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Vietnam & Cambodia - help me work out my itinerary!

(22 Posts)
ColdNeverBotheredMeAnyway Sat 01-Jun-19 01:13:48

Inspired by another thread on here, please could you critique my itinerary for Vietnam & Cambodia?

I've been before, 15+ years ago, but DH has never been to Asia and hasn't really travelled much at all.

1 Fly UK to Phnom Penh
2 Phnom Penh to visit historic sites
3 Fly PP to Siem Reap - afternoon in Angkor Wat
4 Angkor Wat
5. Angkor Wat
6. Fly to Danang - afternoon in Hoi An
7. Hoi An
8. Hoi An
9. Hue
10. Hue
11. Overnight train to Ninh Binh
12. Ninh Binh
13. Ninh Binh
14. Hanoi
15. Hanoi
16 Fly home to UK

I'm concerned that we will be jumping straight in at the deep end starting in Phnomn Penh, but not sure how else to do it. I want to make sure we have some time to relax in nice hotels e.g. in Hoi An, and some chill out time in Ninh Binh cycling around paddy fields etc.

Can anyone critique this for me? How does it sound?

Inniu Sat 01-Jun-19 01:33:56

What about Halong Bay?

ColdNeverBotheredMeAnyway Sat 01-Jun-19 01:46:36

I've been to Halong Bay, and although I thought it was beautiful - it is very touristy, and I can only imagine it has got a lot worse.

Ninh Binh is supposed to have similar geology but in land instead of at sea. I also like the idea of cycling around, going on a river boat trip etc instead of the liveaboard boat thing in Halong Bay. But I'm open to all suggestions at this stage so if you know of a nice way to do Halong Bay I'd love to hear it.

Rua13 Sat 01-Jun-19 07:25:16

You can stay in a nice boutique hotel in PP and it's a great place for eating and drinking .The road has improved to Halong Bay but tbh I'd give it a miss.Friends of mine recently stayed in Tam Coc and raved about it.I'd say go now before it's overrun by tourists.

citychick Sat 01-Jun-19 08:12:30


I'd only do hue for one day.
I'd also cut out one of your HoiAn days.

We did a grasshopper cycling tour in the countryside. Much nicer.

I'll get back to you later as I'm busy now but will def take a look again.

If you're flying from the UK I think you'll want to get a few more sights in before going home.


ColdNeverBotheredMeAnyway Sat 01-Jun-19 10:50:35

Thank you Rua yes that's what I've read - Halong Bay is over run, but Tam Coc (Ninh Binh I think is the same area) is less touristy and just as nice.

Any recommendations for hotels in PP? I've seen some lovely ones, I'm enjoying the browsing! I want to be near the hustle and bustle but can afford somewhere a bit nicer than the usual backpacker places I used to frequent!

Thanks also citychick good advice on cutting down on Hue. I'd like to spend enough time in Hoi An to relax and enjoy good food, nice bars etc. But I'd love to hear any other suggestions.

What is the grasshopper cycling tour? Sounds good. DH is really into cycling, and I haven't been on a bike for 20+ years, so I'd really like to give it a go.

citychick Sat 01-Jun-19 11:24:11

Try this.

Morning Glory restaurant in Hoi an is a favourite. We got there before 6pm and got a table on the balcony upstairs. The food was amazing.

Viet Nam was lovely but we went in December and the weather was cold and rainy.

Hue - assuming you just want to see the palace? A day is enough. We got a rickshaw ride to take us. Fascinating.

It can get scorching hot in hot season and surprisingly cold and wet in winter. you didn't say what time of year you are going?

Will get back to you soon ...I live in Hong Kong so will search for recommendations on our Facebook groups.

ColdNeverBotheredMeAnyway Sat 01-Jun-19 11:50:48


We are going in September. So I assume the weather will be ok.

Yes we only want to see the palace in Hue, so I can cut that down to a day. thinking of taking the overnight train to Ninh Binh, but I'm not sure, might be nicer to fly!

Rua13 Sat 01-Jun-19 12:27:19

We stayed at Villa Borann in Phnom Penh.It was nice and very near to 240 Street.I'd recommend Tamarind for mezze and cocktails.Lots of good places to stay in Phnom Penh for around the$50 mark.
In Siem Reap we stayed in Hari Residence and Spa which was fantastic.Everyone was so friendly and walking distance to the town.
It's been a few years since I was last in Vietnam but in September it will be hot during the day

ShanghaiDiva Mon 03-Jun-19 01:11:56

I have been to Tam Coc - inland Halong bay and definitely a great alternative. I have done a few day trips with Vespa Adventures - in Hue, HCMC and PP - great fun and I really recommend them. We did a day trip with them in Hue which included a tour of the palace and then out to the surrounding countryside and visited several places where the former emperors are buried.
Hue is lovely and assume you are going by car from Hoi An - takes about three hours.
I think one day in PP might be a bit tight - killing fields, genocide museum, royal palace, national museum - especially if you are jet lagged.
For beautiful lacquer souvenirs I recommend Hanoia in Hanoi - they have some stunning pieces in beautiful colours.

