Hi everyone - first post here - it seemed like this was the place to go for good advice in this part of the world. I am currently planning my first trip to Vietnam (and a little Cambodia) for later this year, and I wanted to get your opinions on the start of my plans.
I suppose I should preface this with a bit of what I am looking for. I like to try and get off the beaten path at least a bit. Anyway, here is what I had in mind so far:
-Fly into Phnom Penh, take bus to Siem Reap , and spend a few days checking out Angor Wat (from what I understand, it is not too difficult to get back and forth between SR and AW)
-Take a bus from Siem Reap to Ho Chi Minh City (I think it was the Mekong Express that ran that route)
-Spend a couple days in Saigon, then head out and spend some time in the Maekong Delta area (have not really figured out where/what to do in the area yet...)
-Start heading towards Da Lat (maybe stop off in Saigon for a few more days)
-From Da Lat, I thought I would see about the Easy Riders, and see if it would be possible to take a tour up to Nha Trong
-From there I thought a flight to either Quy Nhon or Hoi An (thoughts? just one? both?)
-On to Hue
-Flight to Hanoi
-From there, head to Sa Pa for a bit, as well as Halong Bay
-Fly out of Hanoi
Whew. So, I will have about a month (a little bit less). Is this doable? Any thoughts on how much time should be spent in each area? Any thoughts are more than welcome! Looking forward to hearing from you. Thanks!
it's do-able, though i am wondering if you can fly into Siemreap and go down to Phnom Penh so you dont have to go up to Siemreap and back again through Phnom penh to go to Saigon.
A 3 days in mekong delta can be good, maybe a night in homestay?
From Nha Trang flight is available to Danang (Hoi An)
Instead of bus from Phnom Penh to Siagon, I would catch a Mekong ferry. Get off at Chau Doc, first port of call over the border in Vietnam, and spend your 3 - 4 days in the Delta region from there. Then bus to Siagon from Can Tho or Vinh Long. saved going to Siagon and back again to the Delta.
I agree with that - no point backtracking to the Mekong from Saigon. Overall though perfectly do-able in a month. I'd go Hoi An rather than Quy Nhon but then I've not been to Quy Nhon! Flights are pretty cheap but you won't lose any time taking the train for parts of your journey and they're a worthwhile experience in my opinion. You could take the overnight train from Hue to Hanoi - leave Hue early enough to get a few daylight hours and you'll turn up in Hanoi in the early hours of the morning. If you do that, make sure you pre-book a hotel or you'll be sitting on a street corner waiting for sunrise!
Both above are very good ideas, Start in Siem reap if you can, maybe even an internal flight to save time? Ankgor Wat is not far away - you can organize this once you are there via your accommodation.
There are lots of options for PP/Mekong/HCMC, both tours and independant. Save time by doing Mekong Delta on the way to HCMC so no backtracking
Sapa was lovely, allow a couple of days so you have at least one full day there, a couple if possible.
Thanks for the replys! I do like the idea of going through Maekong Delta before HCMC to save some backtracking, but my reason for flying into PP and backtracking to Siem Reap was that at the moment, it looks like a flight into PP is about 350 dollars less than into SR - I haven't booked yet, so I will keep and eye on it, but do you think that the time saved is worth the price?
Thanks again for the great suggestions! I am sure I will be back with plenty of questions...
Chances are your bus from SR to HCMC will go via - or near - PP anyway, so you could still fly to PP and then head to SR and back to PP and onto Chau Doc in the Mekong from there. I don't think the time saved is worth $350, no! It's about 5 hours from PP to SR so depends how much you value time.