Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Asia
Reload this Page >

Is BKK, Hanoi, Siem Reap overly ambitious with 10 days from NY?

Notices

Is BKK, Hanoi, Siem Reap overly ambitious with 10 days from NY?

Old Mar 9th, 2007, 11:46 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 118
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Is BKK, Hanoi, Siem Reap overly ambitious with 10 days from NY?

Thanks to all for your wonderful suggestions and help! My husband and I are planning Jan-Feb trip, possibly to SE Asia, but we'll only have about 9-10 days (not including travel time from and to NY). We'll be able to cut down on travel time by taking a non stop flight to BKK from NY. How feasible would it be to divide our remaining time between Bkk, Hanoi and Siem Reap? As I've said in earlier posts, I have traveled in much of Vietnam and Thailand already but I have never been to Cambodia. My husband has never been to Asia. I would be tempted to just do Bkk and Siem Reap, but I have a friend who lives in Hanoi who I have not seen since last time I was there (about 5 yrs. ago). The other option would be spending the night at the airport hotel in BKK and dividing our time between Hanoi and Siem Reap. But, considering that my husband has never been to BKK, I think it would be a shame for him to not see the city. Please let me know if it's worthwhile to fit in these three cities in the amount of time we have and how much time we should spend in each.
I would appreciate any advice! Thank you!
JMGJD is offline  
Old Mar 9th, 2007, 12:13 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 1,834
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
OK, others on the post will disagree with me, but I say that 3 days in each city will give you a great experience.

I did a similiar trip last year on the Thai non-stop flight from NYC (my trip was a bit longer and visited a few more cities).

I'd suggest NYC-Hanoi (connecting in BKK, all on Thai). Arrive Hanoi at about 8pm...
3 full days in Hanoi. Not sure of your budget, but if you can stay at the Metropole and take it easy the first day with time relaxing at the pool

fly direct from Hanoi to Siem Reap for 3 days (I can't recall the flight times, but the Vietnam air flights are available on expedia, if you want to check the schedule).

3 or 4 days in Bangkok....
Catching the midnight Thai flight back to NY may add an extra day to your time in Bangkok. Try to get a hotel that will give you a late check-out.


Let us know if you have any more questions, but I say go for it!!!

cruisinred is offline  
Old Mar 9th, 2007, 12:28 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 33,146
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Well, I vote for two cities in that time. You could spend three nights each place, it would really only give you 2 full days each place, as you'll be spending a good part of your vacation in transit. Figure in the time it takes to pack, check out of one hotel, get to the airport and wait, fly, wait for your baggage, get to your hotel and unpack... There is more than enough to keep you busy and happy if you opt for Bangkok and Siem Reap. It will also mean that you'll be able to stay long enough to get a flavor for the place.
Kathie is offline  
Old Mar 9th, 2007, 12:37 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 1,834
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Kathie-
You and I can agree to disagree on the # of cities/# of days issue, but I find that if you have a flight between places first thing in the morning or late in the afternoon, it does not eat into the day that much. In the case of this itinerary, none of the flights would be much more than 90 minutes or so.

