Heading to Vietnam around 16th Sept. Planning on starting in Hanoi, then stop central Vietnam, before heading to Ho Chi Minh. Interested also in popping over to Cambodia (Siem Reap probably).
Interested in an overnight boat tour to Halong Bay from Hanoi.
Also interested in a Mekong delta tour from HCMC.
What visa do you need for Cambodia (can you get at border/airport)
Any transport tips?
All suggestions appreciated.
Sound a good plan you have! How many days will you have for this trip? If you have about 3 - 4 weeks for Vietnam, you should try to visit Sapa in North Vietnam as well, very nice area.
From Hanoi, you can book a tour to stay overnight on a junk/boat in Halong Bay. You can go by bus directly from Hanoi to Halong city and then take a boat cruising in the bay or go to Haiphong city, and then take a boat to Cat Ba island and to Halong bay.
You should try to spend some days in Hue and Hoian, very interesting and attractive old towns.
There are many tours to the Mekong Delta from HCMC: 1 - 5 days. You can do in a private tour or join other backpackers.
From South Vietnam, you can go to Phnom Penh in Cambodia by boat (from Chau Doc) or by bus and plane (from HCMC), and from Phnom Penh you go further to Siem Reap. Or you can fly from HCMC to Siem Reap.
You can get Cambodia visa at the border, no worries about this. Prepare some passport photos in advance.
If you need any more info, please feel free to contact me.
Have a great trip,
I have photos of HaLong Bay in my gallery. It was cool and overcast in Feb. but you should have warm enough weather to get in the water. You can simply book your trip in HaNoi, easiest option, or catch the regular bus to HaLong City and arrange your tour once there. Unless you are on a very tight budget, book it in HaNoi. The hassle of doing this trip on your own is not worth the money saved. I am sure you will find others that are planning on going to HaLong as well. Perhaps at your GH or while seeing the sights of HaNoi. Hook up with other travellers and go along. It is much more fun to share the day with others than by yourself.
Most visitors take the 'open tour' bus as it allows flexiblity on your way south. Stop in DaLat if you have time and enjoy some cooler weather and beautiful scenery. The 'Easy Riders' can take you on a motorcycle tour of the Cenral Highlands for a memorable experience. I did not have to money, but others rave about the trip. Every travel agent in HCMC offers 1,2,3 day tours of the delta.(photos). I recommend Sinh Cafe. The are the biggest tour company and have better buses than other companires. Shop around for price, but they are all fairly close and offer about the same tour. PM me if you have questions.
Thanks for you suggestions so far. Also on a budget, and short timeframe which doesn't help. Prepared to take a couple of internal flights.
A few more questions:
Are 1 day cooking classes easy to find in HCMC. Fly home at 8pm and thought it would be a nice end to the trip. Any recommendations?
Are there tours from HCMC through to Phnom Penh or do they stop at the border and then join others once in Cambodia - and is it OK to get a visa at the border.
I am interested in doing some kayaking around Halong Bay - and stay over night on a boat. Is this easy to do? DO most of the boats have kayaks? Is it expensive (start tour from Hanoi).
Once in Siem Reap, is it best to do a 2 day tour around Angkor Wat, or is it all close by?
WHat time do the trains from Hue to HoiAn leave and do we have to change anywhere?
Thanks so much - getting pretty excited about the trip now!!
1. I have no idea on 1 day cooking classes, but you should ask one of the travel helpers that lives in HCMC.
2. You have many options getting from HCMC-PP. Cheapest & easiest is to get over to De Tham Street, just off Pham Ngu Loa. The backpack ghetto of HCMC. Sinh Cafe runs a daily bus to PP, $6. That bus you get off at the border, walk into Cambodia, pay your $20 for 'visa on arrival', have photos and $20 bill ready. Fill out the form and you are in Cam. Walk to the restaurant they tell you to and the Capitol GH bus takes you the rest of the way to PP. Better option is to pay $12 and take the straight through bus. Saves 2-3 hours. There are also vans and share taxis for this trip.
3. Every travel agent in HaNoi will book HaLong Bay tours. I paid $22 for a 1 day tour, figure about $35 for 2 days. Other companies are a bit cheaper than Sinh Cafe. Ask about kayaking option. Should add another $50 to your price.
4. They sell 1, 3 & 7 day tickets to Ankor Wat. Buy the 3 day. One is not enough, 7 is overkill. You need a motorbike guide to see it all. See my photos, PM if you want details.
5. Forget the train, take the bus. It is a short hop from Hue to Hoi An and bus is cheaper, faster than the train.
6. Don't blame up about getting excited. VN is my favorite place to visit. PM me if you have additional questions.