Never been to Asia

Jun 5th, 2010, 10:01 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,647
sf7307, here's a picture of a candy factory: as you'll see, it is indeed local life, not a traditional factory. I'm not one for factory stops or for shopping, but these stops (about 15 minutes) actually kinda made a nice break in just riding down the Mekong after a morning in the floating markets. I don't know what tours you've been seeing--and this was in 2002--but you'll see plenty of "local life" between the markets and the kids in the river and along the shore.
Amy is offline  
Jun 5th, 2010, 10:47 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 32,789
Now that you have a guidebook, you've been bitten by the SE Asia bug. Once you get there you'll be back again and again.

For a time frame, I'd chose January/February, starting the second week in January so you avoid the New Year crowds and high prices.

I think you are wise to choose two countries. If it were me, I'd opt for Thailand/Cambodia or Thailand/Laos for a first trip. I'd save VN for a three week trip all its own.
Kathie is offline  
Jun 5th, 2010, 06:21 PM
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 2,761
We just returned from 3 1/2 weeks in Vietnam and did 3 weeks in Thailand and Cambodia (Siem Reap only) last year. While we loved both trips, I'd say that of the two, we preferred Thailand/Cambodia as there were more sites to take in. Both trips are easily do-able on your own. We are 54 & 67 and traveled independently both times without any problems. I agree with all of the above posters. Don't discount stopping at the candy factory, etc. - they break up the travel and are interesting for a short stop. Hire guides along the way. Travel is inexpensive in both Vietnam and Thailand/Cambodia. While we did not get to Laos and hate to see you give up Cambodia, it may make more sense to combine Thailand and Laos, saving Cambodia and Vietnam for another time. In Thailand you may want to include a day trip to Ayuthaya - a real highlight for us and also, if Chiang Rai if you are up north. A highlight there, which many people miss, is the White Temple which is just outside of town. I would be very leery of riding a bike in Vietnam - the traffic is crazy and the heat is a killer. If you want to ride though, Hoi An is a good place to rent a bike to go to the beach. Wherever you go, you will have a wonderful time. The Thais, Cambodians and Vietnamese are all wonderful people.
dgunbug is offline  
Jun 5th, 2010, 06:53 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,160
The White Temple, or Wat Rung Khun, is indeed beautiful but IMO it's more of a purposefully built tourist attraction than a traditional Wats of worship in Thailand. The artists/architects who designed and built it is still adding on buildings to the main complex but the wax figures inside the temple is a no-no IMO.
Hanuman is offline  
Jun 5th, 2010, 08:11 PM
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 704
sf7307, i have been to 3 of the 4 countries you have listed (and most of the cities)-- some multiple times. They were all fantastic. You will have a great time. December, January and February are the best weather in Saigon and Siem Reap.

Wow, you have such great places listed and only 3 weeks... it depends on what your biggest interests are. Angkor Wat is magestic, but 3 nights would suffice there. Thailand is probably the easiest introduction to SE Asia, but much of it is "beachy"-- the best beaches in the world, but beachy. And VN is great in so many other aspects.
krgystn is offline  
Jun 6th, 2010, 04:57 AM
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 2,761
We spent 3 weeks between Thailand and Cambodia and didn't have time for the beaches.
dgunbug is offline  

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