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Old 06-07-2007, 09:52 AM   #1
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Default Vietnam? Cambodia? Laos?

I've been to Thailand, and now I want to see more of S.E. Asia. What can you tell me about Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos? What to see, what to avoid?

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Old 06-08-2007, 09:55 AM   #2
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Could you tell us more about the type of travel you enjoy, duration, budget ? Do you stick to major cities or want to explore the countryside ? You like history, arts, getting to know locals, party, etc ?

I've spent a month in Laos and Vietnam, especially loved Laos. I hope I can go back someday to see more ! Here are a few tips I wrote in another thread (sorry, I'm feeling too lazy to give you "original tips" )

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First of, people should hurry going there before it gets westernized. It is one of the very few countries that remain genuine. Its neighbours, Vietnam and Laos have already started changing.

As most of SEA countries, Laos is fairly cheap. One can get around with less than $15 a day, depending on the area. My average daily fees amount $11, I'm a super low budget backpacker. Of course, there are a good range of hotels/hostels in the main cities, from $3 hostel rooms to $100 hotel's. You can even find places for $1, in the countryside, with no service, shared "bucket baths" and squat toilets. «-- rare in Laos.

In Vientiane and Luang Prabang, great foreign restaurants for a few dollars a meal. This is where I had the best meals of my stay in Asia, but french and italian food. The noodle shops are unexpensive and serve good local food. Street vendors sell food to bus users, on the national roads. When the bus stops, they run to your window with their chicken on a stick (in fact a roasted bird), sticky rice (with coconut milk), corn, and more. No need to buy a snack in advance, the bus stops every one or two hours. Beer Lao is the only and very famous national beer (99% of the backpackers buy the beer lao t-shirt) and Lao Lao is the homemade rice alcohol you'll likely drink at any time of the day (can be the first thing you're offered in the morning ! ).

Luang Prabang is one of the prettiest thing, that makes Vientiane, the capital, look sad and boring. But I loved Vientiane. In which other capital would the locals greet you on the street as if you were family ? "Sabaidee" - hello in Lao.

Several cities from coloniasm are worth seeing. Well, pick one, no need to see all of them.

The south is charming. I recommend Si Phan Don (= 4000 Islands), on the Mekong, just by the cambodian border. No luxuary around : electricity, tv and internet addicted, please avoid this place ! It's gorgeous, filled with partying backpackers, lots to do (visiting small untouched villages, temples, hicking, seeing the highest falls of SEA, rapids, wild dolphins), and also spots to be alone for those who don't feel like joining the others. Bamboo houses at $1 a night. It feels like paradise, really ! And you're on the Mekong River !

Bus drivers are crazy ; bring earplugs with you !

Yellow fever vaccine is supposed to be mandatory. But they didn't ask me to show my proof (I had it with me though). And for those travelling in the countryside, Malaria is a potential danger. I think the city areas aren't a problem (but I'm no expert, better make sure yourself).

Oh, and it is illegal to have sex with a Lao !
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Old 06-08-2007, 11:26 AM   #3
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Ah, good point. I'm into budget backpacking. Cheap bungalows, no frills, vagabonding style travel.
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Old 06-08-2007, 11:29 AM   #4
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Man, it sucks that you can't edit posts.

Anyway, I'd be spending about a month or so and am not into heavy partying, though I do like some drunken banter. I'm int laid back travel, and like to check out temples, caves, and beautiful natural areas. Kind of interested in hill tribes, but I think it would just be weird as it seems to be kind of a human zoo with a show put on for tourists. Seems like it just wouldn't be authentic to do one of those tours, but then again, I can't say as I haven't been.
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Old 06-25-2007, 06:13 PM   #5
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Vietnam is best.
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Old 06-27-2007, 03:12 PM   #6
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With a month...do Laos and Cambodia maybe. I haven't been to Laos yet but if you're more into the off-the-beaten track thing, I found Vietnam to be a bit too organized for my liking, although I did still have a ton of fun there.

I only had a week in Cambodia and I zipped through Siem Reap and Phnom Penh - the Killing Fields, genocide museum and of course Angkor Wat and a good bit of time at the bars since it was over New Year's. I wish I had had more time to check out the country though.

Here are a couple of my journal entries from Cambodia. I have a few photos from Vietnam and Cambodia up on my photo site if you want to take a look at those too.

Good luck!
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