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Vietnam/Cambodia itinerary advice

Vietnam/Cambodia itinerary advice

Old Oct 21, 19, 8:03 pm
  #1  
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Vietnam/Cambodia itinerary advice

Hello,
Finishing putting together our trip to Vietnam/Cambodia in December.

Struggling to figure out what to do on several nights so would love some some advice from those with first-hand knowledge. Besides balancing some logistical things like ending in a city with a feasible flight to Shanghai, where we're connecting to fly home, we also are conscientious of the weather.

Our travel style: cultural immersion, adventure, historial, art, FOOD!, and authenticity. We tend toward luxury properties, but are trying to be moderate on this trip, which is tough... holiday season. Also, I've learned alot about the Vietnam micro-climates, which has put a damper on some places where we though: oh we'll get ot hang on the beach there... but no... in Hoi An I think we'd just be in the rain.

What we're thinking
Hanoi (Sofitel Metropole) - 3 nights
Lan Ha Bay - 2 night cruise
*Can Tho - Azurei - 2 nights
Hoi An (Anantara?) - 3 nights
Siem Reap (Anantara or Phum Baitang) - 3 nights
*Phnom Penh - 2 nights

*We could switch these two and still have flights that work out well

Notes:
Cruise: We're looking at the Heritage Line - Ylang. Looks luxe and seems programmed to be more active. We're not the cruise types, but all our friends say going out in the bay was actually their favorite part of their vietnam trip. We hope we did a good thing of choosing Lan Ha to avoid the Halong crowds.

Can Tho - The Azurei hotel looks beautiful, but are there things to do there? If so, maybe we'd be open to spending 3 nights. We just think it looks a bit too isolated without much to explore.

Phnom Penh - We added this bc they have a convenient flight to Shanghai. We're big wildlife lovers, and try to volunteer or visit ethical sanctuaries and rescue centers when we can - to support them. There's one near Phnom Penh that looks good.

Beach? - We'd rather find a place with a gorgeous beach hotel, but not one that's $$$$ or at a property that looks like it could be anywhere.

So... what are we missing? What are we doing wrong? Am I right/wrong to be paranoid about rainy weather in Hoi An mid-December (that's where we thought we'd get to go to beach originally.)

All advice is welcome and appreciated.

Thanks, travelers!

Last edited by jw1313; Oct 22, 19 at 9:11 am
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Old Oct 22, 19, 7:21 am
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Your ordering is odd to me. Hanoi -> Can Tho -> back to Hanoi. It looks like Van Don has a new flight to Da Nang starting next month, so I'd go...
Hanoi, Lan Ha, fly to Danang for Hoi An, fly to Can Tho, bus to HCMC to fly to Siem Reap, then bus/fly to PP.

Your itinerary is very rushed (but it is possible as long as nothing goes wrong). I think you should skip Can Tho or Hoi An. Can Tho, to me, makes the most sense to skip mostly just due to the transportation factors.
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Old Oct 22, 19, 8:47 am
  #3  
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I'd skip Can Tho also. And less time in Hoi An and more in Siem Reap (get a 3 day ticket in SR). Hoi An is getting pretty Disney-fied.

I've no experience with the Siem Reap hotels, but they're far from anything. Maybe that's ok. (I'm not saying that SR's Pub Street is desirable, but SR itself is ok.)

You might like the Plantation hotel in PP. Anatara/Hoi An location is not that central. Maybe Vinh Hung Heritage Hotel.
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Old Oct 22, 19, 9:09 am
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Originally Posted by CrazyInteg View Post
Your ordering is odd to me. Hanoi -> Can Tho -> back to Hanoi. It looks like Van Don has a new flight to Da Nang starting next month, so I'd go...
Hanoi, Lan Ha, fly to Danang for Hoi An, fly to Can Tho, bus to HCMC to fly to Siem Reap, then bus/fly to PP.

Your itinerary is very rushed (but it is possible as long as nothing goes wrong). I think you should skip Can Tho or Hoi An. Can Tho, to me, makes the most sense to skip mostly just due to the transportation factors.
Oops that was a typo. Can Tho would be after the cruise.
I will correct it. Thanks for the heads up about that flight!

We weren't very excited about going to HCMC, but felt Can Tho was a compromise. HCMC just didn't seem to have things we wanted to do, except for the food!

