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Singapore-Vietnam-Cambodia Itinerary Help

Singapore-Vietnam-Cambodia Itinerary Help

Old Jan 2nd, 2024, 04:31 AM
  #21  
BKD
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What would you think about 2 nights in Hue rather than 3 and heading to Ninh Binh for two days and one night? Ninh Binh sounds amazing but not really doable as a day trip from Hanoi. Still would have 4 nights in Hanoi after NB. Thanks.
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Old Jan 2nd, 2024, 06:53 AM
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My first thought is that 2 nights really only allows one full day of sightseeing. There is a lot to see in both places and it would be a shame to rush either. That said, much depends upon the logistics of getting to and from both places.

both are on the train line so and overnight train may well save you usuable sightseeing time and you could perhaps squeeze in an extra half day in both places. I am not usually a fan of tours and guides though , given your limited time, that could well be your best option. That way you wouldn’t have to worry too much about which sites to visit and how to get around. Plenty of tours in Hue that will take you on the perfume river, visit a few pagodas and Imperial tombs. The citadel is easily done without a guide. The same is true of Ninh Binh . There are a pleathora of boat trips around but a decent guide will help you avoid the worst excesses of overtourism.

if you do go between ten two by train, make sure to book bottom berths in a soft sleeper! Form NB to Hanoi you can also go by train but do check teh timings on seat6.com. Personally I avoid buses if at all possible in Vietnam for safety reasons. If a train is not viable then a taxi or private car should be too expensive.
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Old Jan 5th, 2024, 06:50 AM
  #23  
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Thank you, Crellston. I think we're going to leave everything alone. Ninh Binh looks like it's only about 1 1/2 hours away by car from Hanoi. We're getting into Hanoi at noon so if we can squeeze in some sightseeing time that afternoon in Hanoi, maybe we can do a day trip to Ninh Binh the following day. There's just too much to see and do and even if we only get a taste that's better than no taste. Again, thanks for all of your help. One month to go!
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Old Jan 5th, 2024, 07:39 AM
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You are very welcome BKD . I am excited for you! Our nieces are on the way to Vietnam now. They are on their gap year and having a blast!. Currently in Laos about to cross into Cambodia then Vietnam. They will probably hit Vietnam about the same time as you.
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Old Jan 6th, 2024, 08:07 PM
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Originally Posted by BKD
Thank you, Crellston. I think we're going to leave everything alone. Ninh Binh looks like it's only about 1 1/2 hours away by car from Hanoi. We're getting into Hanoi at noon so if we can squeeze in some sightseeing time that afternoon in Hanoi, maybe we can do a day trip to Ninh Binh the following day. There's just too much to see and do and even if we only get a taste that's better than no taste. Again, thanks for all of your help. One month to go!
Ninh Binh-Tam Coc is a must; the boat ride is super (to be done in the morning and after 15:30 to avoid the groups of tourists from Hanoi) PLUS the climb up Hang Mua Peak (stunning panorama), Bich Dong Pagoda and Tai Vi Temple.

You take the train to Ninh Binh (or a car) + 8-km taxi NB-Tam Coc, boat ride, visit Bach Dong, Tai Vi, boat ride, lunch at Chez Loan in Tam Coc, drive to Hang Mua, climb up (450 steps), continue to Hoa Lu (two beautiful temples of the Dinh kings), and back to Hanoi

Last edited by Moderator3; Jan 7th, 2024 at 07:05 AM. Reason: Remove reference to specific driver
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Old Jan 7th, 2024, 03:42 PM
  #26  
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Sorry, one more question. Wife and I are debating driving with car and driver from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap versus flying. The cost to drive is about 1/3 the flight, but leaving price out of the equation, is there a recommendation? Is it an interesting drive? Are flights generally on time? For the record, I’m favoring driving while she leans toward flying.
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Old Jan 7th, 2024, 03:43 PM
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Thanks for the info!
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Old Jan 7th, 2024, 03:57 PM
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Originally Posted by BKD
Wife and I are debating driving with car and driver from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap versus flying. The cost to drive is about 1/3 the flight, but leaving price out of the equation, is there a recommendation?
If you decide to go by car (far more interesting IMO and much greener), I can recommend a driver. If interested, send me a PM.
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Old Jan 7th, 2024, 07:14 PM
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Originally Posted by BKD
Sorry, one more question. Wife and I are debating driving with car and driver from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap versus flying. The cost to drive is about 1/3 the flight, but leaving price out of the equation, is there a recommendation? Is it an interesting drive? Are flights generally on time? For the record, I’m favoring driving while she leans toward flying.
Drive absolutely boring, on all flat land with no charm whatsoever, to the point where I went by scooter, but I came back by bus Great Ibis with my scooter inside. Take a flight or bus Great Ibis.
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Old Jan 7th, 2024, 08:37 PM
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It is not an interesting drive. We did it once using Mekong Express a "luxury " minibus service. A vast improvement on the standard minis service but still pretty tedious. On option, if you have the time is to stop en route in Battambang which has some interesting things to see like forest temples, bat caves, and the "bamboo train". Assuming that the river levels are ok there is also to option to go by boat from Battambang to Siem Reap. Quite interesting but not sure I would do it again . Very crowded, VERY hot and questionable safety standards.

