Detailed itinerary; Vietnam, Laos & Cambodia

Hello,

Below you can see our detailed itinerary for our upcoming Asia trip! The trip is not set in stone yet, as we want to have some what of a flexible route whilst traveling! BUT you can see the main idea of what we will be doing and where we will be spending our time below 🙂

This is a 3-week itinerary by the way. I have tried to include as many destinations as possible, but it is important for me that my itineraries never feels rushed in any way. There has therefore been several destinations we have had to skip during this trip. This  is always a hard thing to do, but on the other hand it is important to be realistic with the time you got.

If you have any tips and tricks for these destinations, please let me know! I would love to know your thoughts 🙂

Day 1: Bangkok, Thailand

We will be flying directly from Oslo, Norway to Bangkok, Thailand where we will have 1 overnight before continuing to Ho Chi Minh City and our Vietnam adventure. I haven’t planned anything for our time in Bangkok, as I am assuming we will be quite tired after the flight. I am very happy that we have 24 hours to relax and adjust to the time zone before our real adventure begins tomorrow 🙂

Day 2 – 3: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

We are flying in to Ho Chi Minh City where we will stay for 2 days or so. I have heard of this awesome food tour arranged by Back of the bikes tour that we thought would be a great introduction to Vietnamese cuisine and culture. And how fun is it not to experience this on the back of a motorbike! Roaming through the craziest of streets in downtown Saigon! I can only talk for myself, but oh my, I can’t wait!

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Source: Back of the Bikes Tour

Whilst in Ho Chi Minh City we also thought we would spend at least a half day touring and enjoying the scenic speedboat in the tangled maze of rivers found in the Mekong Delta. We are planning on booking a tour with Les Rivers Experience 🙂

During this slow tempo day tour, we will visit unique temples, a river market, buffaloes plowing fields, rice paddies and so much more. I can’t wait to be surrounded by all the charming local colors and scenic views, as well as experiencing glimpses of rural Vietnam and daily life.

They even say we will have fried elephant ear fish for lunch – yay or nay?

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Source: Vietnam Excursions

We are also planning on taking the night train from HCMC to Nha Trang with Vietnam Railway. I really like the idea of traveling whilst sleeping – going to sleep in one place, just to wake up in another! It does not sound too bad! Well, that is, if we are able to sleep at all..

Day 4 – 5: Nha Trang, Vietnam

Even though its rainy season in Nha Trang when we are there, we still have a small hope for sun, drinks and lazy days on the beach. I have heard numerous positive things about this tropical place, with its turquoise bay and surrounding hills. And the white sanded beach line – give. it. to. me. now. please.

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Source: Luxstay
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Source: Viet Cruise Tours
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Source: KHỎE ĐẸP 247

We will be traveling with night bus from Nha Trang to Da Nang, and from there we are planning on taking a tuk tuk to Hoi An – the city of lanterns. SO excited for this one! 🙂

Day 6 – 7: Hoi An, Vietnam 

I feel very enthusiastic about visiting Hoi An! One of my favorite things to do in life is to just watch all the different lights spark up when its dark outside, and there can’t be a better place for that than in Hoi An! Bucket list destination – check! 

However, there is a trillion things we want to do and see whilst we are here, and we only have 2 days. Even thought I wish we could fit everything into these 2 days, the time optimist in me knows deep down that we can´t. So we have to prioritize. Which is not my strongest trait. At all…

Here are my absolutely must-dos whilst in Hoi An;

  1. Golden Bridge in Da Nang
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Source: Vietnam Investment Review

2. Boat tour on the Hoai River.

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Source: Ancient House Resort Hoi An

3. Take a stroll beneath hundreds of lanterns.

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Source: Hoi An Food Tour

4. Visit the ancient town.

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Source: Vietnam Tourism

5. Experience the countryside by bicycle.

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Source: Vietnam Excursions

What do you think? Is this doable in 2 full days without rushing it? I think it can be done. Well, at least I hope it can 🙂

We will by flying from Hoi An to Hanoi by the way. We are not very keen on visiting too many museums and seeing that we have limited time, we decided to skip Hue and just fly directly to Hanoi instead. 

