I'm looking to arrange a surprise trip for my boyfriend to the above. We went travelling 4 years ago but never made it to Laos, Cambodia or Vietnam and it something we have always regretted.
Our biggest problem is we only have about 10 days and this will be straight after Christmas. Would love to have longer but with a mortgage now its just not possible!
I'm therefore looking for any advice or a cheeky itinerary to help us. I jsut don't know where to begin!
A big thanks in advance
PS We're 29 and 38, like a bit of culture with a beer of two thrown in for good measure!
#1 Lizard83 has been a member since 15/8/2012. Posts: 1
10 days? Do not try 3 countries. Do yourself a favour and limit yourself to one. Or two max. Options that I'd suggest:
1. 10 days in Vietnam - refer to the Suggested Itineraries on this website for an idea of the key places to visit. It's a long country, but add the odd flight or overnight train and you'll make good coverage.
2. 10 days in Northern Laos. Fly to Vientiane -> Phonsavan -> Luang Prabang > Nong Kiaow -> Muang Ngoi -> LP -> home.
3. 10 days Cambodia. Siem Reap , Phnom Penh, Kampot, Otres, Koh Rong.
4. 5 days Vietnam, 5 days Cambodia. Fly into HCMC, and spend 5 days making your way through to Mekong Delta (Ben Tre, Can Tho, Chau Doc). From Chau Doc, take the boat through to Phnom Penh, then spend 5 days between PP and Siem Reap. Keep in mind you will lose a day travelling between PP and Siem Reap.
5. 5-6 days in Northern Laos. Fly into Luang Prabang if you can, otherwise fly into Vientianne then overland to Luang Prabang. From LP, fly to Siem Reap and spend the rest of your days there. Forget Phnom Penh.
Honestly, I struggle to really recommend the last two. Stick to one country. Save yourself travel and visa costs, wasted travel time spent in taxis, planes, etc - and take the time to get to know country a bit better.
Where to begin? Go to the Planning section of this forum, and look for the suggested itineraries.
I agree totally w/Lizzy - slow down and enjoy more! I'll be in Laos myself over US Thanksgiving (late Nov) because I enjoyed it so much last time, 2010. Luang Prabang is awesome and totally relaxing and beautiful. I love Vietnam too, but not for 10 days (you need at least 3 wks).
Don't do it! 10 days is a good amount of time for one part of one country. I wouldn't hit up Laos as travel takes a long time. Rather, think about what you'd really want to see in each country.
In Cambodia, if you really want to see Siem Reap (Angkor Wat) and the historical sites of the 70s around PP, then you could still even have time for a night or two on the beaches of Cambodia's south.
In Vietnam, I'd honestly choose either the North or the South.
North, skip Sapa as it may be a little chilly, enter Hanoi , check out Ha Long Bay and take an overnight train to Hue , Da Nang , Hoi'an for a couple nights before flying back to Hanoi. The train between Hue and Da Nang is great - so I'd make sure to hit that part during the day so you can see the view.
South, HCMC and the history sites outside of there. The work through some of the Delta and homestay there. Finally, end with relaxing time on the beautiful Phu Quoc island - eventually catch the one hour flight back to HCMC.
Any of these three itineraries will eat up 10 days faster than you would think. I'd recommend either of the Vietnam itineraries as I love the coffee there, find the beer reasonably priced, and the food has more variety than I've heard is in Cambodia (no personal experience) but certainly better than Laos. Most importantly, flying in and out of Hanoi or HCMC will be your cheapest option.
I agree with the above regarding limiting yourself to one country. I would limit myself to Lao. In 10 days you can see Vientiane, Luang Prabang and the Plain of Jars in Phonsavahn. This would be a very enjoyable trip.
Rufus - I have really enjoyed my trips to Laos, but the poster would most likely fly into BKK and then either fly or other transport to Vientiane, then have to get back to BKK to return. I think that would eat up at least two days.