Originally Posted by rjh View Post
I'd skip Can Tho also. And less time in Hoi An and more in Siem Reap (get a 3 day ticket in SR). Hoi An is getting pretty Disney-fied.

I've no experience with the Siem Reap hotels, but they're far from anything. Maybe that's ok. (I'm not saying that SR's Pub Street is desirable, but SR itself is ok.)

You might like the Plantation hotel in PP. Anatara/Hoi An location is not that central. Maybe Vinh Hung Heritage Hotel.
Will consider this. Our friends have said they love Hoi An, and I've heard Siem Reap is just so crowded now.
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Old Oct 22, 19, 11:18 am
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Okay, now after your correction you are saying
What we're thinking
Hanoi (Sofitel Metropole) - 3 nights
Lan Ha Bay - 2 night cruise
*Can Tho - Azurei - 2 nights
Hoi An (Anantara?) - 3 nights
Siem Reap (Anantara or Phum Baitang) - 3 nights
*Phnom Penh - 2 nights
How are you planning to get from Lan Ha to Can Tho? Bus back to Hanoi?
After your second night you would be taking a boat back to the main land. Then bus to Hanoi. Then ride to airport. Then fly to Can Tho. Then car to hotel. Then sleep first night. Then full day in Can Tho, then sleep. Then fly to Da Nang.
Seems like a lot of work for a day in Can Tho.

*We could switch these two and still have flights that work out well
So possibly go Vietnam, Cambodia, Vietnam, Cambodia? Don't do that.
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Old Oct 22, 19, 11:29 am
  #6  
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Originally Posted by jw1313 View Post
Will consider this. Our friends have said they love Hoi An, and I've heard Siem Reap is just so crowded now.
Hoi An was ok on my last visit. Lots of Asian tourists in matching outfits, posing incessantly. Eat at Miss Ly's.

I was in Siem Reap in June and again in September. On the June visit, admittedly not at main temples that I've visited many times, I encountered one foreigner, at Banteay Chhmar. In September at Beng Mealea, Koh Ker, Preah Vihear, maybe 25-30 foreigners, mostly Japanese and mainland Chinese. I wouldn't miss the main sites, though, if you've never been. It's only going to get more crowded.

In Siem Reap I stayed in the Wat Bo road area, which isn't very crowded. Angkor Village hotel in this area (not where I stayed these trips) is decent, though review the amenities to make sure it's suitable.
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Old Oct 22, 19, 3:03 pm
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Originally Posted by CrazyInteg View Post
Okay, now after your correction you are saying

How are you planning to get from Lan Ha to Can Tho? Bus back to Hanoi?
After your second night you would be taking a boat back to the main land. Then bus to Hanoi. Then ride to airport. Then fly to Can Tho. Then car to hotel. Then sleep first night. Then full day in Can Tho, then sleep. Then fly to Da Nang.
Seems like a lot of work for a day in Can Tho.


So possibly go Vietnam, Cambodia, Vietnam, Cambodia? Don't do that.
Good point... The cruise and the hotel in Can Tho provide transfers.
But perhaps it's better to go Hanoi (3 nts), Cruise (2 nts), Hoi An (3 nts), Siem Reap (3 nts), and then what...
We'd have 4 nights left before we have to catch our flight from Shanghai back to US.

We could increase Siem Reap one night. The best flights to PVG are out of Phnom Penh or HCMC. We'd love to go to the beach, but it's right at the holidays and the hotels that are our style are so $$$$$... We thought about a jaunt over to Luang Prabang, but didn't seem like there was enough to do for 3 nights, and is it worth going only two?

Thank you for all this advice!!
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Old Oct 22, 19, 5:02 pm
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Originally Posted by jw1313 View Post
Good point... The cruise and the hotel in Can Tho provide transfers.
But perhaps it's better to go Hanoi (3 nts), Cruise (2 nts), Hoi An (3 nts), Siem Reap (3 nts), and then what...
We'd have 4 nights left before we have to catch our flight from Shanghai back to US.

