My friend and I are traveling in Cambodia and Vietnam from February through to March for a duration of 31 days. We are flying into Bangkok, staying for a day, then heading to Siem Reap which will cut out 2-3 days, leaving us 28 days to play with. As we're flying out of Hanoi, we're trying to work out how best to reach our final destination. At the moment we're considering dropping the South of Vietnam, spending a week to 10 days in Cambodia and the remaining time in Vietnam, with Hoi An being our first destination in Vietnam.
At the moment our Cambodia travel itinerary includes:
- Siem Reap
- Phnom Penh
We're planning to cross the boarder at O'yadaw and Le Tanh
Our Vietnam itinerary includes:
- Hoi An
- Da Nang
- Ha Long Bay/Cat Ba Island
- Ba Be National Park
- Quang Binh - Phong Nha Cave
(- Sapa, Lang Son, Cao Bang, Vo Nhai District - Phuong Hoang Cave are under consideration)
I am just wondering if anyone has any other itineraries to suggest. Could we manage some of the South as well? Are there places that I have listed that aren't worth seeing and some that I've missed that are?
Any advice is welcome!
Thank you in advance.
Congratulations for your trip destination! I would come a long as well! :-)
I travelled to Vietnam (Vn) Laos Cambodia and Thailand in 2008 and returned to Siem Reap and Thailand last year. So these are my suggestions:
Bankok - Siem Reap
You can easily do this trip in one day. There are companies that arrange it for you, though you have to change bus at the border. Read some blogs on this trip please - I heard some bad stories about some companies telling you about fees and regulations that don't exist and so on. There are NO fees at the Cambodian border! We did it the other way around leavin Siem Reap (SR) at about 8 am and got to Bangkok around 5 pm. On the Cambodian side you will stop at different places in the no where to get off, go to the toilet and buy some stuff from the ladies (which is the purpose of that stop). So don't get angry about that and take it easy.
In SR I can recommend you a very nice tuktuk driver. His name is Khoern and he is studying English and earning some money by driving tourists to the sites. He is a little bit shy, but he won't rip you off and do whatever you like. His email is khartkhoeurn (at) yahoo.com. Ask him for his phone number to contact him once you are in SR.
If you have a spare afternoon go to the lake Tonle Sap. The boat ride IS touristic but the lake is fantastic. If you go after the sites you might have a wonderful sunset on the lake.
I loved this city though it's a little bit crazy. Stay at the BananaTop close to the Pasteur51 street: cheap, good and nice folk, on top of a building. Visit the rubish dump together with a visit at the foundation "pour un sourire d'enfant" (http://pse.asso.fr/). And visit the War muesum.
I haven't seen any other city in Cambodia unfortunately. However, I know there is a possibility to go to the South of Vietnam directly from Phnom Phen. You can combine it with a tour on the Mekong on the Vt side and head to Ho Chi Minh City (included in the trip). I would really suggest to visit this town! It's a blast!
Ho Chi Minh City
And drive around on a motorcycle, but not on your own. And visit some Pagodas (Buddhist chirches). Beware of some very nice men at the post office telling you sth about a daughter that will soon fly to your country and would like to have some suggestions for her travel. It's a great story I experienced but I almost feared for my life... And other tourists have lost 1000 of dollars!
I did Vn from South to North. Da Nang is not really worth it. Hoi An is great (get some clothes or dressed done for you!). Ha Long Bay is a must, though too touristic for me. I did the dry Ha Long Bay as well on a day trip from Hanoi. That was great as well.
Spend enough time in Ha Noi wandering around. It's worth it! The musum of ethnology is fantastic.
North of Vn
I didn't go to Sa Pa since everybody does, but to Bak Ha (on the other side of the valey). During the week we were 5 tourists, on the weekend it was crowded. Take some warm clothes with you. In 2008 it was a hard winter and they don't know anything about heating. :-) You can do some nice trekking there as well and find villages and huts way off nowhere.
Well, that's about it. Ask me more if you like.
Have a safe trip and enjoy it!