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2 weeks for Cambodia/Vietnam Quick Question

2 weeks for Cambodia/Vietnam Quick Question

Mar 2nd, 2009, 08:50 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 53
2 weeks for Cambodia/Vietnam Quick Question

I appreciate any help people can give me here. My wife and I are trying to quickly plan a 2 week trip to Vietnam (northern part) and Cambodia (basically PP and SR) for this April or May. We want to put more focus on Vietnam ans we were was wondering if we should just focus on the northern part of Vietnam or is it possible to add another part of the country?

Our original plan was to spend a few days as a stopover in Seoul but we have decided to scratch that part so we were wondering if it makes sense to try to do more in the north or add HCMC or Hue or something else to the trip. Should the weather be ok for us at this point in the year as well? Thanks.

Grumbo is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2009, 09:20 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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How many days do you have on the ground in Asia? Often two weeks means 12 days at most on the ground.

Three locations would mean that you would have three days in each location (not counting the travel days, as it may take most of a day to get from one place to another). If you opt for 4 locations, you have really only two full days in each place, really not enough to have any experience of it.

So you could visit Siem Reap (3 full days, 4 nights) and PP (many people say you could spend just two days, 3 nights in PP) and have 4 days (5 nights) for Hanoi. It takes aminimum of three full days just to see the major temples.

If you really want to focus on VN, don't go to Cambodia.

Where are you flying from, and what city is your entry point? That can also make a difference in how much time you have.
Kathie is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2009, 01:35 PM
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Thanks Kathie!

We will likely have 13-14 days on the ground as we would leave on a Thursday and land at home on a Sunday (leaving Saturday). We are flying out of Atlanta and would fly to Hanoi and then fly back from Siem Reap. We really want to include Cambodia in this trip as it may be our last long distance trip for a couple of years. We would probably only spend about 2 full days in PP.

Grumbo is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2009, 02:05 PM
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I've been to Siem Reap (3 full days) in 2006 and will be spending 11 days on the ground in northern Vietnam in April. So I know that you really don't have the time to do much more than SR, PP, Hanoi and one other Vietnam side trip - Halong Bay, Sapa or destination in central or southern Vietnam.

Alternatively, consider eliminating PP and do more Vietnam.

If you are going in April the weather in Vietnam should be pretty good, but in May it gets rainy. Our VN itinerary is 2 days Hanoi - 2 days w/overnight in Halong Bay - 2 days Hanoi - 4 days Sapa (overnight train on each end) - 1 day Hanoi. Most people do not spend the amount of time we are spending in Sapa but we have planned a 1/2 day to explore the town of Sapa, 2 days doing day treks, and an all-day excursion to the Can Cau market (most do the excursion to Bac Ha market). We are actually staying about 45 minutes outside of Sapa town.

Unless you are seriously into temples, 3 days is the most you want to spend in SR. If you arrive SR relatively early in the AM, you do not need 4 nights.

Hope this helps.
Craig is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2009, 06:26 PM
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I suggest you focus your trip on Hanoi, Sapa and maybe Halong Bay in Vietnam....then fly to Siem Reap. My husband and I spent four full days in Sapa in October and it was wonderful. We also traveled to Siem Reap and spent six days there. Again, a GREAT spot. I have detailed trip reports on both of these places (search Sapa Trip Report and Siem Reap Trip Report). Add a few days in Hanoi and possibly one night in Halong and you will have used up 12-13 days. I suggest not hopping all over the place, but rather spending time at each location to really get to know the area. I DISAGREE that 3 days days max is what you want to spend in SR. It really is a magnificent place --- and the more time...the better.
gailmo is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2009, 07:12 PM
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I loved the temples at Angkor. We spent a week there and could have used more time. It really depends on your level of interest. Do your research ahead of time. I recommend Dawn Rooney's book, Angkor (2006 edition). Reading the book will give you a flavor for just how much time you want for Siem Reap. You are also welcome to look at our photos of Angkor, www.marlandc.com
Kathie is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2009, 08:01 PM
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With that number of days you would have plenty of time to visit Hanoi plus other places close by and then take the morning flight to PP and spend 2 nights (well worth a visit so donít skip it) Take the morning bus to SR (about 5hrs) or you could take a taxi if you wish. You could also fly but then you would not see some of the countryside.

Unless you are into temples, 31/2 days are enough no mater how breathe taking they are for most people. If you get tired of the ruins then visit one of the floating villages but not the one most tourists go to Chong Khneas. Also donít take the boat from PP to SR .as it is well overpriced and the most of the time you will be in open water with nothing to see..