whereshalligo Mon 03-Jun-19 07:06:13

Not sure when you are planning on going but we did a similar trip in July two years ago. Started in PP stayed in a lovely boutique hotel called White Mansion it used to be the old USA embassy. Had a pool and cafe next door. Without trivialising the history of Cambodia we knew we wanted to visit the museums and killing fields first to then move on with our holiday. Think we spent 3 nights in PP then flew to Siem Reap which I loved. Then flew to Hanoi (least favourite place) did Halong Bay wasn't too touristy.
Flight to Danang and Hoi Ann - 5 days relaxing
Then Ho Chi Ming City 3 nights I loved the city but isn't for everyone
Flew back via Hong Kong which I didn't rate.
Went with a company called Jasmine Holidays they were excellent.
Hope this helps am very jealous

Butterfly1066 Mon 03-Jun-19 07:07:11

Shamelessly following to nick a few ideas

FeltCarrot Sun 09-Jun-19 06:43:30

Have just returned from Vietnam, we did north to south, 3 nights Hanoi, 1 night Halong Bay (you must do this!), w nights Hue, 2 nights HoiAn and 4 nights Ho Chi Minh. The only place I didn’t really care for was Hue, if we were doing it again we would fly from Hanoi to DaNang and have a coup,e of days there. The beaches looked incredible and we drove back from Hoi An to DaNang to go to BaNa Hills.
I felt really sad leaving as we probably won’t go back, too many other places in the world to visit.

JetJungle Sat 22-Jun-19 08:52:01

I can highly recommend both White Mansion and The Pavilion in Phnom Penh, and Viroth's Hotel in Siem Reap. Viroth's in particular was out of this world.

Puppylucky Wed 26-Jun-19 08:17:18

I can second the Pavilion its beautiful! Only other suggestion is to get a car from Pnohm Penh to Siam Reap. A car and driver is not expensive and it takes about 3 hours. It was a great way to see more of the countryside and helps support the local economy.

JetJungle Wed 26-Jun-19 19:31:18

We did that too Puppy. It was not expensive and the hotel was happy to arrange the car and driver for us .... Which was just as well as we had an accident with a cow on the way to Siam Reap and the hotel ensured we were all in one piece and made it to our destination. They also informed us that the taxi driver and the cow owner came to an amicable arrangement hmmThe driving standards in general are a bit confused.

TheBitchOfTheVicar Thu 27-Jun-19 06:49:29

Do you have time to get the boat from PP to Siem Reap?

Linguaphile Thu 27-Jun-19 19:05:35

Also shamelessly following! I had no idea about Ninh Binh. Definitely going on the list.

TheRedBarrows Thu 04-Jul-19 09:02:45

I wouldn’t cut down days in Hoi An, there is loads to do there and it is a good place to chill out in a nice place / beach etc (depending on time of year).

Sp1nningAr0und58 Fri 05-Jul-19 06:14:45

Recommend visiting the night markets in Vietnam. War museums good, including the out door museums for historical info. Go to see a water puppet show if you get time.

overworkedhubby Thu 11-Jul-19 11:13:08

Hi your trip plan looks very good and well thought out----you will be able to visit many sights from your route. My wife and I have done it 6 times now and always find Siem Reap the highlight. You really need 4/5 days here as there are several magnificent temples to cover at ease or you will miss much, Angkor Watt and Thom being the main. Ensure you visit the museum at Siem Reap--a must for its ancient artifacts--not to be missed and cheap. Carry plenty of water and a small first aid kit----buy only water in well sealed bottles. Finally begin your visit early morning as the places are becoming over run by chinese tourists----be on sight 8 am for more people free time otherwise it`s like the F.A. cup final crowd. You will also have to pay an entrance fee in U.S. dollars only of about $20 each.. This visit will be the most mind blowing of your trip at Angkor Watt and Thom---have a good camera ready--not mobile phone--you will have a wonderful time -- enjoy. Siem Reap town at night is a must for food and a drink---beware the alcohol intake and dehydration---plenty of water is the order of the day..

SheriffCallie Fri 12-Jul-19 23:20:41

We did this trip (in reverse) back in 2008.
Flew to Hanoi for 2 nights, then got a sleeper train to Sapa, near the border with China, where we spent 2 nights. Loved here.
Then back to Hanoi, where we then left for Halong Bay and spent maybe 2 nights aboard a junket boat. It was spectacular, one of the most amazing landscapes we’ve ever visited. Then back to Hanoi.
Then we flew from Hanoi to hue, where we spent one night. We did a tour of the sights and arrived back at our hotel just before the most incredible rainstorm hit. We waded across the road to a restaurant, then back to our hotel to chill out and watch films.
We then got the train from Hue to Hoi An (not a long journey, very scenic), we spent 3 nights here but could have stayed longer. I loved the relaxed vibe there.
We then flew to Ho Chi Min City, where we stayed for 3 nights. Did a boat trip on the Mekong delta and visited the war museum. Then found a series of lovely rooftop bars and drank cocktails.
From HCM city we got a coach to Phnom Penh. For us this was really a stopgap before heading on to Siem Reap but I really loved the city. Gorgeous buildings, great food and we had the best time just people watching. Visited the killing fields and this was extremely sobering.
We then flew to Siem Reap and stayed in the most perfect small lodge, near a village and at the edge of what can only be described as a jungle, about 20 mins cycle to Ankor Wat. The open air reception was visited by some noisy toads at nighttime, I felt quite the affinity with them by the time we were leaving smile. Ankor Wat is other worldly, we spent 3 days in Siem reap and it wasn’t enough.
It’s been one of my favourite trips ever and I think our itinerary was almost perfect, an extra day or so in HoiAn and Siem Reap would be the only way to improve it.
I’d love to do it again 😍

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