We're thinking about traveling to Vietnam and Cambodia. Any suggestions regarding sites of interest (we know about Ankor Wat) in either country? We're interested in the culture and food. How much time should we allow for each country? Accommodation suggestions as well as places to eat? Finally, would we be remiss not traveling elsewhere close by since we are "in the neighborhood" so to a pacific
I stayed in the old quarter where it is downtown and about 20-30 minutes in traffic (if any).....there is the Hanoi Hilton (right beside the prison museum), or I stayed in little hotels called the Prince hotels for about $25-35 roughly...maybe a little bit more now, but was very accomdating and included breakfest...I can say, at night time, the streets are lit up with seemed to be a 40-watt light bulb, and all places had bars and cages to get into after getting back. So be prepared for that if your out at night time. In the day time, your right downtown amongst the museums, bar, resturants, and I would definitely take in a puppet show as it's pretty cool and you have to have a ticket...roughly $20-30 and usually starts at 7:00 PM. On the coast, take in some islands, they are beautiful! Also, I recommend the train ride from Hanoi to Saigon (and you can get on/off when you want) and visit the country side, war sites, tunnels, etc. I think it was about $25-45 roughly. Enjoy....Mr. Sing
I've only been to Vietnam twice, but - and this is just my experience - I found it to be the most gratifying use of my tourist dollars anywhere in Asia. Gorgeous country, nice people, splendid food, comfortable accommodations, low prices. Some random thoughts (alas, in no order):
Halong (Haa Long) Bay is a STUNNINGLY jaw-dropping, gorgeous UNESCO heritage site
Check out the mini-cruises where you sleep on the boat (which has to be better than hanging out in Haa Long, which is a low-grade version of Atlantic City without the high-end stuff).... here's an example- http://halongbaytours.vn/Halong-Phoenix-Cruiser-c10.html - we did not do this, rather, the Government simply chartered one of the larger tour boats for 3-4 hours, so we just did the late-afternoon-early-evening tour of the bay - more would have been better...
In Halong, we ate at Hải Sản Thiên Anh - and, other than a couple of ridiculously over-the-top state banquets in China with mayors of cities (Chongching and Wuhan) that rival the state of California in population, this place served the most exotic seafood I've ever enjoyed anywhere... Granted, I never saw a menu, and our government hosts basically booked a private room upstairs and they just kept bringing one more crazy thing after another - but I took photos of the (live and, later, prepared) food because it was so extraordinary and fun and delicious and memorable....
In Haa Long Bay, we stayed in the (rated) four-star hotel the Grand Halong - http://www.vietnamstay.com/hotel/grandhalong/ - alas, it was a bit of a dump (substandard restroom and shower facilities, etc.) in a seedy area (although I didn't mind walking around there) - although the food was surprisingly good (although not as attractive as you might expect)
The war museums - both in the South and the North - are well worth a visit.
The first time I went, we spent an entire week in the south, primarily the Mekong Delta, and it was splendid. We spent a LOT of time in (very) small boats, which were awesome.
In Hanoi, on work, the government put me up in the Melia - I recommend it (room, breakfast, lunch, dinner) without hesitation - I really enjoyed the hotel - http://www.meliahanoi.com/en/index.html - in all honesty, I have no idea how much the hotel cost - I never saw a bill - but I found the meals very reasonably priced (I could see the menu) and it was gorgeous and the service was excellent and the food was really pleasant....
We stayed at the Rex in Saigon (coming in and going out) - it's "historic" and for Vietnam vets, it's a landmark - http://www.rexhotelvietnam.com/en/Default.aspx - it is overpriced, but - having said that - it offers an excellent, terrific breakfast buffet, wonderful (but expensive) spa, a great location, etc.....
Further south, we really enjoyed the Victoria resorts - http://www.victoriahotels.asia/en/ - absolutely loved them - wonderful value for money - great food, wonderful spas, unique, attractive, etc.!!!!! I think these were the ones we stayed at: