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Vietnam and Cambodia Feb 2013
Post: #11
Bob

Thanks for your comments on this trip. I'm booked on this trip for September & I am really looking forward to it.

Anna
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Post: #12
Hi Rosemary and Maggie,

No need for winter woolies, as it was humid in the north even when wet! I'd say bring a lightweight jacket just in case it's a bit wet but if you're going later in the year, it will be a lot hotter in Hanoi/Halong so you probably won't need it at all. I'd reckon the only time you might need a jacket/jumper would be in the north from around Nov-Jan time. However if you go after our summer in the second half of the year, it would be monsoon time in the centre/south, so some raingear would be a good idea for that part of the tour.

I didn't bring any dong; some folks did but it was very easy to change it in the hotels. You can use $ in all the hotels, restaurants and shops - some will give change in $ and some in dong. The cost of drinks etc was a bit cheaper than in Europe - in some places wine was a little pricey, but no more than most restaurants or hotels at home charge: usually $3-4 a glass and often cheaper than this. Beer was cheaper at $2-3 a bottle. Fruit juices were delicious - I particularly loved the pineapple juice. I'd say I spent around $600 in total, including the Cambodia add-on. The same applies to Cambodia, you can get riel in hotels but there's no need really. There's around 30,000 dong to the £ and 4,000 riel to the £. Souvenirs such as silk scarves, pictures etc are very cheap and in most places you can haggle.

I think all the hotels except one had swimming pools - two ladies in our tour were in the pool every opportunity they got! As far as I remember they all had tea/coffee making facilities but if you're fussy, bring your own tea bags/coffee. In some hotels, the tea/coffee served at breakfast was poor. On the whole, the food was very good and you should enjoy it.

Hope that helps, have a great holiday!

Bob
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Post: #13
Hi Bob,

Thanks again for all the info and best wishes for your future travels,

Rosemary
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Post: #14
Hi Bob,
I liked your informative, honest report aboout Vietnam - thank you.
I gather there`s an internal flight involved on the trip - at what stage and for how long ?
Re : Halong Bay cruise - what basics should I take regarding the Junk boat facilities?
Assuming there`s no beach-time on this hol - is it isolated to hotel pools only ?
I read in a previous review that My Son is full of old ruins and that time is better spent in Hoi An - is the town mostly a shopper`s paradise?
Vietnam is expecting myself and a friend I met ( in September) on a JY hol in Tuscany last year - we`re so looking forward to this unusual trip !
Janet Smile
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Post: #15
Hi Janet,

There are two internal flights on this tour - Hanoi to Hue, Danang to Ho Chi Minh City and also a third if you do the Cambodia add-on, from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap. The luggage allowance is officially 20kg but you can get away with a bit more, once you're under 23kg!

For the Halong Bay cruise, people generally just took their hand luggage bag on board, with whatever you need for an overnight stay. Towels and shower gel etc are provided. Be aware that facilities are reasonably basic on the junk - especially if you are on the lower deck. Cabins will be allocated in the same way as hotel rooms; it doesn't matter much as you'll only be in the cabin to sleep at any rate.

We stopped off at a beach on the way to Hoi An, near Hue, for lunch with plenty of time for a walk and sit in the sun. It was beautiful. There is plenty of free time when at Hoi An and the beach is just across the road from the hotel. It's a reasonable beach, but very windy when we were there. The sun worshippers on our tour just sat by the hotel pools - I think all the hotels bar one had pools. I enjoyed the trip to My Son - a nice drive through interesting countryside, a cultural music and dance show when we arrived, followed by a tour of the ruins. Worth seeing if for no other reason for a glimpse of how wonderful they must have been, prior to being destroyed by the US during the war. We were back at lunch time, so still loads of time to go shopping in Hoi An if you wish. Loads of clothes shops, which will tailor make up clothes for you overnight and lots of shops selling a good range of tourist tat and souvenirs. An hour was more than enough time wandering the shops for me at any rate!

Any other questions, feel free to ask!

Cheers,

Bob
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Post: #16
Thanks Bob - I'm booked for October and your review has made me aware of what an exciting adventure the whole thing will be.
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Post: #17
Hi Bob,
Thanks for your reply - very helpful.
While I think of it, what did people do in the evenings generally and was it safe to wander about, or were the hotels` own reception areas good for gathering ?
In Tuscany, the hotel veranda was a great meeting place for the group at any time - especially evenings , (despite other streets to walkabout) but I imagine Vietnam is very different...?
Looking forward to your reveiw .
Janet
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Post: #18
(05/03/2013, 09:01 PM)Annam Wrote: Bob

Thanks for your comments on this trip. I'm booked on this trip for September & I am really looking forward to it.

Anna

Hi Anna,
What date in September are you going to Vietnam , as a friend and I are also going that month too?
Jan
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Post: #19
Hi again Janet, dinner was included every evening and unusually for these tours, it was almost always in a restaurant rather than the hotel - we usually met in the foyer at 7 or 7.30pm and the bus took us to dinner. In fact, most of us tended to meet half an hour or an hour before the time, for a pre-dinner drink in the hotel bar. Almost all the restaurants were excellent and although it was usually a set menu, the food varied quite a lot. We generally returned to the hotel around 9pm or so. Some hardy folks then retired to the hotel bar for a few drinks. I usually went to my room to get a good night's sleep as the wake up call was generally around 6am!

Any other questions, ask away!

Bob
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Post: #20
Jan

I'm departing on the 4th September. Are you and your friend on the same date?

Anna
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