Basically, if you don't want to stop on the way, then flying for an hour is a better option and twelve in a car!
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Old Jan 8th, 2024, 05:47 AM
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The drive from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap to the east of Tonle Sap should take about 5 hours. The drive to the west of Tonle Sap that goes through Battambang would be more than 7 hours. Note that the new airport in Siem Reap (SAI) is about an hour out of town, and the airport in Phnom Penh is about an hour from many parts of that city.
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Old Jan 14th, 2024, 08:39 AM
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Originally Posted by BKD
Ok, so well leave HCMC in! Not making anymore changes. Im not going to feel like dealing with the airport after just 2 days so 3 nights in HCMC. Now onto booking flights home and finding hotels. Then getting guides and figuring out what we want to see and do.

Cannot thank you enough!
Everybody has their own priorities, but one of mine on my first visit to HCM was visiting some of their best art galleries. There are some terrific, highly creative artists in the city (and in VN as a whole). Fortunately, my trip was linked to business (I gave a presentation to VN journalists, with translator of course) and the general manager of my employer's VN affiliate worked with the hotel (Intercontinental) to arrange a day of gallery visits. If that kind of thing interests you, ask your HCM concierge for advice. Be sure to say you want to see independent artists doing their own work based on their own inspiration/vision, rather than those copying famous Western art or doing mass market tourist art.
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Old Jan 15th, 2024, 04:37 AM
  #33  
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I cannot thank you enough for this recommendation. As a former long time board member and former president of the board of our local contemporary arts center, this is something that we would love to do. Had no idea that HCMC had a vibrant art community. Are there any specific gallery recommendations you have? Again, thanks!
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Old Jan 17th, 2024, 07:20 PM
  #34  
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New wrinkle. We're cutting down to two days/nights in Hue rather than three. We discovered today that we have some friends currently in Hoi An who said we have to go. It's their favorite place in Vietnam. So we're flying from Saigon to Da Nang early morning and spending one night in Hoi An. We'll get a car and driver to take us the scenic route to Hue the next day. That's it! No more changes!! Thanks everyone for your very insightful help.
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Old Jan 17th, 2024, 10:04 PM
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enjoy your trip.. I was in Vietnam at the end of October and we loved it. Hanoi was my favourite. Hoi An not so much because it was overrun with tourists.
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Old Jan 17th, 2024, 11:30 PM
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I confess I concur with millie's opinion of Hoi An. As I mentioned in an earlier post, it is very quaint and picturesque but these days it is overrun with tourists from the mega sized hotels along the coast from Da Nang. The first time we visited we loved it, but that was decades ago before the advent of mass tourism , mostly from China. As you are there for just the one night, the best way to avoid the crowds would be to get out and about very early before the crowds arrive in their tour buses. After that it gets incredibly busy. The crowds dissappear around midday (in the heat of the day) and come back in the late afternoon evening. The drive to Hue will take you via the Hai Van pass (make sure to specify that otherwise they may take you through the tunnel!) and the Marble Mountains which is worth an hour or two.

As you now have limited time in Hue, I would consider a tour or hiring a guide driver their to take you around the citadel and tombs and maybe a boat on the Perfume River.

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Old Jan 18th, 2024, 02:39 AM
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Originally Posted by BKD
I cannot thank you enough for this recommendation. As a former long time board member and former president of the board of our local contemporary arts center, this is something that we would love to do. Had no idea that HCMC had a vibrant art community. Are there any specific gallery recommendations you have? Again, thanks!
This one would be worth a visit, IMO. Founded by an art critic, they have a gallery in HCM and Hanoi and can handle shipping to other countries -- https://greenpalmgallery.com/paintings

Last edited by WeisserTee; Jan 18th, 2024 at 03:00 AM.
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Old Jan 19th, 2024, 04:08 AM
  #38  
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Crellston, I no doubt will agree with your assessment, but I was overridden (pick your battles). We’ll only be there for the evening and early morning and I do look forward to the Hai Van Pass. I also read about a female Buddha along the way to Hue that seems fascinating. I have a Vietnamese 1st cousin in law who said we should go to Hoi An for one night. I’ll grin and bear it. We’ll get a guide in Hue.

One thing my cousin in law said was that Hue has the best food in Vietnam and we should go to an upscale restaurant while there. If anyone has recommendations, they would be welcomed. Thanks.
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Old Jan 19th, 2024, 04:14 AM
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Weisselberg Tee, thanks for the art gallery recommendation. We’re reaching out to our various art contacts for gallery preferences in Saigon, too. We are definitely doing an art day!
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Old Jan 19th, 2024, 04:35 AM
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Good luck! I will ask my colleagues in HCMC for their recommendations. And if your hotel has interesting artwork on display, don't hesitate to ask the concierge for guidance. That's what I did at the Intercontinental. The hotel features works from this gallery: https://benthanhart.com/about-us/

Last edited by WeisserTee; Jan 19th, 2024 at 04:43 AM.
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