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Help With Trip Ideas After Viet Nam-Cambodia River Cruise

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May 31st, 2015, 09:52 AM
  #1
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Help With Trip Ideas After Viet Nam-Cambodia River Cruise

Late October we arrive Hanoi for a 2 week tour including a 1 week Mekong River cruise in Cambodia, ending in Saigon November 3rd. We have UP TO 2 additional weeks before returning to the US. Note: we will arrive Hanoi for a few days early to explore independently and will also stay in Saigon for a couple of days at the conclusion of the river cruise. The second part of the trip is where I'm having a problem.

I wanted to go to Hoi An but am concerned about possible flooding at that time. I have been there before during heavy rains. My dilemma is where to go after Saigon. Possibilities include:

1. Fly to Luang Prabang, where I've never been, for 4 days and return to Hanoi for our flight home.
2. Fly to Thailand...Bangkok (been there before) , return home
3. Fly to Thailand... Bankgkok and Chiang Mai (never been) OR also include Chiang Rai OR also include Luang Prabang (never been).

My dilemma: We are late 60's and early 70's and don't want to try and cover too much in too little time. My problem is, when I look at the map, places look fairly close and I'm afraid I'm tempted to do too much. Yet the flights to Asia (economy, unfortunately) are so long that I want to make it worthwhile once getting there.

More information about us...sightseeing, sure, but we do enjoy shopping, markets, food just as much.

If I sound confused, it's because I am! Any thoughts/suggestions would be appreciated.
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May 31st, 2015, 10:04 AM
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I just read planningtravel's post regarding. Vientiane. Another option is Vientiane and Luang Prabang, returning to Hanoi for our flight home.
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May 31st, 2015, 10:36 AM
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I'd vote for Luang Prabang and Vientiane. They will be different from the places you have been before.

I agree Hoi An/Hue/DaNang is risky at that time of the year. They have not just heavy rains but flooding most years at that time.

If you could take two full weeks, my highest recommendation would go to Burma (Myanmar). I'd suggest 4 nights each in Inle Lake and Bagan, 2 nights in Yangon, and if you could manage it (it's complicated) 3 or 4 nights at Mrauk U. I have a couple of trip reports here... some of the logistical stuff about money is now a historical document, but the info about the sights applies now as it did then.

Take a look at our photos to help you decide: www.marlandc.com
There are two Burma trips, 2009 and 2011, and photos of Luang Prabang from 2002.
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May 31st, 2015, 10:59 AM
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Thanks, Kathie. I had a wonderful trip to Burma 2 1/2 years ago! I agree that had I not been there, it would be a perfect end to our trip.

If we went to Vientiane and Luang Prabang, can you suggest the best way to arrange flight from Saigon? My thought is to buy a round trip Us-Hanoi.

Leslie
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May 31st, 2015, 12:41 PM
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I just checked Vietnam Airlines and they do fly to both cities. I didn't check thoroughly for days of the week, etc, nor did I check to see if you could fly from HCMC to Vientiane to Luang Prabang to Hanoi. Note that there is a real VN Air website and a fake one - the fake one has a hyphen in the middle. You might need to fly Lao Air within Laos, I don't know.

Have a wonderful trip!
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May 31st, 2015, 02:22 PM
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PS And there is a fake Lao Air website as well - it, too, has a hyphen in the middle of the name. Buyer beware!
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May 31st, 2015, 03:40 PM
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Thanks again, Kathie, and thanks for the reminder about the fake websites.
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Jun 1st, 2015, 08:15 AM
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I think the combo of Luang Prabang and Vientiane is perfect. Though I have not been to the latter (on my wish list), I thoroughly enjoyed Luang Prabang. It will fulfill your wish for sightseeing, markets, food and shopping. Very easy breezy and picturesque with a nice selection of accommodations to fit anyone's needs.
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Jun 1st, 2015, 09:15 AM
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Thanks for your input, Lolazahra!
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Jun 3rd, 2015, 01:58 AM
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I agree with Kathie re Laos. After Vietnam, Luang Prabang is bliss. Very relaxed. Its a good town to just wander around in. Vientiane is well worth a few days also.

I'm trying to think of somewhere to go for a few extra days as 2 weeks is probably a bit long for the two cities. One option would be to fly down to Pakse and go up on the Bolaven Plateau, Wat Phu and down to the 4000 islands. A bit more a backpacker destination but beautiful. Stay on Don Khong not Don Dhet.

Another option would be to go to the Plain of Jars. A long 8 hour bus journey from Luang Prabang with some beautiful mountain scenery. I think you can fly to Vientiane from there but from memory its only some days of the week. I've taken the bus both times.
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