To each her own when it comes to style and pace of travel, but I loved Hanoi so much I could not tell JMGJD to skip it
cruisinred is offline  
Old Mar 9th, 2007, 12:38 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 6,664
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Yes. Too much. I think your husband would appreciate Asia much more without rushing around. Perhaps your Hanoi frien could join you in either Siem Riep or BKK.
Gpanda is offline  
Old Mar 9th, 2007, 12:51 PM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 118
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I think my friend could only join us in one of those cities if we were to pay, and right now we're not in a position to be able to do that. I have to agree with cruisinred that I fell in love with Hanoi while I was there. Although I thought the wats in Bkk were remarkable, I found the city overall to be very touristy, crowded and incredibly polluted. However, I was there in the middle of the summer (June or July I think), whereas this time around I would be there in Jan or Feb. I'm still open to the idea of all three cities (that would just be ideal), but if I had to cut one I'm tempted to cut Bkk. I just feel bad that we'd be flying all the way there and my husband would be missing out on it. Do you all agree?!
JMGJD is offline  
Old Mar 9th, 2007, 01:49 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 39
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I think you could do three cities, no problem. There is not a ton of sites to see in Hanoi, it is really just soaking up the atmosphere. Your time there would be more relaxed. Bangkok is a cool place not to be missed, and three days will give you a good flavor. You can focus on just the historical stuff, and skip the malls and shopping. Three days in Siem Reap will give you enough time to see lots of temples and even Lake Tonle Sap. Enjoy!
Cookiepuss is offline  
Old Mar 9th, 2007, 02:23 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 33,146
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I also loved Hanoi. We spent a whole week there and didn't see all the "sights." Hanoi has wonderful museums, the Temple of Literature, fascinating pagodas, good food, good shopping and great waslking streets. The danger of spending only a couple of days somewhere is that you may come away with the sense that a place is "very touristy, crowded and incredibly polluted." You can't see the essence of a place - what makes the place special in just a couple of days. I have read the reports of many who spent a couple of days in Hanoi and their impression was of the pushy young men selling books or street vendors shouting profanities. That may happen to you, but if you spend a little time to get to know the city, that's not the part you'll carry home with you.

I love Bangkok (I know not everyone does), and after almost annual trips with a stop in Bangkok (to or from other Asian destinations) I always find something new and interesting to do and see. With such a large city, all you have to do to get off the tourist track is to visit a wat not on the top 5 list (or a restaurant or a market or...) , and you'll see not another westerner anywhere. Yes, the spectacular sights that are on everyone's must see list will have lots of tourists.

I assume you have done your research on Angkor and have decided that you only want to see a few temples. It takes a full three days to see all the so-called major temples. We spent a week and saw a couple dozen temples, but not nearly all the accessible temples. If you are really interested in the temples, you'll find that three nights in Siem Reap won't be enough.

People do travel differently from each other. The first rule of itinerary planning is "know thyself;" the second rule is "know thy destination." You might be fine with three days in each location. I wouldn't, so I offer the caveats above.
Kathie is offline  
Old Mar 9th, 2007, 03:41 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 360
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
It sounds to me like you want to do all three and as long as the flights let you not waste a ton of time in airports, you probably should. I'll never forgive myself for not flying up to SR for a day/night (all I would have had) in 2000) from PP. The extra 1 1/2 days cutting out one city will give you in the other two isn't going to make or break your experience -- you're still going to want more time, right? Two days in BKK getting to see the Grand Palace, Reclining Buddha, a klong tour, maybe the night market, Jim Thompson. You could fit in a lot.
jenskar is offline  
Old Mar 13th, 2007, 05:37 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 45
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I just returned from Siem Reap and Phnom Pehn.

I spent 1.5 days in Phnom Pehn. Very worth while to see the S-21 museum and the filling fields.PP is great to learn about the Khemer Rouge era. Very Worth while. Would not spend more than 1 day there. I flew (55 minutes) to Siem Reap but you can take a boat or bus (5 hrs) also.

Spent 3 days in Siem Reap but I could have done the place in two full days. One day at the temples and another day at the Tonle Sap lake seeing the boat villages. Some guide books say you can spend a week at Anchor Wat but that seems like an extreme to me, unless you have a specific interest in that type of site. After one full day at Anchor wat, etc., we were 'temple'd out'(very hot and lots of walking). Tonle Sap was worth while. The land mine museum was interesting and the town has lots of neat places to drink and eat.
mikeesparza is offline  
Old Mar 14th, 2007, 01:09 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 14
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
JMGJD-

You mentioned the possibility of staying at the airport hotel in BKK. What hotel are you talking about and have you stayed there before?