Day 8: Hanoi, Vietnam

Neither Thomas or I are huge fans of overly touristy areas, and I therefore think that Hanoi can be a tad overwhelming for us. Whilst there is absolutely nothing wrong with touristy areas, we have decided to minimize our time in Hanoi and just use it at a base for our Halong Bay tour.

Whilst we are here we would like to take a stroll in the popular Old Quarter, and I have heard that exploring this historical area certainly is a must-do and well worth the time. The streets are packed with scooters, bicycles, cars, and it is a local experience that will give us an idea what it is like to live in Hanoi 🙂

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Source: Hanoi Hotels
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Source: Medium

We also want to check out the Loan Siem Lake, a popular hangout place for both locals and tourists. The rumor has it as a wonderful spot to watch either the sunrise or the sunset from. I would love to rent a bike or take a stroll around the lake simply enjoying the views and scenery.

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Source: Vietnam Travel

Day 9 – 10: Halong Bay, Vietnam

You can’t go to Vietnam without a visit to Halong Bay, and we finally decided to do the 3-day cruise with Vietnam Open Tours. Please see our schedule below;

Day 1: Hanoi – Halong Bay (L, D)

07.45 – 08.00: Pick up at hotel and transfer to Halong city.

12.00 – 12.15: Board the Imperial Classic Cruise and check in to our cabin.

13.15: Cruising time towards thousands of amazing limestone islands emerging from emerald water, passing by floating fishing village. Lunch is served.
16.00: Kayaking for an hour or more through slide rock cliffs.
17.00: Swimming time.
19:00 Enjoy dinner.
20:30: Spend the evening on your own.
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Source: Hanoi Sans Souci Hotel
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Source: Vietnam Travel Blog
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Source: Adventure Indochina Travel

Day 2: Halong Bay (B, L, D)

07.00: Breakfast.

08.00: Visit the Surprising Cave – one of the most beautiful caves in Halong Bay.

09.30: Sail through Lan Ha Bay for 2 hours.

11.30: Arrive at Catba Sandy Beach Resort and check in to bungalow.

12.00: Lunch at Catba Islands.

13.00: Time at leisure – relaxing, sunbathing on the beach, play football, volleyball, kayaking etc.

18.30: BBQ dinner.

20.30: Spend the evening on your own.

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Source: Starlight cruises
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Source: Cat Ba Day Tours
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Source: Best Price Travel
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Source: Catb Sandy Beach Resort

Day 3: Halong Bay – Hanoi

07.00: Breakfast.

08.15: Pick up at bungalow by boat.

09.30: Cooking class on board the cruise on the way back to Halong Harbor.

11.15: Lunch.

12.30: Bus back to Hanoi and transfer to hotel.

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Source: Marco Polo Asia
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Source: Hello Vietnam

Day 11: Hanoi, Vietnam

We will be back in Hanoi around 5pm after our Halong Bay cruise, and we have no other plans than to grab dinner, enjoy life and perhaps find a rooftop bar for the evening.

 

Day 12 – 14: Luang Prabang, Laos

One of the highlights during our trip will definitely be our time in Luang Prabang! I have never been to Laos before, but I am looking so much forward to visit this friendly village, where it somehow feels like time has stood still. Endless trekking opportunities, mountain-bike trails, kayaking trips and outstanding natural beauty – it will be perfect for us 🙂

We will arrive in Luang Prabang in the late afternoon by flight from Hanoi, and for our first evening I thought it would be a good idea to hike up Mount Phousi. Stretch our legs after flying and enjoy a beautiful view whilst doing it? Yes please.

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Source: Pixelbit

We are also planning on visiting Kuang Si Waterfalls during our time here – an absolute must! This is actually what first caught my attention and made me want to travel to Laos in the first place 🙂

The Kuang Si waterfall plunges down in spectacular pools with bright, turquoise water, and the lower pools are perfect for swimming. We are also planning on climbing up alongside the waterfall where we can view the waterfall from the top – that must be a great photo opportunity!

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Source: Earthporm
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Source: Sundown Traveler

Other than the above, we would like to check out the Old Quarter as well as the night market. It is supposed to be an amazing sight, and offers the most extensive collection of local handicrafts, decorative items and home textiles in the country. It is said to be one of the best night markets in Asia because items are mostly handmade. Maybe this is the place were we buy all the Christmas gifts for this year? 🙂

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Source: Naphavong Guest House
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Source: Mike Du Bose

Day 15 – 17: Vang Vieng, Laos

We are not quite sure how long we will be staying in Vang Vieng yet – we hear a lot of different feedback regarding this place. We are not specifically interested in the party scene going on there, but on the other hand, there are some amazing activities to be done, as well as hiking trail etc.

