Vietnam/Laos/Cambodia 3 weeks

Travel Forums Asia Vietnam/Laos/Cambodia 3 weeks

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1. Posted by cjohnv (Budding Member 9 posts) 2y Star this if you like it!

Hi everybody,

I know the curse of people travelling to Southeast Asia is to try to do too much, so I'm looking to pair down my itinerary so I don't exhaust myself doing this. I'll be traveling from September 13th-October 4th, flying in and out of Ho Chi Minh.

Here's my tentative itinerary:

Arrive night of 9/14

HCM 9/14-16
Da Lat 9/16-9/18 (I'm leaving by doing a biking/rafting combo trip that'll take me to Nha Trang)
Nha Trang 9/18-9/19 (leaving by night train)
Hoi An 9/20-9/21
Hanoi/Ha Long Bay 9/22-9/25 (then fly to Vientiane for a night to catch a flight to Pakse the next morning)
Pakse/4,000 islands 9/26-9/29 (take bus to Cambodia on 9/30)
Kratie 9/30 (overnight stop)
Siem Reap 10/1-2
Phnom Penh 10/2-3
HCM 10/3-4

This feels a little cramped, no? The most important things in this itinerary are Angkor, spending 3 relaxing nights in writing and drawing 4,000 islands, Scuba diving in Nha Trang, whitewater rafting and biking from Da Lat to Nha Trang, Hanoi, and visiting a friend in Phnom Penh for a night. Given that those are my goals, should I cut out Hoi An? I hear it's great, but is it worth the price of losing a slower pace?

Any advice is welcome thanks!

Posts 2 & 3 were removed by moderators
4. Posted by Natalie Vo (Budding Member 13 posts) 2y Star this if you like it!


How will you go from Nha Trang to Hoi An since it's 500km away and took around 11 hours if travel by bus? Hoi An is only quiet and good to take photos during day time, at night time, it's fully packed with tourists and the only things you can see are tourists.

U can also check the weather beforehand since it's within monsoon season

5. Posted by Andrew Mack (Travel Guru 1037 posts) 2y Star this if you like it!

You don't say if you're travelling alone or not.
Hoi An is really a 'couples' place.
I'd recommend it if you're travelling with a 'partner' but much less so if you're alone.

NhaTrang is rather a party place, so you may find that you leave there exhausted (or hungover) so an extra day there isn't a bad idea. However if there's been a storm through in the days before, then you won't want to go diving as visibility may well be really poor. So maybe you won't want that long there.
While you could easily take 4 full days at Siem Reap...
I'd take at least 3 places out of the itinerary if it was me, but I'm not you, so I've no idea if you like wandering around doing nothing like I do....
You do have quite a lot packed in but it is 'do-able' but maybe not as relaxing as it should be.

One of the benefits of that part of the world is that it's usually pretty easy to arrange travel while you're there. Similarly accommodation isn't too difficult to arrange 'on the day' or online the day before outside of the high season (I'm not sure if it's the same with Hostels, as I haven't used them for many years) .

[ Edit: Edited on 27-Aug-2017, at 13:36 by Andrew Mack ]

6. Posted by king_golo (Respected Member 129 posts) 2y Star this if you like it!

Your tentative plan is way too crammed, imho. You say the most important things are Angkor and Hanoi (plus a few more), but you allocate way too little time for them. In Angkor, you can get either a 1-day, 3-day or 1-week ticket, but you won't see a lot in one day. You'd need at least three days to include the most beautiful temples. For those further away or for a tour to Tonle Sap lake (a nice experience for those who are "templed out"), you can plan another day each.
Concerning Hanoi, I might be a bit biased as I lived in the city for half a year. But if you really want to see something you'll have to walk around and check out interesting places of which there are countless in Hanoi. Even the top 5 sights (Old Town, Temple of Literature, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Hoan Kiem Lake, Water Puppet Theatre) can not be seen in one day only. I'm writing "one day" as you want to include a tour to Halong Bay from Hanoi, which will normally include an overnight stay on boat or on an island. In any case, you'll need two days for this alone.
I loved Hoi An and spent three days there (if I remember correctly), but I suppose this could be done in one day if you race through.
Also, did you consider that you need to be at the airport at least an hour before your flight leaves? In Hanoi, the airport is about an hour away from the city centre, so bear that in mind.

7. Posted by Steve79 (Respected Member 340 posts) 2y Star this if you like it!

I am glad you are including the 4,000 Islands in the itinerary, I love Laos and this is my favourite part of the country. Which island are you intending to stay on?

8. Posted by dinhoecotour (Budding Member 48 posts) 2y Star this if you like it!

Your itinerary is too rushed! You should focus on 2 countries (Vietnam and Cambodia) in 3 weeks and skip Laos for next trip. At least 3 nights in Hoian or Siem Reap and I would cut off Nha Trang. DinHo

9. Posted by culinarypilgrim (Budding Member 4 posts) 2y Star this if you like it!

I was about to recommend exactly the same since laos itself can easily fill a 3 weeks trip on it's own. Skip laos, fly to Da Nang from Ho chi minh since flights are sometime cheaper than the train and it safes you a whole day (can be booked best and cheapest online, once you'Re in vietnam. don't use a travel agency for flight bookings!!!), Try JetStar, Vietjet or air asia since these are the chepest ones. Vietnam airlines is nice too but sometimes pricier. From danang you can get a shuttle to hoi an. I agree with King_golo regarding Hanoi and would also recommend at least 3 days in Hi-Ci Minh city. I've travelled vietnam and cambodia myself (vietnam just returned from my third trip!) so if you have any questions feel free to ask

10. Posted by culinarypilgrim (Budding Member 4 posts) 2y Star this if you like it!

Also be aware that it's still monsuun season over there - and especially laos was heavily hit this year. We actually had to cancel our Laos trip this year since everything was flooded and most of the mayor streets we'Re closed due to landslides. better check before.