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Three weeks in Vietnam and Cambodia

Travel Forums Asia Three weeks in Vietnam and Cambodia

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1. Posted by hmclehto (Full Member, 142 posts) 27 Jul '13 15:20

Hi guys,

I'm sure this has been discussed before, but I'm planning on a trip to Vietnam and Cambodia in Jan. Is it ridiculously busy then as it's peak time?

Also thinking should we skip the North as the weather is pretty cold Halong Bay looks pretty amazing though. So itinerary suggestions please we are around 40 years old pretty active love walking/cycling. I don't think we are after beach holiday as such as we live in Oz and beaches are pretty amazing here, but could do a few days of relaxing too if there is somewhere must see.
Any ideas would be appreciated. We love good food and a few cold ones after an interesting day.

Thanks H

2. Posted by vegasmike6 (Travel Guru, 3533 posts) 27 Jul '13 20:00

I am going to suggest 1 week in Cam. & 2 weeks in VN. Just more to see in VN IMO. I was in HAN & HaLong Bay over Tet one year. Cool, rain most days. With just 2 weeks in VN, I would pass on the North as well. Hit HCMC, delta, up to DaLat, From DaLat you could go up thru the Central Highlands with the Easy Riders or on your own if you want to escape the tourist crowds. Both Nui Ne or Nha Trang are an easy bus ride away if you do want a few beach days. Time permitting, you might take an overnight bus or train up to Hoi An. Very historic city and worth 2-3 days IMO. You can fly out of DaNang back to HCMC or over to Siem Reap if pressed for time.

Good luck with your planning.

3. Posted by hmclehto (Full Member, 142 posts) 27 Jul '13 21:02

Thanks Mike had a look at your suggestions. Sounds pretty good! Was reading though that you need a Vietnamese licence to ride a bike?! Do they enforce this??

Any other ideas? Also in Cambodia. Was thinking already before your suggestion 2 weeks in Vietnam and 1 in Cambodia. Hoi An looks very good too. Don't want to spend too many days on travelling, so might have to book some internal flights.

Thanks again, H

4. Posted by Daawgon (Travel Guru, 1940 posts) 28 Jul '13 12:07

Remember that Tet is Jan 31st in Vietnam - you'll encounter much higher prices at hotels and transport will be near impossible at times! I do hope you've prebooked transportation?

5. Posted by vegasmike6 (Travel Guru, 3533 posts) 28 Jul '13 12:42

H,
'Daawgon' is right about transport problems. All VN people try to go to their home city to spend the Tet holiday with family. This means a huge number of VN people will be leaving the major cities for home a few days before Tet and of course the reverse flow after Tet. Many of the sightseeing attractions, restaurants will be closed during Tet. I would try to time my holiday so your time in VN is over well before Jan. 31. The planes, trains & regular buses will be packed. I found the open tour buses used by many visitors were less crowded over the Tet holidays.

Riding motorbikes (MB) in VN can be fun, but there is a huge downside if you hurt someone or damage the MB. By law you are supposed to have a VN DL to ride a MB. Not usually enforced, but you will pay a fine if stopped by the police. Here is some info on the topic. I would google 'riding MBs in VN 'and read up on some of the problems.

The major concern is how dangerous the roads in VN are. You have large buses & trucks, vans, cars, MBs, bicycles, people, dogs and other animals sharing the road with you. Part of the fun I guess, but very dangerous. Consider the risk/rewards before deciding on renting MBs. If you do, take photos of the MB before setting off. You don't want to be charged with damage already there. Good luck with your planning.

[ Edit: Edited on 28-Jul-2013, at 12:43 by vegasmike6 ]

6. Posted by hmclehto (Full Member, 142 posts) 28 Jul '13 14:31

Thanks for that! Planning on flying 3rd Jan and be back home before TET. How long do you think we should spend in Mekong Delta? Easy to organise from HCMC? Or before? And any ideas for Cambodia obviously Angkor Wat, but probably super busy in Jan? I think we'll fly from Danang to Siem Reap to save some time after spending a few days in Hoi An.

Thanks again, H

7. Posted by vegasmike6 (Travel Guru, 3533 posts) 28 Jul '13 22:38

H,
Glad to help. All tours are more expensive on the Internet than booking in person. Once in HCMC, get at least 3 quotes for any tour. I enjoyed the city tour, tunnels & delta. Sure, you can do it all on your own, but I think it is just more time efficient to let them drive and provide guides. Sinh Cafe is the gold standard for tours and transport in VN. Biggest, best buses, best run company IMO. Make sure one of your tour quotes is with Sinh Cafe. You have plenty of time, read some blogs on tours and see what others have to say. Compare what others say about 1-2-3 day delta tours. I have heaps of photos of both VN & Cam. Blogs as well.

Now Cambodia. Sure, Jan is peak season, but so what? You cannot miss Angkor, so deal with the crowds. Here is the best resource on all things Cam. Read what he has to say on where to stay, transport, guides, scams etc. Most get the 3 day pass for Angkor. I would consider booking your GH in Siem Reap. Best ones are liable to be full right after New Year. You have time for Phnom Penh & Sihanoukville if you choose. PP is worth 3 days IMO. Pass on S'ville unless you need more beach time. Good luck.

[ Edit: Edited on 28-Jul-2013, at 22:40 by vegasmike6 ]

8. Posted by hmclehto (Full Member, 142 posts) 30 Jul '13 14:34

Thanks again!
Are you into hiking Mike? Dalat area sounds ok for that?!
I think I'm already in love with Hoi An shopping scene ;)

9. Posted by vegasmike6 (Travel Guru, 3533 posts) 30 Jul '13 18:49

Quoting hmclehto

Thanks again!
Are you into hiking Mike? Dalat area sounds ok for that?!
I think I'm already in love with Hoi An shopping scene ;)

I am afraid my hiking days are on hold, dodgy knee. DaLat is mountains, trees, waterfalls. Great place to be out in nature.

10. Posted by ntlinh161 (First Time Poster, 1 posts) 1 Oct '13 01:21

Hi H,
You go on November that’s a great time to travel in Cambodia and the South of Vietnam. The weather in North of Vietnam at that time is rather cool and rain. Vietnam has a lot of wonderful landscapes and Ho Chi Minh trails you can’t skip, so you should have 2 weeks in Vietnam, and 1 week in Cambodia. I give you a sample itinerary as suggestion:
Day 1- 4: Ha Noi – Ha Long Bay
Day 5: Quang Binh - Phong Nha & Paradise Cave
Day 6: Hue
Day 7: Da Nang – Hoi An
Day 8: Hoi An
Day 9: Hoi An – Kontum
Day 10: Kontum – Buon Me Thuot
Day 11: Buon Me Thuot – Nha Trang
Day 12: Nha Trang – Saigon
Day 13: Saigon city tour
Day 14: Mekong Delta
Day 15: Cu Chi Tunnels and Cao Dai temple
Day 16: Saigon – Phnom Penh
Day 17: Phnom Penh
Day 18: Phnom Penh – Siem Reap
Day 19 – 20: Siem Reap