Photo: Canals of Ca Mau, Mekong Delta.

Vietnam forum

Itinerary feedback

Posted by Sawf35 on 17/2/2009 at 09:09

Hi all, first-time poster here. A mate and I are heading to Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia for roughly 4 weeks on the way back to Europe (not nearly long enough I know, but we have a deadline to meet unfortunately...).

We have had a look at a possible itinerary and come up with the following rough plan:

15/03/2009 - Melbourne to Saigon
16/03/2009 - Saigon
17/03/2009 - Overnight train: Saigon to Da Nang (for Hoi An )
18/03/2009 - Hoi An
19/03/2009 - Hoi An
20/03/2009 - Hoi An to Danang to Hue
21/03/2009 - Hue
22/03/2009 - Hue to Hanoi
23/03/2009 - Hanoi
24/03/2009 - Hanoi to Halong Bay
25/03/2009 - Halong Bay
26/03/2009 - Halong Bay to Hanoi
27/03/2009 - Flight: Hanoi to Luang Prabang
28/03/2009 - Luang Prabang
29/03/2009 - Luang Prabang
30/03/2009 - Luang Prabang to Vientiene
31/03/2009 - Vientiene
1/04/2009 - Vientiene
2/04/2009 - Vientiene to Paske
3/04/2009 - Paske to ???
4/04/2009 - ???
5/04/2009 - ??? to Phnom Penh
6/04/2009 - Phnom Penh
7/04/2009 - Phnom Penh to Siem Reap
8/04/2009 - Siem Reap
9/04/2009 - Siem Reap
10/04/2009 - Flight: Siem Reap to Kuala Lumpur (already booked)
11/04/2009 - Kuala Lumpur
12/04/2009 - Kuala Lumpur to London

Neither of us have been to any of these countries, so the above is just based on what we have read so far. We have missed out on places like Nha Trang, Sapa due to our time constraints.

I guess what we are interested in is if this looks like a decent 'first glimpse' at these countries and also if anyone has advice on whether we should book the Hanoi to Luang Prabang flight in advance etc.

Many thanks in advance,


#1 Sawf35 has been a member since 15/2/2009. Location: Australia. Posts: 3
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Posted by jafatravel on 17/2/2009 at 18:11

You might end up spending a day or two in Vang Vieng on your way to Vientiane. Tubing isn't everyone's cup of tea but you may as well do it on the way through. I certainly enjoyed it and had heaps of fun. The time you spend in Vang Vieng could be taken off the time you spend in Vientiane.

#2 jafatravel has been a member since 19/10/2008. Posts: 22

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Posted by exacto on 17/2/2009 at 22:20

hi sawf,

that is one fast and furious itinerary! sometimes less is more, so you may want to consider skipping a few places so you won't feel rushed or be spending so much of your time moving from point A to point B.

i can't speak for the vietnam portion of your trip, but within laos transportation is slow going and it will take longer to get from place to place than you might think. one way to save travel time, if you can afford it, is to fly from luang prabang to vientiane and/or vientiane to pakse or even pakse to siem reap.

i'd use the extra days you have in your itinerary between pakse and phnom penh to stretch out the plans and slow down a bit. however, if you are happy with the pace of your trip, then 4,000 islands might be a nice stopover for you on the way to cambodia. have fun.

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Posted by somtam2000 on 18/2/2009 at 07:21 admin

It's doable, but as exacto says, you're racking up the miles!

South of Pakse I'd stop at Don Dhet or Don Khon -- they're both islands on the Mekong and well suited to chilling out (which I think you'll be about due for by the time you get there!)

South of there I'd head straight to Phnom Penh.

Also bear in mind the travel times -- especially in Laos - if you're not planning on stopping at Vang Vieng consider flying to Vientiane and flying again to Pakse.

Hope that helps

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Posted by Sawf35 on 18/2/2009 at 09:49

Thanks for the responses, we really appreciate them.

We have both done a fair bit of travel in Eastern Europe, so the odd 16 hour bus/train ride doesn't bother us too much - especially if they can be done overnight so we're not losing too many days, saving on accommodation etc.

If we were to skip some of the above, is anyone able to suggest which ones?! I know this will be down to personal preference, but we will take any suggestions on board.

Also, we had a look at the flight Hanoi to Luang Prabang and it seems we could get it for around $280 AUD - are we likely to find cheaper when we arrive in Vietnam? We would prefer not to lock it in, just in case we want to stay somewhere for longer, but perhaps it's the best way to go?

Cheers again,


#5 Sawf35 has been a member since 15/2/2009. Location: Australia. Posts: 3
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