Laos vs. Bangkok

Having great difficulty deciding on which trip is better: Indochina: Vietnam, Cambodia & Laos, or Vietnam, Cambodia & Thailand. The first looks as if it encompasses more but then Bangkok is missing. Everyone seems to like Laos and that is missing from the Vietnam trip. Also HaLong Bay is missing. Love to hear your thoughts. What to do? Thanks


  • Hi!! I went on the December 2015 Indochina trip (Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos) and loved it! I had considered the Thailand trip, but I thought I would eventually travel to Thailand, but Laos - probably not.

    There are a numbers of differences in the 2 trips than just Laos and HaLong Bay (which was extremely unique and interesting)
    1. On the Indochina trip, we stayed in Hoi An itself- at a fantastic boutique hotel less than a 5 minute walk into the center of town with its many restaurants, galleries, shops, markets and charm. I so enjoyed my free afternoon and evening much to see and do. The Thailand trip stays in Da Dang - a 20-30 minute ride to Hoi An. Although a beautiful setting by China Beach, it seemed isolated with little to do.
    2. The Thailand trip only goes to Angkor Wat in Cambodia. Angkor Wat was beyond description in its beauty and magnitude but it told only part of the story of Cambodia. The Indochina trip also brought us to Phnom Pehn which offered the rest of the story, albeit quite somber, with its unfathomable inhumanity of the Killing Fields and other sites. Yet there were also stories of survival and hope. Phnom Pehn has much to offer: temples, palaces. Again, a fabulous hotel!
    3. Laos was extraordinary in its own right. More undeveloped than Vietnam and Cambodia, but there was great beauty in its land, traditions and culture. The procession of the monks at dawn was a memory I will never forget. Plus there was more: walking the markets with its unique foods and textiles, planting and cultivating rice with the water buffaloes at The Living Farm, and touring the historic temples and more. Now for 2017 Tauck has added a visit to an elephant preserve! Laos is not to be missed. .

    The truth is every trip offers something special and it is hard making choices. May the decision as to where to travel be our biggest problem!!

  • Thank you for your input. I just read this and am happy to say I did the right thing and am taking the Indochina trip. Just in reading the brochure I felt it offered more than the Thailand trip and I have added on Bangkok at the beginning of the trip to do on our own with a guide so hopefully, we will have the best of both worlds. If you have any other suggestions I would love to read them. Again, many thanks.
  • We spent 4 days in Hong Kong before flying to Hanoi. HK worked out great for us 1. We could easily score business class tickets on a direct flight from NYC on Cathay Pacific and 2. We acclimated to the time change while touring, shopping and eating our way through HK. We flew to Hanoi on the day of the welcome dinner- In retrospect, I would have wanted more time in Hanoi to explore, but more later! As soon as we arrived at the magnificent hotel, we dumped our bags and went by taxi to begin our prearranged street food walking tour (Hanoi Street Food Tour). Not only did we visit many eateries and taste a wide variety of wonderful foods at the teeny tables and chairs a la Anthony Bourdain and President Obama, but over the course of 4 hours, we learned about the heritage and life in Vietnam through the eyes of our college student guide. Her English was superb and she was very articulate and insightful. But more important, she taught us how to cross the street - not easy when you have trucks, cars, scooters etc zooming around without traffic lights, signs or rules! Hence we decided to take a taxi to the meeting point which was quite close to the hotel, but we could not figure out how to cross the street!

    The area where the food toured went had many stalls and stores with fabulous silks- scarves, throws, robes etc. Thankfully ATMs were readily available, although most of the larger shops did accept credit cards. If you are interested in a beautiful store with gorgeous silks, visit Khai Silk (there is also a branch in Saigon). They had very special things.

    And do not miss the bunker tour at the hotel. You must sign up in the morning because the tours fill up fast. I think the tour is at 5pm. It was very moving and unique.

    At the end of the tour, I ended up spending an additional night in Hanoi because I could not get a flight out on the last day of the tour. This trip was unusual in that the tour ends at 6pm or so. Tauck suggested that guests should not book flights before 9pm. I had planned to explore Hanoi a bit that last evening when we returned to the hotel at 7pm. However, it was New Year's Eve -- Hanoi seemed more like Time's Square that night. The streets were packed with celebrations, bonfires and people. Not the night to wander about!!

    Enjoy your is fascinating!

  • We took the Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand trip in January.

    We got to Hanoi a day early, and toured Halong Bay (a must see). We added Luang Prabang (Laos) at the end of the trip, so we had the best of both trips.

    A little bit inconvenient, but well worth the effort.

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