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Southeast Asia Adventure

Jan 03, 2014 - May 14, 2014

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My Places

    • 明冄湯包No. 35-1 Tonghua Street Lane 171, Taipei, Taiwan
    • Hoàng Đỗ Huy commented on this trip

      the visa on arrival is working. You could apply online at http://vietnamvisaonarrivals.com and pay the stamping fee at the airport when you arrive.

      .Comment.4 months ago. Report
    • Hanoi street foodsno 3, Phan Huy Ich street, Ba Dinh district
      Hoàng Đỗ Huy recommended Hanoi street foods
      5
      I've had a Hanoi street food tour a night for 6 months with my buddies from America. They's also love it. We discovered Hanoi street at night on Motobike then visit Long Bien bridge, sitting and tried ... read more
      grilled corn. Nice! and walking around to see many beautiful French building, eating Pho Cuon, Muc Nuong, Cha Ca... I still remembered!
      Recommended for:
      .Comment.4 months ago. Report
    • Quiien Payoyo recommended Oklahoma
      5
      hahahahahahahahha :)
      Recommended for:
      .Comment.4 months ago. Report
    • Quiien Payoyo recommended Paris
      5
      hahahahah :D
      Recommended for:
      .Comment.4 months ago. Report
      Quiien Payoyo

      hahahahah :D

    • Matthew Crompton recommended Bangkok
      5
      Bangkok for me is that rare place: a big city that's also my favorite spot in the entire country. It's enough to love the city for its food -- pork-rice and grilled chicken and fresh passionfruit ... read more
      juice on the street, dirt-cheap pad thai in food-court kitchens, fiery Isan cuisine, and excellent Western grub if you find yourself tired of noodles. Still, once you've eaten your way into a larger waistband, there's more than enough to keep you busy: astonishing temples like the Reclining Buddha at Wat Pho, or the fantastic Khmer-style Wat Arun across the river; or fabulous malls to people-watch and keep cool in (you get to appreciate their air-con in the Bangkok heat!) It's a great city for nightlife, and one of the world's best traveller centers. It's gritty and hectic and crowded, to be sure, but each time you come back you'll find you love it a little more.
      .Comment.5 months ago. Report
      Matthew Crompton

      Oh, and when you head thru Bangkok (which you eventually will), check out this 36-hours-in guide to a city that I dig bunches: http://goingaroundplaces.wordpress.com/2012/08/04/published-gogobot-36-hours-in-bangkok/ Good luck! ^_^

    • Matthew Crompton recommended Angkor
      5
      The most spectacular single set of temples in Asia, and possibly the world, the monuments of Angkor -- a medieval civilization that reached its peak in the 11th century -- must be seen to be believed. ... read more
      While guidebooks often spuriously claim that a particular site requires "two full days" to appreciate, Angkor fully lives up to that assertion: one day is simply not enough. Everyone will have their own personal favorites, but even an hour lost in a masterpiece like Preah Khan or Banteay Srey will make you abundantly grateful to have been born with functioning eyeballs. One of the absolute highlights of travel anywhere, and not to be missed.
      Recommended for:
      .Comment.5 months ago. Report
      Matthew Crompton

      Oh, and this is, all considered, the best set of ancient monuments in the world.

    • Matthew Crompton recommended Phnom Penh
      5
      The Cambodian capital is one of Mainland SE Asia's most overlooked (and most enjoyable!) spots. With an incredible dining scene, a beautiful waterfront, great markets, cool sights, and some hella ... read more
      friendly people, it was one of the most pleasant surprises on my tour thru the Southeast Asia circuit. It's a shame that Phnom Penh is a name synonymous with the infamous "Killing Fields" and Tuol Sleng Prison (aka S-21), because it's also one of the most relaxed and enjoyable spots on the circuit. Certainly, for a sober taste of history, see those two sites, but also check out the lovely Silver Pagoda, take a Khmer cooking class at Frizz, nosh on gourmet pizza at the Foreign Correspondents Club, and enjoy the blissfully chilled-out riverwalk at the meeting of the Mekong and Tonle Sap!
      .Comment.5 months ago. Report
      Matthew Crompton

      Going the other way round, it's simple to catch a bus from Saigon (HCMC) to Phnom Penh, which is a vastly more rewarding and often overlooked city.

