9/13-9/27 Southern Vietnam + Cambodia

Itinerary (Updated 9/12)

Here I am posting the researches I’ve collected and summarized for our 2 weeks getaway to Ho Chi Minh & Siem Reap from September 13-September27, 2018. We were originally planning to go to more places like Nha Trang in Vietnam and Sihanoukville in Cambodia, but after some extensive plannings on the routes and limited days available for us, we’ve decided to focus on fewer spots in order to increase the quality of this journey.

A. HCM City
13 Taipei(TPE)/Seoul(ICN) ->Ho Chi Minh Airport(SGN) (late night arrival)(2125)(2105)
Accom: Bui Vien Hotel (10USD)(9/13-16: 34.34USD)

Vietnam e-visa:
– Visa-Approval letter: 5-19 USD (http://visadovietnam5usd.com/, http://www.vietnamvisapro.com/)
– Stamp fee(paid at airport visa counter): 25 USD
– Visa Application form (entry and exit form)
– 2 passport photos

14 & 15  HCM City
saigon-map.jpg
Day
– Pham Ngu Lao (Backpacker Street)(CBD)(District 1)
– Ben Thanh Market (Night market outside at night)(District 1)
– Bitexco Financial Tower (Ob. Deck: 200,000 VND)(Cafe: 130,000 VND)(District 1)
– Cathedral of Notre Dame (District 1)
– Binh Tay Market (More local and less pricier compared to Ben Thanh Market)(District 6)
– Local wet markets
– Cafe Apartment – 42 Nguyen Hue Street(District 1)
– Tram Cafe (cool tropical style cafe)(District 15)
– Du Mien Garden Cafe (District 10)
– Nguyen Hue (Walking Street)(District 1)
– Bosgaurus Coffee (QPQC+H7 Phường 22, Bình Thạnh, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam)
– Miu Miu Spa 1 (QPJ3+PX Bến Nghé, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam)
– Cho Vuon Chuoi market (local market)

Night
– Turtle lake (District 3)
– Backpacker Street (Khu phố Phạm Ngũ Lão)
– Rooftop bar (Shri Restaurant and Lounge)
– Ben Thanh Market (Night market outside at night)(District 1)
– Chill Skybar (no admission fees)
– Saigon Outkast (Bar)(District 2)
– City hall
– Ruong Pub & Hub (33 Nguyen Trung TrucDist. 1,)

*must eat:
Banh Trang Nuong(Vietnamese Pizza)(Banh Trang Nuong C002)(opens at 1630)(002 Lô C, chung cư 23/49 Đinh Tiên Hoàng, phường 3, Phường 3, Bình Thạnh, Hồ Chí Minh 700000, Vietnam),

Banh Trang Tron
(Mixed rice paper salad)(Street vendor)

Banh Khot (crispy mini-rice pancake)(Banh Khot Co Ba Vung Tau: 40B Tran Cao Van Street, Ward 6, District 3)

Banh Mi Sandwich
(1. Banh Mi Huynh Hoa: 26 le Thi Rieng P. Ben Thanh, Q.1,)(3pm-midnight)
(2. Banh Mi 37 Nguyen Trai: 37 Nguyễn Trãi)(5pm-730pm)

Pho

http://scootersaigontour.com/10-best-pho-in-ho-chi-minh-city/
http://www.vietnam-guide.com/5-best-pho-in-ho-chi-minh.htm
(1. Pho So Ha Noi: 25 Nguyễn Thị Minh Khai, Saigon, Vietnam)(24 hours)
(2. Pho Phuong 25: 25 Hoàng Sa, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam)(6am-9pm)
(3. Pho Le: 414 413, Nguyen Trai Street P.7,District 5)(6am-1am)
(4.
Pho Hoa: 260C Pasteur Street, District 1)(6am-12am)


(5. Pho thin Ha Noi: 170 Nguyễn Đình Chiểu, District 3)(near Turtle lake)
(6. Pho Cao Van: (25 Mạc Đĩnh Chi street, District 1)(Northern style)

Com Tam Suon (Com Tam Ba Ghien:  84 Đặng Văn Ngữ, P. 10, Quận Phú Nhuận, Ho Chi Minh City)(6am-10pm)

Bo La Lot(Minced beef wrapped in leaves)(Co Lien Bo La Lot: 321 Võ Văn Tần, District 3)(10am-9pm)

Op La (eggs cooked dish-breakfast)(Banh Mi Hoa Ma)(53 Cao Thắng, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City)(7-10am)

Banh Xeo
(Vietnamese Crepe 1. (Banh Xeo 46A:46 Đinh Công Tráng, Tan Dinh, District 1)(9am-9pm)

Bot Chien (Carrot cake)(Chợ Bàn Cờ market)

