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Help for my trip Vietnam-Cambodia...


Jul 1st, 2013, 02:18 AM
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Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 11
Help for my trip Vietnam-Cambodia...

I am preparing a trip in Vietnam and Cambodia; I have some questions and would like to have your opinions:

About the sea:
Is Halong Bay a good place for swimming?
In October, where is the best place for swimming? Nha Trang, Mui Ne or Halong Bay?
To enjoy a quiet sea (I don’t like waves) which is the best choice among these?

About the time travel:
I try to find more information about time travel in Vietnam by the road? How is the traffic?

About the itinerary:
I am booking this trip with Vietnamstay, travel office in Hanoi.
I really hesitate between Nha Trang and Mui ne but I read many bad feedbacks about Mui Ne.
Is it enough to stay 1 day in Mui Ne?
I am asking about historical heritage in Ho Chi Minh City. It seems there are just few examples scattered throughout the city. Is it right?
The itinerary is classic. I just want to see highlights in Vietnam. Do you have some suggestions?

Day 1 Hanoi Arrival
Day 2 Hanoi Orientation
Day 3 Hanoi – Ha Long Bay
Day 4 Ha Long Bay – Hanoi – Danang
Day 5 Hoi An
Day 6 Hoi An – Danang - Hue
Day 7 Hue
Day 8 Hue - Danang – Ho Chi Minh City – Nha Trang
Day 9-10 Nha Trang free
Day 11 Nha Trang – Ho Chi Minh City
Day 12 Ho Chi Minh City Sightseeing
Day 13 Ho Chi Minh City – Siem Reap
Day 14 Siem Reap
Day 15 Siem Reap
Day 16 Siem Reap – Departure

About restaurant:
During my free time, I want to check out some restaurants. I have heard some good feedbacks about vegetarian food in Hoi An? Do you have some suggestions?

Thank you for your help.
sandfish is offline  
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Jul 1st, 2013, 08:36 AM
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 10
It appears that you have your trip with the destinations already planned by your tour company with no wriggle room for changes. I will answer your questions as though you do and can. Hanoi will take 2 full days to see, the old town is wonderful, many museums and historic places. Great northern style food. Hanoi to Halong is 3-5 hours on the bus. You can swim in the bay, in fact it is great for that, wonderful clear warm water. The tour boats will usually stop and everybody jumps off the top and swims. If you can change your trip and take a 2 night 3 day cruise; it may be the highlight of your Vietnam tour. Kayaking and the Cat Ba Island stop-over are part of the 2 night package. Hanoi to Danang, you must be flying as it takes many hours by bus to make that trip. Oh and when the bus company says your trip takes 2 or 3 or 4 hours on the bus add 2 hours to that time, that is the real arrival time so don't get frustrated. Danang is not very interesting and I would go south the 25 Kilometers to Hoi An as soon as landing there. Good beaches and swimming, ancient fishing village, great food and the cheapest custom clothing made anywhere are the main attractions of this quaint little tourist town. Most hotels have bikes and it is the best way to get around in Hoi An. Going back north bypass Danang, rent a car for about a 100$ in Hoi An through your hotel and see Hue, have fun on the ride north it can be an E ticket sometimes. Hue is the home of the Nguyen Kings who left some impressive sites and the Imperial City(1 day itself) to see, hotels rent bikes to ride in the city as it is safe and easy to ride. Splurge on a luxury hotel, they are very cheap now. Stroll the river and talk to English students and enjoy the dining in the evening. Two days there is enough, one day rent Mopeds(5$ for 1 day), get a map and cruise out into the countryside to the tombs.Great trip. Take a shuttle bus from your hotel to the Danang airport(the Phu Bai-Hue airport is closed until next year). Fly to Nha Trang, a party spot and a lively town. The swimming is not good, with a heavy tide and the water dirtied by 2 nearby rivers. Speaking of dirty go to the mud baths(not really dirty, more spa like)and swim in the large pool there, picnic with Vietnamese families. See the Cham Ruins and the Big Buddha and the nearby waterfalls. Go to the Sailing Club for the party scene. Mui Nhe is half way to Saigon by bus. It is a strip of resorts, hotels and restaurants along a quickly eroding beach. The waves can be brutal, the town is famous for its wind surfing. The good swimming is north of the town 15-20Ks on the coast road. Best bet is skip Mui Nhe and to go to Dalat by bus instead. There, get an "Easy Rider", all hotels can hook you up and go on a motor bike tour through the countryside, it is a blast. Lots to see and do around Dalat for a couple of days. You can fly to HCMC from Dalat. When in HCMC don't get caught up in the tourist trap Cu Chi tunnel-Cao Dai trip, a waste of a day there. But do see the Presidential Palace, Binh Thanh Market, Le Loi Street, enjoy the parks and good Saigon food. Take the Mekong overnight tour or better yet the 3 day boat cruise to Can Tho. Back in HCMC chill out in Pham Ngu Lao with a fresh beer on Bui Vein street and swap experiences with other travelers. In Siem Riep get a Tuk-Tuk to take you through Angkor Wat, you can easily spend 2-3 days here(use your bargaining skills to get a good price). Go to Pub Street after the day tours and shop the central market. That is the best advice I can give you. Have fun.
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Jul 1st, 2013, 08:44 AM
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Better vegetarian restaurants in Hue, but as a Buddhist country there are good places everywhere. Just look for 'An Chai' on the restaurant sign.
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Jul 12th, 2013, 10:50 PM
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Ok, thank you. You are very helpful
I have definitely given up stopping in Mui Ne. Too much waves.
The Vietnamstay counselor who is very patient with me proposes a new and better itinerary.
Day 1 Hanoi Arrival
Day 2 Hanoi Orientation
Day 3 Hanoi – Ha Long Bay
Day 4 Ha Long Bay
Day 5 Ha Long Bay – Hanoi – Danang
Day 6 Hoi An
Day 7 Hoi An – Danang - Hue
Day 8 Hue
Day 9 Hue - Danang – Ho Chi Minh City
Day 10 Ho Chi Minh City Sightseeing
Day 11 Ho Chi Minh City – Siem Reap
Day 12 Siem Reap
Day 13 Siem Reap
Day 14 Siem Reap – Phnom Penh
Day15 Phnom Penh Orientation
Day 16 Phnom Penh-Kampot (resort next to the sea)
Day 17 Kampot (resort next to the sea)
Day 18 Kampot - end
- Halong cruise 2 overnights.
- We don’t stop in Nha Trang
- Have a direct flight from Siem Reap to Phuc Quoc Island seems to be impossible to (we have to stop in Saigon). So, we had Kampot at the end of this trip.
- We visit Phnom Penh
This itinerary is really better.
I read that Vietnamstay is a serious travel office with a good reputation. I confirm it. They answer to my questions and give me very good advices. Very cooperative.
Thank you for your help, very interesting to read you advices.
sandfish is offline  
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Jul 13th, 2013, 01:05 AM
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Posts: 574

