Vietnam and Cambodia in 2 1/2 weeks

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Vietnam and Cambodia in 2 1/2 weeks

Avatar for livliv88
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Hi

Me and my sister are travelling to Vietnam and then on to Cambodia at the end of January for 2 1/2 weeks.

Can anyone recommend the following:
best route to take
must see places
best way to travel across the countries
best airline to fly with

and any other advice would be great!

Thanks smile

     
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Probably not what you want to hear but 2.5 weeks for both countries isn’t realistic, I’d pick one and give it the attention it deserves or at least do as much of it as you can fit in.

I’ve not been to Cambodia (The malaria tablets made me Hallucinate and not in the good way) but Vietnam is amazing, I’ve also heard great things about Cambodia but I’m always going to be biased towards Vietnam.

I really fell in love with the town of Hoi An but there are so many other unbelievable sights to see. Go on a party boat cruise of Halong bay to start the trip and you’ll be meeting the same people constantly all the way down the country.

     
Avatar for *nikki180188*
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I was thinking the same but didn’t want to be the first to break it to you =/

It IS possible in that time- BUT you’ll probably have to include flying at some point to save time (and/or catch overnight trains).

I assume you fly into Hanoi, then out of Siem Reap? I did this area about 3 months ago so if you tell me your flights and if you have any ideas of specific stops you know you want to visit already, then I might be of more help to you.

Main stops in Vietnam:
Hanoi + Halong Bay
Hue
Hoi An
Dalat
Nha Trang (if you want a beach)
HCMC + Mekong

Cambodia main stops:
Phnom Penh
Sihanoukville (again, beach)
Siem Reap + Angkor etc

This is from memory os I’ve probably missed some places off and there’s obviously plenty of other cool places off the beaten track, but that’s to give you a start if you’ve not looked into it yet.

     
Avatar for livliv88
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I know its not the ideal timescale but it is all i’ve got.
We are planning to fly into Hanoi and out from Siem Reap and travel by sleeper trains or possibly fly to save some time.

This is the current plan:
Hanoi
Halong Bay
Hue
Hoi An
Nha Trang
Ho Chi Minh City
Sihanoukville
Phnom Penh
Siem Reap

     
Avatar for Fghammer
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You seriously won’t fit all that in. I’d drop Hue in my opinion a waste of a stop. Not much to see or do. I really enjoyed nha trang despite some awful weather in fact in my 4 months away it was the only bad weather I had but there are better beach places(sihanoukville) if you are really going to do both countries.
But i spent nearly a week in each of Hanoi/ha long and Hoi an alone.
9 places in 17 days ish 2 days each place only really sleeping on the trains. You won’t enjoy it in my humble. Just pick one country and do the other next time.

     
Avatar for Jordan85
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Agree that Hue isn’t the best (somewhere that can be done in a day really).

As per what others has said that is cutting it really short to try and see everything - as fghammer said 9 places, 17 days and about 60 hours of travel aint going to be the greatest.

I would say, if you are going to do both, slim down your vietnam trip. say 3 nights in Hanoi (including a night on Halong Bay), 3 days Hoi An, 2 days Nha Trang, 3 days HCMC, 2 days Phnom Penh, 2 days Sianoukville and 2 days Siem Reap.

Have to say though even that looks a killer (also bear in mind that to get from HCMC to Sianoukville you have to go through Phnom Penh). As per others have said I would try and just do one as other ways you are going to be pretty stressed the whole time trying to fit everything in and even one good night (leading to one bad monring!) could ruin your whole trip f you miss a bus/train etc

     
Avatar for James1985
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I met loadsa people who were trying to do Vietnam in 10 days. I spent 6 weeks there so im gonna say it isnt enough time.

I also find it hard to believe these people isnt worth seeing. Yeah you could do it in a day at least. Arrive on the night bus in the morning and leave that night. In my opinion history wise Hue is the highlight of Vietnam. I went to the former demilitarized zone from there too.

Halong bay is a must as is, Hoi An( also go to the beach in Hoi An. Its much better than the one in Nha trang and no one goes there).

Dalat? Munei?

You are gonna miss out on alot. A good thing about Vietnam is that you can get an open ended bus ticket, like a hop on and off deal. It costs about $30-$50 depending on your bargaining skills. And you can go from Hanoi all the way to Saigon if you want.

     
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dalat was awesome - don’t remember much of me ne (the buckets there were pretty strong).

one place i didn’t really like was hanoi. too busy, too hot.

     
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Most people used overniht buses as opposed to trains when i was therr last summer, cheaper i think.
I did a similar trip last year and will try and remember my itenerary.
Hanoi 1 night {had been here and halong bay already
Overnight bus to hue, spent one day here but i would skip it.
4 hour bus to hoi an had to take the afernoon one as mornig was full.
Spent 4 nights here, got clothes made and the beach was amazing.
Overnight to nha trang, spent 2 days here, nothing spectacular a bit touristy and 4 people gotnrobbed when i wss there. I would skip it in favour of more time in hoi an.

