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First backpack trip Thailand-Cambodja-Vietnam advice needed

Travel Forums Asia First backpack trip Thailand-Cambodja-Vietnam advice needed

1. Posted by stinovitch (Budding Member 8 posts) 5y

This thread is marked as being about Vietnam

Hey everybody!

I want to travel to south-east asia with my grilfriend for about 4-6 weeks (not specific yet) and would like to visit Thailand, Cambodja and Vietnam.

I didn't book my tickets yet but I'm wondering if this is a good idea:

1.Book my flight from Brussels to Bangkok(july)
2.Book my return flight from Hanoi to Brussels (August)

3. Travel by local transport (buses and trains) from bangkok to Siem Reap and Phnom Penh (Cambodja)
4. Travel by local transport from Phnom Penh to Saigon (Ho Chi Minh Vietnam)
5. Book locally a last minute flight (in Saigon) to Da Nang
6. Book a last minute flight from Da Nang to Hanoi
7. Return to Brussels from Hanoi with my pre-booked ticket

I found flights for step 1 and 2 for about €800 with Aeroflot. It has a long transit time in Moskou though. Anyone experience with this company or advices something else?

Does anyone know if it's a good idea to book these flights (step 5 and 6) in Vietnam last minute? I saw that it costs about €50 euro for a flight with Vietnam airlines, but I don't know if theses prices will be more expensive if I book it there at the moment? Would it be better to book these flights in advance (€50) or at the moment itself ( €???).
I don't want to get stuck on fixed dates so that we can travel at our own speed and stay longer at places where we like it. I'm looking for a low-budget vacation and lots of adventure (meeting local people, Jungle trip, scuba diving, Thai box competition,....).

Does anyone has experience with local transport in step 3 and 4? Any advice of (bus,train, company) an easy and low budget solution and how much time and money it takes?

I'm really looking forward to this trip and want to experience a whole new world.

I hope someone can help me because I really want to book my flight!


2. Posted by vegasmike6 (Travel Guru 3562 posts) 5y

A great resource for all things Cambodia is here. Please read over the overland route between BKK- SR so you don't overpay. Many bus companies to choose from between SR-PP. Can't go wrong with Mekong Express or Capitol. There is a boat option. Overpriced IMO. There are many companies to choose from between PP-HCMC as well. My blog covers our trip between HCM-PP. You do have to buy your VN visa in PP before entering VN. Most GHs sell them as do other businesses. Allow a few days for a better price. Fast costs more with VN visas. I suggest you allow a few days for some beach time in Sihanoukville. There are still GHs under $5/nite. Walk to the beach. Hard to beat that! You can also buy your VN visa in S'ville if you do go down for some beach time.

Now VN flights. I just played with some dates on JetStar Air. I would wait until I was in PP or HCMC before booking. You don't save enough by pre-booking weeks in advance IMO. Flights were very reasonable, under $50 one way with less than a week advance.

Good luck with your planning.

3. Posted by karazyal (Travel Guru 1734 posts) 5y

"I found flights for step 1 and 2 for about €800 with Aeroflot. It has a long transit time in Moskou though. Anyone experience with this company or advices something else?"

Are these flights 800 Euros each way or for both flights?

Do some math on how much your one way flight to Bangkok will cost compared to a round trip flight to Bangkok on a major carrier. Some one way flights can cost the same as round trip. Flying between Bangkok and Hanoi or Phnom Penh is cheap. Flying from a nearby country back to Bangkok may prove cheaper than using 2 one way flights from and to Brussels. It doesn't hurt to do some price comparisons. I have always booked my local flights at last minute when in Asia. From Phnom Penh I have used the ferry to get to Siem Reap. Land travel between Thailand and Cambodia is not that expensive.

4. Posted by stinovitch (Budding Member 8 posts) 5y

@vegasmike6: Thanks for the lots of information, it's very usefull and I think my girlfriend would love the beach in S'ville. I'll also check your blog now and then. But the information does arise some new questions :)

- I understand from your explanation that you buy your visa at the moment itself when you're going to cross to border and enter the country. Is this always possible? Do you know what prices they ask at the border for a visa for Cambodja and Vietnam? In that way I can compare with the prices of those visa issued in advance by the embassy of my country. If it's cheaper at the border I can pay them there (but I read they sometimes scam you and ask a lot of money).

- For the flights: I suppose you had internet connection in order to compare and order your flight tickets. If I don't have internet there, is it still possible to go to the airport in HCMC and book a cheap flight (less then $50) if I have the time to wait a couple of days in HCMC?

@karazyal: Yes, 800 Euros was for both flights (BRU-BKK and HAN-BRU). It's the cheapest that I find but it has a very long transit stay in Moscow. The rest of the companies are pretty expensive (thai and vietnam airlines are more then 1200 Euros for the moment).

5. Posted by stinovitch (Budding Member 8 posts) 5y

@vegasmike6: Alright,meanwhile I read other topics about Visas where you already gave an answer to my question :) ( )
I now understand better how it works.

6. Posted by vegasmike6 (Travel Guru 3562 posts) 5y

Glad to help. I would buy your VN visa while in S'ville. Quick & cheap compared to other places.

Send me a PM if you have questions.