos Thailand Vietnam

Backpacking Indochina : 4 Countries in 7 days

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7 days. 4 countries. 1 ultimate backpacking adventure! My siblings and friends have been traveling across the Philippines for awhile now. We decided to step out and see what the other side has in store for us. And what better way to do it than travel across Indochina region in Asia! For young professionals like us, TIME is always a hindrance on long vacations; so we had to cut our trip short. However, we still pulled off an epic adventure! Here’s how I traveled to 4 countries in just 7 days!

From Manila, we flew to Bangkok, Thailand. We then went to Vang Vieng, Laos via sleeper train. Then we went back to Bangkok again and worked our way down to Siem Reap, Cambodia. We capped off our trip by taking a sleeper bus from Siem Reap to Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam. It was the real-life AMAZING RACE!

A lot has been asking for the itinerary of this trip so let me share with you an overview. I will come up with a very detailed blog post about this trip soon to guide you better. Here is an outline of the Indochina trip to help you start drafting your own itinerary as well.

Day 1

  • 2am, Arrival in Thailand
  • Airport transfer to Patpong, Thailand
  • Early hotel check-in and leave baggage
  • Take a short rest and ample sleep.
  • 6am, breakfast
  • Take the bus 501 and ask to be dropped off at the Grand Palace area
  • Start of Temple Run tours
  • The temples are just near each other and can be navigated by just walking.
  • Lunch time
  • After lunch, you may opt to cross the river and go to Wat Arun or travel to Ayutthaya. Sunset sessions.
  • Back to Patpong
  • Dinner
  • Night stroll

Day 2

  • We started our days early at 6am
  • Take a cab to Victory Monument BTS Station (Minibus)
  • Take the minibus to the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
  • Haggle for the boat ride at the market
  • Start the floating market tour
  • By noon, travel back to the city center via minibus
  • From the drop off, we walked towards MBK and had lunch.
  • After which. 3 of us went to Hualamphong Trailway Station to secure the tickets to Laos.
  • Back to hotel and pack for Laos
  • 6pm, take the train to Hualamphong Trailway Station
  • Dinner at the station. They have KFC. lol
  • 8:30pm is the last train schedule to Nong Khai (Thailand-Laos border).

Day 3

  • 7am, arrival at Nong Khai (Exit stamps at the immigration)
  • Take the train to Thanaleng station, Laos. This is just a short ride.
  • Entrance stamps at the Laos immigration
  • Take a tuktuk or van to central Vientianne for almost 20 minutes.
  • Van operators will offer rides to Vang Vieng upon arrival.
  • Travel from Vientianne to Vang Vieng for almost 5 hours via minibus
  • Minibuses are like bigger versions of Grandia in the Philippines.
  • There will be one bus stop during this trip where you could grab lunch. They accept Thai Baht.
  • Arrive in Vang Vieng at 2pm.
  • Check in at hostel. There are a LOT of cheap options there with the stunning view of Vang Vieng mountains.
  • Change your money to Laos currency.
  • By 3pm, we did the river tubing activity in Nam Song river. It was EPIC! You may stop over at bars along the river and grab some beer!
  • 5pm onwards, rent a bike and explore the laidback Vang Vieng.
  • Dinner

Day 4

  • 7am, start of the ATV tour to the countryside. Prepare yourself for the scenic view. It was one of the most picturesque backdrops I have seen in my life!
  • Go to the blue lagoon and waterfalls.
  • We did this activity for a half a day since we are scheduled to leave at 1:30pm.
  • Lunch and pack up for Bangkok again.
  • This time, we took the sleeper bus from Vang Vieng, Laos to Bangkok, Thailand. It was a 15 hour ride including transfers and stops. I would suggest you take the sleeper train instead for it is more comfortable.

Day 5

  • Upon arriving at Bangkok bus station, grab your tickets going to Siem Reap.
  • It’s another 4 hour ride or so. This day is the most tiring! :p
  • Once at the Thailand border, go to the immigration located somewhere near 7 eleven. Conductors usually guide foreigners so all you need to do is ask. 🙂
  • Enter the Cambodia border and walk your way to the immigration for entrance stamps.
  • Take the free shuttle to the bus terminal. Yes it is FREE.
  • You have the option to either take a taxi, van or bus to Siem Reap. We took the van and traveled for 2 hours.
  • Check in at hostel in Siem Reap. Again there are a lot of cheap options there.
  • Freshen up and go to the Angkor Night Market.
  • Try exotic food like scorpions, frogs, snakes and crickets.
  • Party at Pub Street

Day 6

  • 4:30am, pick up time for the Angkor Wat tour
  • 5am, sunrise watching at Angkor Wat. I suggest you go there as early as possible so you can secure the best spot for the sunrise photos!
  • Angkor Wat is the top tourist spot in Cambodia. The temples are breathtaking but it is OVERCROWDED though.
  • Never lose your Angkor Wat ticket. Take hold of it at ALL times. I wasn’t allowed to enter at one of the temples because I left my ticket inside the van. Bummer.
  • After lunch, you may opt to go to the countryside and do another tour or go back to the center.
  • 7pm, call time for bus pick up going to Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
  • 8pm, travel via sleeper bus going to Vietnam. It’s a 14 hour ride, again! Hahaha!

