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Vietnam and Cambodia opinions needed!


Nov 29th, 2015, 07:45 AM
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Vietnam and Cambodia opinions needed!

Hi everyone,

A friend of mine and I are planning on a trip to Cambodia and Vietnam in the middle of Feb. We are two women in our 40's and both of us have traveled extensively although I have never been to Asia.

We are planning on flying into Siem Reap from Chicago. We originally wanted to visit Phnom Penh but after considering all of the cities we wanted to visit in our limited time, we decided to eliminate it. (Not sure if that is a wise decision.) Can you give me your opinions on the following itinerary.

Day 1 - Arrive in Siem Reap very late.
Day 2 - Siem Reap
Day 3 - Siem Reap
Day 4 - Siem Reap
Day 5 - Travel to HCM City
Day 6 - HCM City
Day 7 - HCM City
Day 8 - HCM City
Day 9 - Travel to Hoi An
Day 10 - Hoi An
Day 11 - Travel to Hue
Day 12 - Hue
Day 13 - Travel to Hanoi
Day 14 - Travel to Halong Bay and take 2D/1N cruise
Day 14 - Travel back to Hanoi
Day 15 - Leave for Home.

Are we staying too long in Siem Reap and not enough time in Hoi An/ Hue? Since we don't have a lot of time, we wanted to get a good flavor of the countries. One of us is very interested in history and the other is very interested in food and cooking. We both love just taking in a new culture and experiences.

Thanks so much for any assistance!
kiki2 is offline  
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Nov 29th, 2015, 07:48 AM
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I would say that's a good amount of time in SR, plenty of things to see and do in 3 days, I really wouldn't cut it any shorter....
Smeagol is offline  
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Nov 29th, 2015, 07:55 AM
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Don't cut any Siem Reap time. You need 3 full days (which you have) just to see the major temples. Do get a copy of Dawn Rooney's book, Angkor: A Guide to Cambodia's Wondrous Temples to prepare for your visit.

Personally, I'd cut Halong Bay as you'll waste two days getting to and from there - long, boring drive from Hanoi. But for some people, it's a must. I'd also consider cutting a day from HCMC. But it's a matter of personal preference as to where you spend your time in VN.
Kathie is online now  
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Nov 29th, 2015, 08:06 AM
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We arrived at midnight in HCMC, spent all day sightseeing and left the next morning. For us it was plenty of time in the city.

To us the most interesting part of Vietnam was life away from the cities. You do not seem to have any time at all planned for that.
julies is offline  
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Nov 29th, 2015, 08:56 AM
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I, too, would cut time from Saigon, even if you are including day trips outside.

You are shortchanging Hanoi badly. I enjoyed the Halong Bay overnight but am not sure what the weather will be like in Feb - it can be cold and wet in Dec.

If you are not shopping for clothes you can cut time in Hoi An.

You might consider reversing the sequence. Siem Reap is now tourist central, and generally very hot and humid. If you have never been to Asia you may have less culture shock starting in Hanoi.
thursdaysd is offline  
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Nov 29th, 2015, 09:33 AM
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I think you are trying to pack too much into the time you have available, but it largely depends on your own particular interests and style of travel. I am guessing you like cities a lot as you are spending little or no time out in the countryside. Like julies, we found that to be the most interesting part of visiting the country.

Halong Bay will take away a huge proportion of your time in Hanoi, one of Asia's most rewarding cities to visit. The journey to and from the bay will take around 5 hours each way leaving just one afternoon and one morning to actually explore the bay. It is also likely to be cold, damp and hazy (which could mean that the views may not be that great). My necessarily sunpbjective view is that it is not worth the time lost elsewhere.

The weather in Hue and Hoi An should be pretty good. Of the two, I prefer Hue, the imperial tombs an citadel are impressive. Hoi An is very pretty but it is jam packed with tourists which detracts somewhat from the experience.

Personally, I think it is a mistake to exclude Phnom Penh but again it depends upon your interests. Excluding Hanoi completely would open up the possibility of staying in the south and maybe including PP and part of the Mekong delta which would be great at that time of year.

The problem is that there are so many options!
crellston is offline  
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Nov 29th, 2015, 10:35 AM
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Agree, that's the dilemma, and travelling around too much can be slow, tiring, and leave you regretting you hadn't lingered longer in some of the places.

Unless you are taking in a 2 day 1 night side trip to The Mekong during your Saigon time, then definitely cut a day from Saigon.

You've missed out Dalat, in an elevated spot between Saigon and Hoi An. It's v. picturesque, and a welcome break from the heat and humidity.

We spent a week in Hoi An, and didn't do any shopping.

Most scenic way of getting from Hoi An to Hue is by train from Danang. Not many trains a day, we took the 0835 which took 4 hours. Can't comment on Hue as we were caught in a tropical depression for 5 days, and it never stopped raining.

Like Crellston mentions, shame you're missing Phnom Penh while in Cambodia.
LancasterLad is offline  
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Nov 30th, 2015, 07:09 PM
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Both HCMC and Siem Reap have alots of interesting things to do, depend on your flavour you may reduce the traveling time for one but in my opinion your itinerary is fair enough.
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