We (my boyfriend and I, both mid-twenties) are planning to travel to Vietnam and Cambodia (and Bangkok because of cheap flights) in September 2014. I was wondering if some of you more experienced SEA travellers have any advice on our itinerary.
Our itinerary so far:
Day 1: Arriving in the early morning in Bangkok
Day 2: Bangkok
Day 3: Early flight from Bangkok to Siem Reap, spending the rest of the day in Siem Reap
Day 4: Angkor Wath
Day 5: Bus from Siem Reap to Pnomh Penh
Day 6: Pnomh Penh (including Killing fields)
Day 7: Bus from Pnomh Penh to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)
Day 8: Ho Chi Minh City
Day 9: Flight from HCMC to Danang
Day 10: Hoi An
Day 11: Hoi An (hopefully having some beach time here)
Day 12: early train/bus to Hue,
Day 13: spend the day in Hue, night train to Hanoi
Day 14: Hanoi
Day 15: organised tour Ha Long Bay
Day 16: organised tour Ha Long Bay
Day 17: Hanoi
Day 18: flight back home from Hanoi
Actually, we've got 2 more days to spend in SEA, but I'm not sure yet what place I want to spend those days. Either we stay a bit longer at a place we're visiting anyway (f.ex. 1d extra at Ha Long Bay, staying longer in HCMC to visit the Cu Chi Tunnels), or we try to get somewhere additionally (f.ex. Sapa).
I realize that our schedule is very strict and we won't be able to explore every (if any) destination at its fullest. However, since we are limited in time and we probably don't have the opportunity to come back to SEA anytime soon, we'd like to get the most overall SEA experience as possible. So far, the overall pace of staying somewhere for 2 to 3 nights has worked for us in the past in Australia and Europe, but we don't have any experience on travelling in SEA (besides a 3 day stopover in Singapore).
So, here are my questions:
- Any general advice on our itinery (hotspots we're missing or places that are skippable, f.ex. skipping Hue and adding Sapa?). We are also still open for major changes (even changing countries, f.ex.adding Laos or more of Thailand).
- Is this counter-clockwise route preferable to a clockwise route? Any advantages/disadvantages on them (f.ex. weather conditions getting better somewhere by the end of September)?
- Public transportation: any tips on where to take busses/trains instead of flying and vice versa? Also advice on what bus companies to pick and where to buy tickets is more than welcome.
- Must do's or must see's at the indicated destinations and how to get around at certain places (tuk tuk, taxi, walking,...)?
I'm not much of an experienced forum user, so I hope my questions are appropriate. I know I'm asking a lot, but generally it comes down to this: any advice on our itinerary is appreciated
Thanks a lot in advance,