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Itinerary Critique For 1st Time in SE Asia

What do you think about this so far, starting last few days of November:

Bangkok - 3 nights
Chiang Mai - 4 nights
Siem Reap - 3 nights
Hoi An - 4 nights
Ha Long Bay - 2 nights
Hanoi - 3 nights

Any input appreciated, thanks!

Posted by
7988 posts

Give Hanoi one more night. Two nights in Halong Bay is good.We only spent one night on a junk and wished we had a second.

Posted by
546 posts

Having lived in SE Asia for 7 years and traveled there extensively for more that 35 years including all of Vietnam. I would have the following Observations:

Not knowing what your interests are or what time of year you are going makes making any recommendations dicey.

The thing that jumps right out at me is that Hanoi is a much more interesting place than Hoi An and I would switch the nights there. You might even consider cutting Hoi An to 2 nights.

Since I am not sure where you are traveling from I am guessing it will be the West Coast. Most flights to BKK land in the middle of the night or in the wee hours of the morning this being your first night. This really only gives you only 2 usable nights in BKK.

One of Vietnam's most interesting cities is not on your list and that is Hue. I would give serious consideration to including it if you can.

3 nights in Siem Reap is just adequate to see the major sights. But it really takes 3 full days to even get started on the immensity that is Angkor. Take into account it will be HOT and a full long day is very tiring. Depending on the time of year the temple complexes can be incredibly crowded. It also takes about 20 minutes to travel from the hotel area of SR to the Ruins. This is one place I strongly recommend a good guide.

Somewhere I have photos of one of my first trips there when the Khmer Rouge was still hanging on and killing the occasional tourist at Angkor, in fact two were killed when I was there at Bantey Srei (a place I highly recommend to see) The striking thing about my photos from those days is the almost complete lack of people. At Ta Prohm we (2 of us) were the ONLY visitors. Now there are boardwalks and thousands at Ta Prohm on any given day. I have been many times to Angkor and it is one of THE BEST sights in the entire world.

If you will provide more information about your trip and interests I might be able to expand a bit on this.