We are planning our SE Asia trip and have 10 weeks in total ( 2-3 nights in Bangkok and maybe 5 nights to chill out somewhere after the main trip) . From what we have read and heard , a lot of people preferred Laos and Cambodia to Vietnam and so we were wondering and that they preferred North Vietnam to the South. We are not sure whether or not to cut off a week (which would be the South bit) in Vietnam and use those extra days in Cambodia/Laos ( so fly maybe from Hanoi or so to Cambodia).
What do you think?
Hi! I have been to a few of those places. I really loved Vietnam and Cambodia. Have not been to Laos, although everyone who I speak to who has, loved it. I am going back to VN and Cambodia ina couple of months.
In Cambodia I spent 4 days in Siem Reap (bought a three day pass to temples, which was a bit too much for me). I will get a one day pass this time, but other people like to go for 5 days. Depends how many temples you feel you can see before getting templed out!
In Vietnam, I definitely preferred the north and centre - Hanoi, Ha Long Bay, Hue, Hoi An. Nha Trang had bad weather when I was there but had good potential! I liked Mui Ne beach which is further south. I did not particularly like HCMC (too busy and dirty) but the Mekong area was good. I spent 4 weeks in the country. This time I only have one week and am going back to Hanoi, Hoi An and Mekong before getting a boat to Phnom Penh. Would love to go to Hue again but just don't have time.
As for Thailand, well, I preferred Vietnam. Bangkok was not really my thing, but Chiang Mai and Kanchanaburi were very good. For all of these places, I used domestic flights and buses but will rtry the trains this time!
Good luck in your planning. Try and be as flexible as possible - don't plan too much in advance. On my first trip, I didn't make any bookings more than a few days in advance which allowed for weather changes etc.
Thanks for the tips :-)
We will be in Bangkok because we found cheaper air fares going there than to other places. I think 2 nights will be enough there - just to chill a bit before going on for the main bit of the trip.
Also do you think we would need to pre-book for Christmas etc - should be in Cambodia by then.
South Vietnam is 10 times better than Hanoi!
Its worth visiting... so you can appreciate Thailand and Cambodia even more.
What did I like about Saigon? Uhm, HUGE TREES on small lanes filled with motorbikes... They also have those Giant Trees on small lanes that flow with motorbikes in Hanoi. I just realized that now.
It looks different from Bangkok and Phnompehn, so its worth visiting. Atleast for a day or two.
No 2 people will agree on the subject of Vietnam. Some just can't stand all the constant hawkers in every tourist's face, and others think it's the happiest place on earth (I'm one of the latter). It is a true gem - that's for sure, and the tourist industry is well established there. As to the ? of north or south - I loved the north more (Hanoi especially because of it's French style and charm). You just have to be flexible in your planning, and if you can't stand a particular city, just move on. I did not especially care for Saigon's Westernization and the size of it, but I did find it fascinating nevertheless. I have not been to Cambodia or Laos yet, but I believe them to be less developed and poorer than Vietnam. Hope my 2 cents helped.
Don't put too much value on stranger's likes and dislikes - only you can judge what's right for YOU!
Thanks for your opinions :-)
I think, Vietnam is worth to visit, you can fly to North or south of Vietnam.
If North, it's Hanoi capital, from Hanoi you can go to Sapa-explore the culture and life of the minority ethnic there. Sightseeing and weather are great. and take a trip to Halong bay 2days(overnight on boat). Then you can train,bus, or flight direct to Hue-old capital of Vietnam, then to Danang relax in some beaches, Bus to Hoi An-ancient town. And if you skip Nha Trang you can direct to Ho Chi Minh city by bas, train, flight.
Have a good trip