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Cambodia & Vietnam in 9 days. Which direction and How? SR - PP - HCM - Hanoi

Posted by happyhipp0 on 30/11/2010 at 16:47

We are planning a 9 day trip to vietnam and cambodia, and would LOVE to help in the planning?

1. What direction shall we travel in (flying in from KL)? Hanoi - Ho Chi Minh city / Saigon - Phnom Penh - Siem Reap or reverse? (i.e. NORTH to SOUTH or SOUTH to NORTH) or would people recommend an alternative route?

2. How do we get between the different places? plane, train or bus?

3. I know its not long enough for a thorough visit - but is 2 days in each place reasonable?

Planning to leave around 18th December.

Thanks a million!

#1 happyhipp0 has been a member since 22/11/2010. Posts: 3

Posted by eastwest on 30/11/2010 at 20:29


It is very tight and you'd better start booking those flights (and rooms) for that period

Trains are out of the question since you can only go Hanoi to HCMC by train but it would take too much time.
Bus from HCMC to PP is an option. Also bus PP to SR is an option

Perhaps a day less in PP or leave it out altogether (it's the least interesting city of the three). SR, Hanoi and HCMC deserve a little more time.

My recommendation would be:
3 night in Hanoi for colonial charm and so on
fly Hanoi -HCMC
3 nights HCMC to get the energy buzz that symbolizes Vietnam
6 am bus HCMC -PP
1 night PP. If you take a very early morning bus you have the afternoon to visit royal palace and nat. museum. Next morning visit Khmer Rouge sights and travel to SR in the afternoon.
fly/bus/boat/taxi PP -SR depending on budget/time/interest
3 nights SR to see the temples and perhaps unwind by the pool

tight but possible

#2 eastwest has been a member since 17/12/2009. Posts: 778
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Posted by DLuek on 1/12/2010 at 03:33 TF writer


With 9 days, I would seriously consider cutting out one of those places, if not an entire country.  The only way it's possible is if you fly all but maybe one of the routes, but even then you'll be traveling on half of your total days.  Even the flight from Hanoi to Saigon (or vice-versa) is at least a half-day event once it's all said and done.  This also would all depend on where you're flying in to/out of the region from, and if you've included those travel days as part of the 9 or not...  

The recommendation from eastwest is possible, barely, although it would seem you'd have to at least cut out a couple nights in Vietnam...  I mean, three nights total for PP and Siem Reap including travel time?  If that's possible I couldn't imagine it being enjoyable.  

#3 DLuek has been a member since 19/6/2008. Location: Thailand. Posts: 1,298
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Posted by eastwest on 1/12/2010 at 10:33

Completely agree with leaving a place out (and I would choose PP) but I looked at it again and think it can work since travel times are actually not that long in the last part of the trip.

if you break it down it can be done:
1. arrival in Hanoi
2. full day Hanoi
3. full day Hanoi
4. transfer to HCMC which will take up most of the day
5. full day HCMC
6. full day HCMC (optional day tour to cu chi tunnels or mekong delta)
7. transfer (flight or bus) to PP in morning, full afternoon in PP
8. morning PP, transfer to SR (flight or taxi) and visit temple in afternoon/evening
9. full day SR
10. fly out

Hanoi doesn't have that many real "must see" sights, that you need two days to visit, nor any feasible day-trip options (Ha Long bay is very tiring in a day) but the Old quarter is charming to wander around. Depending on interest you could do a day less in Hanoi and 1 more in SR to visit temples or lie by a pool.

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Posted by happyhipp0 on 1/12/2010 at 10:41

wow thank you soooo much - I am so glad I signed up! travel fish peeps RAWK!

I have had a few recommendations to skip PP and try ha long bay instead - but how would I get to SR from Vietnam without going through PP? .. and is including ha long bay a feasible option if we skip out PP?

Thanks eastwest and Dleuk!

#5 happyhipp0 has been a member since 22/11/2010. Posts: 3

Posted by eastwest on 1/12/2010 at 11:46

That sounds like a better plan and it will be an all flights affair.
You'll have most likely a flight HCMC to SR (don't know of any flights from Hanoi to SR).

Those flights usually make a stop in PP on way up or down
Return ticket would be best since neither SR nor PP serve intercontinental flights (if that applies to you). You do have interternational flight to Vietnam entering Hanoi and leaving HCMC.

As for the itinerary I would then add a night to Hanoi area and spend a night in Halong so you won't feel so rushed.

1. arrival Hanoi
2. full day Hanoi
3. few hours Hanoi, afternoon transfer to Halong, spend night on boat/Cat Ba/Halong city
4. boat trip, transfer back to Hanoi
5. transfer to HCMC
8. transfer to SR, visit 1 temple late afternoon
9. full day SR

That's the best I can do for you

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Posted by Rasheeed on 3/12/2010 at 10:44

One country...

#7 Rasheeed has been a member since 4/11/2010. Location: Cambodia. Posts: 311
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Posted by atawa on 9/12/2010 at 00:21

I would definately recommend skipping two cities. You only have 7 full days so with 2 cities you have 3 days in each and one day for traveling in between.
Witch cities you choose depends on your interest I guess.

#8 atawa has been a member since 18/11/2010. Posts: 3

Posted by AbigailatPenhandInk on 9/12/2010 at 10:21 TF writer

Personally, I much prefer Hanoi to HCMC, and think you will get more of a Vietnam 'flavour' by staying there. It depends what you're interested in, but if it's food, buildings, everyday life, history etc, I'd go for thousand year old Hanoi every time.

Halong Bay is beautiful, and well worth the effort. Spending a night on a boat is a great idea, and you won't feel like you just spent all your time sitting on a minibus! If you're booking a tour to do this (the easiest way) then make sure you are clear about the timetable and allow an hour or two extra, just in case.

For Siem Reap, I'd try to make sure you have a day and a half at the temples - one day doesn't really do them justice, unless you just want a quick impression. There are so many temples, and the complex is large - it's not like the Taj Mahal or Forbidden City, where there's one big attraction in one place.

#9 AbigailatPenhandInk has been a member since 9/11/2010. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 178
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