Asia - South-East Asia Mainland
Messages: 96,773 - Threads: 12,064
The purpose of this thread is to provide answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about traveling in Vietnam I hope that this FAQ helps newcomers and others plan their trips to Vietnam. I would like to thank all the posters who have contributed information to this thread. To make searching easier for you, please find my index of some major topics as follows:
1. Visa for Vietnam => find posts #115, 117, 111
2. Ha Long bay tours/Cat Ba => #83, 84
3. Vietnam - China border crossings => #7
4. Vietnam - Laos border crossings => #8, 50, 58
5. Vietnam - Cambodia border crossings => #96, 107
6. What to see in Vietnam? => #12
7. Taxi/bus from airport to cities => #3
8. Train in Vietnam => #76
9. The lunar new year (Tet) => #23, 80, 114
10. Bus from Hanoi to Vientiane => #79
11. Bus/train from Hanoi to Kunming => #105, 106
12. Bus/train from Hanoi to Nanning => #95, 99, 100
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This branch covers:
Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam
Here you will find links to information on health issues, visas, transportation, volunteering, weather, food, and more. Links to well-regarded resources such as Travelfish, Tales of Asia, Canby, and so on are also here.
Note: This is a FAQ/internet resources post, not an area for asking questions (nobody will answer questions here) or a place to post personal blogs, photos, etc. Please do post updates or added information that will help others find their way around the Southeast Asia mainland.
To get the latest updates to any of our guidebooks - or to add your own - visit the Guidebook Feedback branch of the Thorn Tree. See below for links to all the guides relating to mainland SE Asia.
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It's been a few months since we announced impending changes to Thorn Tree, so it's time we gave you an update.
There's been a team of developers and designers working away on a new version for a little while now. Here's the headlines:
We hope to launch a beta version in February 2014. This is not an iron-clad guarantee, but it's where we're aiming for at the moment. We'll keep you updated if this changes.
The new Thorn Tree beta will include the return of private messages. As we've said over this past year, the mods have missed them too – party time.
What will the new Thorn Tree look like?
It will contain the same features and a similar page layout, tweaked to look a bit more 2014, not 2006. It... more »
Lonely Planet continues to receive disturbing reports of fatal accidents involving travellers tubing in and around Vang Vieng. There are several threads discussing this on Thorn Tree:
LAOS - VANG VIENG TUBING SCENE
as well as some newspaper coverage on the subject.
Lonely Planet advises extra care and wearing a life jacket when performing this activity, especially during the wet season when waters flow up to four times faster than normal. Travel insurance does not always cover more dangerous activities, and you won’t be covered if something happens to you while you’re under the influence of alcohol or drugs. more »
I think about visiting Burma/Myanmar in April - what about the weather then, and is the peak season over, so it will be easier to find accomodation?
I will stay in Bangladesh before Burma/Myanmar, but I haven't found any information about entering the country from Bangladesh, so I don't think it is possible. And I guess it is easier to get visa in Kuala Lumpur than in Dhaka, so I plan to go from KL - does anyone here know?
I visited Burma/Myanmar two years ago and at that time it was impossible to pay or change money other than with spotless and pristine new dollar bills. I see that some still mention this, but also that there are ATM:s now. What is the best, cash or credit card?
Two years ago we used Santa Maria Tours in Yangoon to book hotels and flights. We paid part of the bill to a private bank account in Bangkok beforehand, and the rest at arrival, whe... more »
Just a thought for my upcoming trip, that might be useful for others:
Seems the right size for those pristine $100 bills!
after we’ve just finished our backpack trip to Myanmar in November 2013 we would like to share some information about the country as to make it easier for others to decide whether to go or not and where to go.
We are a couple in the beginning of our thirties and have travelled quite a lot in the region. We spent three weeks in the country with the following itinerary.
01st day: Flight from Bangkok to Mandalay with AirAsia. Arrival in our Mandalay hotel in the afternoon. Drive to and from Mandalay hill with scooter taxi (unfortunately only one person besides the driver is allowed in the whole country). Sunset on Mandalay hill.
02nd day: Sightseeing on rented bikes to the new palace, Shwenandaw Kyaung temple, Kuthodaw Paya temple. After lunch we watched some gold hammering, weaving and face paste making in the city’s south. Mandalay Marionettes show in the evening (very ni... more »
Off to Burma in two weeks for a month and just wanted to double check if there is any up to date info on whether you can use Visa card anywhere...either in ATM'S or Hotels etc. We have heard not but it would be good to know from you knowledgeable lot!
Also what is the situation with internet access and wifi?
