QUOTE(kec4 @ Sep 13 2010, 10:25 AM)
I am currently studying in Cha-am, Thailand (2.5 hours south of Bangkok) and am trying to decide what to do over my fall break. I have ten consecutive days, which is great, but there are so many places I want to go that I can't really decide. I was thinking it would be best to take this time for Cambodia and Vietnam.
Anyway, I am trying to find the best, and cheapest, way to get to these places.
Vietnam and Cambodia are two of the many places I want to visit while I am here. I am also interested in Laos, Indonesia, and Malaysia which is why it is hard for me to decide where to go. I'm going back and forth deciding which ones would be best for weekend(3-4 day) excursions and which would be better for my break. If you have experience traveling in these areas I would greatly appreciate your help :-)
My name is Warren O'Hara and I'm a retired 71 y.o. world traveller (22 countries so far and counting). I live in North Vancouver, BC Canada. My next 'biggie' trip will start in Feb./11 when I'm going to spend 2 mos. travelling in Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand & Korea. Previously I've visited Thailand (two trips), Malaysia and Singapore. Although I haven't been to Vietnam I have done extensive research on the country and I think it would be one good consideration for you. My intention is to spend time in HCMC, Hoi Ann and Hanoi and stay in some highly reviewed hostels- a couple of examples, The Drift Backpackers Hostel or Hanoi Rendevous Hostel (both in Hanoi). Both are reasoable and have private rooms avail. w/ WiFi and score high in every category, incl. location and cleanliness. My view, from all my reading, would suggest that VN has a fair edge over Cambodia & Laos in terms of security and good, clean, reasonable accom. to choose from. I've found Vietnam Air has very low prices on flights within the country with numerous flights to choose from. My plan is to travel from HCMC to Na Trang by 'S' train and then bus it to Hoi Ann from there. I will then fly to Hanoi (about C$45.) and then fly back to HCMC (about C$100.) Hanoi to HCMC is a 2 hr. flight so that price is HOT!!
Re Cambodia, upon studying countless hostel reviews for Phnom Penh (where I plan to spend about 4 days as I over-land into Thailand), there are many negative comments from travellers, incl cleanliness issues and countless other problems. Friends of mine have visited Ankor Wat and this is a definite 'must-see' if you are going to Cambodia. Other than bus travel between Siem Reap & Phnom Penh, Phnom Penh & Poipet (heading west to Thai border) and Phnom Penh & HCMC in Vietnam, it sounds like the roads and bus transport throughout the rest of the country are a bit of a disaster.
Have you been to Pattaya or Surat Thani? If so, any comments? I am tentatively planning about 4 days in Pattaya and 2 days in Surat Thani as I bus it down to Phuket. After my couple of weeks in Thailand I will be flying out of Phuket, via BKK and on to Seoul to finish up my trip with 2 weeks touring Korea.
Thailand and Ireland are my 2 favorite countires (next to Canada, of course) that I have travelled to so far. I have been to Ireland 7 times and I've had a total of 8 weeks in Thailand in my 2 trips there. My first trip to Thailand was immediately after the Dec./04 tsunami when I spent all my time in Phuket doing relief work at a fishing village on the SE coast of the island. The second trip there was in Oct./06 when I visited Chiang Mai, Kanchanburi, Bangkok and Phuket. Just love that country. How fortunate for you to be studying there.
Hope I've been a little help to you.