I am travelling to Thailand and Vietnam between 24 Sep and 15 Oct this year and wanted to get our advice as I have never visited these coutnries before but am very excited as I travel a lot.
The plan initially is to travel from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, then to Hanoi, Halong Bay and Sapa before going to Hue, Hoi An, Da Nang, Nha Trang and Finally Hoi Chi Minh City.
I would like to see the authentic parts of the countries, meet with the local people as well as meet others traveling also..
I would really appreciate your advice if you have been to these places, or other places you recommend, or even if you live nearby and can offer me any help at all, or even if you want to join in...
Thank you very much.
Where are you coming from? The passport you enter Thailand with determines if you need a visa you pay for or you qualify for a free Visa Exemption. Vietnam and other former or present communist countries usually require visas you pay for.
If you are planning on 2 one way flights - one to Bangkok and one flying home from Vietnam - you could be paying more money than a single round trip to Bangkok or even HCM City. Often on major airlines one way flights cost pretty close to what a round trip costs. But in Asia flying between SGN and BKK is not expensive. Just do the math!
For Thailand do not skip Bangkok. A few days there allows you to get used to heat and time changes. Rest up, arrange flights or other transportation to other cities. Bangkok is an easy city to get around in. If you arrive during the day or before late evening you even have the cheap Airport Rail Link train.
Work up a budget and determine how much per night you can afford for a hotel room. And don't say cheap or middle priced, etc. Use a baht or pound or US dollar price. Someone will come up with a hotel suggestion.
Sometimes the recommendations you get will depend on your approximate age, if you are male or female, if you are traveling alone or with friends, etc. Old farts may prefer some things different than kids right out of school. Probably the same where you live - sort of like Frank Sinatra/Elvis Presley vs Rap - Hip Hop crap!
Buy a Lonely Planet Travel Guide or borrow one from a library. You may be asked for proof of onward travel at the airport. That means a return ticket, so if you intend to buy a return at later date that could be a problem.
Thanks for the advice.
To give you a better idea, im male, 25 so want to visit as much of the country as possible and party throughout the night as well.
Im coming from london so was told i wouldnt need a visa?? and the trip is a round trip but to bangkok and flying back from HCM.
understood, with the presley vs hip hop comment, ha.
i assume its very easy to get accomodation and ive just picked up the lonely planet on south east asia which is helpful...
what are your thoughts on the places ive suggested to visit, also how long do you think i need in bangkok, and potentially how long would it take to get to ko samui and rest of those isands if i wanted to check out a party/diving....is there any point if its rushed for 1/2days?
"Im coming from london so was told i wouldnt need a visa?? and the trip is a round trip but to bangkok and flying back from HCM."
You do have a return ticket but probably not the cheaper round trip ticket arriving and leaving from the same city. Flying between HCM and Bangkok is cheap.
With a UK passport you qualify for a free 30 day Visa Exemption stamp in your passport when you FLY in. If you ever return overland to Thailand you only qualify for 15 days. With a flight home you shouldn't have a problem although it is from SGN.
For hotel help mention a price range. You do have quite a few places on your list. Why not play it by ear. Maybe stay longer in some places if you like it and knock off a town or two from your list.
For Thailand you can't go too wrong with Bangkok and Chiang Mai. Saigon is worth a look. Da Nang and Nha Trang are okay. Haven't been to the other places.
My info on Vietnam is not current. I am up tp date with Bangkok and Pattaya.
Don't forget to cruise in Halong Bay
That's far too many stops for a limited time trip - cut out the places you're unsure of. You will need a visa for Vietnam - must be arranged ahead of time. If you enter by air, you can do it the easy way and use the VOA Approval Letter that you buy online. I would personally reverse your stops - doing Vietnam first and then Thailand. The other option is to do either country and not both, but doing Thailand first might be a problem. As I told someone else recently, you could possibly be spoiled by all the easy life in Thailand, and then Vietnam might look quite bad to you (it's much poorer/less developed, more travel problems and scams, beaches not as clean/nice, etc.) I think Vietnam first is a much better idea!
In my opinion, the information on Travelfish.org is far superior and certainly more up-to-date than the info on LP.
[ Edit: Edited on 24-Aug-2012, at 12:35 by Daawgon ]