Vietnam & Cambodia
Posted 23 January 2009 - 11:51 AM
Anyway back to the majority of our trip - has anyone been??? recommendations - places NOT to go - places NOT to miss.
I'm so looking forward to it, such diverse culture, amazing scenery & history (both good and bad)
Always good to get real experiences instead of what is just in the brochures
Posted 23 January 2009 - 01:07 PM
which is 'only' a 4* hotel. The main building is a beautiful old French Governor's mansion. We did this spa/temple tour package:
It was completely amazing ! We would generally head out to the temples early in the morning and then come back to the hotel for lunch, before heading out again to the temples in the afternoon. In the early evening we would come back to the hotel for spa treatments and dinner. All meals, spa treatments, temple tours and airport transfers were included in the package. They will tailor the package specifically for you and the staff were so helpful. We stayed there for 4 nights so we had an extra day, so they arranged for us to go to a traditional Cambodian dinner and Tonle Sap Lake, which is where the floating villages are. The floating village, while distressing to see people living in such conditions is unbelievable! There is a floating basketball court, floating pigsty's, floating restaurants and hundreds of floating houses. We went on a boat trip to the restaurants for a drink and bought some things from the shop to contribute to the community, which is obviously very poor. I don't really have any places I suggest you avoid, as I enjoyed everywhere we went. I guess some people wouldn't have been comfortable with the poverty, but I think tourism brings money into these communities. We also made a donation to the Children's hospital while we were there. There are also some good markets in Siem Reap.
At Angkor Wat as soon as you get out of the Tuk Tuk/car children will run up to you trying to sell you things (we brought back about 200 postcards ), one thing they do sell is a really good temple guidebook which I think we paid US$5 for (we did see it as low as $2!). It is definitely worth waiting to buy the guidebook there.
Another thing I will also mention is that we made 7 flights in 12 days on our honeymoon and while I would do it all again given the chance be warned that it isn't the most relaxing holiday !
OK I think I've gone on long enough (if you can't tell I'm very enthusiastic about this place). Hope you have a great time, let me know if you need any more info .
Posted 23 January 2009 - 01:10 PM
Posted 23 January 2009 - 01:21 PM
Grab yourself a copy of the L0nely P!anet guide book, it’s full of heaps of helpful information.
We traveled by road from Bangkok through Cambodia, (Siem Reap, Phnom Penh) and onto Vietnam, where we made our way from Saigon to Hanoi with one rail leg, the rest on bus. Once in Hanoi we flew back to Bangkok. Our trip took about 3.5 weeks.
There is so much to see and do. As we were doing our own thing we could decide how long to stay in each place.
Too much to mention but some key things to see
Angkor Wat in Seim Reap- absolutely amazing. From memory we had a 3 day pass. There are lots to see. Get yourself a driver who drive you to each temple and wait for you each time, and if you’re lucky, give you a bit of history on the place too. People hire bikes ( ) but it’s much nicer and easier to have a local show you around-plus it's a bloody long bike ride!.
Cu Chi Tunnels in Ho Chi Minh City.- Can go inside the underground tunnels left over from the Vietman War.
Nha Trang- beachside town. Good restaurants, bars etc. We took a day boat trip out to the islands and had a blast.
Hoi An- give yourself a couple of days here and take advantage of the tailors- they are everywhere. Either take pictures of items of clothing you like, or you can choose things from their magazine/book collections. For a couple of hundered USD, I got a trench coat, a shirt and a couple of tops, fh got a suit, some shirts and pants. All really well made.
Halong Bay- we took an overnight boat trip out into the bay- as did everyone else it seemed when we docked in the bay for the night surrounded by other boats, but it was truly an amazing trip.
I guess it really depends on what you’re wanting to see and your budget. We did it on the cheap (eg US $10 a night accommodation in Seim Reap which honestly wasn’t as bad as it sounds ) but then also splurged every so often to freshen up in nice hotels.
Transport is old and just when you think you can’t squeeze any more people in, another stop is made and more people are crammed into aisles of the bus(usually locals, tourists always seemed “lucky” enough to get a seat!).
With bus trips, either long distance or for tour day trips, stops are made at pre scheduled food outlets/ art gallerys/ factories, with the intention for you to spend your money there. You by don’t means have to, but it can get annoying when you just want to get to your destination but you’re made to stop off and have a tour of the local gem store.
We had such a blast. I guess our only disappointment is that we ran out of time and didn’t get to see the hillside village of Sapa in northern Vietnam. Just an excuse to go back I guess!
It was a very full on trip. There is a lot of poverty so it's certainly not everyones cup of tea, but there is a lot to learn and see. I'm sure you'll have an amazing time.
Posted 23 January 2009 - 03:33 PM
I backpacked for 3 years and loved the grass roots journey, so your suggestions are fab Have so much to cover in 15 days so I just ant to get the most of it
Posted 24 January 2009 - 12:46 PM
Stayed here in Saigon/HCMC http://www.majesticsaigon.com.vn/ and flew to Da Nang and went to Hoi An, stayed on Cu Dai Beach http://www.swiss-bel.../sbgs_home.html
Don't miss Hoi An, we didn't get anything tailor made, just found it more relaxing and the food... AWESOME!!!
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