We've had to change our plans around so now go from a 'relaxed' trip to having 15 nights between arriving in Hanoi at 4:00 PM on the 21st of March to departing Siem Reap on the 5th of April at 5:00 PM.
We're locked into these flights so really just trying to figure out the best way to spend this time. Originally I thought we might do 10 nights in Hanoi/Halong/Sapa and then fly to Siem Reap and have five nights to do the Angkor area. This means that even though the trip is short, we will get to see two places more in depth rather than spending the whole two weeks on overnight trains and moving places every other day.
My only issue with this is that the flight from Hanoi to Siem Reap is REALLY expensive and is pretty much a week's budget at USD250/NZD350 per person.
Does anyone have any suggestions how we could spend out time getting from Hanoi to Siem Reap in just over two weeks without too much hassle. Obviously not ideal I know!
#1 smash has been a member since 21/6/2009. Posts: 162
The usual overland route is to go from Hanoi down to Saigon, through to Phnom Penh and then Siem Reap. However, with 15 days, I think you would be too busy traveling to see very much if you do that trip by bus or train.
There is no clear path from Hanoi direct to Siem Reap. Given that roads in SE Asia that are not major tourist routes have a reputation for not being in great condition, that may take just as long anyway.
I think you may be stuck with the flight. Have you looked at flying Hanoi to Phnom Penh? If that is any cheaper, it would only mean an extra days travel. Otherwise, I would say your best option on a budget is to fly Hanoi to HCMC (yes, overland will be cheaper but internal Vietnam flights are good value and you will save time), bus to Phnom Penh and bus to Siem Reap. However, that will lose you about 2 full days in traveling, plus however long the flight takes.
#2 Rohan has been a member since 16/6/2009. Posts: 63
Thanks Rohan - I'm thinking the same thing (re flying to HCMC). I looked on Jetstar and the price is about NZ$70 each so just saves us a FORTUNE.
What do people think of this... I know it is rushed and I know we won't 'experience' everything, but I think if we pre-book accommodation to save time/stress and just choose something to see in each place we could be fine.
21MAR - arrive Hanoi, overnight Hanoi
22MAR - overnight Hanoi
23MAR - overnight Hanoi
24MAR - overnight Halong Bay
25MAR - overnight train to Sapa
26MAR - overnight Sapa
27MAR - overnight train to Hanoi
28MAR - fly to Ho Chi Minh City, overnight Ho Chi Minh City
29MAR - overnight Ho Chi Minh City
30MAR - overland to Phnom Penh, overnight Phnom Penh
31MAR - overnight Phnom Penh
01APR - overland to Siem Reap, overnight Siem Reap
02APR - overnight Siem Reap
03APR - overnight Siem Reap
04APR - overnight Siem Reap
05APR - fly to Phuket
I think this looks okay... Main thing we want to see in SE Asia is Angkor. My partner wants to see the main war sights around PP so we've got a whole day to do the killing fields/genocide museum etc - we'll jsut get a tuk tuk for the day. We can do the chu chi tunnels in HCMC for a half day and then just look around the city in the PM. hanoi is a bit rushed, but fits...
what do you think??
#3 smash has been a member since 21/6/2009. Posts: 162
I'm thinking I might steal a night from Siem Reap and do one of the HCMC-Mekong- Phnom Penh overnight trips you can organise through the likes of Sinh Cafe.
That would give us two full days in Siem Reap to do the major temples. We'll get an early bus from Phnom Penh so can activate our pass the first afternoon/evening. The last day we don't fly until 5:00 PM so we can do something on the lake that day - would like to see the villages.
What do you think about this idea? Yes it makes the trip that little more full on, but I think we'll be happy enough to do it this way.
#4 smash has been a member since 21/6/2009. Posts: 162
We bought a Bangkok Airways airpass so it was US$100 + tax for the segment. Think it is extortionate if you try to buy not as part of the airpass.
#6 smash has been a member since 21/6/2009. Posts: 162