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Southeast Asia forum

Vietnam or Cambodia - 2 weeks, September

Posted by wanderingirish on 11/4/2012 at 14:02

Hi guys,

I'm a new member hoping some seasoned SEA travellers will be able to help me out. My boyfriend and I are hoping to travel to SEA at the end of August/beginning of September.

We've stretched our holidays to the max, but realistically will only have 17 days - to include travel from London.

Initially we were hoping to 'see' Vietnam, but having looked at various itineraries on the forum, I think that's probably overambitious for such a short period.

We've been discussing whether to curtail our Vietnamese ambitions - maybe just to stick to North Vietnam - or if it would be better just to head to Cambodia instead. Its unlikely we'll be able to return to the region anytime soon.

The key considerations for us would be:
* The weather - We know it's rainy season in both countries, but its the only time I can take holidays from work. Is there any difference in the weather we should consider when making our decision?

* Travel times - We're looking on this as a 'backpacking' holiday, but given the constraints on our time and the fact that we're both working full-time, if there were flights etc. that would help us avoid losing loads of time to travel we'd definitely consider the option.

* Things to see/do - While we might want to spend a day or two chilling out on a beach (weather permitting of course!) we're more interested in seeing the country and getting a sense of the culture. I'm a politics nerd, and obviously these are both countries with a lot of history. My boyfriend is feeling Top Gear inspired and keen to give off-roading or a motorbike trip a go.

* Cost - It's cheaper at the moment for us to fly to Hanoi in Vietnam than Phnom Penh, not by enough to be the deciding factor though. Is the cost of travelling in one country significantly greater than the other?

I'd really appreciate any feedback you guys have about this, even if its not specifically related to the points above. I picked North Vietnam over South after a rather cursory glance at the guidebook - though obviously I'd be disappointed to miss the Cu Chi tunnels! So if you think thats misguided feel free to speak up!

Thanks a million in advance,


#1 wanderingirish has been a member since 11/4/2012. Posts: 4

Posted by chinarocks on 12/4/2012 at 02:54

You could certainly kick back, relax and spend two weeks in Northern Vietnam but I think a better approach would be to go to Cambodia. It is a much smaller country than Vietnam and you can definitely get a feel for the entire country in two weeks / 15 days or whatever you have, something that I don't think would be possible in Vietnam.

In 15 days in Cambodia, you could easily get to PP (good for 'a politics nerd'), head down to Kampot and Kep then (cultural IMO and you can also hire a motorbike here and explore the province), go over to Sihanoukville or the islands for a few days on the beach (check out Sihanoukville online etc first as it's not everyone's cup of tea). Then head up to Siem Reap / Angkor Temples. You could possibly squeeze in one more place (Battambang / Tonle Sap) depending how you're feeling but maybe leave it and just relax a bit.

I found Cambodia more expensive than Vietnam but you're still talking only around the €25 - €30 per day mark, incl. a lot of drinking (I'm also Irish!).

#2 chinarocks has been a member since 17/6/2011. Posts: 738

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Posted by wanderingirish on 13/4/2012 at 03:54

Thanks a million for your response chinarocks, really appreciate it!

Believe it or not, after some amount of soul-searching, we've decided to head to Burma, as we think it might change quite a lot over the next few years!

We're currently trying to get our heads around it, checking out flights and planning a rough itinerary but really appreciate your response :)

#3 wanderingirish has been a member since 11/4/2012. Posts: 4

Posted by chinarocks on 13/4/2012 at 04:23

Great choice, haven't been but definitely agree with your logic and will try to get there myself in the next year or two also. There's some good stuff on the forums regarding it.

One common theme seems to be the slow pace of travel there so I'm guessing in 17 days you really don't want to be overstretching yourself. But I'm sure you know this yourself.

Good luck with it!!

#4 chinarocks has been a member since 17/6/2011. Posts: 738

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