We pretty much planned our entire trip following advice and tips from Travelfish so I thought I would return the favour and let you all know what we did in case you find it of use....
We only had 2 and a half weeks to see everything we wanted to in Southern Vietnam and Cambodia - and we feel we saw everything we could in such a short space of time whilst squeezing in 4 days of beach chilling at the end...so in short this was our itinerary!
Get a metered taxi from the airport – into the city centre it should be about $6
Went drinking (lots of drinking!) - some good bars down De Tham including Allez Boo and Saigon...though it's all a bit of a blur!
Hired cyclo driver for next to nothing – can’t remember how much but I think it was about $8 (bless him) who took us to Cu Chi Tunnels, Ben Than market, War Remnants Museum, Jade Pagoda etc etc
Mekong Delta Tour from Saigon to Phnom Penh
2 nights 3 days:
Booked the tour through Delta Adventures on De Tham - very helpful and the whole tour including all transport and accommodation was only $45.
Really good trip (the guest houses are pretty basic, they're at least clean - but if you have your own sheet sleeping bag, take it as nylon sheets - yuck - are quite common!)
You see some wonderful things such as candy making, snake wine tasting, rice factory, floating markets (fantastic), bike riding, fishing villages, Cham Minority villages etc...loads of boat and bus journey's but thoroughly enjoyed it and met lots of people from around the globe. You get a good feel of life on the Mekong. And the people (particularly the kids!) are just so lovely.
If you go on the tour round to Phnom Penh the 3rd day involves quite long boat journeys to the border and then a very bumpy bus ride to PP, but it all added to the experience! (If you didn’t go on to PP you got a bus back to Saigon so you don’t have to do the tour round to Cambodia)
Stayed along Sisowath Quay (loads of good value guesthouses and no need to book in advance) which seems to be where alot of bars and restaurants are, and it's right on the river so the views are great. Absolutely loved PP. There's more visible poverty than in Saigon but the people are really lovely and the general atmosphere of PP was fab – bustly and nice wide open streets – and less mopeds than in Saigon!
Hired a Tuk Tuk driver for the whole day for $15 who took us everywhere we wanted to go to including:
Killing fields and S21 (not pleasant but very humbling), Russian Market (really good for silks and gifts), Palace and Silver Pagoda etc.
Had several beers overlooking the sunset and the river at the Foreign Ambassadors Club of Cambodia on Sisowath Quay - lovely ambience and they show screenings of films there too.
After much deliberating about whether to get the bus, the boat or the flight (and with much difference of opinion on all forms of transport) we decided to get the bus there. It was about a 5 hour journey for $10 and it's a clean, air conditioned bus and you get breakfast too!
Decided to push the boat out and stayed at the wonderful Bophor Angkor Hotel (purely cos it had a pool and we were knackered!!) but it was well worth the extra dollars after 2 hectic days visiting the temples!
We hired a Tuk Tuk Driver who took us round Angkor Wat etc for $12 dollars for all day - good value. He wasn't a guide, he was just the transport but you really do need to have a tuk tuk driver to get you about as this place is seriously vast! You can hire actual guides when you get there for about $25 though we just bought a guide book and did it ourselves.
If you're limited for time, make sure you take in Angkor Wat (if you're scared of heights don't go up into the temple, I was utterley petrified coming back down!), Ta Prohm (the ones with the tree routes you will have seen on photos), Bayon and Angkor Thom...Amazing - an experience you'll never forget.
Phu Quoc Island
We flew from Siem Reap back to Saigon then on to Phu Quoc Island - which is just idyllic - beautiful beaches fringed with palm trees and the sea is clear and warm...bliss
We went snorkelling and fishing, hired motorbikes for a day (one side of the island is dirt roads, be prepared to get filthy, and the otherside of the island is tarmac) and generally chilled out...brilliant. Few good bars along Duong Dong beach including Eden which is right on the beach and you can sit right on the shore edge with lanterns for light and the sunset infront of you with a cold beer in hand. Wish I was still there.....
Anyway some of this info probably isn't relevant to you but hopefully you might find it of use...! And not that we’re experts or anything, if you do want to know anything else then just give me a shout!
Enjoy your trip!
#1 lucyhudson has been a member since 25/11/2006. Posts: 38
Nice one Lucy,
..................We're gonna be doing, roughly, the same thing (just the other way-ish) so very apt and good timing as we're off in two weeks.
Have a wicked time! You will LOVE it! Such an experience...
Bloody hot though so make sure you're prepared for the heat!
#3 lucyhudson has been a member since 25/11/2006. Posts: 38
Just a quick note (via an exceedingly bad Balinese dial-up connection) to say thanks for an excellent trip report -- glad to hear you had a great trip!