I thought I'd share a few photos of these countries. I've recently spent some time there, and would love to help with info to anyone who is planning a similar trip. I don't want to write about stupidities that nobody would care about, so I will just tell some interesting stuff, and if you have some questions... shoot.
Trip duration: 1 month
Vehicles used: 7 airplanes, 2 buses, 3 mini vans, 3 boats, 3 motorbikes, 2 bicycles, countless tuk-tuks.
Itinerary: Vietnam: Hanoi -> Laos: Luang Prabang, Nong Khiaw, Muang Ngoy, Nong Khiaw, Luang Prabang -> Cambodia: Siem Reap, Phnom Phenh, Kep, Rabbit Island, Kep, Kampot, Kep -> Vietnam: Ha Tien, Phu Quoc, Ho Chi Minh, Hanoi, Ha Long Bay, Hanoi.
I was expecting to meet at least one Hungarian during the trip, but to my surprise I didn't meet anyone, which was quite sad, as I've met quite a few people from Poland / Czech Republic (even Romania). Most of the places I've spent my nights they told me that they've never had anyone from Hungary, and like Czech people they have all the time (they say they are very outgoing nation).
Some things that I had no idea before I traveled to these countries:
- Laos is the poorest country of the three. Average wage of workers is about $1 a day, which will not buy them the famous Lao Beer (that's something you will buy daily if you spend time there). So they drink some really nasty tasting spirit from rice.
- Laos has the nicest and most beautiful people out of the three
- Most scams: Vietnam
- Most robberies: Phnom Phenh
- Ironically the Asian banana is tiny. They don't have the large South-American bananas. Though I have to say (don't laugh), the small ones taste better.
- Cambodian capital, Phnom Phenh has radically changed in the past few years. Now most parts of the city are on par with Tel-Aviv. Hanoi in comparison is a backward village. This comes with a price though. The few elite families in Cambodia take 99% of the money. They drive SUV's (the city is packed with them), their houses are protected by barbed wires and security men shielded with bulletproof armor.
- Phnom Phenh is also the city where signs will indicate that you cannot take your guns, and grenades(!) to the restaurant
- Asian food is great, BUT, you will die for a pizza after 2 weeks
- Cheapest food: Laos - $1 all you can eat
- Best accommodation: the cheap bungalows in Laos, with breathtaking view on the nature, and the luxury hotels of Siem Reap
- Worst accommodation: the overpriced ($35 / night) bungalows of Phu Quoc (no airco, no hot water, toilet in the room)
- Best cities: Nong Khiaw (Laos), Kep (Cambodia)
- Worst city: Duong Dong (Vietnam, Phu Quoc)
I'll start with the Hanoi photos:
Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. Probably the most sacred place for Vietnamese. Thousands of people go there to visit the "great leader" each and every day. Which means kilometer long queues and guards like in North Korea that will tell you what you can do, and what you cannot do (mostly this). Ho Chi Minh looks more like plastic than flesh now, but no photos are allowed (I guess that would mean execution)
You never know what you are eating... Have a guess what's this (I have no idea)
Whole families spend all their day on the streets. Cooking, selling stuff, whatever, but it makes the place very lively.
Jungle of wires!