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Very early stages of planning Korea, Vietnam and Cambodia trip

Very early stages of planning Korea, Vietnam and Cambodia trip

Old Aug 6th, 2008, 07:59 AM
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Very early stages of planning Korea, Vietnam and Cambodia trip

My wife and I are thinking of going to Vietman and Cambodia early next year (some time January through March) with layovers in Korea coming and going. If we had a total of 9 or 10 days to split up between Vietnam and Cambodia how would you do it? Would you fly into and out of Saigon to begin and end the trip? Is it easy and quick to get around these countries by train?

Any help would be appreciated, especially on cities and sites to hit. Thanks.
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Old Aug 6th, 2008, 08:01 AM
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I would add that we are not really into the beach scene and would prefer to see a lot of cultural sites and interact with the locals as much as possible.
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Old Aug 6th, 2008, 08:43 AM
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We did Angkor Wat (Siem Reap) Cambodia in 3 full days. Some recommend spending more time there but 3 days was perfect for us. We are planning a trip to northern Vietnam (Hanoi, Halong Bay, Sapa) for next April and will be there 11 full days. So...with 9 or 10 days you will be rushed, I think. Pick two or at most three destinations - Siem Reap, Phnom Phen and/or HCMC (Saigon) seem to be the most logical. Maybe someone else can advise about train travel. If I were doing this trip, I would look into flying to save time - the flights are usually not prohibitively expensive.
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Old Aug 6th, 2008, 09:05 AM
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I agree with Craig that you will want (at least) three full days in Siem Reap. Remembering to factor in travel time means you'll have maybe 5 or 6 days elsewhere. I suppose you could go overland from HCMC to Siem Reap, a couple of days in HCMC, a couple day stop in Phonm Pehn plus your time in Siem Reap, then a flight back to HCMC would take up the whole vaction time. That's not a bad plan. Otherwise, plan to fly, and you could add one other location to Siem Reap and HCMC.

No option for train fopm HCMC to Siem Reap. There ar trains in VN that are ok, but you won't have much time there.
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Old Aug 6th, 2008, 10:48 AM
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Thanks for the advice so far. So is it unrealistic to be able to do northern and southern Vietnam and Phnom Pehn and Siem Rep in 10 days? Once I typed that I think I amswered my question.

Is HCMC the best option for visiting Vietnam? Besides the city is there anything out in the countryside near the city worth visiting?
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Old Aug 6th, 2008, 11:18 AM
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Yup, totally unrealistic. If you had a full two weeks only in VN, you could do a stop in north, central and south VN.

I like Hanoi, and would recommend it over HCMC, but given how little time you have, you need to think about logistics. You can fly from HCMC to Siem Reap non-stop. Many people like to visit the delta area near HCMC.

With the 10 days you have you need to plan not more than three stops. HCMC, PP, Siem Reap works. More than that really doesn't.
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Old Aug 6th, 2008, 01:18 PM
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I agree that you need to limit this to three stops, and that Siem Reap needs at least three full days (four nights). I definitely prefer Hanoi to HCMC, but if you're going in January the weather might make HCMC a better choice. If you go to HCMC, don't miss the temples in the Cholon district, or the Cao Dai temple outside the city.
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Old Aug 6th, 2008, 01:31 PM
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Thanks again. It looks like I don't have enough days to see everything I would like. But isn't that always the case?!
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Old Aug 6th, 2008, 02:30 PM
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So true... put those places on your list for your next trip!
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Old Aug 13th, 2008, 02:51 PM
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my husband & i are planning a similar trip, for late feb/early march. we were trying to decide b/t hanoi & hcmc. at this time, we're leaning towards hanoi, but we spent a decent amount of time with travel books at borders & also with one at home reading about both places to decide which one we thought fit us better.
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Old Aug 16th, 2008, 11:17 AM
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First of all, if you're going through Korea, choose Asiana Airlines - they're the best! I took them to Vietnam in March - best flights of my life/economy. As far as VN is concerned, I thought Hanoi was much more interesting than Saigon, although you should at least see Saigon. I also enjoyed Hoi An and Sapa very much. I was a little disappointed in the Mekong Delta. Vietnam Airlines is excellent and a much better choice than the train. It is not necessary to spend a great deal for hotels in VN ($30. will get you a really nice room.) You will eat very well for very little too - they're real foodies in VN!
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Old Aug 16th, 2008, 11:24 AM
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I must agree with thursdays comment - Jan could be cold up north. I was there in March - ideal weather everywhere in VN. I've booked my next trip in '09 for mid-Feb to start in Bangkok/Chiang Mai and will end in mid-March in Hoi An and Hanoi.
Even in March, Hanoi was cool at times with a little fog - be sure to bring a very light nylon, hooded shell for wet conditions.
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Old Aug 16th, 2008, 11:27 AM
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Sorry, I forgot to add that you should book with Hanoikids too - the free student guides who give tours in exchange for English practice - they're wonderful - I used them for 2 days, and plan to use again on my return. The guest pays all entrance fees, transportation and meals, but otherwise it's all free.

www.hanoikidsclub.org
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