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Itinerary Help! Laos,Vietnam,Cambodia and paradise beach!

Posted by LuCiaPV on 13/8/2016 at 20:05

Hi! I'm planning my second trip to SE Asia with my husband and need some help with some details of our itinerary, specially on transportation, best order between places and to decide our beach spot for the trip. We have a month and fly in and out of Hong Kong. On our first trip we did Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Koh Chang in Thailand, Bagan and Inle in Burma and Siem Reap in Cambodia, plus a few days in Hong Kong. It was a great combination of nature, cool cities and history, Bagan was of our favorite places and Chiang Mai's hip Nimmanhaemin too (going to a super movie theather with sofas and AC was a blessing).

We are in our early 30s, like a mix of nature and history and are looking for something more mid-range budget (our backpacking days are over). A month is no time at all when you want to do so much, so we plan to fly as much as possible (unless the journey itself is worth the time) and would appreciate any suggestions to improve it! We will be arriving December 26th and flying back January 24th 2017.

Day 1. Arrive at HK
Day 2. Flight to Luang Prabang
Day 3-5. Luang Prabang
Day 6. Flight to Hanoi (new year's eve)
Day 7-9. Hanoi
Day 10. Flight to Hue
Day 11-12. Hue
Day 13. Taxi to Hoi An with stop overs
Day 14-17. Hoi An
Day 18. Go to Danang Airport for flight to Phu Quoc (via HCMC)
Day 19-23.Phu Quoc (or other beach destinaition)
Day 24. Flight or Ferry+bus to Phom Phen
Day 25-29 Phom Phen and day trips or weekend trip
Day 30. Flight to HK

-We wanted to see Laos, so we squeeze in Luang Prabang even if it is only a highlight.
-Then, I've heard there a lot to do and see in Hanoi so we gave it 3 whole days. Would you recommend some day trips from there?
-What do you think of the days for Hue and Hoi An? Is 4 days too much for Hoi An, should we add that day some place else? We think there's plenty to do around Hoi An, like My Son and some other places you would recommend? For example, is it worth it visiting Danang? We though if we did, it would be as a day trip and then only to go to the airport so we dont have to carry our bags around.
-Here is where we got a bit stuck. We don't wanna keep going south cause we don't have time and we decided already not to go to HCMC. So we figured we'd go to the nearest airport (Danang) to get out of here, I think this always means a stop over in HCMC or Hanoi. Am I wrong?

SO FAR: Is the weather warm mid Vietnam and north? like short and t-shirt? or is it still a bit cold? We were trying to chase the sun (that's why we are not going to Sapa or Halong Bay but Im afraid maybe it still not hot?)

-Then the beach: We are really undecided on this.. Last time we had a great time in Koh Chang, we did a couple of snorkeling trips and relax at the resort which had a private beach, but still you could walk to other beaches and was close to some sort of town with restaurants. We want a resort, a place that wont be crowded and also a really pretty beach. I live in front of the Pacific in Lima (Peru), where the water is really cold and you can't see your nose as it is so dark, so I crave for white beaches and turquoise water.. I know Phu Quoc doesn't have that, but I don`t know how to fit into our itinerary a more paradise-like beach like Koh Lipe (I really want to go there or somewhere like it.. any ideas?). Our other option was Koh Rong but although it has the more paradise feeling, it's really undeveloped and to get the kind of comfort resort we want (there is like 1 available) we would have to be confined to it, and Im guessing having to pay overpriced food and so on.. so we are not sure about that. Please, suggestions?
-After that we are going 5 whole days to Phom Phen cause we are staying with friends there, so maybe we could use it as a base for some day trips, or a weekend trip, plus getting to know the city with them as tour guides. Do you have any recommendations on what to see around? We've been to Angkor last trip, but love to see other places in Cambodia.

So that's it. As you can see our biggest issue is with the beach part, and just being sure we are making the best out of each place. If we change the beach part we might have to move things around so we need help with that.. In that case, to make it to a prettier beach destination what would you cut?