My bf and I are going to Vietnam in February and were just trying to book some domestic flights from vietnamairlines.com, and his card rejected the transaction because they say that neither Mastercard nor Visa will do business directly with any Vietnamese merchants! They said this is the case for ALL Mastercard and Visa cards issued in the US! We booked a room through Agoda.com and that was fine supposedly because the business is headquartered in the UK (or wherever).
Has anyone else come across this? I cannot believe that US travelers cannot use their credit cards anywhere in Vietnam!
Okay, a few weeks out from my trip it's time to get those unmarked, pristine dollar bills!
I'm going for two weeks and my budget is £500 = $800.
How would you change / divide that budget?
For example, my current thinking is to get $700 in 7 $100 bills, and then $100 in smaller bills.
Then at Yangon airport I'll change 6 of the 7 hundreds into kyat straight away - and change the final one later on the trip.
Would welcome opinions on this / other ways of doing it from people who have taken a similar trip / budget!
So I'm heading out to Asia come the end of December, and basically I'm looking for advice on how best to carry my money.
I'll be travelling through Japan, China, (possibly Philippines) Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand & Malaysia.
I've been looking a fair bit into prepaid cards. I actually almost went ahead and bought an 'ICE International Travelers Cashcard', before deciding to ask here before committing.
So has anyone any experience with these prepaid cards? Are they useful for the countries I intend of visiting? If so which one do you use?
Also, if you do not use these cards then please tell me how you go about managing/accessing your funds while backpacking through these parts.
Many thanks in advance
Looking for accommodation in Northern Chin State. Does anyone have contact info or names of accommodation in the following places?:
Gangaw in Magwe Division
I'm going to take the trip for 2 days: 1st from SiemReap to Koh Ker, then to the Sra Em for staying one night. The next day go to the Prasat Preah Vihear, after that back to SeimReap.
But is the route possible to do? If it's ok, these're some questions:
1.How long & much dost it take from SiemReap to Koh Ker?
2.Is there any transportation between Koh Ker and Sra Em?
3.I saw it's said on LP that the GTS bus is departure from Sra Em to SiemReap on 7:00, but is there any else bus after noon?
So I'm finishing up my service in the peace corps in a few weeks. I've booked a ticket to Bangkok and will be spending ~4 months around southeast asia.
I'll be traveling solo, which I have no problem with, but after spending the last 2 years in relative isolation, I'm ready to let loose a little and meet up with some other travelers. Thinking about going to Laos or Malaysia either before or after Thailand. What's the backpacker scene like in these places? Easy to meet people, and perhaps just as importantly, easy to meet backpackers of the fairer sex in either of these two countries?
Hey guys we have recently arrived in Cambodia 2 girls looking to travel around south east Asia we have accommodation booked in Thailand from the 16th, if anybody is in sihanoukville or koh rong and fancies some travel buddies then give us a message
My husband and I will be in HCMC on Saturday, 1 February 2014, and we want to take a day trip along the Mekong River (seems like the itineraries are pretty standard - My Tho, coconut candy, bee farms, etc.). However, that day falls right in the middle of Tet, and the first couple tour groups we've talked to are closed that weekend.
Any chance that someone knows of a good company that would run a tour that day? We understand there may be price markup as a result of the holiday. Thanks for any advice!
Me and a friend are flying into Hanoi on the 7th January and Leaving Siem Reap on the 28th. Our Itinerary so far goes like this:
Hanoi > Sapa > Halong Bay > Hanoi > Hue > Dalat > Mekong Delta > Ho Chi Minh > Phnom Penh > Siem Reap.
The plan is for 2 weeks in Vietnam and one week in Cambodia and while this is a bit rushed maybe, I don't want to be repeating anything and I'm not a fan of beaches so won't be lounging about much. Are there any places you would advise visiting or maybe not visiting. Also our main transport will be overnight trains, do you have any better ideas? We did notice that there aren't any Hue to Dalat trains so we will be looking for a stop off halfway for a day maybe.
Any help will be much appreciated :)
It is very difficult to find a bank which acceptes Travelcheques in Cambodia! Can anybody tell me which bank in
Phnom Penh still acceptes Amexco Travelcheques in $ ?
thanks for info!
I am soon to be moving to Yangon for a year's contract. I know this is a very petty and alcohol is by all means not on the top of my priorities when moving to Myanmar, it is just I do enjoy an odd beer on the weekends. I understand it is frowned upon for local women to drink alcohol throughout the country, I think that expat bars are probably a good way to meet other foreigners living in the area, does anybody know if it would be disrespectful for me as a Western woman to drink moderately anywhere?
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