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lcboone Sep 26th, 2017 04:29 PM

Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia Travel Tips?

I'm considering making a trip out to Vietnam, Thailand, and Cambodia this December and January. I'm also considering throwing Laos into the mix, depending on the best way to travel.

As of now, I have plans to start my trip in Saigon and end my trip in Bangkok. We would travel and explore Vietnam through going north through the country and stop in Cambodia along the way. I'm finding very little about traveling from Hanoi to Thailand and travel tips for that route. We would have about 5 days for this end of the trip, so I would appreciate any suggestions for destinations or the best method to travel. It'd be best to end in Bangkok since my flight would leave from there. We're open to most kinds of destinations, including hidden gems, rural destinations, cities, or beaches. Thanks in advance :)

crellston Sep 26th, 2017 10:40 PM

I would suggest that you have a look at a map and then rethink your route. Starting off with Cambodia then Saigon then North to Hanoi would make much more sense and avoid the necessity for multiple entry Vietnam visas.

From Hanoi, it is possible to get to Thailand through northern Laos but it is journey that is a tad on the arduous side and will likely take more than the five days you have allotted.

We have done trips in the past in both directions bu5 I would suggest Phnom Penh - Chau Doc - Saigon - train with various stops en route to Dien Bien Phu. Cross the border to Laos, maybe Luang Namtha, Phongsali, Luang Prabang and then head to Thailand,Chiang Rai and then to Bangkok.

How long do you have?

lcboone Sep 28th, 2017 10:10 AM

I will be there for approximately 15 days total. We have reworked the trip to go to Ankor Wat in Cambodia as a 1 or 2 day trip from Bangkok.

So, we will be starting in Saigon, traveling north through the train to Hanoi, then flying to Bangkok. Are there any must-sees along this route or suggested tours?

Kathie Sep 28th, 2017 10:44 AM

I think you need to rework your itinerary: you are hoping to cover three countries in 15 days. To get 15 days on the ground in Asia, you need to spend 16 nights.

It takes three full days (4 nights) just to see the major temples at Angkor - you would want more time if you were really interested.

You could easily spend your whole time in VN or in Thailand. Trying to fit three countries into 15 days assures that you won't see much anywhere. If you really want to visit all three countries, you need to have very limited goals, like one stop in each country.

edgeofcomfort Sep 28th, 2017 11:55 AM

If all you want to see is temples in Angkor, you could get it done in two days but the days will definitely be packed full. By the end you will likely be sick of seeing temples haha.

I do agree with Kathie above in that three countries in 15 days is a lot. Vietnam and Thailand each have enough to do for 15 days alone, but I understand wanting to see more than one country. If you do decide to do all three, I'd spend the bulk of the time in Vietnam/Thailand.

edgeofcomfort Sep 28th, 2017 11:56 AM

Also, have you looked into night buses at all? Allows you to travel during the night and saves you from having to spend money on lodging. Obviously not as comfortable as a bed, but they are efficient for a limited time frame.

crellston Sep 28th, 2017 03:11 PM

As long as you are happy with a busy trip then I think your plan will work out OK. We have been to Angkor several times, the last being for two days when we took my wife’s parents there. A day and a half around the major temples and they were perfectly happy. If you are REALLY into temples, then allocate more time. In Dec /Jan it will be very, very crowded.

You can maximise your actual sightseeing time by scheduling your flights carefully ensuring that you get the earliest flights out leaving more or less a full day on arrival. Later flights can block out virtually a whole day.

If you are intent on seeing all three countries, I would just spend one full day in Bangkok taking a whistlestop tour of say the Grand Palace, and the variuos wats along the river. Maybe Chinatown, the flower markets etc. Sort somewhere grea for dinner and fly to Siem Reap early th next day. Half a day of temples on arrival and a full day the following day. Maybe an evening flight to Saigon or early the following morning. You will jphave time for a 3n2 d in Saigon, enough for the main sights in District 1 plus maybe a visit to Cholon.

The best resource for train travel is overnight trains are fun and a great way to meet the Vietnamese people. I would always go for a soft sleeper, bottom bunk.

A few days in Hue or Hoi An would be good and end your trip in Hanoi where there is loads to see and I would allocate the bulk of your time.

There is some more info on most of these places on our blog of our recent trip there @ which may provide a few ideas of what to see and where to go. There is also a fair amount about train travel in the country.

Most people here, myself included, like to travel at a slower pace but there is nothing wrong with a faster paced trip if you accept that a high proportion of your time will be spent in transit.

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