missmara112 is offline  
Old Mar 14th, 2007, 01:48 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 31
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I think it really comes down to what flight schedule you can work out -- if you are going to wind up with less than three full days in either Siem Reap or Hanoi, you should probably cut a city. Personally, we skipped BKK in favor of Chiang Mai because we felt that BKK was too busy and complex to be able to get a favorable or realistic impression of the Thai people or their culture in the little time we had. (On the other hand, we spent four and half days in the Chiang Mai area and fell in love.) I'd be tempted to suggest spending just one day and night in BKK in a really nice hotel so your husband can get a taste of it, but to spend the bulk of your time in Hanoi and Siem Reap. You'll get to show your husband an Asian city that you know and love by going to Hanoi, and I believe Siem Reap really requires at least three full days. You can see Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, Ta Prohm and one other major temple in two days. If you are a photographer you will have a hard time keeping moving. The middle of the day is so hot this time of year that you'll want to take a break for a swim or exploring a shady market or museum. We only had three nights and two days, so never got to see Tonle Sap, which I think was huge loss. You'll also want to have time to talk with the people, see an Apsara dance (an artform virtually wiped out by the Khmer Rouge) and visit Artisans d'Angkor -- an NGO-cum public company that is training Khmer people in silk painting, silk weaving, and stone and wood sculpture (skills also lost in the Khmer Rouge era). Their work is gorgeous, and our photo of our four year old son with four deaf and mute girls from the silkscreen studio is one of our most treasured mementos. We never made it up to the mountain river to see the Buddhas carved in the riverbeds, or out to Battambang to see the cultural center there, so really there is lots to do and see -- and I can't help but feel that the Cambodian people also are as deserving of our attention as the mind-blowing monuments.

Wow, that was long winded -- I should say we only got back from Siem Reap two days ago and my head is (obviously) full of it!

Hope you have a great trip however you work it out!
Pam
pmacbee is offline  
Old Mar 14th, 2007, 03:18 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 677
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Sure it's doable - but what's the point? To say you have been there?

I guess so.

But it's far better to really soak up a place. Get to know it, and find out about it for yourself (which takes time.)

I'd skip Hanoi - not because it is of no interest, just because BKK is a flight hub; has loads going for it for a first time visitor; and getting from there to SR and back is easy.

I think you need at least 2 clear days in Siem Reap.

But really, I'm wasting my breathe.
You should, of course, do it your way.
chimani is offline  
Old Mar 14th, 2007, 09:32 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 29,050
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
i would find it basically a waste of time quite honestly....consider travel time to amount almost to 3 days thus leaving you with 7 days to tour, enjoy, etc....over half of that could be used just at siem reap...
rhkkmk is offline  
Old Mar 14th, 2007, 11:59 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 195
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I agree with nearly everything everyone has posted!

My compromise with my mother was a week to do hit Borneo and Brunei, as well as Sumatra. Yes, I know.. a day or two in each area really isn't enough..BUT w're hitting the one or two main things in each area mom wants to see....she'snever been to Brunei, and the key sites in brunei can be seen in 1 day. I wanted to visit Niah Caves park South of Miri, and Lake Toba on Sumatra, so we're touching n those....very quickly, but I posit that these quick visits now will give us enough of a taste of each area t determine whether we should plan a future trip with more time allotted to these areas. OTOH, we're spending a week in Siem Reap and a week in Northern Thailand. I arranged all evening or early morning flights wherever possible, except day 1 flight to Kuala Lumpur, which is a 10AM departure.

Mark-
zengeos is offline  
Old Mar 14th, 2007, 06:43 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 4
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I agree with Cruisinred.
You shouldn't skip Hanoi because you loved it while you were there 5 yrs ago. Also you have a friend over there.
I am pretty sure that your husband will enjoy everywhere you go.
3 days for each city is pretty enough. You fly in and out from Bkk, so you already have almost 2 days between the flights in Bkk. I think that you can certainly add a day trip to Halong Bay. It's doable. Bon voyage!
Paulle is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
rickyloo
Asia
9
Oct 22nd, 2010 01:42 AM
PA_Kathy
Asia
14
Aug 3rd, 2007 02:55 PM
dansac
Asia
5
Jun 4th, 2007 02:59 PM
barnetda
Asia
5
Apr 16th, 2007 06:39 PM
jodinews
Asia
13
Feb 22nd, 2006 09:42 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

FODOR'S VIDEO