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12 days in SE Asia; Sihanoukville or Hoi An or another beach?


Sep 23rd, 2009, 03:37 PM
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12 days in SE Asia; Sihanoukville or Hoi An or another beach?


Here is some background, it is my husband's first time in Asia. He likes relaxing vacations and loves the water; especially beautiful beaches. I'm a land lover who likes meeting locals, seeing interesting sights, taking long walks and likes a little shopping.

We are going to Angkor Wat and Luang Prabang. Now we need to make the decisions on other points of interest.

I'd really like to visit Phnom Penh and it seems to be a good starting point for our journey in Asia. Although, if it is too difficult to work this in with our time, I may skip PP.

I'd like to pick a great beach location that we can travel to fairly easily. Can anyone make a recommendation between Sihanoukville or Hoi An? We are a little put off by the long car trip to Sihanoukville. Is there another beach I should consider?

Logistically, getting around to these places does take a bit of time and patience. We have a total of 12 days on the ground.

Is there another way you would approach your 12 days there?

Thanks so much all!
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Sep 23rd, 2009, 03:44 PM
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When are you going? Makes a difference. Hoi An is extremely wet at the end of the year (Oct-Dec). And the beach there is just OK. Haven't been to Sihanoukville. If I was heading for a beach, I'd head for Thailand (or in Vietnam perhaps Phu Quoc Island if you can't go to Thailand).
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Sep 23rd, 2009, 05:59 PM
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I can't recall anyone going to Hoi An for the beach. It does seem quite a bit out of your way.

You do know that you can fly to Sihanoukville from Siem Reap? There used to be direct flights from Siem Reap to Samui, but I think they've stopped those. I quite liked Kep, a two hour drive from PP, but the beach there is not very good, although the beach on Rabbit Island, a 30 minute boat ride away, was very nice.

The time of year really is a key point. It's hard to make a good suggestion without knowing when you're coming.
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Sep 24th, 2009, 12:17 PM
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We are going in 4 weeks. Also, I have not been able to locate flight information from Sihanoukville from Siem Reap. Do you have a link? Thanks!
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Sep 24th, 2009, 12:38 PM
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So you'll be there at the end of October... not a great time for beaches in this part of the world. Unless you are just fine with lots of rain, I'd suggest no beach this trip. With 12 days, you could opt for 4 or 5 days in each LP and SR and make a 2-3 day stop in PP.

BTW, Hoi An will have the worst weather - there is often flooding at this time of the year.
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Sep 24th, 2009, 06:22 PM
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The new national carrier was supposed to start flying to Sihanoukville last month, but it looks like they may have delayed their plans.

October is a really tricky time. The Andaman coast (Phuket, Khao Lak, Krabi) might be okay. They've had some quite nice days there already, but who knows a month from now. The chances are you will have some rain (afternoon thunderstorms).
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Sep 24th, 2009, 06:28 PM
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Today when I spoke to our travel planner, she said that the rains started early this year. They expect that they will be out of the rainy season in 4 weeks. We are going to come up with a plan B. If it is rainy, we don't want to trek all the way there to get dumped on. A little rain is o.k. Thanks!!
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Sep 28th, 2009, 04:20 PM
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Hoi An doesn't have a beach - it's on a (dirty) river.

In Cambodia you will find the beaches at Sihanoukville are the best and not over crowded. There are also nice hotels, too, with more going up monthly.

If you want to visit VietNam you will need a VISA BEFORE LEAVING FOR THE BORDER and these can be obtained in Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville (the greatest consulate even opens on Sundays).

In VietNam there is, as another poster mentioned, PHU QUOC ISLAND, which lies almost due south of Sihanoukville. You can easily pick up your visa in S/ville and cross overland through the new border post that is opening there is a couple of weeks.

Further north, north of SaiGon is Phan Thiet. This formerly quiet fishing village now has two resort areas - Mui Ne and a new one south of the city known as MUI KHE GA. Phan Thiet is located in the centre of the area referred to as the Gold Coast.

The weather report by your travel planner should be referenced to a specific area as there are many distinct weather areas here. Presently the Hoi An through Hue (centred on Da Nang) is in its monsoon season which lasts until November.

If you want weather info visit < http://www.yr.no/place/Viet_Nam/ > and pick a place on the list at the bottom of the page.

Given your short time in the area I suggest that you focus on either Sihanoukville or PQ Island.

For Sihanoukville check: < http://www.sihanoukvillebeachresorts.com/ >.

On Phu Quoc Island. Check: < http://www.saigon-tourist.com/en/hotel/phuquoc.htm >.

Of the two Sihanoukville might be the easiest as you will avoid visa hassles (Cambodia visas are available on arrival).
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Sep 29th, 2009, 12:17 PM
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Thank you for the great resources and wisdom. We are going to Sihanoukville and are hoping it won't be too rainy.

Thanks again, Andy
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Sep 29th, 2009, 09:30 PM
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Sorry, but your travel agent does not know what he/she is talking about. There is no way to “predict” the end of the rainy season. Just because it may have arrived a bit early, does not in any way mean it might not actually linger for a longer time as well. Please don’t believe what travel agents tell you on points like this; they want to sell you hotel rooms. See some weather websites like weatherbase.com and weatherunderground.com. I am sure you will enjoy your time regardless of the rain, but do have realistic expectations.

For the record, Hoi An does have a beach, it is just of out of town. The town itself is on the river, but the beach areas are only about a 10 minute drive away. They are quite pretty. See the website for the Nam Hai hotel for some photos, http://www.ghmhotels.com/ But I agree that if you aren’t going elsewhere in Vietnam, to go all the way there just for the beach seems pointless. Also it is the rainy season (they are now having their second typhoon in about as many days.)
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