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Vietnam/Cambodia: need a good travel agency

Vietnam/Cambodia: need a good travel agency

Sep 9th, 2007, 11:09 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 46
Vietnam/Cambodia: need a good travel agency

organizing a last minute trip to Cambodia/Vietnam. We are due to arrive there in a week's time and given some time constraints will need to have an agency arranging everything.
I've seen posts about Vietnam Stay but they do not do Cambodia.
Ideally, we would like to have an agency arranging both places at same time.
Can anybody recommend one?

Thank you in advance.

miss_saigon is offline  
Sep 9th, 2007, 03:52 PM
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 868
you can also just get a lonely planet type guidebook and easily do it on your own. all you have to do is read it, pick a few places you want to visit, and buy tickets at any travel agencies once you get there. Frommer's online has an online suggested itinerary for Vietnam and Cambodia in 28 days. Check out frommer's online website.
smartcookie is offline  
Sep 9th, 2007, 04:52 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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If I understand what you need, you need an agency to book your hotels and maybe some in-country flights. Vietnamstay is good for Vietnam, and for Cambodia, I'd just book it myself. If you know where you'd like to stay, I'd call the hotel and make your reservations. You can arrange a car & driver and a guide (if you want) on the spot in Siem Reap. Another option in Siem Reap is to contact a guide in advance and have them book your hotel for you.
Kathie is offline  
Sep 9th, 2007, 05:14 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 28,943
you could also contact asians trails...i think they do all of SEA....
rhkkmk is offline  
Sep 9th, 2007, 05:38 PM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 44
Here is our travel plans:

We've purchased R/T airline tickets to Hochimihn.
That's the only thing set in stone.

Day 0: Arrive in HCMC at 10:30 PM

Day 1 (22nd Dec '07): HCMC: Cu Chi Tunnels and Cai Dao. Night in HCMC.

Day 2 (23rd Dec '07): Vinh Long - Can Tho.

Day 3 (24th Dec '07): Can Tho Hochiminh - Hoi An Cai Rang - Phong Dien floating market.

Day 4 (25th Dec '07): Hoi An My Son.

Day 5 (26th Dec '07): Hoi An Hue.

Day 6 (27th Dec '07): Hue.

Day 7 (28th Dec '07): Hue- Hanoi.

Day 8 (29th Dec '07): Hanoi - Halong Bay (night on junk)

Day 9 (30th Dec '07) Halong - (Hanoi) - Sapa - overnight train to Sapa.

Day 10 (31th Dec '07) Sapa - hilltribles.

Day 12 (2nd Jan '08): Sapa -Hanoi

Day 13 (3rd Jan '08): Hanoi - Luang Prabang

Day 14 (4th Jan '08) Luang Prabang - Siem Reap

Day 15th (5th Jan '08) Angkor Ruins

Day 16th (6th Jan '08) Siem Reap until flight to HCMC. Afternoon city tour of Hochiminh

Day 17th (7th Jan '08) HCMC - Flight out of HCMC to home in late A.M.

Yes, it's an intense schedule. But we're the type of people that can do all three Orlando Disney Parks in ONE day without breaking a sweat.
What I'd like to know is, would any one attempt such a schedule without a guide during the PEAK season?
I am quite capable of booking hotels & airlines and figuring out routes & sights but I'm concerned about everything being full during this time of year. I've inquired the cost of this schedule with Vietnam Stay, Buffalo Tours, Threeland, Tonkin Travel, Griswald Travel and a few others. Seems like a lot of money! pffft. I really don't think a tour company is needed.

I'm hoping we can grab a guide through our hotels for day trips. Yes?


Canders is offline  
Sep 9th, 2007, 07:01 PM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 25,132
I'm exhausted just reading this! Plus, you'll have no time to just soak up the atmosphere. And you need at least two full days/three nights for Angkor, better three days/four nights.

Yes, you can arrange guides and/or drivers through your hotel, or a travel agency (lots of them in the places you're going). Second smartcookie's suggestion that you get yourself a good guide book and start picking hotels.
thursdaysd is offline  
Sep 9th, 2007, 07:22 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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its simply ridiculous....don't waste your money stay home...
rhkkmk is offline  
Sep 9th, 2007, 07:32 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Cambodia and Vietnam are not Disney World. I can see as much of the three Orlando Disney Parks as I want to without going to Orlando ;-). You're moving so fast, you'll never experience any of the places you are going to, If Angkor isn't worth three full days for you don't go.

No, you don't need a tour company for this, you can hire any guides or a car and driver as needed. But do slow down and experience some of this. Remember that each time you change locations you'll lose most of a day. Many of the places you are going you'll spend overnight there and that's all. Places like Luang Prabang and Hanoi are both well woth at least 5 days.

At the end of this trip you'll be able to check off all of these places and you won't have experienced any of them.
Kathie is offline  
Sep 10th, 2007, 06:00 AM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 44
(sigh) We can do this. And have, many times. We pick a different country overseas every year and we travel exactly like this. It is our way - not yours.
Though, I'm not sure the original poster, miss-saigon who is making last minute trip arrangements would be able to follow our schedule - which is ok. She travels last minute. It is her way, not ours. I respect that.

