Vietnam & Cambodia Itinerary

Old Oct 5th, 2023, 02:07 AM
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Vietnam & Cambodia Itinerary

Hi,

I need recommendations for a 21-day Itinerary to Vietnam and Cambodia in December (Is it a good idea to add Thailand)?
We are very active and adventurous. Budget-travel

Thanks
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Old Oct 5th, 2023, 02:48 AM
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If you are not really interested in the other 2 countries, then add Thailand. But I would not recommend that. My previous Vietnam trip lasted for 3 weeks and I felt like that was not enough time only to explore the southern half of the country.
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Old Oct 5th, 2023, 05:59 AM
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Thank you, I appreciate your input Tvsalphaaov
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Old Oct 6th, 2023, 02:52 AM
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No it is not a good idea to add time in Thailand. Firstly it is much more expensive than Vietnam or Cambodia so doesn't fit well with your requirement for budget travel, Secondly, 21 days is barely enough for Cambodia and Vietnam - you could easily spend the entire 21 days in Vietnam.

First thing to do is to sort out your international flights as that will largely dictate your route (wherever you decide to go). Ideally, I would aim for an 'open-jaw' ticket into one city and out of another. Hanoi and Saigon are the obvious candidates. Vietnam is along thin country and this would avoid doubling back. Even better would be into Hanoi and out of Phnom Penh but the only airline I know that may offer that would be Emirates.

Something like this would work well.

Hanoi (+Ninh Binh, Mai Chau etc...)
Hue /Hoi An
Saigon
Through the Mekong Delta by bus , boat and bike stopping off at Ben Tre, Can Tho, Chau Doc
Boat from Chau Doc to Phnom Penh in Cambodia
A few days in PP then get buses to Siem Reap via Battambang for Angkor Wat.

In terms of "adventure" you could spend less time in the cities and get out into the countryside either in the delta or on the mountains of northern Vietnam.

most of these places we covered in our blog @ https://accidentalnomads.com just click on the destination tab for the relevant country.

The options are many so you really need to decide what it is you want to see and do and plan a route accordingly. Both Vietnam and Cambodia are very geared up for independent budget travel but it can take time to get from place to place. It is a cliche I know but less really can mean more in SE Asia.


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Old Oct 6th, 2023, 11:13 AM
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Hi Crellston

Thank you so much - that sounds great.
I've checked your blog twice now and love it. I don't like the fact that they eat dogs in Northern Vietnam but I assume that is how it goes. Do you think they kill dogs to eat them or cook dead or sick dogs? Must say as a big animal lover I wouldn't like to experience that.
However thanks for all the advice and info on your blog - Much appreciated!
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Old Oct 6th, 2023, 11:34 AM
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Hi Crellston

Let me know your thoughts:- and how many days in each of these?
Flying from South Africa to Hanoi -
Then flying or taking the overnight Bus (or train) to Hue /Hoi An? -
then to Saigon (fly/train or Bus)? -
Then, travel by Bus through the Mekong Delta - boat and bike, stopping off at Ben Tre, - Can Tho, - and Chau Doc.
After that, take a boat from
Chau Doc to Phnom Penh in Cambodia -
A few days in PP, then get buses to Siem Reap via Battambang for Angkor Wat.
And then back to SA?
Any recommendations for overnight places?
Hiking (or Cycling) - I've read about your hike through Northern Vietnam - would you recommend that for a Solo traveller? (I'm unsure if I'll travel alone as hubby is not very interested.)
Would you also recommend I take a backpack rather than a suitcase (perhaps a dumb question)? hahaha
If any adventurous travellers out there would like to join me - let me know - I need to live life while I have the chance and in good health.
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Old Oct 6th, 2023, 12:25 PM
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Hi Mimmie,

Good to know you found our blog helpful.

Like you we are animal lovers. Indeed when back in the UK we spend much of our time in other people’s houses looking after their dogs. Sadly eating dog meat does happen in Vietnam (and much of SE Asia) though it is not widespread and the average tourists would be unlikely to come across it. It is mainly to be found in more remote, rural areas, mostly in the north .

As far as nights in each location are concerned, to visit all the places you mention at a reasonable pace would need the best part of a month. I think something like this would work but you may need to drop a few places to fit into your 21 days otherwise it would be way too rushed.

Nights

4 Hanoi
3 Hue/Hoi An
3 Saigon


Mekong Delta

2 Ben Tre
1 Can Tho
3 Chau Doc

boat to

2 Phnom Penh
2 Battambang
4 Siem Reap

1 Hanoi

By my calculations that is 25 days. I suppose you could shave a day here and there but do bear in mind that two nights anywhere only gives you one full day of sightseeing plus the odd half day. Three nights = 2 days etc.

The hiking tour we took from Mai Chau to Ninh Binh took four or five nights as I recall. A brilliant trip! We chose a private trip but most will just join a small group which has the advantage of being cheaper and provided company for a solo traveller, so yes, I would recommend it.We used Ethnic Travel who were very good but there are literally dozens of tour operators in Hanoi and Saigon offering trips all over. Some are better than others so caveat emptor! To incorporate such a tour you would need to drop something. I would suggest Hue/ Hoi An as the weather won’t be great in central Vietnam at that time of year

Backpack, backpack, backpack! If you possible can, do what we do and get it all into a carryon so you don’t need to check it in all over the place. My packing list is to be found in our blog in tne travel tips section. My wife’s is also there (basically the same but with different underwear and she has more lotions and potions!)