My biggest concern about Vang Vieng is however how touristy it will be. I am aware that it has become a hub for Chinese Tourism the last couple of years, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that! My concern however is related to the fact if this has taken away the charm and serenity of it all? I guess we will see 🙂

Depending on how long we will stay, this is what we would like to do whilst in Vang Vieng;

  1. Rent a bike and head over to the Blue Lagoon.
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Source: Flickr

2. Hot Air Balloon

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Source: Travel to Laos

3. Water tubing.

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Source: Laos Tours

4. Hike up Phangern Mountain Viewpoint.

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Source: Travel Hysteria

We are taking the bus from Vang Vieng to Vientiane by the way. Hopefully everything runs smoothly, and I am looking forward to be traveling by bus during day time for once!

Day 18: Vientiane, Laos

I know there is a million things to do and see in Vientiane, but all I want to do is to visit the Buddha Park! Bucket list cross off – here we go! What a spectacular place! That it even exist is completely mind-blowing to me.

Short introduction; Buddha Park is a sculpture garden housing a collection of Buddhist and Hindu sculptures. The park was built in 1958, and there is actually a similar park in Nong Khai in Thailand as well! The park houses over 200 sculptures made from concrete in varying sizes from small to very large! What an awesome place!

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Source; Dreamstime
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Source: Pandaw
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Source: Id-reisewelt

I am literally counting down the days until I get to witness this breathtakingly, awesome, insanely cool and beautiful place! These are the sort of things that makes my jaw drop completely ❤

And oh – we are flying from Vientiane to Siem Reap in Cambodia where we are spending the last part of our trip.

Day 19 – 21: Siem Reap, Cambodia

I know that 3 days in Siem Reap and the temples is not enough.. And that the Angkor is a place to be savored, not rushed.. BUT, we only have 3 days and we will have to make the most of it!

Here are the attractions and activities we want to squeeze in during our time in Cambodia;

  1. Bayon Temple
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Source: Adam Laws

2. Preah Khan

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Source: 123RF

3. Ta Prohm

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Source: Bookings Nigeria Travel Blog

4. Banteay Kdei

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Source: Freme

5. Pre Rup

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Source: AWOL

6. Angkor Wat

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Source: Mangatrip

7. The Angkor zipline experience

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Source: Angkor Zipline

8. Visit Floating Village at Me Chrey

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Source: Getty Images

Our Cambodian adventure will be complete after 4 days. We are flying to Bangkok for an overnight stay before continuing on our journey back home to Norway.

If you have any travel trips for the above destinations, I would love to hear them! 🙂

 


 

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2 Comments

  1. Hi Rikke, thanks for your comment on our blog. Your planned trip looks great. We’ve written about a few of the places you plan to visit in our blogs so they might help with further ideas. We will be covering Vientiane & LP in the next blog.

    Here are a few suggestions. Allow a good 5/6 hours for Ba Na Hills, there is a lot to see there. It’s quite weird but worth it for the Cable car journey & of course the Golden Bridge. It can be cooler up there so take a rain Mac just in case. You can do that & get back for Hoi An in the evening easily. Hoi An is best at night with all the lights & colours so best to maximise the evening/nights there.
    We really liked Nha Trang – there are some great half day snorkelling trips to coral reef. Takes about 45 minutes on the boat. The trip returns by midday/early pm as the sea starts to get rougher, which leaves all afternoon on the beach!

    You can do quite a lot in 3 days at Angkor, Banteay Srei is really beautiful – squeeze it in if you can. Let us know if you want a guide recommendation. Hanoi – worth seeing the Prison & you can do that in 1-2 hours. HCMC – Cholon (Chinatown) is worth visiting. God luck!! Sam & John

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for the wonderful tips above! This is highly appreciated, and I will definitely check it all out! 🙂

      I am super keen on including a snorkling experience whilst we are in Nha Trang, and even more excited for the Golden Bridge & cable car journey!

      I hope you had a fantastic trip, and I will make sure to read your next blog posts as well 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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