Back home after a 15 hour flight on Singapore Airlines. Vivid memories of a life-changing trip will be with us for a long time.
I felt that the best way to capture my thoughts about this trip is through an FAQ format. So here you go:
Would I do this trip again? YES absolutely
Would I recommend it to fellow travelers? YES – do it sooner rather than later as these countries are rapidly industrializing
What would I change? Honestly I would not change a thing unless you have more time. Adding a 2nd night in Ha Long Bay and skipping Singapore would be the two items on my wishlist.
If more time then add Luang Prabang the capital of Laos to the program.
What are the must do’s?
– Overnight or 2 night cruise in Ha Long/Han Lãnh Bay
– Vespa food tour(s) in Saigon and Siem Reap
– Angkor Wat & Thom over 2 days
– Da Nang with either Hoi An or Hue as culinary and historical sights
– Mekong River cruise as a means to truly discover how people along the river make a living
What is the best time of year? The dry season between December and March
Where to stay? I recommend to spend a few dollars more and enjoy some of the finer historical properties, balanced by modern offerings. Location matters to maximize time in destination.
Hanoi – Sofitel Metropole or Four Seasons
Hoi An – Royal Hoi An
Saigon – Reverie or Sheraton
Siem Reap – Belmond La Residence or Anantara Angkor
Singapore – Raffles or Marina Bay Sands or Fullerton One
How to best see the sights? Have your travel advisor organize your private guide and driver which is both affordable and highly customized to your needs and likes.
What about food and food safety? Enjoy and explore street food but follow these simple rules. Only buy freshly cooked foods on the street. Ask your local guide for recommendations. If fruit, only buy it if it can be peeled (bananas, citrus, mango etc.)
Make sure you have your food allergy translated in writing to communicate easily. Note that stating something is XYZ free does not mean it won’t be in a dish. My dislike for cilantro is a good example.
Several times dishes rated coriander free had big kinks floating right in the broth
What about health and insects? While no special immunization is required, I would make sure you have hepatitis A & B prevention covered. Buy a local insect spray (your guide or hotel staff will recommend the one that works best)
Have more questions? Talk to your travel professional or ping me through this blog. I will gladly respond.