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Old Oct 7th, 2023, 07:22 PM
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Hanoi flight or train to Hue or Danang and then Danang flight or train to HCMC, avoid bus due to long distances.
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Old Oct 9th, 2023, 12:05 AM
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Originally Posted by DinHo
Hanoi flight or train to Hue or Danang and then Danang flight or train to HCMC, avoid bus due to long distances.
I will say flights are the best. The train will not be that comfortable.
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Old Oct 9th, 2023, 05:53 AM
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Originally Posted by tvsalphaaov
I will say flights are the best. The train will not be that comfortable.
Definitely train rather than plane. Easier to get to/from and much better scenery. I've ridden Vietnamese trains the full length of the country and the rolling stock has been refurbished since my last visit. I wouldn't recommend Hanoi to Sapa (worst ride of my life) but the other trains are fine.

For more info see: https://www.seat61.com/Vietnam.htm
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Old Oct 10th, 2023, 10:06 AM
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Thank You!
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Old Oct 10th, 2023, 10:07 AM
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Thanks
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Old Oct 10th, 2023, 10:18 AM
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Hi Crellston, what do you think about a) SAPA? and the following 50% discounted trip from Tourradar? Please give me your opinion as a 50% discount might be worth it?20 Days in Vietnam and Cambodia along the Mekong

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Old Oct 10th, 2023, 10:12 PM
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Hi Mimmie,

Sapa is beautiful, stunning scenery, but hit as suffered from overtourism for years. To make the best of it, I am of the opinion that you need to get out of the town and into the villages rather than stay in the town. It is many years since I have been but it is not a place which would be high on my list.

Regarding your tourradar trip. I don’t know of them but it is difficult for me to comment without details of teh tour which you haven’t included!
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Old Oct 11th, 2023, 01:56 AM
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My apologies, link is https://www.tourradar.com/t/76118.
There are several ones.
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Old Oct 11th, 2023, 06:47 AM
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Thank you.

My first thoughts with any tour company is - who are they? Where are they based? What consumer protections do they offer to you based on your geographical location? Are they financially stable and only then would I even consider partying with any money.You will need yo do your own research on these points and make an informed decision based on that reasearch. I have never heard of them but there is no reason that I should have. I am based in the UK but this company seems to be based in Vienna. Using a company outside of my own country would always be a concern for me.

As for the tour itself, I am afraid, as is typical of many tour operators, it is very fast paced. Way too fast for me. to put this into context, we have taken several trips along very similar, almost identical routes but it has taken us two or three times the amount of time. I appreciate that we are slow traveller compared with some but this itinerary

In-Depth Cultural Tour: 20 Days in Vietnam and Cambodia along the Mekong


has you changing location around 12 times in 20 days. That is 12 times checking in and out of hotels, transfer to airports, taxis between towns etc. etc. I bank on losing half a day to mundane stuff like that every time you move which is a massive chunk of your waking vacation time. To an extent this is mitigated by the fact that someone is organising all this for you but not by much. Some of those moves will involve some nice sights along the way. Personally , I would want a minimum of three nights in any location which would allow for 2 full days of actually doing and seeing stuff. Some people are fine with this and are happy with a whistle stop tour ticking off locations but it wouldn't be for me.

Apart from Sapa, of which I am not a great fan, the itinerary seems fine, just very rushed. As an example they have you spending a single day at Angkor which is a massive site. Most people spend at least 3 full days there and usually more. You may as not bother with one day there given the 8-10 hours it take to get there from PP.

I dont have time to dig into the pricing in dept but a quick look seems to indicate a cost of almost 2000 for the tour excluding International flights. Which is not as expensive as many I have seen but that includes a "50% discount" which IMO is probably just marketing hype. and still more expensive than you could do independently or even with a series of local tour in country.

Hope this helps




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Old Oct 11th, 2023, 08:45 AM
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Personally, I would view any company offering a 50% discount with deep suspicion. I also note that the price does not include "+ $366 Internal airfare and Tour Guide fee". Tour guide fee? Tourradar appears to be a reseller,rather than an actual tour company, selling tours operated by multiple other companies. This tour appears to be private rather than an actual tour group, and a combination of separate shorter tours with different transport and drivers. The advertised price is probably for the three star hotels. I haven't checked them, but it looks like the Hoi An hotel is on the beach and not in town.

Aside from that I agree with crellston, although I'm OK with two night stops in some places. However, any tour that offers just one day at Angkor is rubbish. I suspect they hope you will buy an add-on. My first visit to Angkor was two and a half days (three nights) and I decided that wasn't enough and went back for several more nights.
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Old Oct 11th, 2023, 06:34 PM
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Originally Posted by MimmieHuman
Hi Crellston

Thank you so much - that sounds great.
I've checked your blog twice now and love it. I don't like the fact that they eat dogs in Northern Vietnam but I assume that is how it goes. Do you think they kill dogs to eat them or cook dead or sick dogs? Must say as a big animal lover I wouldn't like to experience that.
However thanks for all the advice and info on your blog - Much appreciated!
They do, but not only in the north (just more in the north). It is brutal that they do a lot of things to the dog. But it is not a "cultural" thing, when I was traveling in Vietnam there were not so many places like that, just a few for a small group of people. For the rest they loved dogs and tried their best to protect them from the "dog thieves" around the streets.
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Old Oct 12th, 2023, 11:21 PM
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Hi all
Thanks for the advice.
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Old Oct 14th, 2023, 02:18 AM
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Hi, Which Flight Co in Vietnam do you recommend? Will it be better if I book in advance (before my travel)?
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