    • Matthew Crompton recommended Muang Ngoi
      5
      The tiny riverside town of Muang Ngoi (also known as Muang Ngoi Neua, or Muang Ngoi 'north', to distinguish it from the district of the same name), might just be the sweetest place in the whole of ... read more
      Lao, and possibly mainland SE Asia. Situated on the banks of the muddy Nam Ou river, and only accessible by boat, it's a place with no cars, internet, or electricity, save that supplied by generators from 6-10 each night. Laid-back, pastoral, supremely cheap, and incredibly beautiful, it's a great place to go tubing or kayaking on the river (not just a booze-fest like Vang Viene), hiking in surrounding countryside, or exploring the karst-limestone caves dotted around the town. Likewise, it's an amazing place to kick back in a hammock and do nothing at all. In nearly 8 continuous months on the road thruout South and Southeast Asia, Muang Ngoi remains in my top 3 favorite places: not a place to be missed.
      .Comment.5 months ago. Report
      Matthew Crompton

      Did I mention that Muang Ngoi is one of my favorite places in the world? Not yet a backpacker party hell like Vang Viene in the south.

    • Matthew Crompton recommended Luang Prabang
      5
      Luang Prabang is unfairly identified with (and often reduced to) its now far-too-touristy dawn Buddhist almsgiving ceremony, and that's a shame. Because while the sight of monks barefoot and in orange ... read more
      robes begging rice may be an interesting ritual, there's vastly more to Luang Prabang than a one-off ceremony. For starters, the ancient city is gorgeous, with lavishly-restored wooden colonial houses, many converted into excellent guesthouses. More, it's an AMAZING food city, with excellent Lao and SE Asian cuisine, but also outstanding and inventive European fare. It's got an outstanding Hmong market with great fabric-crafts, and a wonderful night food market. The hilltop temples overlooking the city are gorgeous for a sunset, and -- best of all -- the city exudes the laid-back Lao charm and hospitality. One of my favorite places in the world, and not to be missed.
      .Comment.5 months ago. Report
      Matthew Crompton

      From Sapa, it's possible to enter Laos the back way thru the mountains via the underwhelming Dien Bien Phu. You'll end up at Muang Khua, upstream from Muang Ngoi, itself upstream from the absolutely superb Luang Prabang.

    • Matthew Crompton recommended Sapa
      5
      Pretty, touristy Sapa, with its green rice terraces scalloping the slopes of cloud-shrouded mountains, is an essential stopoff on any visit to Vietnam. Famous for its various ethnic minorities (Hmong ... read more
      and Dzao among them) who wander the streets in traditional costume selling weaving and metalwork, it's also the base for a number of excellent (if horrifically muddy) treks into the surrounding mountains, staying in hill-tribe villages and getting a sense of the local culture outside of the tourist ghetto in the heart of Sapa town. With much less hassle than the rest of Vietnam, and tons of good lodging and restaurants, Sapa is an easy place to like, even if it is quite firmly on the tourist trail.
      .Comment.5 months ago. Report
      Matthew Crompton

      Lovely walks in the surrounding hills here, though Fanxipan (the popular trekking mountain nearby) is often just a muddy multi-day slog.

    • Matthew Crompton recommended Hoi An
      5
      With its picturesque UNESCO World Heritage old town, excellent dining scene, nearby beaches and fabulously cheap custom tailors, Hoi An is a must-see on the circuit of the central Vietnam coast. Find ... read more
      a nice guesthouse with a pool, visit a tailor to get your measurements taken, sit on the beach for a couple days, eat amazing food at night, take lots and lots of pictures, and in 48 hours' time, pick up your custom-made clothes and travel onwards in style!
      .Comment.5 months ago. Report
      Matthew Crompton

      Likewise lovely, if likewise touristy.

