Based on a trip through Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia in the wet season
Small report concerning these after my travel experience. Don't take malarials, I bought malarone (!!!) and used it about 5 times, which is useless. Use anti-mosquito spray and you won't be bitten. If you want the perfect control over mosquitoes take vitamin B complex once a day. We were 3 travelling, two of us taking theses vitamins and one not taking them. We were bitten sometimes, he was very often devoured by mosquitoes! Regarding the mosquito net... bought one, never took it out of my backpack, no need for that!
The biggest mistake one could make is taking boots. The weather is so hot you'll always be with flipflops on! You'll get your feet wet but they'll dry very quickly. If you go into serious jungle and want to feel safe (think that locals go bare foot in the jungle as snakes run away from you) just put some normal tennis shoes on.
For 2010 prices, to give an idea of costs, get a Pho price down to 15,000 max 20,000 dong, 5,000 max 7,000 dong for a bottle of water, when going on a motorbike you should know how much local taxis charge for each km and ask for the equivalent to the motorbike driver. In street food you should ask a local eating at the place how much he'll pay or you could be paying the double. Always bargain unless you're fed up after so much bargaining. The turn away trick really works! Even if they look very honest saying they're giving you the local price and not the tourist price, that they have a big family to fead... you'll be warned by this post.
Food in Cambodia, according to my experience, was quite bad. In Vietnam and Laos you can eat very good food (usually is very good), especially in Vietnam street food is great, but my experience in Cambodia was quite bad. Cambodia is also much more expensive, especially compared to Vietnam where the 3 of us got to eat for 1,5euro alltogether!
You've never ridden a motorbike? You don't even have a license? Absolutely rent a motorbike! (assuming you're cautious, don't do it in Hanoi or HCMC and are as talented as I am :-D)
Be prepared to spend a third more time in transports than you were told the trip would take. There's nothing you can do, just enjoy and laugh about it!
Entering Vietnam from Laos through Lao Bao in a stinky bus after getting a warm welcome from a flying cockroach? Great memories! You'll get to the boarder at about 2am and will have to wait until 7am for the opening. We had great fun drinking coffee and M150 with locals and wathching them washing their teeth and faces with strange water... The higenic concepts are different but I ate 90% of the time in the street and didn't get even once intestine problems!
Last tip, used Travelfish for eating western when I was missing a fatfull american pizza, a french steak or just a nice cafe to chill and never got disappinted! If you'll be in Hanoi don't miss Nola Cafe!
#1 Indoluso has been a member since 22/12/2009. Posts: 133
i'd always heard that the biggest mistake you could make in southeast Asia trip was misidentifying the gender of the "girl" you meet at the sunday market in Chiang Mai. fortunately, i've only heard that second hand, so perhaps the tip above on boots is correct.
also, i've had great luck with food in Cambodia on both of my trips there (9 weeks in total). i kept it pretty simple with the Cambodian standards, but also had great luck with foreign eateries in both P.P. and Siem Reap. i did think the food was expensive when compared to Thailand, but a real bargain when compared to the exact same dishes back home.
either way, i enjoyed reading this trip report. keep those cards and letters coming!
Very informative, a true asset to the community! Thanks for sharing...
#3 qosmios has been a member since 23/9/2010. Posts: 10
#4 Indoluso has been a member since 22/12/2009. Posts: 133