5 hour bus to mui ne, spent 2 nigts here, was there during low season and nothig was gojn on at night sand dunes are cool and yiu can ride an ostrich.
Didnt have time for dalat.
4 hour bus to hcmc i think. Arrived in the evening spent 3 nights here. One day doing a city tour and the second visitng the cu chi tunnels.
Early bus to pp this took all day, 2 nights here, spent the next day at killing fields and s21.
Early morning 4 hour bus to sihanoukville think we spent 3 nigts here and one nigt on an island.
Then overnight bus to siem reap with 2 days here.
So thats about 3 weeks and it was VERY rushed
Sorry about the spelling but im on my new tablet and cnt work it yet and the stupid gapyear facebook thing is totally in my way when i try and edit it so i just kept clickig on that. Totally annoying by the way admins!

     
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livliv88 - 17 October 2012 11:10 AM

I know its not the ideal timescale but it is all i’ve got.
We are planning to fly into Hanoi and out from Siem Reap and travel by sleeper trains or possibly fly to save some time.

This is the current plan:
Hanoi
Halong Bay
Hue
Hoi An
Nha Trang
Ho Chi Minh City
Sihanoukville
Phnom Penh
Siem Reap

Actually i’ll agree with what someone else had said, Hue could do with a miss when you’re this tight on time. It was ‘ok’, but I wouldn’t go back..

Also depending on how rushed you want it all to be and if you want more culture than beaches, I’d pick either Sihanoukville OR Nha Trang.

If you cut 2 places out you’re looking at 7 places in 17/18 days, which I think is ok. It also depends on what time your flights are and if they waste your first & last days?
Plus organising Halong Bay for literally the morning after you arrive, might be a pain unless you book before you go?

 

     
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Sorry, forgot some stuff.

Trains in Vietnam vary a lot. We used 3, and had different experiences on each one. The sleeper trains were decent, although from meeting a few others on the road I hear the cleanliness varies widely depending on which number train you get, so see if seat61.com or any sites have tips on this.

I’d book the trains a few days in advance if you can, we booked our 3 trains heading North in the Nha Trang station. It took ages, they barely spoke English, so lots of smiles and patience will be required,they were nice though!

So the train we got from Nha Trang to Danang was terrible. Filthy sheets,clearly hadn’t been changed in days. Rubbish all over the bed, leftover food,blabla. Plus we had a top bunk in 2nd class (?) - it was so bloody cramped, couldn’t sit up in the morning!

Danang to Hanoi was much better- first class bottom bunks, and the whole carriage was much nicer. Cleaned room, new bedding given to us, no rubbish, etc…

Also I don’t know if you’ve been to Asia before (so i apologise if you have) but Hanoi is pretty full-on. If it’s your first time in Asia or somewhere so disorganised, it may throw you off the first day.
I found Hanoi so frustrating- just walking from our guesthouse to book a Bay tour took so damn long having to dodge bikes, cars,people playing cards in the street, people just sat there, bird cages, just shit everywhere!! The bikes just drive up the free bits of pavement too, so you have to avoid being run over wink

     
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Suprised at the lack of love for Hanoi in here. Generally I’m not a fan of big cities but Hanoi being as mental as it was made it great fun. We had a riot walking round there genuinely fascinating place in my book. I was there for 3 and a half days I could have easily spent double that there.

     
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I guess that’s the beauty of travel, everyone sees places differently! smile

To be honest by the time we’d got there, I was feeling a bit sick (spent the day before Halong bay chilling in our room not eating watching our Olympics!) so wasn’t great timing for me.

I guess it depends what floats your boat- I prefer more outdoors/ quieter places than seriously in your face cities unless i’m in the right mood for it!

     
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I loved Hanoi too but i can totally see why people might hate it, its not exactly the most relaxing place!

     
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Hello all!

Just typed up a nice long message, only for my internet to cut out, and it didn’t send! The joys of living in Thailand!

Basically, I am currently teaching English in Buriram province in NE Thailand, but finish here around March and then plan to travel Vietnam and Cambodia. Maybe a bit of Laos too, though I have seen a bit of it last year, when I was going round Thailand.

I don’t really have any plans at the moment, and don’t really know where to go and what to do (other than what’s already on this thread), because my initial plans only went as far as the 6 months I’d spend teaching over here. So rather than do my research, I’m being lazy and coming here, to ask people who have already done it! smile

I have travelled solo for a bit in Australia, and to a lesser extent, Thailand. Am going to do this alone too, I think, and wondering your thoughts on it? Is SE Asia like Australia in the fact you’ll bump into the same backpackers on the same trail?

Also, people are saying 2 and a half weeks is not long enough. How do we feel about a month? Do I need longer?

Any tips and recommendations much appreciated!

Thanks in advance!