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Vietnam, Cambodia & Laos - itinerary suggestions

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Hi Every One

I'm looking to travel though Vietnam, Laos & Cambodia from about the 21st of Dec 2013 - to the 7th of Jan 2014. I saw a thread where there has been some good advice regarding using tour companies & guides. Most of the forums that I have read both here & on Trip Advisor give suggestions on tour companies. I don't particularly like to feel processed & to "follow the flag" with a whole bunch of other people, but rather to make my own way. Most of the proposed itineraries & quotes I've received have me tied to a guide from morning to night.

Kathie, I've read quite a few of your comments, & trip reports - I strongly identify with your approach, especially with getting off the beaten track when is comes to sight seeing.

Any advice on seeing these three countries would be greatly appreciated. Do you think it wise to simply book my flights & accommodation given that its peak season & then arrange guides when I arrive? Could I 'wing' the whole trip?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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