Day 7

  • By 10am, you will be dropped off at the Pham Ngu Lao bus station.
  • It is the backpackers area in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam. It’s like a meet place for foreigners around the world!
  • Check in at hotel then grab lunch. Vietnamese food is very affordable.
  • Walk your way to the Ben Than Market and shop. Don’t ever miss the Vietnamese coffee!
  • Tour around the city’s landmarks like the Notre Dame Cathedral and Europe-inspired postal office.
  • Dinner and socials.
  • By 10pm, head on to the airport and travel back to Manila the next day.
  • We took the airport bus at Pham Ngu Lao station.
  • There’s not much “tourist” stuff to do in HCMC. It’s my second time here so I did this as a sidetrip only. Other options would be the tunnel tours and war remnants museum. If you have more time, go to the Northern part of Vietnam or or head to Hanoi.

So there you go guys! Was it tiring? YES! But was it worth it? HELL YEAH! This trip may be very short and rushed but the journey has been epic. I suggest that you travel light and save yourself from the burden I put myself into. Bring comfortable clothes and sunscreen. You will definitely end this Indochina trip 50 shades darker. Wear decent clothes if you go to temples. They are holy places and shorts are not allowed. Don’t forget your neck pillows; they will be your travel bestfriends. We brought US dollars and a little amount of Thai Baht initially and had our money exchanged along the way.

Due to time constraints, we had to narrow down this Indochina trip to 7 short days. However, if you have the luxury of time, extend to 15 days and spend more time in Laos and go to Myanmar. Laos is my favorite among the 4 countries. It is underrated but the beauty is just impeccable! See it for yourself and thank me later.

If you are the type who goes after photo ops and passport stamps, then this is for you. If i had to do this my way again, I will spend longer days in each country. Again, this is just an overview of the itinerary of our trip. This aims to just help you start on your Indochina itinerary according to your own preference. I will come up with a detailed blog post soonest with budget expectations as well. I just don’t have the time to do it now. Bear with me.


As for the budget, believe it or not, your 12,000php – 15,000php CAN SURVIVE during this Indochina trip! YES, you read it right. We may have spent way bigger amount for this trip but if you are a practical and budgeted tourist, 15,000php is very workable (airfare not included). On my next post, I will try to discuss how you will be able to achieve it. So you better stay tuned!

*Update: HERE is the most comprehensive guide to your INDOCHINA ADVENTURE!

For affordable and best accommodation deals, please check the AGODA link found in this site.

I hope you SHARE this Indochina post guys. Thank you!

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Thanks to my major sponsors and Of One Sea.

Here are some of the memories we made during this trip:

The Angkor Wat offers a great view of the sunrise.
Chilling in Laos with my Of One Sea swimshorts!

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  1. Shannine

    Hi Mark! Your travel was amazing! and it made me think twice of visiting Laos. Cause I’ll be travelling on November and just planning to visit Bkk-Siem Reap-Ho Chi minh. Isn’t it hard on cross bordering? Hoping you could make a blog on the do’s and don’t and tips on cross bordering.


    October 1, 2016 Reply
    • Mark Roa

      Hello Shanine! 🙂 Sorry for the late reply. Been very busy. But yeah, hopefully I get to start on that blog post just in time for your trip soon. Cross-country was easy based on our experience. Just be vigilant and beware of scammers. But in general, you got nothing to worry. 🙂

      October 10, 2016 Reply
  2. Delyn

    Hi Mark your blog was very informative, I just want to ask something,
    Why Myanmar is not included in your indochina experience?Since its also included in indochina and in your opinion is it safe to go to Myanmar?

    October 11, 2016 Reply
    • Mark Roa

      Hello Delyn! 🙂 Thank you so much. Myanmar is one thing we regret a lot. haha We did not go for the simple reason that we don’t have enough time. While it is near Laos, Bagan will actually take time to go to. So yeah, we decided to skip it this time but we will be back soon and do Laos x Myanmar para mas relaxed ang trip. hehe

      October 12, 2016 Reply
  3. Reen

    How much is travelling cost per person? Thanks so much

    November 26, 2016 Reply


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