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Ho Chi Minch to Phnom Penh to Siem Reap to Preah Vihear

Travel Forums Asia Ho Chi Minch to Phnom Penh to Siem Reap to Preah Vihear

1. Posted by TaylorNYC (Budding Member 3 posts) 7y

Hey everyone! So I'm planning a trip to Vietnam and Cambodia with a buddy of mine and we have a (very) tentative plan and I was hoping some of my questions for the ways we would travel can be answered. It's going to be in July and we have about 2 and a half to three weeks and the plan is to fly into and out of Ho Chi Minh (so wherever we go, we'll have to get back)

Anyways, the plan is after 5 days in Ho Chi Minh, to take the boat to Phnom Penh. We were considering the bus, but given the fact that it's the rainy season and I hear the roads in Cambodia on that trip are pretty bad, I thought this might be the best way to go. It sounds like this has to be done in two days with a boat to Chau Doc and then a boat the next morning to Phnom Penh. Is that right? Can it be done in one day? Is this a better idea than taking the bus? Is the boat ride nice?

Anyways, the plan then is to spend maybe 5 nights in Phnom Penh before taking the boat up to Siem Reap, where we will spend a couple days checking out the temples. From what I've read, it sounds like this is a very nice way to get there.

Next up it gets a bit more questionable, as we would like to get off the beaten path a bit and travel to Anlong Veng and Preah Vihear for a few nights. Most importantly, is it safe up there? What is it like? Is the only way to do this renting a motor bike? As one that has never driven a motorcycle before, I'd be a bit uneasy with getting on one for the first time, although I think I could deal with it if necessary. Are there places to stay up there? Could we hire a car and driver in Siem Reap to take us up there for the few nights, and if so, how much would that cost?

Other questions I have are should I have my hotel reservations all worked out prior to going? Once I get there can I buy a ticket for the boat rides or should that be planned out?

After this the plan is to get back down to Siem Reap and take a flight back to Ho Chi Minh. Anyways, if anyone had any answers to any of these questions, or comments, advice or anything, it would be much, much appreciated. Thank you very much!

2. Posted by karazyal (Travel Guru 1587 posts) 7y

Quoting TaylorNYC

Hey everyone! So I'm planning a trip to Vietnam and Cambodia with a buddy of mine and we have a (xt up it gets a bit more questionable, as we would like to get off the beaten path a bit and travel to Anlong Veng and Preah Vihear for a few nights. Most importantly, is it safe up there? What is it like? Is the only way to do this renting a motor bike? As one that has never driven a motorcycle before, I'd be a bit uneasy with getting on one for the first time, although I think I could deal with it if necessary. Are there places to stay up there? Could we hire a car and driver in Siem Reap to take us up there for the few nights, and if so, how much would that cost?

Other questions I have are should I have my hotel reservations all worked out prior to going? Once I get there can I buy

I think that the only safe way to see Preah Vihear is from the Thailand side. In Thailand they call it Khao Phra Viharn. I was there around 8 years ago. I went from the Thai side. There are still some unexploded land mines in that area. From Thailand it is near Si Saket. There is off and on again problems between Cambodia and Thailand over this area.

http://www.koratmagazine.in.th/sight/viharn/eviharn.htm

So, get some more info on this place and make sure it is up to date. I think there was some shooting or something going on just last month. From the Thai side they close the road down every now and then and you don't know if it is open to tourists or not sometimes.

This temple is on a high cliff. When you look off in the distance you can still see gun emplacements and even a crashed helicopter. Signs warn of mines still being a danger.

Good luck.

3. Posted by TaylorNYC (Budding Member 3 posts) 7y

Quoting karazyal

I think that the only safe way to see Preah Vihear is from the Thailand side. In Thailand they call it Khao Phra Viharn. I was there around 8 years ago. I went from the Thai side. There are still some unexploded land mines in that area. From Thailand it is near Si Saket. There is off and on again problems between Cambodia and Thailand over this area.

http://www.koratmagazine.in.th/sight/viharn/eviharn.htm

So, get some more info on this place and make sure it is up to date. I think there was some shooting or something going on just last month. From the Thai side they close the road down every now and then and you don't know if it is open to tourists or not sometimes.

This temple is on a high cliff. When you look off in the distance you can still see gun emplacements and even a crashed helicopter. Signs warn of mines still being a danger.

Good luck.

Hmmm, well going from the Thailand side really isn't an option for me. Thanks for the response though! Hopefully there's a way for me to get there.

4. Posted by vegasmike6 (Travel Guru 3562 posts) 7y

Taylor,
You can go from HCMC to PP in about 8 hours on the bus. The roads are now paved, so mud is not the problem it was in past years. I would go with Sinh Cafe $12. Book it the day before, De Tham St. They will obtain your Cambo visa for you, $25. Read my blog. If you ride with Sinh Cafe, you will be dropped at Capitol GH. They have fan & a/c rooms, or use one the many GH/hotels closeby. The Capitol GH boys offer bus or boat up to Siem Reap. I would take the boat, more fun than the bus. They will take you to their GH in SR. Same as most of the other GHs, under $10 for a fan room. Food & guides on site. Get the 3 day pass for Angkor. Here is a great resource for all things Cambodia. This is the easiest way, but plenty of other companies will get you to PP, and other companies go up to SR. Another option is to go HCMC-SR direct. Then you don't have to backtrack so much. A long day, but perhaps better for your plans.

If you go direct, then you can take the boat back to PP, sight-see 3-4 days, boat back to HCMC. Capitol GH runs this route everyday. I would save at least 10 days to see HCMC, perhaps DaLat or Nha Trang before flying home. My blog covers some of VN.

I am going to vote 'NO' on your motorcycle plans. You admit to not being an experienced rider, the terrible roads of rural Cambodia are not the place to learn. You will fall off, perhaps injure yourself. That will ruin your holiday. Going off-road is tricky for experienced riders, I would not advise it for novice riders. Perhaps you can hire a guide that will take you off the beaten track. Or if you want a real adventure, take a local truck to Preah Vihear. Read about it on Gordon's website first however. I just took a look at it and I suggest you go to some of the other options around SR.

Don't bother to book anything until you get there. You will find a room in your price range in HCMC, PP & SR. The bus or boat leaves daily, check with the many companies on De Tham St. in HCMC and book it the night before.

Send me a PM if you have questions.

[ Edit: Edited on 18-May-2009, at 19:54 by vegasmike6 ]

5. Posted by TaylorNYC (Budding Member 3 posts) 7y

Thank you VegasMike! I'm going to read over some of the info you provided me and go over it with my friend and my guess is I will be PMing you with some follow up questions in the near future. Thanks again, very helpful!

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