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eb052689 Jul 1st, 2013 10:45 AM

Bangkok, Vietnam, and Cambodia- leaving in 3 days- itinerary help!
Hi everyone,

My boyfriend and I are leaving for SE Asia for 25 days on Friday, and I'd love some last minute itinerary help/thoughts.

Right now, this is the plan:

Days 1-4 in Bangkok
On day 5, fly to Hanoi, spend the day and night
Day 6- Halong Bay/overnight
Day 7- return from Halong Bay, spend the rest of the day and night in Hanoi
Day 8- spend day in Hanoi, leave on overnight train to Danang
Day 9- Walk around Danang for a bit, cab to Hoi An
Days 9 and 10 (2 nights) in Hoi An
Day 11- flight from Danang to Dalat
Days 11 and 12 (2 nights) in Dalat
On day 12, bus ride to HCMC
Day 12, Day 13 (1 night, 2 days) in HCMC
Day 13- bus to Phnom Penh
Night of the 13th and 14th, and days 14, 15 in Phnom Penh (2 nights)
On the 15th, bus to Siem Reap- spend days 15-18 in Siem Reap (3 nights, 4 days)
On day 19, leave to get back to Bangkok

So obviously as this is laid out above, it is a lot of travelling, and it also leaves 6 unplanned days in there for padding and flexibility (and of course, making our flight out of Bangkok on Day 25!!!)

I would love feedback! I know people are partial to minimizing destinations and maximizing time, as am I, but this is most likely our only chance to travel the region and we are looking forward to a jam-packed crazy time.

If there are places you think we should stay longer, places we should skip altogether, suggestions for daytrips from Bangkok, or transportation means that would make things faster, please let us know! Also please note that everything leading up to the overnight train to Danang is not flexible since it is already booked.


MmePerdu Jul 1st, 2013 11:11 AM

Having included Hanoi for the first time on my Asian trip several months ago I suggest you spend more time there. I ended up staying 2 weeks there with Halong Bay and Hoi An in between and liked Hanoi best of all.

Regarding the overnight train to Danang, if you haven't booked it yet I recommend you skip it. I love trains and booked the supposedly better private service and it was an experience I'll try to forget. The cars are not maintained and are dirty in the extreme. The return train was unavailable so I'd planned to fly back to Hanoi. I wished I'd flown both ways, hindsight being 20-20.

Kathie Jul 1st, 2013 11:23 AM

It's a good thing you have some flex time to add to places, because your itinerary is jam-packed. Here are some thoughts:

Hanoi is a fascinating city, and certainly deserve more than the one full day you plan there. I'd add a couple of days there. Do you have the flexibility to do that (after Halong Bay)?

There isn't a lot in DaNang other than the Cham Museum if that interests you. Hoi An is charming, but touristy. Hue is arguably the more interesting place. Give yourself a couple of nights there.

If you are interested in HCMC, you'll want another day there. Remember than two nights somewhere is only one full day. Right now you have one night there. Are you taking night buses? Is that why you think one night gives you two days there?

Overland travel is slow in SE Asia, so you have several times when you think you have more days than nights in a place. Really, in terms of time you can spend sightseeing or enjoying a place it is less than that. I'd schedule 4 nights, three full days as a minimum in Siem Reap. Do you have a copy of Dawn Rooney's book, Angkor: A Guide to Cambodia's Wondrous Temples? If not, do get a copy to prepare yourselves.

Bangkok is a fascinating city. You have a few days at the beginning of your trip, take a few days at the end as well.

Have a wonderful trip - don't forget to slow down and enjoy this wonderful part of the world. If you are like many of us, you'll return again and again.

Craig Jul 1st, 2013 05:38 PM

Not sure why you have waited unti the last minute to hear that your itinerary is not a jam packed crazy time but just one that is uninformed. Bangkok, Hanoi, perhaps Halong Bay, HCMC, Phnom Phen, Siem Reap and Bangkok again would be a much more enriching trip. Ideally 3 or more nights or more in each place, except for Halong Bay would be ideal. Any less time and you won't "see" anything, although you'll be able to say you've "been there". Buses and trains are a waste of time - flying is relatively cheap.

eb052689 Jul 2nd, 2013 06:45 AM

Craig, that was a rude and unnecessary way to begin a post that could have otherwise been very helpful and informative. Although your insulting comment on our plans as being "uninformed" is not helpful, the fact that your proposed revisions only cut out 2 places IS helpful- so thank you anyway despite your bad attitude.

Craig Jul 2nd, 2013 08:25 AM

Perhaps "uninformed" was the wrong word to use. However, most of my travel peers would be more prepared for a 25 day trip that is 3 days away than you seem to be. I was simply wondering why that is. You can feel insulted if you wish, but my comment was not intended that way.

rhkkmk Jul 2nd, 2013 10:22 AM

I did not respond because of the lateness of your post, so craig is not off the beam.

MmePerdu Jul 2nd, 2013 11:23 AM

Also why I addressed only the train and time in Hanoi. My guess is that when questions of this nature are asked on the eve of a trip substantive advice is not really being sought and won't be incorporated. The "feedback" requested is likely to be for approval of the plans in place and not a real desire for any change.

Jimc37 Jul 3rd, 2013 12:07 PM

Much of the advice above is good. Da Nang is a fascinating place, with probably the best seafood in VN, but not a good place for tourism if you don't know anybody there -- it's a big city. The coast all the way south from Da Nang to Hoi An now has hotels, resorts, and golf courses mostly high-end and patronized by Koreans and Chinese. Hoi An is not worth more than a day at most, but Hue is definitely worth seeing. If you want time on a beach, check out Nha Trang, very popular with Australians. Hanoi is the best city by far to spend time in; try to avoid the worst tourist areas. Ha Long is now horribly overdeveloped and full of Chinese tourists there for gambling and sex; take the ferry over to Ha Long city and stay there, not on the bayside where all the tourist crap is. Worth seeing the bay itself but a half day is enough; if your funds stretch that far, hire a boat to yourself and get the captain to take you to one of the floating restaurants (not a tourist one, a VN one) for lunch -- he'll do it if you say you will buy him lunch too, but make clear you don't want a big tourist one, just one of the real small ones you are likely to have to yourself that is good.

loribarber1 Jul 4th, 2013 06:22 AM

My husband and I went to Asia in February: 3 weeks in Thailand and 8 days in Cambodia. We loved Siem Reap and northern Thailand. As you said, your pace will be hectic. One thing that may save travel time is flying. We booked a last minute flight from Bangkok to Chiang Rai and it was affordable. Also, even though your itinerary is packed, may I suggest that you consider northern Thailand too. We have a travel blog - here are the places we visited, along with some travel tips:,,,

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