As we are going in January, we were thinking it would be best to book all the flights and hotels in advance (we wont bring backpacks, but a suitcase and we don't wanna go wandering around with it.. Is there any leg where you think we could be more flexible with the accommodation/fights and wing it?

Even if you have wild suggestions, or changes please be our guest, we are happy to travel to any new places, just wanna be warm in them if possible!

Thanks for the help!

#1 LuCiaPV has been a member since 13/8/2016. Posts: 2

Posted by antoniamitchell on 15/8/2016 at 19:32


As no one else has answered your post yet, I thought I'd add my 2 cents. I'm not a beach type so I can't offer any advice there, but I will say that northern Vietnam does get quite chilly in winter, so is unlikely to be shorts and t shirt weather. Check out the travel fish page on Vietnam weather for more info.

Wrt hoi an, there are plenty of options for day trips and things to do around the town, so you could easily fill 4 days: my son (attractive small site, could easily fill half a day with transport), danang is worth a look (the Cham museum is great if you like history and art), the mountain, plus I highly recommend a bicycle tour of the countryside around hoi an.

Have a great trip

#2 antoniamitchell has been a member since 13/5/2012. Posts: 569

Posted by shakitasexson on 16/8/2016 at 03:45

In Hanoi, you should stay at Old Quarter where you can visit a lot of places around very easy. Furthermore, you can book free tour to travel around with student tour guide who comes from university around Hanoi.

#3 shakitasexson has been a member since 14/8/2016. Posts: 12

Posted by LuCiaPV on 16/8/2016 at 22:08

Thanks Antonia and Shakita!
I ended up changing Phu Quoc for Koh Rong, so the beach part is settled.
As for the 4 days in Hoi An , I was just to post again to finally decide something. I`ve been reading and researching Hanoi , Hoi An and Luang Prabang in terms of day trips and overall sightseeing, trying to decide if I leave the 4th day in Hoi An or change it to Hanoi or Luang Prabang.. (for all three places its a 3 day min. plus day in and day out).

So far:

In Hanoi:
-Day trip to Ninh Bing. Sounds amazing, even maybe more than a day trip, to beat the tour groups that come from Hanoi? Can you do Tam Coc and also Van Long in a day?

In Hoi An:
-My son. I've been to Angkor and I know it's not the same but still think it could be interesting plus the war history, that can be done in half a day i think?
-Marble Mountains/Da Nang. Maybe could take a whole day cheking the city, I read there is no buses to Hoi An after 6, still think would be time enough?

Luang Prabang:
-Kuang Si Waterfalls/Bear rescue center
-Pak Ou Caves

So, I think Luang Prabang is ok with 3 days plus in and out, but Im having more trouble deciding between Hanoi and Hoi An.. but then again, maybe I can spend more time daytripping from Hoi An and not so much in the city? We do really like big cities so Im torn.. Is Hoi An a small town? Would you say, a complete day plus the afternoons of the day trips could be enough in order to have 3 whole days in Hanoi?

I can read and read but could really use some advice from actual travellers! I don' wanna be doing daytrips every day and would like to get the feel of the city (whichever city it is). What do you think?


#4 LuCiaPV has been a member since 13/8/2016. Posts: 2

Posted by antoniamitchell on 17/8/2016 at 07:13

Hi again,

My Son can indeed be done in half a day - it's an evocative site, but not that big, so you can fully explore the site in a couple of hours.

Hoi An is a small town - it's an attractive place to explore, with lots of potential for day trips, but the actual town itself can be explored in only a day or so.

#5 antoniamitchell has been a member since 13/5/2012. Posts: 569

Posted by braylor on 31/10/2016 at 21:49

I visited Vietnam 2 years ago and really appreciated its central region. Hoi An is a small town so you can combine Hoi An and Da Nang in your itinerary from day 14 to 17. It's worth visiting Da Nang because this coastal city is known for its sandy beaches. My Khe beach is a good place to spend time, in my opinion. If you want to feel the French atmosphere and architecture, come to Ba Na Hills.

#6 braylor has been a member since 26/9/2016. Posts: 13

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