This summer (july/august) we are planning a 3 week trip to Vietnam or Indonesia. Me and my girlfriend have been the last two summers in the states and have seen most of europe. But now we are planning a trip to Asia. Several of our friends have been to Thailand and recommend it, but we have also heard that Vietnam and Indonesia is just as good, if not even better?
We have seen some incredible pictures from both and cant wait, but what to choose?
We Wonder if somebody can tell us where to go. What we are looking for is:
Possibility for guided boattrips to those beautiful green forrestcovered Islands
Budget (we dont want the cheapest, but at the same time avoid getting ripped of)
Any suggestions at all will be much appriciated!!
[ Edit: Edited on 08-Jan-2013, at 13:16 by veimoen ]
I was thinking exactly the same so would be good to know what others think! Whats the weather like November time?
Hey, another person living in Norway; velkommen!
I think it depends a little on the type of travel you want. Vietnam is still more 'off the beaten track' than Thailand to a large degree, even though both are of course relatively easy/safe to travel in/around. Obviously living in Norway you are probably familiar with the legions of folks heading there every year that are really just there to hang on a beach, swim and drink/eat cheaply (not blaming them mind you!). Vietnam doesn't have that in the same way.
I spent a month in Bali in 2004 and enjoyed it. My wife was working there so it was a different type of trip, but Indonesia is a place I'd love to go back to.
Hopefully Mike will be along shortly to lend his thoughts on the matter, but if not, I'm sure he wouldn't mind you PM'ing him. Have you checked out Travelfish? It's one of the few travel sites I'd recommend without hesitation (they focus on SE Asia only) as they really keep up their guides and research all the destinations in-depth.
Do you want to see the real Indonesia/Vietnam, or just the picture postcard view? Indonesia is the more developed country, and I believe more expensive than Vietnam. Although Vietnam has a very long coastline, it's beaches are not quite up to those you will find along the Andaman coastline, and the diving is nothing spectacular.
The thing that draws me to Vietnam (5 trips) are it's extremely outgoing and friendly people. I just returned from a trip to Thailand, Laos and Vietnam, and was welcomed back to Vietnam almost like returning royalty, I kid you not.
Three weeks is very little time to see either country. Pick your destinations carefully. In Vietnam my favorites are Hanoi (capital city), Sapa (small NW Highland town) and Hoi An (beach). Actually, I'm thinking about Bali also for a next trip. Wish I had more info to give you on Indonesia.
(be extremely picky about any small boat travel in SE Asia - not always the safest way to travel)
I agree that you need to do your research at Travelfish - it's based in Bali, and has excellent info for all of SE Asia.
[ Edit: Edited on 08-Jan-2013, at 15:40 by Daawgon ]
First off, Vietnam is pretty awesome. We spent three and a half months backpacking through most of south east Asia and Vietnam was one of, if not our favourite!
Halong Bay - scenery, beaches, kayaking, caves. Look into the different cruise options for a good price. We spent AUD$180 for the only running cruise during Chinese New Year for 3 days.
Hanoi - very busy. We didn't take much time here since we don't really enjoy big cities so can't give much advice but be very careful with being ripped off, especially taxis from the airport.
Sapa - village tribes, hikes, scenery. We booked a tour from Hanoi for 3 days, around AUD$130 each. Beautiful place to visit.
Hoi An - beaches, My Son tour, gorgeous little town.
Nha Trang - beaches, boat trips, partying, temple, hot springs, Vinpearl Island. Really excellent place to laze the days away. Vinpearl is an island you get to by cable car (magnificent views) and there is a water park, aquarium, arcade, rides and water musical show. 200,000 dong includes everything.
Dalat - countryside, scenery, waterfall
Mui Ne - beach, kite surfing
Ho Chi Minh - Cu Chi Tunnels, War Museum, water puppet theatre, Ben Thanh Market, Mekong tours (awesome experience - culture, scenery)
Phu Quoc - Island, beach (we regret not having the time to go)
Highly recommend all places!
As for budgets, it was our cheapest country, we spent overall maybe AUD$20-25 a day each and did everything we wanted comfortably.
Save money and time and take overnight trains as much as possible. Trains are also for the most part much better than buses. Cheap and nice hotel deals are easy to come by. Our big splurge on a fancy hotel in Mui Ne cost AUD$30 per night, our cheapest hotel was $12 which was our favourite.
Shop around for tour prices. Prices differ quite a lot, even between places near each other. We'd usually ask our hotel, then three agents before choosing the cheapest.
Have an amazing time!
Forgot to say...
We did Vietnam in 3 weeks. It's enough time to do everything without feeling too rushed but you always want to stay longer and see more.
For diving, boat trips, and island hopping, you're probably better off with Thailand. Koh Phi Phi has awesome diving. It's much more of a beach and island destination. Sihanoukville, Cambodia is also great for beaches and almost private island stays in straw bungalows.
All are excellent trips in different ways, as said before it depends what you want
I suggest you to choose indonesia. There are so many places you can explore in 3 weeks here (well I'm indonesian by the way :p)
Start from sumatra, visit beautiful beach in sabang-aceh for diving. Watch Saman dance. A virgin forest of Lauser national park.Now we jump to north sumatera, dont miss the largest lake in south east asia, its lake toba. Culture attraction in tomok- samosir island. Shopping for handycraft and souvenir. Sibayak and sinabung volcano in Berastagi. Fruits and flowers market. Nias-has nice waves to surfing, sorake and lagundri beach. Spend time to see the rehabilitation of orang utans in bukit lawang.
In java, you can see some ancient sites like temple. Borobudur temple in central java. Prambanan temple in jogjakarta. Mount bromo in east java, it has nice view when sunrise. karimun jawa for diving in central java.
In bali, there are much more beautiful beaches. And culture performs to see. And dont forget Gili trawangan in Lombok. I highly recommand you this one. I been there before. See the giant lizard in komodo island.
And if you still have time and extra budget of course, you can fly to borneo. In derawan beach see some turttles. Bunaken and wakatobi in sulawesi. And also nice culture in tana toraja.
Maybe indonesia will be lil bit more expensive than vietnam. But I guarante that you can feel so much pleasure here that you wouldn't forget.
Well,, hv a nice planning for the trip.
FWIW: The most trustworthy taxi companies in VN are Vina Sun and Mai Linh Group.