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Advice For 1 Week Trip To SE Asia

Angkor Wat Carvings, Cambodia
Intricate carvings on the walls of a temple in Angkor Wat

Q. I am going to SE Asia for spring break, will be there a week. Going to Vietnam and Cambodia, but do you think that is enough time? In Cambodia I just want to go to Angkor Wat, how many days there do you recommend? And what do you think about Vietnam? South? North? Penny for your thoughts…

Short answer is no, not enough time at all. But if you want to do it anyway, I’d say minimum 2 days at Angkor Wat, its an amazing place, one of the coolest I’ve been too. You can explore it by bike, tuk tuk, or hire a driver, all are cheap, we hired a driver and a guide. I think the Cambodian visa is about 20 bucks and can be purchased online and printed out, or at the border.

Halong Bay
Halong Bay in the North of Vietnam, close to Hanoi

For Vietnam, my favorite place was Halong Bay in the North. Our tour bussed out of Hanoi, which I believe is the most common, however I didn’t really find Hanoi to be that cool. The season should be decent in March, maybe a little cooler, but not as many storms. It was overcast and raining when we went, but it was still awesome. Everyone goes out on these huge wood boats for a night or 2 and you cruise between all the rock peaks in the bay. Problem is the South is a lot more dense with things to do and see, and you’re so limited on time you hate to waste any getting from the North to the South. You’re also going to have to buy a visa which is somewhere around 100 bucks for Vietnam, sucks to have to buy that for just a few days there.

The Tombraider Temple of Angkor Wat
This temple with the massive trees growing from it was featured in the movie "Tomb Raider"

Also, where you going to fly in and out of? You’ll probably have to get a multi entry visa to Vietnam and catch a round-trip flight there. Maybe you should fly into Saigon, spend a couple days there, hop on a boat tour to the Mekong Delta, then continue on the boat to Phnom Penh for a couple days. Phnom Penh was way cooler than I expected, you can explore the city, shoot some bazookas, and see the killing fields. Then head to Siem Reap by bus (or I could be wrong, but I think you can even take a boat much of the way there) and do Angkor Wat for a couple days, then catch a flight back to Saigon.

Mekong River Tour
The Mekong Delta in Vietnam, as seen from the river tour out of Saigon

Another idea is just do Cambodia. You can do a couple days in Angkor Wat, couple days in Phnom Penh, and a couple days on the beach.

Angkor Wat Temple
One of the many large temples of Angkor Wat

Those are my initial thoughts, let me know if you have more questions.

One good comment on "Advice For 1 Week Trip To SE Asia"

  • Lindsay Ford  @ Sunday, March 25, 2012 at 8:09 PM

    Great suggestions. I love the Saigon photo of the river boat. The sky and water contrast is stunning. I am also a long term budget traveller and have just added your site to my website. You’re providing a great tool here for travellers like me.

    Lindsay A.Williams

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