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Old 08-02-2006, 03:11 AM   #1
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Hey all, since I just got home I'm workin' on my next trip (which will happen in Dec after three months in China) All advice and suggestions are appreciated...here's a rough itinerary which may be subject to change.

I'll most likely be traveling in from Yunnan in southern China probably via train/bus/mishmash of transportation options.

We may cut a day off from Sapa to give more flexibility if we want to stay an extra night in other towns, since the Sapa trip came up randomly when I realized that I had more time than I thought I did since I can come in straight from Kunming instead of all the way from Shanghai at a later date as I had initially planned for.

Thanks in advance! :D

VIETNAM 10th/11th? 16th - 29th December

10th/11th – Meet Sarah in Sapa?
11th - 14th – Sapa
15th – Train to Hanoi
16th Sat: Hanoi full day
17th Sun: Halong Bay (3 hrs Hanoi – HB) Night in Hanoi? Night train to Hue?

18th Mon: Leave Hanoi for Hue (14 hrs, night train if possible?) or Hue full day.

19th Tues: Hue full day. Night in Hue.
20th Wed: Hue – Hoi An (stop in Danang or not?)
21st Thurs: Hoi An full day.
22nd Fri: My Son – Cham ruins. Night in Hoi An.

23rd Sat: Hoi An to Nha Trang (9 hours)

24th Sun: Nha Trang – Diving and beach bummery
25th Mon: CHRISTMAS! Nha Trang. Boat cruise? Diving? More beach bummery.

26th Tues: Nha Trang To HCMC (8 hours)

27th Wed: HCMC full day
28th Thurs: HCMC – Chu Chi tunnels

CAMBODIA 29th December - 4th January

29th Fri: HCMC – Phnom Penh early, night in Phnom Penh.

30th Sat: Killing Fields
31st Sun: Full day Phnom Penh, New Year's Eve!
1st Jan Mon: Phnom Penh - Siem Reap? Angkor 3 day pass?
2nd - 3rd Tues/Wed: Angkor, night in Siem Reap.

THAILAND 4th - 6th January

4th Thurs: Siem Reap – Poipet – Bangkok.

5th Fri: Full day Bangkok, visit N&N and P? One last party night!

6th Sat: Flight from Bangkok - Boston
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Old 08-02-2006, 03:19 AM   #2
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When I was in Danang, I was staying at a fancy-dancy hotel, so it was nice. We took a long taxi ride out to town, but there wasn't anything around at all. If you can find some cheap accomodation and want to spend some time at the beach, then it might be worth a stop. If you're not looking to head to the beach, I'd skip it. Oh and I just noticed you're doing the beach thing somewhere else. A lot of people use it as a base for Hue trips, but you're already going there.

I think a 3 day pass was what I got for Angkor Wat. My tour guide actually lived in Angkor Wat during the war, because no one would bomb it since it was so respected, and he actually showed us the hole in the wall where he would hide his one toy. Crazy stuff. Climb up the main staircause in the center for an awesome view. Bring a passport picture with you or else you have to take one in their office and it just takes more time. When you're in Phnom Penh, make sure to check out the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (Corner of Street 113 and Street 350). It was really moving. My tour guide's brother was tortured there, so the first-hand experiences were quite real.
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Old 08-02-2006, 03:41 AM   #3
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Yeah, I'm budget hostelling it so no fancy-schmancy resorts for me. :P I heard most people use Danang as a base for regional trips so I figure we'll skip it and head to Hue, specially since I'm gonna do my beach bumming at Nha Trang.

Thanks though, and I'll try to catch the museum too...I was telling my travel bud petalbear that I'm going to spend a lot of time in Cambodia crying when we visit the Killing Fields and Genocide Museum and stuff...
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Old 08-02-2006, 06:33 AM   #4
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I know what you mean - it really is heartbreaking what they've gone through in just the past few years.
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Old 08-02-2006, 09:29 AM   #5
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I'm sorry, I can't comment on your itinerary, but I LOVE how you call it "beach bummery", that just made me laugh for some reason.
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Old 08-02-2006, 10:20 AM   #6
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Ok, so I have my travel diary/budget on my lap now... let's see... in Hue, I paid $2 per night and in Hanoi $2.50 ! I guess, that is what you call "budget hostelling".

Vietnam is very budget friendly. For $20, you get a luxurious room. In Hue, I just bargained my room in the first hotel my feet took me to, got the price lowered from $10 to $2. It was also in December, and there weren't that many tourists around, so it was easy to have a good deal. You know, the typical "oh, it's a bit too expensive for my budget, I'll go to that hotel around the corner where I know it's only $1.50" thing. And anyway, it was all that my tight budget was allowing me, I had no choice.

I found Vietnam to be too organized for independant travellers, a bit annoying in that aspect, but it also means no trouble for transportation, food, etc.

Hue is pretty nice, two or three days, or more if you use it as a base to travel to Danang or Hoi An. The organized trip to the Ho Chi Minh trail is worth trying, despite its duration. The best part is when you visit a tunnel where people lived. And the bus takes you to a museum, of medium interest, but where the landscape in the mountains is spectacular ! I also did a day-trip on the Perfume River, during which we were taken to several pagodas and temples. It was very nice, but I would have liked to learn more about people who live and work on the water... For that sort of infos, you need to know locals.

Did you know that you can stay the night in the boats in Haiphong ? It's a long ride from Hanoi, better sleep there, and the best is really on the water !

December can be rather cold (around 15 celsius daytime), and in central Vietnam, like in Hue, it's the end of moonsoon.

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Old 08-02-2006, 11:07 AM   #7
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Thanks for the tips!

I'm going to be coming down from a nice Shanghai winter from up north so I think 15 degrees might actually be balmy. :P I'm glad to hear the budget-friendly part though...that always makes me happy. Any other notes on budget and spending would be appreciated...oh and transport. So far I'm planning on trains, and the info on the official site looks pretty good...and I think I'll be allowing pretty generous travel time schedule-wise in case of holdups. Hehe.

I'm probably going to skip Da Nang but might try to spend a night or two in Hoi An itself instead of doing day trips from Hue, although I'm hoping to spend 2 days in Hue itself. The tunnels near Saigon are on my agenda too.

Curioso, how was the language situation? Difficult? No knowledge of Vietnamese between my bud and I, just English, Malay, hopefully some half-decent Chinese by the time I finish my program and a teensy smattering of French and Spanish. It's probably going to be my first time in a place where I don't speak the language, or have a friend who speaks it.

Thanks again, and beach bummery is definitely the way to go!
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