Travel suggestions in Vietnam and other countries nearby.

Hello, I'm brand spanking new here so please forgive my newbieness..

I have a two week trip arriving to Ho Chi Minh City in November and plan to hang at the best local beaches shortly thereafter and then into Thailand for the remainder of the trip. I'm also considering a stop in Cambodia. Can any of y'all suggest the best beach area to visit in the Ho Chi Minh area and best mode of transport? Also looking for input for Cambodia and Thailand for same info. Like should I take a trains? planes? Automobiles?

I'm also a 56 year old, singe male, potential expat so part of the visit is to explore that.. and enjoy myself of course.
Thinking Ho Chi Minh for a day or two, then local Beach(es) then over to either Cambodia or Phuket or both then eventually up to Bangkok where my flight back home is out of. I've got two weeks wide open that I need to plan beginning in Ho Chi Minh and ending in Bangkok..

Help a green as hell newbie with your input please??

Closet beach to Saigon is Vũng Tau about 120klms away. There is a small beach side town about 40klms out of Saigon,but it's a very small place and not much there.

oh wow, thank you. i just googled Vũng Tau and it looks wonderful. Plus there are high speed ferries from Saigon? Is that how you'd travel there?

Two weeks is too fast.   Two months to scratch the surface.

Border crossings are Hell on Earth here, so by air if you want
to escape the dramas, (only) hire cars in Thailand, by Train if
you want both visual and personal experience.

Trip Advisor gives the best reviews.   Research!

..but  whatever you choose, keep your options (and mind) open...

..and enjoy!    Welcome to the (real) world!      :top:

Skip Cambodia this time unless you want to spend half your time moving around.

Saigon 3 - 5 nights. There are tourist day trips, see travel agents here. I would take a bus from Pham Ngu Lau to Vung Tau, about $5 and 90 minutes each way. Your hotel can direct you to the bus. Those old Russian ferries creep me out. Hotel rooms on Back Beach for $25 with full sea view, use for Asian hotels.

Vung Tau 2 nights, sleepy place to walk around, nice cafes at night. Rent a motorbike if you can ride.
Fly SGN to Phuket for 3 - 4 nights. There are tours to islands. Pretty quiet though unless you do the adult zone.
Fly Phuket to Bangkok.

Bangkok Sukhumvit hotel for the rest of the time.
There are tourist boat, bus day trips, and good BTS and MRT transport.
Take taxis with the meter on, avoid ripoff tuktuks.

Thank you. I was actually scheduling out last night and was really close to this schedule. Skipping Cambodia makes sense as I don't have enough time. Does flying from Saigon to Phuket require advance booking in order to not get jacked up flight prices? In the US booking anything within 14 days of your trip they hit you hard..

Go Ogle it.  Just type in 'Cheap flights to...'

Works for me.   It's very competitive, especially on popular
destinations like where you are heading.

gobot :

Those old Russian ferries creep me out.

It's funny how people can have a totally different outlook on things like ferries.  I absolutely love them.  There is something pleasant about the measured pace and the chug-chug of the large bore diesel engines.  On a long bike ride, ferries can be a welcome break to get off your bike walk around, sit down or maybe go up to the roof and feel the breeze.  Traveling over a new cable stayed bridge at 45 km/h just to keep up with the traffic while watching out for wind gusts and trucks may be a quicker way across but it's not my idea of fun. 

Smaller (slower) less frequently used ferries can sometimes have pleasant soda shops to relax in while waiting.  We traveled to Can Gio by way of such a small ferry from Long An route TL19.  The departure point is 10.529987, 106.740062 on Google Maps.  Beware that the dirt road in to the ferry is potholed and slippery after a rain.  I admit that we took the big ferry on the way back. 

One of my most unique ferry experiences in Vietnam was the first time I visited and traveled with my friend's nephew.  We took a tiny ferry only big enough for about four motorbikes and 10 pedestrians across Song Sai Gon from Thu Duc to Binh Thanh somewhere north of where the Pham Van Dong superhighway is now.  once we loaded, the distance from the sides to the water wasn't more than about 25 cm.  I am sure he took me just for what for a young man like him seemed a quaint experience.  I loved it but I am sure it must be long gone by now.

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