Goi Cuon/Cha gio
(non deep-fried/deep-fried spring rolls)

Kem Dừa Nướng Thai Lan(Desert)(Che Nguyen Huong: District 2)(029, Lô H Sư Vạn Hạnh, Phường 2, Quận 10, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam)

Accom: Bui Vien Hotel (10USD) 84/12b Bui Vien street


B. Da Lat
 (Total travel fare: $22USD)

http://www.thanhniennews.com/travel/vietnams-little-paris-also-has-an-amazing-culinary-culture-to-match-57175.html

Banh uot ga (wet rice pancake with chicken)(47 Tang Bat Ho Street.)
Banh trang nuong (180 Bui Thi Xuan Street)
Nem nuong (ground park, bamboo stick, rice paper)(254 Phan Dinh Phung Street.)
Banh mi xiu mai (pork ball baguette)(Tran Nhat Duat and Hoang Dieu streets.)
Sua chua pho mai
(Cheese yogurt)(48 Khe Sanh Street)

16 Saigon -> Dalat 0800-0850
Option B.1: Plane SGN -> DLI (Jetstar Pacific BL-354 with a 15Kg checked baggage 775000VND = 33USD)
Total estimated traveling time: 1 hour

Screen Shot 2018-08-05 at 12.31.51.png
Option B.2: Bus: Futa Bus: 210,000VND (9USD)
Total estimated traveling rime: 7-9 hours

Must eat: Nem Nướng Bà Hùng (D51-52 Hoàng Văn Thụ, Phường 4, Thành phố Đà Lạt)米紙烤肉

Elephant Falls
Accom: (12-20 USD)

17 & 18
Dalat

Dalat Train station:
– Thác Liêng Rơwoa/Thác Voi (Nam Ban)(waterfall)

Accom: (12-20 USD)
must eat: Kem Bo (Vietnamese Desert)(sinh tố bơ – avocado shaved ice)

C. Ha Tien & Phu Quoc Island (Total travel fare: $50 USD)

19 DLI -> SGN -> PQC BL355+VJ325 0925-1015->1210-1315 (50USD)

Screen Shot 2018-08-05 at 12.24.59.png

20 & 21 Phu Quoc island
Flipper-Dive-Map-2016-17-1.png
http://visitphuquoc.info/guide/diving-or-snorkeling-the-reefs/

Sao Beach

D. Cambodia border (e-visa: 37+3USD / visa on arrival: 30-35USD)

Option D.1: Ferry+Bus+Plane (Total travel fare: $10+15+33=58USD)
total estimated traveling time: 25 hours


For option 1, it would take about 1 and half days to get from Phu Quoc to Siem Reap via Sihanoukville. The main reason for this long traveling time is because of the flights from Sihan airport(KOS) to Siem Reap would not be available after 12pm (afternoon)
22 Phu Quoc -> Ha Tien -> Sihanuokville -> Siem Reap
a. Phu Quoc -> Ha Tien (0830-1030)
Ferry (0830-1030/$10USD)

b. Ha Tien -> Sihanoukville (1230-1700)
Bus (1230-1700/$15 USD)

Border opens only between (0600-1800)
Visa on arrival to Cambodia:
– VISA fees: $35USD (Only in US dollars)
– 1 passport sized photo. Or $2 USD on site
– medical record. Or $1 USD on site
E-Visa: Not available

23 Sihanoukville KOS -> Siem Reap REP 0900-0950 ($33USD)Screen Shot 2018-08-05 at 18.11.10.png

Option D.2 Plane (Total travel fare: $125USD)
Total estimated traveling time: 6.5 hours

22 Phu Quoc -> Saigon -> Siem Reap 1225->1430->1840 ($125USD)

Screen Shot 2018-08-05 at 18.36.05.png

E. Siem Reap

For Visa info:
– E-Visa: 40USD (30+6+4)
– Visa on arrival: 30 USD
cambodia-visa-map.png
As of Jan 2nd, 2017, the ticket price for Angkor Park has changed:

Screen Shot 2018-08-05 at 19.03.22.png
The ticket counters now accept not just cash but also payment with Visa, Mastercard, UnionPay, JCB, Discover and Diners Club.

Practical: With a 3 or 7-day pass, the viewing days do not have to immediately follow on from each other.

  • 1 Day: This ticket is valid only on the day of purchase.
  • 3 Days: This ticket is valid for 10 days from the date of purchase. You can choose which three days you wish to visit the Angkor temples on.
  • 7 Days: This ticket is valid for one calendar month from the date of purchase. You have a whole month in which to visit the Angkor temples on the seven days of your choice.