That leaves 7/8 days in Vietnam
Scotters is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2009, 05:50 AM
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For something a little bit different you should consider taking the Dien Bien Phu Loop:
Ha noi
Mai Chau Valley
Son La
Dien Bien Phu
Lai Chau
and possibly returning to Hanoi by train (or do the journey in reverse).

The the accomodation may be a littel basic along the way but tis is more than made up for by the spectacular scenery. Sapa on a weekend can be a bit of a pain with hordes of tourists arriving for the market but is good during the week. Lots of good treking in the area if thats what you are into.

Another good side trip from Ha no is to the Ba Be lakes which can be done in 3days 2 nights. It is a part of Vietnam that not many get to and staying in a homestay was a highlight of our trip to Vietnam. The people are so friendly and comparaivel unaffected by tourism.
crellston is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2009, 07:08 AM
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This is all really helpful. We have to really decide if PP is work 2 days or whether we should skip it and fly directly to SR.

We were looking at Sapa and perhaps Halong Bay but my wife has really bad motion sickness and so, even with Dramamine, Halong Bay might be tough for her.

Does anyone have any good recommendations for hotels in Hanoi and SR? Thanks!
Grumbo is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2009, 08:09 AM
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Judging from the places you stayed on your African safari, I think you would enjoy the Hotel de la Paix in Siem Reap. In Hanoi, we will be staying at the Sofitel Metropole (Opera Wing, Club Floor) and in Sapa we are staying at the Topas Ecolodge (actually 45 minutes outside of Sapa). Within Sapa, many stay at the Victoria.

Halong Bay is fairly calm from what I've heard - maybe an alternative would be to stay on shore over night and do a day cruise? I know of at least on poster on this board that did it that way.
Craig is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2009, 09:13 AM
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Craig, thanks for the tips. We went all out on our safari trip as it was our honeymoon, but we might want to scale back a little for this trip with the economy the way it is.

I'll look into your recommendations. Thanks again.
Grumbo is offline  
Mar 18th, 2009, 01:23 AM
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Ha Long bay is really calm I've never seen people got sea sick. Overnight stay in Ha Long bay is recommended.
Happy travel
viethorizontravel is offline  
Mar 18th, 2009, 05:29 AM
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Grumbo, another hotel rec in Hanoi: the DeSyloia. It's not in the Old Quarter, but is walking distance from the Lake and a number of museums. It's a small boutique hotel, has an excellent restaurant, and the staff is great.

Everyone is different. If your wife gets seasick easily, skip Halong Bay. I do know of people who have gotten seasick there.
Kathie is offline  
Mar 19th, 2009, 04:22 AM
Join Date: May 2005
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Daniel: I would love to read a trip report from you. Can you give us more details about what you did..and where you ate?

On Day 7, when you say "Hanoi seeing or relax" what did you do during your day in Hanoi?

ekscrunchy is offline  
Mar 19th, 2009, 07:39 AM
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Thanks everyone. I have made most of our reservations and here is where we ended up. I think it's a decent balance for both countries.

Day Country
1 Air Leave Atlanta
2 Air Hanoi Arrive Hanoi 10pm. Hotel: Hanoi Elegance 3
3 Vietnam, Hanoi
4 Vietnam, Hanoi
5 Vietnam, Halong Bay (most likely Byaha)
6 Vietnam, Hanoi area afternoon
7 Vietnam, Hanoi, night train to Sapa
8 Vietnam, Sapa Dinner and overnight homestay in Ban Ho.
9 Vietnam, Sapa. Ban Ho, Nam Tong villages. Cha Pa Garden Hotel
10 Vietnam, Sapa, night train to Hanoi
11 Cambodia Fly to Phnom Penh, evening in PP.
12 Cambodia Phnom Penh. Hotel: The Pavilion Hotel
13 Cambodia Phnom Penh
14 Cambodia Siem Reap. Bus to Siem Reap. Hotel: Hotel de la Paix (I caved in to my wife)
15 Cambodia, Siem Reap Angkor Wat area
16 Cambodia, Siem Reap Angkor Wat area
17 Cambodia, Siem Reap Angkor Wat area, leave Cambodia (11:30pm)

Just need to finalize the Halong Bay cruise (Bhaya vs. Indochina Sails, Bhaya is a bit cheaper). I'm still planning small things like pulling out a map to plan our time in Hanoi and Phnom Penh to visit attractions near each other each day. Will probably book Mekong Express for the bus from PP to SR. We have a guide for SR (Kim San) and I have high hopes for that part of the trip.

Thanks everyone for the advice!
Grumbo is offline  

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