I wonder if anyone could give me any advice, I am very keen on visiting Vietnam and possibly travelling through Cambodia and Laos (those two briefly) before returning home via Thailand. I am a solo male traveller and am confident about travelling, but I'm wondering if this is safe, and what routes can anyone recommend. I have visited Thailand before so I know that is a safe place but I know very little about the others.
I was in Vietnam and Cambodia 2 years ago and found it very safe - admittedly I was in a tour group for much of the time but did a bit of wandering around in smaller groups. Particularly safe for males, I would think - the only scare I had was splitting up with my friends on different moto taxis to get back to our hotel in Hoi An, and the moto driver apparently thought I was after a gigolo and wanted to take me to the beach! But when I insisted on going back to the hotel he took me straight away. (Still I was shit scared at the time) But back to the point, in all the touristed areas the biggest hassle you will have is people trying to hawk anything from postcards to cyclo rides. And if you are feeling a bit uncertain, should be easy enough to find some other tourists to take you under their wing. Rules as for most cities on the planet - don't wander in unpopulated areas at night, especially drunk. And beware of motorcycle bandits in Hanoi, I know someone who had her bag snatched crossing the street (you can get those bags with wire in the straps, but personally I would rather lose a bag than a limb)
A bit all over the place, but hope it helps!
PS. Hard to find landmines these days without looking for them! But don't go far off the beaten track in Cambodia.
Re: routes - We flew into Hanoi, took a side trip to Halong Bay then went south via Hue, Hoi An, Nha Trang, Hanoi, and crossed by land into Cambodia. But doing it again I would also go to Sapa in the north, spend more time in Hue, Hoi An and Hanoi, and cross into Cambodia via the Mekong Delta. How long are you going for? I would also like to have spend more than a couple of days in Phnohm Penh, beautiful city. Siem Reap (near Angkor) doesn't have much to offer except of course the amazing ruins around it, at least it didn't a couple of years ago. But get a group together if you can and go for happy hour cocktails at the Grand Hotel - classy surroundings and, bizarrely, free popcorn! (sorry, I hope that's not product placement )
Brilliant, thats exaxtly the kind of info I was after, I will look in to a few of these places and see what I think. Thanks for your help.
hi bluetimo, just don't need to worry anything. These places are very safe for you to visit, even solo. But of course you need to spend time to find some necessary information about these places before your trip such as weather, accomodation, entertainment, food... I think you should book your trip with a local travel agent. Otherwise, you also should notice pickpockets and beggers (though I've never seen pickpockets in Vietnam). Transport in Vietnam may shock you if you don't know in advance. There are a lot of motorbikes on the street but you can easily pass the street if you see the traffic light. Laos and Cambodia may be very hot in summer.
Wish you a good trip!
[ Edit: Sorry, no promos please... ]
Hi there. I've just done the same trip solo and it's safe enough. I've had the odd bad experience but think was just unlucky! I went from Bangkok to Siam Reap by bus (this is where I encountered problems - maybe fly if you have the budget), boat to Phnom Penh, bus to Sihanoukville, back to Phnom Penh, bus to Saigon (although the boat is meant to be pretty good), then all the way through Vietnam by the open tour bus, stopping at Mui Ne, Da Lat, Nha Trang, HoiAn, Hue, Hanoi, Halong Bay. Hanoi to Vietienne by bus, up to Luang Pra Bang, Vang Vieng, Vietienne, bus back to Bangkok. Easy! But a lot of buses! I spent 9 days in Cambodia, 3.5 wks in Vietnam and 6 days in Laos. The only visa you can't get at the border is Vietnam. You can get this at travel agents in most large towns/cities. I got mine in Sihanoukville.
Hi Claire can i ask you what problems you had on the bus trip, just i was think about including that on my route...
I took the bus the other way from siem reap to bangkok and had no problems whatsoever. It took about eight hours and wasnt anywhere near as bad as some people make it out to be.
Believe me, if you visit laos, you will have much more uncomfortable bus jounreys that this one!