Transportation Cost (Roughly)
-TukTuk(1-4 person ): $15-20 + $5 for Sunrise
-Car (1-4 person ): $25-35 + $5 for  Sunrise
-Van (5-10 person): $30-40 + $5 for sunrise

Screen Shot 2018-08-05 at 19.11.08.png

Night: Made in Cambodia Market

23 Siem Reap
Small Circuit:
Angkor Wat -> Phnom Bakheng -> Baksei Chamkrong -> South Gate -> Bayon -> Baphuon -> Terrace of the Elephants -> Terrace Of The Leper King -> East Gate (Victory)->Chau Say Tevoda Temple -> Ta-Keo -> Ta-Nei -> Ta-Prohm(Tomb Rider)

Screen Shot 2018-08-07 at 16.25.11.png
24
Siem Reap
Outer Circuit: 1000 Lingas, Kulen National Park ($20USD) (Waterfall), Banteay Srei, Roluos Group (Bakong, Lolei, Preah Ko)

25 Siem Reap
Extended Outer Circuit: Beng Mealea (Jungle Temples)($5USD) & Prasat Thom Temple (Koh Ker)(Mayan)($10USD)

Screen Shot 2018-08-07 at 16.25.00.png
26
 Siem Reap
Big Circle: Phimean Akas temple -> North Gate -> Preah Khan ->  Neak Pean-> Ta Som -> East Mebon ->  Pre Rup -> Srah Srang -> Banteay Kdei
Siem Reap(REP) -> TPE/ICN (2135->2245)(2345->0640)(0205->0645)

27 Arriving early in the morning
Seoul & Taipei

Cost list-(per person)
Airfares:
– TPE->SGN/REP->TPE (255USD) | ICN->SGN/REP->ICN
SGN->DLI (33USD)

Ground Transportations:
– Airport to hotel (Saigon)(200,000VND)

Accommodations
– Bui Vien Hotel (9/13-16: 34.34USD)
– 

Foods

– 450,000VND (Bar)

– 58,000VND (Op La)

– 127, 057


Tickets:
– 3-Day pass for Angkor Park(62USD)


Others:

– e-Visa(Vietnam): 6+25USD = 31USD
– e-Visa(Cambodia): 30+6+4USD = 40USD

– SIM card: 180,000VND *2

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Vietnam – best place for money exchange rate in Ho Chi Minh

There is nothing coming home from a great trip abroad thinking you had been really savvy about sticking to your budget only to be hit with unexpected currency-exchange fees on your bank statement and credit card bill.

Almost every overseas traveler needs to exchange currency at some point during his or her trip. If you don’t know the tricks, it can be extremely expensive.

The official currency in Vietnam is called Dong (VND). Banknotes are available in 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000, 50,000, 100,000, 200,000, and 500,000 dong. The 20,000 and 500,000 bills look similar so be extra careful when paying with these notes.

Foreign visitors in Ho Chi Minh can buy local currency upon arrival at the airport. The exchange rate is not favorable but it might be necessary to pay for taxi fare and other immediate needs.

For the best exchange rates, you are recommended to visit the money changers and gold dealers around Ben Thanh Market and Ho Chi Minh Square.

Some big hotels in Ho Chi Minh also offer currency exchange service, use it for your convenience only as the rates are quite poor.

Less is more

In the era of materialism and consumerism, people often missed out on the true meaning of happiness. They believe in flooding their life with money that money directly equals to joy of life, and money gets you more material stuff in life, which is true. But does material items bring you what’s so called “happy”?

Living in a modern world that working hard is an inevitable choice stripped from everyone’s life (at least 95% of people), but luckily you can still choose your own life style. I believe in the beauty of simpleness, having less often translates into having rooms for more.

10/26-10/29 Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia

Airport: BKI
Screen Shot 2018-09-10 at 11.13.26.pngScreen Shot 2018-09-10 at 11.26.21.png

10/26
TPE->BKI AK1511 0955-1325
ICN->BKI ZE501    1930-2335

http://www.diverse-borneo.com/kota-kinabalu-diving-package/fun-diving/
Sipadan
sipadan_water_village_3edc5033-c149-4c4b-b057-3e3c30f11b16_1024x1024.jpg
sipadan1.jpg
6556-Diver-obscured-by-fish-at-Turtle-Patch-diving-Sipadan-Malaysia-DPI-6556.jpg

Manukan Island
Lankayan Island
Mantanani Islands
Mabul Island
Kapalai

10/27
Scuba Diving

10/28
Scuba Diving

How to get to Sipadan:
BKI->TWU 0610-0705
Screen Shot 2018-09-10 at 15.50.22.png

When you arrive Tawau, your resort will transfer you to Semporna. From Semporna, you will take the resort speed boat to Mabul Island. The transfer from Tawau to Semporna takes 90 minutes while the boat ride will take another 45 minutes.

10/29

10/30
BKI->ICN ZE502    0030-0640
BKI->TPE AK1510 0610-0925