Photo: Within the grounds of the Royal Palace.

Cambodia forum

Into Phnom Penh : Out of Ha Noi

Posted by hihihello on 27/5/2009 at 22:22

Hi seasoned pros -

My girlfriend and I have just booked our flights for the month of September, and I'd really appreciate some advice for a potential itinerary...


Phnom Penh (just arriving) - Ho Chi Minh - Phu Quoc - Phnom Penh (a little sightseeing) - Siem Reap (Angkor Wat) - Hoi An (tailors)...

Be a good start? How long in each? Where next?

-I'm an archaeologist/anthropology student, and interested in all that cultural immersion etc.

-She's similar, also keen on beaches and blah.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

#1 hihihello has been a member since 27/5/2009. Posts: 2

Posted by brucemoon on 28/5/2009 at 07:09


There will be people who tell you do this, do that. If you follow their advice, you'll spend much too much time in buses/planes/trains/etc, etc..

What you have scheduled makes for much travelling time, but if planned well you can avoid spending too much time in (boring) travel.

As you say you are arriving in Phnom Penh (PP), I'd suggest you spend a full day there 'doing' the 3 'must see' museums (1st go see, Tuol Sleng, 2nd Choeung Ek, 3rd National), and the Royal Palace.

I'd then take a bus to Siem Reap . There, I'd buy a 3 day pass (just heard its 3 in 7) and take in the Angkorian temples. I'd suggest you get Lonely Planet 'Cambodia" and 'do' the temples in a 'time of erection' sequence: that way you can see the building style (and archaeological development) emerging from 800ad to the 'end' around 1200ad.

I'd also try and take in Tonle Sap as it nurtured and 'informed' the Angkorian 'regime'. Additionally, this environmental marvel is now under threat from upstream water diversionary demands.

Jetstar, Bangkok Airlines & Vietnam Airlines are supposed to fly from Siem Reap to Saigon, but don't currently show fares for September. If you can fly, I'd recommend.

If not, I'd suggest you go to Sihanoukville and head for some islands before then going overland to Chau Doc in Vietnam and onto Saigon - but as this requires to/from PP, it WILL be time consuming (that's why the SR - Saigon option [tho possibly expensive] appears preferable).

If you fly, I'd suggest you land at Saigon, then head by air straight down to Phu Quoc Island for some 'enjoyment' and returning to Saigon by air.

I'd suggest you 'orientate' yourself in Saigon (for a few days) before heading to Dalat (for a couple) and then down to Nha Trang (a 2000 year old temple site here: imagine, it is older than most western history sites). Nha Trang is westernised, the beaches a bit bleagh, but the beaches on the nearby islands are OK.

I'd then take an overnight bus to Hoi An (the tailor bit doesn't do anything for me, its now a scam). What is very interesting is the My Son archaeological ruins near Hoi An. The museum there is one of the
best in SE Asia to display the 'progression' of Champa and Khmer 'civilisations'.

There is a beach near Hoi An (goes to Danang [Called China Beach, there]) which is OK, and some islands off Hoi An that are interesting for swimming / beaching / etc.

I don't know where you're to exit. If you can book, then go to Hanoi for a buzz before you leave Vietnam.

Hope this helps


#2 brucemoon has been a member since 27/12/2008. Location: Australia. Posts: 1,941

Posted by hihihello on 3/6/2009 at 22:12

wow that's incredibly kind of you - thanks for your time

#3 hihihello has been a member since 27/5/2009. Posts: 2

Posted by dageshi on 8/6/2009 at 13:42

Random two cents.

From PP head to Siem reap, 3 days there is good, four if you want to go to Tonle Sap lake (it's worth it). Back to PP have a wander around there, then either go straight to Saigon (bout 6 hours by bus) or down south to Sihanoukville, from sihanoukville you can go down the coast to Phu Quoc I believe, if I remember my geography correctly. From there you could then head to Saigon. Up from Saigon to dalat and along the coast. Really depends on how much time you have and how much you want to spend, flights can certainly speed things up.

#4 dageshi has been a member since 1/3/2008. Posts: 56

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