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Vietnam forum

13 days in Northern Vietnam and Cambodia- Itinerary Help

Posted by Howparlaw on 16/5/2019 at 20:28

We are traveling to Northern Vietnam and Cambodia for 13 days, arriving in Hanoi on Dec 26 and departing Phnom Penh on Jan 7. We are planning to spend the first 6 or 7 days in Northern Vietnam (Hanoi, Ninh Binh, Sapa, Halong Bay ?) and the last 6 or 7 days in Cambodia (Siem Reap, Battambang, Phnom Penh? ).

We prefer to spend some time in rural areas, as well as in the cities, and would like to experience local customs and food. Probably want to be in Hanoi for New Year's Eve, but open to suggestion. How would you divide our time, what cities would you visit, and would you go overnight or do day trips. What other spots am I missing? Also would like to do a little biking if possible. Please help us with our itinerary. Thanks

#1 Howparlaw has been a member since 17/5/2019. Posts: 6

Posted by SoManyMiles on 21/5/2019 at 03:17 TF writer

Hi Howparlaw,
13 days isn't a lot of time. If you have your heart set on seeing two countries, then I would suggest you do a maximum 2 locations per country and not try to cram in too many places. Since you mention liking both rural and city, then perhaps do one of each in Vietnam and Cambodia. There's great cycling in Ninh Binh. Local customs and food: do a walking street food tour in Hanoi, Vietnam Museum of Ethnology, Sophie's Art Tour, just to name a few. Check out Travelfish's coverage. Hope this helps.

#2 SoManyMiles has been a member since 7/2/2014. Posts: 147

Posted by antoniamitchell on 22/5/2019 at 02:29

Hi Howparlaw,

I'm with SoManyMiles on this one -- distances are far and travel is slow.

Halong Bay is essentially half a day's travel from Hanoi , by the time you've taken a taxi to the bus station, the bus to the coast, then a boat into the Bay. Getting to Sapa from Hanoi is a full day -- or full night -- of travel (FYI, I recommend avoiding overnight buses in most of SE Asia for safety reasons. Overnight trains are fine). So unless you want to spend more time getting from place to place than you spend enjoying those places, it's best to limit the number of places you try to see.

Have a great trip, and pack carefully -- northern Vietnam can be cool and drizzly in winter, and Sapa can be downright cold.

#3 antoniamitchell has been a member since 13/5/2012. Posts: 566

Posted by larsay on 8/6/2019 at 05:28

8 days Vietnam :

2 days Hanoi
2 days/1 nt junk Halong
2 days Ninh Binh/Tam Coc
Night train NB-Danang + taxi DNG-HOI AN ;
2 days very charming HA and then DIRECT flight DNG-Siem Reap (Phnom Penh is no big deal !)

#4 larsay has been a member since 20/7/2014. Posts: 56

Posted by Howparlaw on 13/6/2019 at 03:42

This is the itinerary we have settled on. Weather concerns are pushing our trip south, since we arrive on Christmas Day. Your thoughts are appreciated:

Arrive WED 12/25/19 9:35 am Hanoi
TH 12/26/19 Hanoi
FR 12/27/19 Hanoi
SAT 12/28/19 Hanoi to Halong Bay Cruise
SUN 12/29/19 Halong Bay to Airport to Danang to Hoi An
MON 12/30/19 Hoi An
TU 12/31 19 Hoi An
WED 1/1/20 Hoi An/Hue
TH 1/2/20 Hoi An/Hue
FR 1/3 20 Fly Danang to Siem Reap
SAT 1/4 20 Siem Reap
SUN 1/5 20 Siem Reap
MON 1/6 20 Fly Siem Reap to Phnom Penh
Depart TU 1/7/20 8:55 pm Phnom Penh

#5 Howparlaw has been a member since 17/5/2019. Posts: 6

Posted by gatoguts on 1/7/2019 at 22:53

Personally, I think your itinerary has way too much on it. I'm guessing this is a once in a lifetime trip, and you want to see as much as possible in that short time span. I just don't think it's possible to do that and have a fulfilling experience. It sounds like you want to just do a day cruise in Halong Bay. You really have to spend at least one overnight there, either on the boat or in a hotel. Keep in mind the ride from Hanoi to Halong is about 3 hours each way. Hoi An is also pretty far from Hue, so I would pick one or the other, but Hoi An is near Danang airport, so I would go with Hoi An for as many days as you can spare. I was there 5 nights, and didn't at all feel like it was too much. If you could see Cambodia on a separate trip at another time, I would recommend doing that.

#6 gatoguts has been a member since 23/7/2012. Posts: 29

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