    • Ha Long BayHa Long Bay, Vietnam
      Matthew Crompton recommended Ha Long Bay
      4
      The dramatic karst formations of northern Vietnam's Ha Long Bay, lost in the mists, may be one of the best sights in travel. Timeless, gorgeous, and faintly dreamlike, they exert a spell on you, a ... read more
      bit, even after you've left. You can explore the islands of the Bay by kayak (a standard tour outing), tour a GIGANTIC limestone cave (another one), and visit Cat Ba Island, with its fishermen in floating villages -- another amazing sight. Tours are easiest and cheapest to arrange in Hanoi -- standard packages of 1-3 days (sleeping on a junk on the Bay at night, or in Cat Ba Town: very cool) though they can seem at times like a bit of a tourist treadmill. A decent agency I recently used in Hanoi is Vega Travels.
      Recommended for:Outdoor Enthusiasts
      .Comment.5 months ago. Report
      Matthew Crompton

      You only need one night out on a junk on the bay, but you DO need that one night to really appreciate it. Try Vega Travel in Hanoi for a decent operator.

    • Matthew Crompton recommended Hanoi
      4
      Hanoi, outside the center, may be a bit of a hell of traffic and congestion like other Vietnamese big cities. Stick to the city's old quarter, however, and you'll be pleased to discover one of ... read more
      Vietnam's most atmospheric districts, with a fine lake for strolling around, nifty streetlife in the narrow lanes, and lots and lots of ultra-cheap bia hoi (draft beer).
      Recommended for:FoodiesLocal Culture
      .Comment.5 months ago. Report
      Matthew Crompton

      Hi Ashley- Vietnam is pretty developed on a whole, so most major tourist spots will have wifi readily available. Personally, If I had 4-6 weeks to work with, I'd spend more time in Cambodia and (especially) Laos, and less in Vietnam, which I simply didn't find as rewarding as those two (though your mileage may vary). As far as visas go, no need to go thru a travel agency or the like -- simply apply online for the faux "visa on arrival", or if you have time, send your passport away to the Vietnamese embassy in your home country for a proper visa (this may or may not be necessary in order to get more than 30 days on it).

    • Alison Passat commented on this trip

      Hi!
      Don't know from what part of Vietnam you're going to Laos. We did Hanoi-Vientiane by bus. It's super easy but it's a 24-hour ride... Otherwise you can fly there.
      From Laos to Cambodia, we flew from Luang Prabang to Siem Reap. It's the easiest way to go from one country to the other, otherwise the train takes you partly through Thailand, and it takes days.

      Vientiane is really small and there's no need to be there for more than a day. Luang Prabang is amazing though — it's the cultural and gastronomical capital city of the country. If you do Vientiane — Luang Prabang by bus/van, you can also stop in Vang Vieng on the way for a day. It's the country's party city, so it depends on what you like...

      This website really helped me plan my trip across SEA:
      http://www.seat61.com/Map-southeast-asia-train-routes.htm#.UpsQaBayyPE

      Have fun!

      .Comment.5 months ago. Report
      Ashley Littlefield thanked Alison Passat for this comment.
    • Alison Passat commented on this trip

      Visas to Vietnam must be done ahead of time — the easiest way is to do it online. Some companies take care of it for you, and the visa's price is actually lower than if you go through the embassy. You fill in a form, they'll have it approved by Vietnam's immigration people, and they'll email it back. You'll need that paper to board the plane in your home country + go through customs in Vietnam.

      .Comment.5 months ago. Report
    • Shilin Night MarketNo. 60號, JīHé Road, Shihlin District, Taipei City, Taiwan 111

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