Johnnysmoke— That would be me and that is in Thailand. I did the coast solo to the Malaysia border–island hopping the whole way for a month.
I have some info on the Mekong through Laos. Been on a power boat down a couple hundred miles. If you do a google search there are a couple people who solo kayaked down to the Capital of Vientienne. Some major challenges but doable. Do your research.
Have not paddled in Cambodia but have traveled there.
Northern Vietnam I’ve kayaked in Halong Bay. Can be crowded but still nice.
If you want remote, adventure, meeting locals, on your own, I’d go down the Mekong.
Man, that sounds amazing. I may have an opportunity next year to teach in Laos for a few months. If I can make it there, I would absolutely want to take a trip down the Mekong. I have my inflatable setup pretty dialed in now, I would love to take it there.
I spent a few years in Asia in my 20s, really enjoyed my time there. Without exception, I found that people in areas that didn’t see a lot of Westerners were very welcoming, friendly, and curious to speak with me. Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos weren’t nearly as accessible then (the early 80s) as they are now, so I’ve thought a lot over the years about visiting there. For an aging cold warrior like myself, it really warms my heart to see that Vietnam especially is so popular that they seem to have become somewhat jaded by all the young backpackers, lol.
Any advice or stories you want to share on your time in Laos would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for responding!