We see and experience exactly what we like. Skip what we don't enjoy. Simple. If something falls through, we modify. If we get lost, we enjoy being lost.

And, excuse me ... my question was about local assistance for 'PEAK' season. We're not sure how busy it gets this time of year.

Btw, you obviously have not looked at any of the major tour companies' itineraries! HAHA!

Look at Vietnam Stay for multi-country trips or here is Sinh Cafe's Trip for 14 days Vietnam

Day 1: Hanoi Arrival (D)
Arrive at NoiBai Airport. Meeting with guide and transfer to the hotel. Welcome dinner featured with Vietnamese specialty at ThangLong restaurant. Overnight in hotel.
Day 2: Hanoi half day city tour - Halong(B,L,D)
Your tour starts with a visit to HoChiMinh mausoleum, One pillar pagoda. The next stop is Temple of Literature, Vietnam's first college -QuocTuGiam, then roaming around HoanKiem lake Lunch in nice restaurant No 69 at Old House then transfer to Halong bay in the afternoon. Dinner at Royal restaurant. Overnight in Halong Bay.
Day 3: Halong - Hanoi (B,L,D)
Breakfast at the hotel. 7 hour boat trip give you a chance to enjoy the breath-taking beauty of Halong Bay - the World's Natural Wonder. Afternoon back Hanoi. Evening is reserved for Water Puppet Show. Dinner and Overnight in Hanoi.
Day 4: Hanoi - Hue (B,L,D) Flight
Am : Transfer from your hotel in Hanoi to the airport. Flight VN 247 to Hue ( 12h20 -13h30 ). Pick up then transfer to your hotel in Hue. Bus trip to visit Hue City and King's tombs (KhaiDinh). Dinner in Hue with Hue specialty ( Com CungDinh). Overnight in Hue
Day 5: Hue city tour (B,L,D)
Boat trip to visit ThienMu Pagoda and Minh Mang tomb. Visit Imperial Citadel in the afternoon. The tour ends by shopping at Dongba Market.
Day 6: Hue -Da Nang -Hoian(B,L,D)
Transfer to Danang . Spend time in LangCo beach enroute, taking photograph from HaiVan Pass ( The pass of Sea and Cloud). Cham Museum in Danang. Afternoon visit Marble Mountain and enjoying sea/sun bathing in China beach. Arrive Hoian. Overnight in Hoian.
Day 7: Hoian (B,L,D)
Visit Hoian - an old trading town, some 30km from Danang. Visit Hoian: Japanese Covered Bridge, TanKy Old house, Assembly Hall Chinese. PhucKien Pagoda, Hoian Museum and Market. Lunch and dinner at restaurant. Overnight in Hoian.
Day 8: Hoian -Danang - Nha Trang(B,L,D) Flight
Am : Transfer from Hoian to Danang airport for flight VN 335 to NhaTrang ( 10h10 - 11h30 ), the guide will welcome you and escort you to the hotel. The left of the day is open
for free sea bathing at NhaTrang beach. Lunch and dinner at resturant. Overnight in NhaTrang.
Day 9:Nha trang Boat trip to islands (B,L,D)
8:00am starting boat trip to Hon Tam Island and fishing village in NhaTrang, visit coral island and TriNguyen Aquarium. Dinner on boat. Overnight in NhaTrang.
Day 10:Nhatrang -Dalat (B,L,D)
After breakfast, leave NhaTrang for Dalat - the charmng city in Highland. Visit Pokrongarai Cham Tower and enjoy the beauty of scenery en route when passing NgoanMuc Pass. Visit HoaBinh market , Prenn Water Fall and TuyenLam Pagoda in Dalat. Dinner and Overnight in Dalat.
Day 11: Dalat -Saigon (B,L,D)

Am : Visit flower Garden, Former Palace of Emperor Bao Dai - The last emperor of Vietnam. Lunch. Afternoon, transfer to Saigon (some 300km away). You will pass through many immense coffee farms and rubber forests to reach Saigon. Visit also LaNga floating market on road. Arrive Saigon in late afternoon. Dinner and overnight in Saigon.
Day 12: Half day city tour - Cuchi (B,L,D)
Am : Visit Reunification Palace and War Museum. Lunch to be arranged in nice restaurant. Visit CuChi tunnel in the afternoon. 17:00 back Saigon. Dinner and free in the evening. Overnight at hotel.
Day 13: Mytho- Mekong delta (B,L,D)
Drive southward to Mekong delta. Boat trip in MyTho through tiny canals and quiet villages. Lunch in nice restaurant inside garden. Afternoon transfer back Saigon with stop over in VinhTrang pagoda for visiting. Dinner and overnight in Saigon.
Day 14: Departure (B)
Breakfast at hotel. Free until transfer to airport for departure

