I will be travelling to southeast Asia from Dec 7th - Jan 27th with my fiancee. We will be in Thailand for the month of December, but starting Jan 1st (until the 27th) we are not sure whether to go to Cambodia or southern Vietnam (or maybe all of Vietnam). I have already gone to northern Vietnam and also I've read that it is a bit chilly up north in January so I was leaning towards either Cambodia or southern Vietnam. Can some offer advice on this (especially helpful is if you've been to both!)
Northern Vietnam most certainly can get cold. Really cold as I found out when I showed up wearing only shorts and a t-shirt and it is 10 degrees outside.
I spent about a week in Cambodia and felt like that was enough time, I had a LOT of fun there but there just isn't a whole lot to do past Angkor Wat and the killing fields. Well, there is more that I found and did but I'd say those were the highlights and a week was enough time. I actually would recommend Laos over both Cambodia and Vietnam. Vientienne has a lot of great sights and things to do. Vang Vieng was amazing.
I would say add Laos as a 4th country on places to visit.
You will find plenty to do in South Vietnam. The weather is great there as well.
I haven't been to Vietnam (we are going this summer!) but we did do Thailand and Ankor Wat. It was a must see, very surreal. We LOVED Thailand.
The southern part of Vietnam's weather is different from the north. It enjoys the tropical hot and wet weather where temperature is between a low of 26 degrees to a high of 36 degrees. During the year end, there could have plenty of rains as well as seasonal typhoons. So, be ready with that since your travel will be during that period of time. It would be ideal to visit Ho Chi Minh, Vung Tau, Mekong Delta, Mui Ne, Dalat, Nha Trang and Hoi An as I believe you would want to avoid the winter for your holiday. So, get on and enjoy your Vietnam trip. As for Cambodia, weather is similar to the southern Vietnam. No chills. Just hot and rainny seasons. You can get into Vietnam from Cambodia if you're in Phnom Penh. There are bus services direct from Phnom Penh to HCM city and vice versa and its very conveniet and comfortable. It costs US$12 for one way trip. Ticket can be purchased at the main bus station near the Central Market, Phnom Penh which will take you to the backpackers street of Pham Ngu Lao St in HCM. In HCM, ticket to Phnom Penh can be purchased at the travel agents offices in Pham Ngu Lao St and De Tham St. Enjoy your holiday.
I have been to both countries several times and would advise spending most of your time in VN. Cambodia is certainly worth a stop, but you can see the highlights in about a week. You can go from BKK to Siem Reap in one long day overland, or fly it. Angkor Wat can be seen in 3 days, bus down to Phnom Penh, 3-4 days in PP and then either bus/boat to HCMC. This still leaves you almost 3 weeks in SVN. This way you get to see both.
Janice, I have plenty of photos in my gallery of both countries. Take a look and send me a PM if you have specific questions.
Thank you kindly everyone! Much appreciated!!