Vietnam-Cambodia-Thailand

Old Apr 21st, 2005, 08:26 PM
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Vietnam-Cambodia-Thailand

I've heard mixed reviews about traveling alone (female)in Vietnam and wondered if people have some input on it. And has anyone used trekescapes before? And airfare, from LAX, what would be the best way to do it? ie. open jaw, or book a RT say to BKK, and the extra cost in flight is worth it? I'm planning on going for 3 weeks to a month (trip suggestions welcomed too!)
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Old Apr 22nd, 2005, 06:55 AM
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Certainly you can do any of those countries traveling alone. I would suggest that you consider what is most important to you in this trip, as you are talking about covering three countries in three weeks.

Usually, it is cheapest to book a flight in and out of Bangkok. However, with the new routes to VN from the US, you should check it both ways.
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Old Apr 24th, 2005, 04:46 AM
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Hello,
I will be traveling to Vietnam, Siem Reap, and Thailand on my own for a few weeks this summer(I'm 34). I can let you know how things go, but I don't anticipate any problems (or anything more than happens at home. I am flying into Hanoi (touring from there a few days-Halong Bay, Sapa), then taking the train to Da Nang to visit Hoi An which people have said wonderful things about. I then will continue by train (info at www.seat61.com) to HCMC (Although I will not be spending much time there). I will be flying from HCMC to Seim Reap to spend a few days at Angkor. I have been told going overland from HCMC to Cambodia can be difficult and unpredicable. Then I fly into bangkok for a few days and onward. have fun!
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Old Apr 24th, 2005, 05:04 PM
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Thanks! Sandy, that is the type of itinerary I'm looking at. How far in advance did you book your trip? (I still haven't and I'm planning on going in mid-June). I hope you don't mind me asking you some more questions, but did you book all your travel plans beforehand? And accommodations? Did you use a travel agent? Thanks!
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Old Apr 26th, 2005, 09:52 AM
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Macks, I too am planning a first trip to Vietnam, although for later in the year. You might want to take a look at the message boards at Frommers.com. It is a bit more of a budget/backpacking crowd over there, but worth a read. Folks over there are saying NOT to book tours in advance, as it is very economical and easy to book them once you arrive.
 
Old Apr 26th, 2005, 11:36 AM
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Thanks so much! I just checked out their site. And foudn that great post about tours in Vietnam. Any thoughts about booking travel plans/accommodations beforehand?

And anti-malaria drugs?
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Old Apr 26th, 2005, 11:46 AM
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It's true that booking any tours you want in country will be MUCH less expensive than pre-booking. I'm not much for tours. I do book hotels in advance, as I'm pretty choosy about where I stay. Train and buses can be booked as needed. For flights, book ahead any that are limited (such as in and out of Siem Reap or Luang Prabang).

As far as anti-malarials are concerned, read all about it at www.cdc.gov/travel. Only some parts of SE Asia are malarial risk areas. And don't neglect your immunizations. After doing your reading, consult with a travel medicine specialist.
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Old Apr 26th, 2005, 01:04 PM
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Hi Macks,
I used my frequent flyer miles to buy an around-the-world ticket. For this portion of the trip, I am flying into Hanoi and out of BKK. I went ahead and bought a ticket via travelocity to go from Hanoi into Siem Reap then to BKK. I booked my ATW ticket about a month an a half ago, and just booked my internal ticket yesterday. I have used this fodors site to help me make decisions about which cities I might prefer to visit, and have used the Let's Go Southeast Asia travel book. These usually deal with budget travel (ie-backpacker, independant, but not so party-centric as the Lonely Planet guides. Either are pretty good for this type of travel). I plan on staying in hostels and have used www.hostelworld.com and www.bootsnall.com to look at hostels and get reviews. I like to book ahead, especially for the nights I will be arriving into a new place because the last thing I want to do is try to find a place when I am tired and it may be getting late. I am willing to pay the few extra bucks (and thats all it may be in SE Asia) for the piece of mind. I can always change later. I also like staying in hostels or budget hotels because you tend to meet other travelers as well, and there is a tendancy for everyone to share experiences and tips, and many times, I have found that backpackers watch out for one another. (This has been the case for me from Europe to Peru).
I tend to do alot of research up front which I find is half the fun. Plus I find I am more comfortable the more I know what to expect and what options I have. Some here have recommended Handspan tours for day trips (you can google it)out of Hanoi which I think I will use.
I have used travelocity to find flights (one example was HCMC to Siem Reap, then SR to BKK was a total of $213 on Vietnam airways and Bangkok airways). Travelocity will give you a pretty good idea of individual and open jaw fares. Try different combinations until you find what is the lowest. You may try LAX to BKK roundtrip, then buy a seperate ticket BKK to Hanoi and HCMC to BKK (Taking the train between Hanoi and HCMC). Also some airlines (I think Thai airways) has a pass you can buy which will allow an additional 2 or 3 flights within SE Asia.
As for hotels, splurge (and that means 50-75 bucks for me) in BKK. I used priceline and www.biddingfortravel.com You can get a 5 star hotel for that amount, and there are very few other cities you can do that in for that amount of money. the bidding for travel website is a forum in which people respond when they have a bid accepted on priceline. You get an idea of what hotels people were assigned to and what bid was accepted. I have had good luck with this. BFT website also provides info regarding airfares and what bid was accepted. If you are flexible and don't mind non-refundable, then priceline may be worth a try for airfare at this late time (although I have never used it internationally). Good luck. Let me know if I can answer some other questions for you. Happy travels.
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Old Apr 27th, 2005, 10:26 AM
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Thanks so much for all the info! I was hoping to have things more planned out but I'm graduating soon (and that's why wanted to take some time off before starting my next position) but haven't had much time to plan. (thus the tour option but prefer not...).
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Old Apr 27th, 2005, 02:29 PM
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Macks,
Congratulations and I think its a great idea to time some time off. (I just finished my PhD two weeks ago, and I too am taking a break to travel. Have fun, and let me know what you end up doing!
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Old Apr 28th, 2005, 11:04 AM
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hahaha! I'm finishing my PhD too! Thanks Sandy! Congrats to you too! Yeah, I'm trying to do some planning while I take breaks from writing/preparing for defence... This place has been great to get info and advice.
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