Canders is offline  
Sep 10th, 2007, 06:30 AM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 44
to answer your question - yes
VietnamStay can arrange Cambodia and Laos travel, as well as Vietnam.
Canders is offline  
Sep 10th, 2007, 06:47 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 25,132
Yes, I've looked at the tour group itineraries. That's one reason I do it myself.
thursdaysd is offline  
Sep 10th, 2007, 07:07 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 32,984
Canders, I certainly agree that we all have our own way of doing things. You say you pick a different counntry each year and do this. Well, this year you haven't picked one country, you've picked 3. Three countries with different histories and cultures. Of course, you are only spending an overnight in Laos, so you won't see any of it. And you have a mere day at Angkor, so you will see and likely photograph Angkor Wat to prove you've been there, but other than that you will have no experience of Cambodiua either.

So you are spending basically two weeks in VN. Yes, all of us have seen the itineraries of tour companies. As thursdays says, that's why we are independent travelers.

You asked for feedback, we gave you feedback. Logistically, you can probably do it, but practically, the majority of your time will be in transit. I hope you enjoy spending time in airports.

I did answer you questions about drivers/guides. Yes, you can easily arrange them any place you go. Yes, even during the highest season.
Kathie is offline  
Sep 10th, 2007, 07:33 AM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 44
1. We not visiting 3 ENTIRE countries. We're visiting one city in Laos. One area in Cambodia. 3. I accidently made a mistake typing our schedule and left out Jan 1st and we'll be in Ankor 3 days/2 nights. Sorry about that.
4. I'll seek others to ask my question about peak season.

Canders is offline  
Sep 10th, 2007, 09:50 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 25,132
You are not "visiting" Luang Prabang. You are flying in one day and out the next. LP is the kind of place that repays people who settle down for a few days. And that's the ONLY place you're going in Laos? sounds like someone checking places off for a multi-country award from some Globetrotters Club, not a serious traveler.
thursdaysd is offline  
Sep 10th, 2007, 11:45 AM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 44
It appears you like to flame. I do not. I do not attack others choice in travel or in their life. If I can be helpful, I sure am. If not, I remain silent.

Last Easter we flew to southern spain -Arcos de la Frontera - for one day to watch their version of, 'Running of the Bulls' - much more interesting to me and my husband than Pamplona bull running would be. *shrug* Just us.
Also, last Christmas we did Istanbul in 1 day + 2 nights. Istanbul is 10+ million people. We navigated without a problem. *snap*
Did we see it all? No.
Did we visit the Blue Mosque? No.
Did we take a ride on the Bosphorus river? No.
Those things don't interest my husband and I.

We saw exactly what interested US. <---see that word?

Tell me what we missed in Istanbul.(?)
(you might have to cut and paste the first part of this link)

Final word. Our style of travel works for us. Obviously not for you, and you know what, that's ok. It doesn't work for a lot of people. I know a lady who flew to Paris to shop for one day. *spit* I would NEVER consider doing that! I hate to shop.

Best regards.

Canders is offline  
Sep 10th, 2007, 12:55 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,100
To each his own on the way we travel whether by tours or on your own. Have you been to SEA before and if not it is not like treveling in North America or Europe. The heat and humidity can wear you out fast so that you do not accomplish as much as you may think you can. And things tend to move at a slower pace.
For instance in Cambodia Siem Reap) it is most common to visit the temples in the morning, return to your hotel for lunch, rest for a few hours and then go out again.
Scotters is offline  
Sep 10th, 2007, 02:36 PM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 25,132
Quote from canders: "The reason only want a couple days in Japan is, I guess to say I was there". I rest my case.
thursdaysd is offline  
Sep 10th, 2007, 07:03 PM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 44
Mount Everest.
Canders is offline  
Sep 11th, 2007, 09:47 AM
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For the record: here is my complete quote (taken out of context)

Author: Canders
Date: 04/30/2006, 01:47 am
Thanks Neil Oz for the www. I wondered about a ferry service. It says it takes 2 days and is $180. The www also suggested rail across China, which is Trans-Siberian Railway but stops in China. Sounds like a flight is really the only logical way to get from Japan to China.

KimJapan, I looked at multi-stop ticket through Travelocity but they are much more expensive. I can get a r/t ticket for $650 from Chicago to Japan, but a multi-destination (Chicago/Japan/China and back is $1,800. Maybe I'm not entering the correct information?

mrwunrfl, I am going to try your idea of finding a puddle jumper japanese flight from Japan to China to Japan then home. The reason only want a couple days in Japan is, I guess to say I was there. See a couple days. I know it won't be in depth. It just seems a shame to fly over Japan without a quick look-see.
OH, mrwunrfl - NOW THAT IS SOMETHING I HAVEN'T LOOKED AT.. you said, "After you find a fare, look at the fare rules to see if a stopover is allowed. For some fares it is free; for others you may pay $100." I will definately check that out right away and see if that would work, and let you know.
Thanks to all, so very much. This is a great board. Travelers helping other travelers. *hugs*

Canders is offline  
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