I just came back from Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia and used VietnamStay/Aurora. I was very happy with them.

Have a great time.
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Jul 13th, 2013, 05:29 AM
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Sandfish, a much better itinerary! The time spent in every place seems appropriate. I really like the last 2 days, Kampot and the Kep Area are very relaxing, a great way to unwind after some serious touring.
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Jul 13th, 2013, 08:11 AM
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I think you are trying to go to too many places, and as a result, you won't get much experience of any of them. Hanoi is a fascinating city, yet you spend no time there. You are going to Angkor, but you only have two days there.

You have one day in Hue, one in Hoi An, one in HCMC... Cut a few destinations, and you'll actually have time to experience some of these places.
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Jul 13th, 2013, 01:02 PM
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Can't agree more with kathie. Also, IMO two nights in halong bay can be cut to 1 night. We did two nights and while enjoyable, we could have omitted the second night. Halong bay is beautiful, but the drive each way is long and boring. You may consider missing it altogether as the travel time to and from the bay eats up 1/2 day each way. As for swimming in it, we dared not jump in as there were massive numbers of man of war jelly fish when we were there. i'm sure this is not always the case though. You need at least 3 days in Hanoi, which is steeped in atmosphere. Hue is incredibly interesting and deserves 1 1/2 days and hoi an is very picturesque. While it can easily be seen in a day, it's fun to walk around for a few days there. If you decide to go to Siem reap, be sure to spend at least three full days there.
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Jul 19th, 2013, 09:54 PM
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Kathie: Yes I understand what you mean. But we cannot have more than about 20 days this year and every member of the family have different interests (beach, heritage, cities etc). It’s a long negotiation. So we choose this kind of trip. For example, when people (from Asia for example) travel in Europe (London, Paris, Rome, Sicilia etc or something like that) during 15 days, it seems a little bit too much. Next year, we will organize another holidays. I remember 3 years ago, we stayed in Crete Island 3 weeks. Just on the west coast with all the family. It was wonderful for discovering heritage, food, meeting people and having a rest.

Lolazahra: I read your trip report in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. Thank you very much, it’s very interesting. It’s very reassuring to know Vietnamstay have done a good job with you. I have never travelled so far with all my family. I am a little bit worried.

dgunbug: We arrive in Hanoi early in the morning. So we will visit about 2 days in Hanoi. For swimming, maybe we will wait to be in Cambodia. It seems to be a better place than Halong Bay.

Thank to all of you, I will come back if I have others questions.
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Jul 24th, 2013, 05:50 AM
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Hello sandfish

Please take note on DAY 9 don't need to return to Danang as Hue airport will reopening early than the schedule. The original was reopening at end of November, but now they can complete the renovation in September. Just have the schedule from Vietnam Aviation and Vietnam Airlines the reopening will on September 20, 2013
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Oct 17th, 2013, 11:53 PM
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I don’t understand why you stay in Ho Chi Minh City only one day. The same travel office proposes me to flight from Danang to Siem Reap for a trip probably in February. It’s easier and shorter. Why stop in Saigon just for 1 day?
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Oct 23rd, 2013, 02:29 AM
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Honestly, I didn’t know that we can flight from Danang to Siem Reap.
Why do you say “just only one day in HCMC”? We have stayed a little bit more.

Please find my report and some impressions here:


During the first day, we visited Cao Dai temple for getting the ceremony at noon. On the afternoon, visit of Cu Chi tunnels built during the war before to come back to HCMC.

The day after, we visited some places in the city (war museum).

Oh, I remember a pleasant moment during visiting HCMC: When we have tasted a black coffee behind the town hall. It was strong but sweet and fresh. I enjoyed Vietnamese coffee especially when the weather was hot.
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