Viet Nam Cambodia

May 2nd, 2013, 06:53 AM
  #1  
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Viet Nam Cambodia

I have made flight reservations to go to Viet Nam and Cambodia for ten days in October. That is all the free time we have. I know the itinerary we want, but don't know which tour company to select. We don't want a fancy trip (hotels), just good value for our money.
Are there tour companies that you would recommend, or ones to avoid?
Thank you,
John
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May 2nd, 2013, 07:55 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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There is no need for a tour company to visit VN and Cambodia. Some people do like to use a local agent to reserve hotels and set up any airport transfers or day trips. etc., but you can easily make all arrangements on your own. For sure you will need a driver in Siem Reap to get to the temples, but you can choose whether you prefer to have a guide or not (note that a driver is never a guide here). No need for guides in VN.

In preparation for your trip to Cambodia, get a copy of Dawn Rooney's book, Angkor: A Guide to Cambodia's Wondrous Temples.

If you want to use a local agency to set up your VN trip, Tonkin Travel gets good recommendations. Note that agencies often want to set you up with all airport transfers, guide and driver for every day, etc. There is absolutely no need for this. Pick and choose what you want and don't want the agency to arrange.
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May 2nd, 2013, 08:28 AM
  #3  
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Thanks for the good advice. You are saying you can arrange a guide to the temples of Hue and around Hoi An from your hotel? What about the flights in VN and to Cambodia. Do they need to be reconfirmed in advance in VN. What about getting a driver from Hue to Hoi An. Is it possible to arrange this taxi drive?
John
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May 2nd, 2013, 08:55 AM
  #4  
 
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Yes, you can arrange a guide for Hue at your hotel, your hotel can arrange it or any taxi driver can take you between Hue and Hoi An. You will need to buy plane tickets, and that might best be accomplished through a local VN travel agent. Also, some people have found that Tonkin can get them better prices on hotels in VN than they could get themselves.

What is your itinerary? We are glad to help you refine your schedule if that would be helpful.
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May 2nd, 2013, 09:47 AM
  #5  
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day 1
Hanoi
Day 2
Halong Bay
day3
Hanoi
day 4
fly to Hue
day 5
drive to Hoi An via Da Nang
day 6
Hoi An
day 7
fly to Siem Reap
day 8
Angkor Wat
day 9
Angkor Wat
day 10
fly home via Saigon, Tokyo, Chicago

I spent a year (1970-1971) 40 Miles from Hoi An in Tamky
I want to go back for a few hours.
I do not want to spend time in Saigon.
I do not need to see the tourist tunnels there.
John
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May 2nd, 2013, 10:05 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 25,158
I used Tonkin Travel for my last visit to Vietnam for hotel reservations and train tickets to/from Sapa. My previous two visits I did myself. Even for my last trip I booked my own plane tickets, off the Vietnam Airlines web site.

I agree with Kathie (as usual, lol), it's easy to do SEA on your own, and Dawn Rooney's book is all the guide you need for Angkor Wat.
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May 2nd, 2013, 10:26 AM
  #7  
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I can't wait to get that book

John
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May 2nd, 2013, 11:16 AM
  #8  
sum
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
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We just came back from a well longer trip with a similar itinerary. My husband, also a vet, wanted to go to the Ashau Valley where he spent the better part of his year, near the Laos border. We were driven there by Mr. Vu of Annam Tours. He had a relatively good sense of the area and took care of all the paperwork required to visit. Here's a link to his site.

http://www.annamtour.com

Also, the airport in Hue closed in March for repairs for 6-8 months. We flew in and out of Da Nang. The hotel in Hoi An provided transport from the airport to the hotel and again to Hue.

The hotel in Hue provided transport back to Da Nang for our flight out. I believe the cost was around $40 USD.

Have a great trip!
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May 2nd, 2013, 12:00 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
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day 4
fly to Hue
day 5
drive to Hoi An via Da Nang


My only comment - there's a lot to see in Hue, and I'm not sure you have enough time, especially if you have to fly into Danang due to the Hue airport being closed. There at least one very full day of sightseeing in Hue.
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May 2nd, 2013, 03:59 PM
  #10  
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Thanks for telling me about the Hue airport being closed.

John
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May 2nd, 2013, 05:47 PM
  #11  
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In order to have more time in Hue we might drop the trip to Halong Bay. We have seen the karst mountains near Guilin, China on the boat trip there. Is the experience about the same for both karst mountain trips?
j747
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May 2nd, 2013, 06:09 PM
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I found Halong Bay more impressive, but it does take a lot of time getting there and back, and not through interesting countryside.
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May 2nd, 2013, 10:35 PM
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With the time you have available I would definitely drop Halong bay. IMO it is just not worth the long trip to get there. If you have to fly to Danang then, rather tha go by car, I would get the train to Hue. It really is a great travel experience. On a fine day the views are amazing as the train winds its way along the coast and through the marble mountains. It is also one of the worlds great travel bargains - I thing we paid $2 a head.

Guides are easy enough to source in Hue but it is easy enough to visit all the places of interest with the aid of a decent guide book. Most can be done by bicycle, which is a great way to see the town.

one guide that may be worth a shot for something a bit different is Trung ( Mr Lac the owner of Lac Thien restarant. he and his family own three restaurants in Dien Tien Hoang St. He and most of his faily are deaf mute but this is certainly no bar to communication. The resataunts are basic but the food in all three restaurants is authentic and excellent. Mr Lac is a great character and he manages to communicate in some ingenious ways. We spent ages chatting with him and he offered to take us on one of his famous motorbike tours. Unfortunately, it was our last day but I am sure that it would have been miles better than any English speaking guides we have experienced in various places.


Some pictures ofour time in Hue on our blog
http://blog.travelpod.com/travel-blo...3280/tpod.html
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