My girlfriend and I are going travelling for the second time in September. We are emigrating from the UK to Australia, and on the way we've decided to fit in about 6 weeks of travelling in South East Asia.
We have both previously been to Thailand and Laos, and while I'm not the sort of person to dismiss either country or label them as 'done', considering the work awaiting us out in Australia this could well be our last opportunity to travel, at least for a good few years, and as such we want to visit places we have never been before and, due to emigration and jobs, this is really a now or never situation :)
I always found when travelling the first time, the best people to ask for help or advice were fellow travellers, so here goes:-
We will be leaving the UK on Tuesday 2 September, arriving in Hanoi the morning of Wednesday 3rd. Our exit point to fly on to Australia is likely to be from Kuala Lumpur , sometime during the weeks starting 13 or 20 October.
We are looking at doing the classic Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City route in Vietnam. From there, across the border into Cambodia. However, aside Angkor Wat, Cambodia is somewhere we are more unfamiliar with. We would then probably look to fly from Cambodia Siam Reap to Penang (ironically probably via Kuala Lumpur). And then from Penang make our way down to Kuala Lumpur to fly on to Australia.
Obviously, this is a really rough sketch at the moment, (although to be fair we're not the sort to overly-detail our travel plans) but I am interested in any thoughts about our proposed itinerary, whether we are trying to see too much in too little time (especially as we are pretty laid back travellers), if anyone has any suggestions for a better itinerary, places to see, places to miss. Anyone with any experience of Cambodia and Malaysia for any pointers or recommendations would be really appreciated :)
Thanks everyone :)
#1 Flamebadger has been a member since 26/4/2014. Posts: 4
That sounds like a good route, but probably a bit much for 6 weeks. You could easily spend a month or more just in Vietnam. And if you'd like to see more of Cambodia than just SR/Angkor, you'll need a least a couple of weeks left for Cambodia. I'd suggest that you limit yourself to those 2 countries, rather than trying to fit some of Malaysia in as well.
I'm afraid I haven't been to Cambodia, so can't speak about that, but there are lots of nice places on the classic Vietnam itinerary that you've probably already got in your sights (Hue/Danang/Hoi An, the Mekong Delta, etc.) - more than enough to keep you occupied and entertained.
One thing to keep in mind - at that time of year, you'll likely run into the monsoon (especially around Central Vietnam), so I wouldn't expect much beach weather in Vietnam.
Have a great trip, and good luck for the move.
Hi, thanks for the reply :)
I had a suspicion we might be trying to do a bit too much on the time we had available, so maybe a further look into what Vietnam and Cambodia have to offer might not be a bad idea. I guess an alternative option would be to fly from Ho Chi Minh to Penang if we saw in Malaysia more things we wanted to do?
And yeah, I'm aware of the weather, but that's something we''ll just have to accept I think :)
#3 Flamebadger has been a member since 26/4/2014. Posts: 4
I'm not sure what interests you, so difficult to offer a recommendation between Malaysia and Cambodia. However, if money is an issue I'd recommend Cambodia as being cheaper than Malaysia. From personal experience I also found people in Cambodia more open and outgoing, while Malaysia seems less pushy with fewer touts and a feeling for me of being less hectic than Cambodia. If I was just pressed to blindly recommend I'd say Cambodia for sure - even if you get a short holiday in Australia it would be easier to fly up to KL for a brief visit someday than getting on to Cambodia and really exploring the country. Cambodia is also a natural logistical addition to a 6-week itinerary with say a month for Vietnam and 2 weeks for Cambodia. You could enter Cambodia via Ha Tien after relaxing on Phu Quoc at the end of your Vietnam trip (weather permitting) and hit Kampot before heading up to PP and then Siem Reap (with still time to visit Battambang). If you've already booked the ticket via KL, then I"d almost recommend still doing Cambodia but cutting a couple days out of Vietnam and then just exploring KL for 2-3 nights as a stop-over to break up the long flight to Australia.
Hey again, thanks to everyone for the input thus far.
@caseyprich thanks for the detailed information. Of course, I completely understand the decision where to go depends entirely on the sort of things that me and my better half want to do and see, but your point that Cambodia is a far more natural addition to 4 weeks or so in Vietnam is entirely sensible. Money isn't a massive issue, but the fact that it would indeed be cheaper to do Cambodia over Malaysia - and would also cut out a few Â£Â£s in buying the additional regional flight to get to Penang.
Certainly everyone has so far given me plenty to consider, and provided a good direction for my thinking to decide where we go.
The only flight booked thus far is the flight from London to Hanoi, everything else is pencilled in (plus we know we need to be in Australia mid to late October), but we want to get other flights booked as soon as possible, obviously :)
Thanks again everyone, and the more info or opinions people have that they wish to share would continue to be hugely appreciated!
#6 Flamebadger has been a member since 26/4/2014. Posts: 4
It will be rainy in September, but it's not impossible to travel and the countryside will be wonderfully green. For two weeks in Cambodia, I might suggest:
Enter at Ha Tien (as suggested by Casey)
Expore Kampot and/or Kep
Up to Phnom Penh - the city has plenty enough to keep you busy for a couple of days at least
A stop off in Battambang, Kampong Cham or Kratie on the way up to Siem Reap
3 or 4 days in Siem Reap (and do check out what else is there other than the temples!)
As you're moving to Australia and it's rainy season, I'm guessing beaches won't be that high on your list, but if you do want some sea and sand, Otres beach in Sihanoukville will be pretty quiet that time of year.
If you haven't been to the Philippines and you love beaches, this is the place for you and your girlfriend to spend some time. Boracay and El Nido in Palawan are paradise-like spots perfect for scuba diving, snorkeling or just plain experiencing their natural scenic beauty.
Once again, I can't thank everyone enough for the suggestions of what to do after we finish our Vietnam route, certainly given us plenty to think about.
Never even considered the Phillippines to be honest, may well have a look into that, depending on the costs of getting there from Ho Chi Minh, and then onward travel to Australia :)
#9 Flamebadger has been a member since 26/4/2014. Posts: 4