I am currently living/working in Abu Dhabi, UAE and am looking to escape Ramadan (late August to mid-sept) and book a few weeks off work...3 weeks is a given, but I am pushing for 4.
Originally I was looking to head to Vietnam and travel the length of the country from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh. However, I want to pack in as much as possible and am considering Laos, Cambodia and Thailand too....
I appreciate I won't have much time to catch my breath, but I am not too fussed about that.
So does anybody have any tips - where should I start? Bangkok? Hanoi? Any suggested routes/stop offs? etc etc!
Thanks for any advice you can offer.
#1 albrown1 has been a member since 31/5/2009. Posts: 1
Lucky you - 3 to 4 weeks in SE Asia. I'm starting to dream already...
When you ask people to makes suggestions, you can be faced with ideas coming from everywhere. All will be good, but they may not all be for you. In the end, YOu have to make up your own frame (and then ask for tips on YOUR frame)
I'd like to make a counter suggestion.
The more you pack in, the less you will enjoy your holiday. Why? Coz travel itself is boring and exhausting. We really only travel in order to be in places to enjoy ourselves. So, it's the places that matter, not the travel.
Let me suggest you read:
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Last year I spent 4 weeks (largely) doing Highway 12 & 1A. There is so much more to Vietnam than that. But, I just didn't have the time.
I made a post:
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One of the things we do when we travel is try and relate with the locals. It gives our holiday that special meaning. And, to 'relate' we have to learn some of their language (hello, how are you, goodbye, how mcuh is that, etc.).
If we choose more than one language group, we find ourselves limited in 'relating'. Vietnamese, Lao, Cambodian - in 4 weeks - no way! So, if you want to 'relate', stay in one country.
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In the first instance, try looking at:
If you can get 4 weeks, I'd suggest a side trip to SaPa (from HaNoi), and another to Dalat (from Nha Trang). Many 'do' the beach at Mui Ne, but there are also other great beaches in VN.
If you can ride a small motorbike, rent one and the landscape is yours for the day (generally about US8/day).
Hope this helps
Brucemoon has it right. Limit the area you will traverse. Assume this is not the only time you will pass through this part of the planet. Rushing about sucks. Viet Nam is +/- 1,600 km from north to south. Research places - decide what most appeals to you - sort out an itinerary from there.
Keep in mind that transport in South-East Asia is not like in Europe/AUS/US, etc. One doesn't just go down to the station and catch the next train/plane/bus. It's a bit more freeform (and less frequent) than that. And therefore, more time for transfers. Like a day, here and there.
As to specifics:
I loved Luang Prabang, Lao (gods know, you will get the full raft of responses about the place). It has changed much in recent years, but it's still a special place and worth some time spent there (and I measure time in days, not hours).
Travel on the Mekong is an interesting cross-cut through Lao. Also the Nam Ou river.
Ha Long Bay in Viet Nam is worth a night on a boat (research this carefully - read elsewhere on Travelfish).
Ha Noi is a fascinating city. You could easily spend three or four or five nights there (keeping in mind that three nights usually translates into two days...which is when most things [ok, except bars & clubs] are open).
Really comes down to what you like...what you want to see...what sort of experience do you want to have? Museums? Bar scene? Trekking? Beach time? Street wandering?
Have fun and happy trails!