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Cambodia & Vietnam: A 14 day adventure that needs an itinerary

Cambodia & Vietnam: A 14 day adventure that needs an itinerary

Old May 12th, 2012, 11:05 AM
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Cambodia & Vietnam: A 14 day adventure that needs an itinerary

Hello all,

My wife and I will be traveling to South East Asia from the USA at the end of August for roughly 16 days, including travel time. Time on the ground will likely be closer to 12.

Our trip priorities are as follows: #1 Visit Angkor Wat in Cambodia. #2 Visit Halong Bay, Vietnam.

Considering these priorities, we’re trying to make a trip that makes sense visiting both Vietnam and Cambodia on such a short schedule, and it’s becoming clear that this might be too much to pull off in a short time.

So, the questions I’d like to humbly pose to fellow internet-ers are the following:

1) Do you know of a relatively affordable and quick way to travel from “middle-coast” Vietnam (around Da Nang) to Siem Reap or Phnom Phen. This could open up a possibility along the lines of Hanoi => Da Nang => Angkor Wat, which might be doable.

2) Do you have a suggested itinerary for Cambodia centered around Angkor Wat? If we cannot do both Vietnam and Cambodia together, we will choose to just stay close around our #1 priority, which is Angkor Wat, in order to maximize vacation time and minimize travel time. Perhaps Cambodia and the nearby areas have plenty to offer, but I’m just not well aware of them.

Thanks so much in advance for any help and insight you can provide. We sincerely appreciate your help.
letsgetsilly is offline  
Old May 13th, 2012, 12:53 AM
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I am pretty sure the only way to get from Da Nang to Siem Reap is to change planes in Saigon and it wont be cheap!

12 days on the ground is very little time to see both countries but if you are determined to visit both I would leave out Halong Bay. Some people like it but I confess I am not one of them. realistically it is going to take up at least 2 full days of your ground time which, IMHO is too much.

There is a huge amount to see in both countries and my personal inclination would be to stick with just one, probably Vietnam. If not then Angkor needs at least 3, preferably 4 full days the remainder probably best spent;

3 days Hanoi
4 days Hue and Hoi An
2 days Saigon (fly to Siem Reap)

You don't mention where you are flying into/out of which may make a difference.

Alternatively, Saigon, the Mekong Delta, Phnom Penh and Siem Reap would make a nice trip.

If flying into Bangkok I would be inclined to factor in some time there.

The following site has some tried and tested routes - use the search box top right to find example (they also provide detailed itineraries). www.travelfish.org also has some excellent info.
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Old May 13th, 2012, 07:38 AM
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Not sure what August travel in that area will be like since we went in November/December, but you should factor in heat, humidity, and rain, I would imagine.

Since you identified Angkor Wat as your main goal, I suggest spending the whole time in Cambodia. We spent 2.5 weeks there in late 2011 and plan to go back. The Angkor complex and surrounding temples can easily take a week to see at your leisure, and Siem Reap has enough to keep you busy when you're not exploring the temples.

Here's what we did: flew from Ho Chi Minh City (after 3.5 weeks in Vietnam) to Siem Reap for 7 wonderful days based there. Then we took the boat to Battambang--a memorable adventure--and spent a couple nights there, which was very fun. Bus from there to Phnom Penh for 3 nights. Then we hired a private car/driver to take us to Kep and Kampot. He picked us up in Kampot 5 days later, and we flew out of Phnom Penh to HCMC and on to the Pacific. A wonderful trip! If you're interested, check my trip blog at http://aprilaroundtheworld.blogspot.com. Click on November and December in the blog archive on the right for the Cambodia portion.

We also loved Halong Bay. If you're lucky with the weather, two nights on the boat is not too much. We went with Dragon Pearl and were very happy with the whole experience. But note that it's a slog to get there--a drive of 3+ hours from Hanoi on a road full of crazy traffic. You'd need to devote about a week to Vietnam to work it in, I think.
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Old May 13th, 2012, 08:39 AM
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If Angkor is your main objective, then spend a goodly amount of time there. We spent a week and would have enjoyed even more time. Do you have Dawn Rooney's book yet? Angkor: A Guide to Cambodia's Wondrous temples. Also, check this out as another thing you can do in Siem Reap www.theplf.org

Angkor, a couple of days in PP, then a couple of days at the beach in Cambodia would nicely fill your time.

If you must have time in VN (rather than saving it for a trip of its own), I'd suggest you limit yourselves to Hanoi/Halong Bay and Siem Reap. Hanoi itself is a fascinating city with lots to see and do. We spent almost a week there and never even went to Halong Bay.

What city will you be using as your entry to SE Asia? We use Bangkok for this area, and like crellston, I'd recommend factoring in some time there.
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Old May 13th, 2012, 08:42 AM
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I went to Halong bay, which we did enjoy but for us 1 night was more than enough but then that's us. I like kathies idea of keeping this trip to just Cambodia or if you don't fancy the beach bit I would do PP/ SR and then Hanoi/ Halong bay, that is doable in 12 days ( if a bit busy)
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Old May 16th, 2012, 10:47 AM
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Thanks for the comments to our post (this is the wife mentioned in the original).

Does anyone have any insight on what kind of whether we should expect in the different regions during August/September? I have read that there are very different climates in different areas of the countries, but can't find anything specific. The climates I am most curious about are central Cambodia, Northern Vietnam, and central/coastal Vietnam.

Also, we were hoping to have some clothes made while we are there. Does anyone have recommendations for where to go for this? Any suggestions on how to locate a quality tailor (I have heard some horror stories about spending money on what turns out to be not that great of clothing).

Thanks in advance!
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Old May 17th, 2012, 12:59 AM
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A link to the LP page on Vietnam weather which, as you will see, is not at its best in Aug/Sept - "From July to November, violent and unpredictable typhoons hit central and northern Vietnam, which can dampen the spirits of even the most enthusiastic traveller".

There will be similar info on Cambodia on that site.

That said, weather patterns are changing and it is entirely possible that you will get some good weather at least some of the time
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Old May 17th, 2012, 01:54 AM
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Siem Reap was flooded last September. More towards the end of the month. My wife got back on the 19th with photos of her sister walking along Pub street through about 6 inches of water. However, thats not saying it will happen again. They had a great time though. The road to Banteay Chhmar was pretty bad though!

If you go to Vietnam, I'd also recommend the north.
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Old May 17th, 2012, 06:23 AM
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http://www.lonelyplanet.com/vietnam/weather
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Old May 17th, 2012, 06:30 AM
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www.weatherbase.com check each city you are interested in.
Kathie is offline  
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