We could increase Siem Reap one night. The best flights to PVG are out of Phnom Penh or HCMC. We'd love to go to the beach, but it's right at the holidays and the hotels that are our style are so $$$$$... We thought about a jaunt over to Luang Prabang, but didn't seem like there was enough to do for 3 nights, and is it worth going only two?
Keep in mind the visa issue. You need visa for each of Lao, Cambodia, Vietnam. Only the Vietnam visa is easy to get multiple entry. Otherwise you're getting visas on entry each time at around US$30. Have you traveled much in SEAsia? The heat and humidity can be wearing and reduce the number of planned activities.

I'd spend more time in the Siem Reap area. Get the 3 day ticket that's good for 7(?) days, buy do day trips to Koh Ker and maybe Banteay Chhmar. You really need 3 days minimum to see the sites in the immediate Siem Reap area. Not enough time to go to Preah Vihear, which is too bad.

Luang Prabang is really nice for some and boring for others. I'm in the "I like it." There are about 5 things to do. The rest of the time you sit by the Mekong and watch the world go by. I'm actually going there for the zillionith time very soon.

I usually spend 2 or 3 nights in Phnom Penh when possible and just walk around or use Grab. I think Kampot or Kep were suggested earlier.
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Old Oct 22, 19, 10:17 pm
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Good advice. Thank you. I've been to Thailand and China.
The only place I found REALLY hot/humid was Bangkok. Looking around at the locals though, I was not alone.
Also, I live in a warm climate (not humid really), so the heat doesn't bother me so much.

And I do like the idea of moving around less... I found a pretty good deal for a hotel in Con Dao, but I don't think I can squeeze it in without a lot of flying and a single overnight in HCMC or Can Tho after the cruise... Ah well.

Starting to think of this:
Hanoi - 3 nts
Cruise - 2nts
Hoi An - 4 nts (i'll day trip from Hoi An my base. could do 1 nt Hue then 3 HA - worth it?)
Siem Reap - 4 nts
Phnom Penh - 2 nts

Last edited by jw1313; Oct 22, 19 at 11:51 pm
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Old Oct 23, 19, 11:11 am
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I think you've got some good ideas going on here, just needs a bit of your own personal refinement. Only you know what you are comfortable with.

Keep in mind that with some of these places, there may only be a few flights a day, so depending on flight times 3 nights might actually only be 2 days.
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Old Oct 23, 19, 11:54 am
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Originally Posted by CrazyInteg View Post
I think you've got some good ideas going on here, just needs a bit of your own personal refinement. Only you know what you are comfortable with.

Keep in mind that with some of these places, there may only be a few flights a day, so depending on flight times 3 nights might actually only be 2 days.
Exactly... it's been a puzzle to put together the flights, but this seems workable. I'm just hesitant about 4 nights in Hoi An and wondering if day-tripping from there will be enough. Or, I guess I could take advantage of the time and have a suit made! If you have ideas/suggestions, I'd love to hear them.

We are both fit and able, and tend to tackle lots of fun exciting stuff more quickly than some people. We're not very good at pausing and doing nothing. Adventure!!
: )
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Old Oct 23, 19, 12:31 pm
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You mentioned, "The cruise <snip> provide[s] transfers". You have 3 airports to choose from to get from Ha Long Bay to Da Nang. You need to find out where that cruise transfer will drive you to.
I didn't do the Hoi An excursions, so I can't comment on your idea there. People do it both ways, I do know that.
Side note : I'd probably recommend skipping Ba Na Hills, unless you're really just looking for something else to do. It's neat, but it is what it is, a big tourist park. Also a bit expensive.
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Old Oct 23, 19, 2:16 pm
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Viroth in SR if you want something good. Stayed at plantation in PP, avoid!
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Old Oct 24, 19, 6:46 pm
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Originally Posted by dodgeflyer View Post
Viroth in SR if you want something good. Stayed at plantation in PP, avoid!
I just looked at Plantation, but didn't stay. It seemed ok. What was your objection?
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Old Oct 24, 19, 6:53 pm
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Originally Posted by jw1313 View Post

We are both fit and able, and tend to tackle lots of fun exciting stuff more quickly than some people. We're not very good at pausing and doing nothing. Adventure!!
: )
Well, if you want something that's interesting and no crowds, you can take an overnight from Siem Reap and visit Preah Vihear on the Thai border. For extra credit you can climb to the top using the 2243 wooden stairs that parallel the ancient pilgrimage route. 😁

Here's a write up that I haven't posted to Flyertalk yet. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1...t?usp=drivesdk
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