Vietnam Questions

Jan 9th, 2004, 06:07 AM
  #21  
LJH
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 22
We booked our Halong Bay trip through the Kangaroo Cafe also, however we negotiated a price for a boat all to ourselves since we were going with our friends who are living in Hanoi. We dealt with Victor - don't know if he's still working there, but he was very helpful. The price was reasonable ($80US each) and the boat was huge (we figured it was the biggest dragon boat at the dock!), a crew of 7,plus we had a large bus for the trip from Hanoi, and there were only five of us - we felt very spoiled. As I said, our friend in Hanoi negotiated the package so it was not typical.
I would definitely choose Halong Bay over Mai Chau if you can't fit in both.

Maryanne1 - We are spending three days in Phnom Penh, and have not yet arranged a guide. What would be the best way for us to see the Killing Fields etc - are there travellers' cafes there, or do we just hire a taxi?? I assume a guide would be helpful. We will be staying at the Scandic Hotel.
Also - would you recommend Ann Tours in Saigon for day trips to Chu Chi tunnels and Mekong Delta? We only have three days there, so can't do an overnight trip to the Mekong. What do you think of the Sinh Cafe? Their prices are extremely cheap.
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Jan 9th, 2004, 10:42 AM
  #22  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,171
If you are going to Vietnam you need to include Saigon/HCMC just to experience the contrast between north and south. The sights in the city include the central market, the cholon area with its markets and temples. the reunification palace [where the tanks crashed through the gates on April 30, 1975) and the thrice renamed War Remnants Museum -- which may be there more for the Saigonese than us. There IS a big difference is culture and attitude north/south and that was a big part of my experience there.

Weather in December is fine in Hanoi -- and still hot and humid in Saigon.
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Jan 9th, 2004, 11:01 AM
  #23  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 1,072
My first 2 trips were completely planned by a couple here in the US. We had a guide and driver that made it great to do as we wished. In Saigon our guide was [email protected] Sure he would answer questions or help you. Mention my name Mary Anne Cook and he will know me. He might even consider being your guide for a day,although he usually works for IndoChina Services. I am sure Ann tours are good as I have had friends use them out of Saigon to the Chu Chi Tunnels. Tri referred a couple to Sinh Cafe so I am sure they would be okay too. In Phenom Phen we had a wonderful guide who worked for Indochina tours. I think you would get more out of the experience to have a guide. I am sure in the hotel they can refer you to a guide or some tour agency. The Killing Fields is a very sobering experience. Go through the old High School there where very few of the people imprisoned came out alive. One man who survived painted murals on the walls later that showed happenings in this prison. Are you going to Siem Reap? That is another great experience. Phenom Phen can be depressing,but worth understanding what the Cambodian people have endured under cruel leaders.
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Jan 9th, 2004, 11:14 AM
  #24  
LJH
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 22
Thanks for the tips - yes, we are going to Siem Reap and have booked a guide who was recommended by friends. I hadn't organized anyone for Phnom Penh, however, but sounds like it will be easy to arrange once we get there. I just finished reading Hang Ngor's book "A Cambodian Odyssey" and I feel better prepared to see it all now - I know it will be depressing, but important to see nonetheless.
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Jan 9th, 2004, 01:50 PM
  #25  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,171
The company that arranged our tour used Indochina Services as the local Saigon subcontractor and we had Tri as our guide. He is terrific -- flexible -- knowledgeable, with a clear "Saigonese" view of things. If he does do guiding apart from ICS he would be worth every penny.
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Jan 9th, 2004, 05:18 PM
  #26  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
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CFW-We did a day trip to Halong Bay with one other couple through Tamarind Cafe in Hanoi Old Quarter. It cost us about $30 USD each and was OK. If it was me I'd skip it and go to Krabi in Thailand. Also HCMC is a city that grows on you-on our 2nd visit in Dec we loved the place. I think you should see it. Maybe skip Hue not Hoi An and go to My Son (1 hr from Hoi An)for a morning visit-leave 6 am return 10 am taxi USD20. The ruins are interesting but nowhere near the same class as Angkor.
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Jan 10th, 2004, 04:52 PM
  #27  
CFW
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Join Date: Dec 2003
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Thanks, everyone for the tips. We are strongly considering Krabi instead of Phuket for a sourthern Thai beach, so maybe we will do that instead of Halong Bay. Any hotel recommendations in Krabi? We'd like a little luxury, access to good restaurants & a beautiful beach.
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Jan 15th, 2004, 03:41 PM
  #28  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 10
hi. i'm vietnamese and took a trip a few years ago to vietnam, starting in hanoi and ending in saigon, and thailand.

in addition to all of the above, we stayed in mui ne (a.k.a coco beach) at an awesome bungalow like resort for about $60 USD/night. unbelievable.

there's so much to comment on that if you want more details about where we stayed, etc., feel free to email me at [email protected].

p.s. the only difficult part about traveling in vietnam is the language barrier. i'm no longer fluent but luckily had my mom with me and my cousin, who lives there, drove us around. you'll love it. it was so beautiful!

oh, don't miss halong bay. it was one of my favorite sites to see!
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