54 year old Female Backpacker Travels Cambodia and Vietnam

Do you have a Cambodian trip report you want to share? Post it here, and feel free to link to your blog if it's a travel blog for Cambodia, South East Asia, or anywhere really. You can ask and answer questions about travel advice in Cambodia or just share your pictures and videos with us. Most people who live in or visit Cambodia have also checked out nearby countries like Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, Myanmar, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines, and you can get to most of these countries by traveling overland, so put any travel plans, reviews or questions here. Discussions about dirt bike trails in here as well.
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54 year old Female Backpacker Travels Cambodia and Vietnam

Post by CEOCambodiaNews » Sat Apr 11, 2015 9:42 pm

Image

Her 28-day holiday through Cambodia and Vietnam, including a return ticket from London cost only £1,100!

There were moments on my month-long backpacking trip around Cambodia and Vietnam, on a budget of £25 a day, that I questioned the sense of my plan. Time-rich and cash-poor, I wanted to travel, but also to rediscover my sense of adventure.

However, it was more than 30 years since I’d last backpacked – around India (and that trip had its challenges). The doubts started almost immediately as I endured the seven-hour, bone-shuddering, coach ride to Phnom Penh from Ho Chi Minh City (there are no trains in Cambodia), being force-fed One Direction and Britney Spears videos.

It was at the Mad Monkey Hostel in Phnom Penh where I faced my first “age-challenge”, on being shown my bed. It was the top bunk of three, eight feet up in the air with a vertical climb up a ladder. My one pair of jeans ripped immediately in protest.

This catastrophe led to a sequence of events that would reduce many a middle-aged woman to tears and an immediate flight home. But not me. How I laughed when I tried on a kaftan that made me look like the not-so-small sister of the late Demis Roussos, how I giggled with the tailor as he measured my behind, and how I howled, hysterically, when he produced an outfit that wouldn’t have looked out of place in an operating theatre. On the upside, he did manage to patch my jeans. If there’s one piece of advice I would give any woman travelling to Indo-China it’s, if you’re over a size eight, make sure you have enough clothes with you.

Next, I needed to find my backpacker legs and acclimatise to the heat, dust and traffic. At 5.30am, having slept very little (there was an all-night bar, a couple feet above my head), I jumped into a tuk-tuk and for £4 rapidly went from temple to monument and back to a temple and so on, while fitting in one palace and the national museum.

At a slower pace, I supped a beer in the Foreign Correspondents Club and savoured the glamour of the Raffles Hotel Le Royal Elephant Bar, which once served, among famous others, Somerset Maugham and Jacqueline Kennedy. On my budget, one cocktail was enough but at least the atmosphere was free. Things were looking up.

There was another spasm of doubt during another long and at times terrifying, bus ride to Siem Reap. No one should take the night bus. But it was in Siem Reap that I realised that for only slightly more money I could have my own quiet room and a bed a lot closer to the floor, (Mandalay Inn, £10 with air-con).

The town’s many glitzy but reasonably priced restaurants (breakfast, lunch and dinner for around £12) compete for business with the beggars, the hawkers and the tuk-tuk drivers, some of whom whiled away the night watching televisions strapped to their vehicles. But I was there to see the world-famous temples of Angkor Wat. I arose at 4.30am for the sunrise along with a thousand or so other people. You can get a three-day pass which might suit some as it was hot and humid by 9am and I had only managed to visit three temples.

Being a backpacker at 54 might not be a good look but age does have some advantages, including being allowed to use the pool in the four-star Angkor Holiday Hotel in Siem Reap, looking like someone wearing pyjamas who’s been dragged through a Gardenia godefroyana hedge backwards. It was a very welcome few hours of luxuriousness.

Back in Vietnam, I planned to fly to Hanoi (two hours from Ho Chi Minh, £56) and then work my way back down the eastern coast. When I took out my travel insurance I ticked the box that promised I wasn’t participating in dangerous sports, so I had to hope that did not include riding pillion on a moped.

Along with millions of other mopeds (some carrying live animals, monks and whole families), a large number of buses, lorries and taxis but a distinct lack of traffic lights, we whizzed through the dilapidated, charming, mildewed city that is Hanoi, only slightly slowing down at crossroads or roundabouts, where my guide would say: “Shut your eyes now, lady”.

I flew past the Ho Chi Minh City Mausoleum, the Hanoi Opera House and Hoa Lo Prison. I saw street barbers honing their craft and ex-offenders releasing turtles into West Lake for good luck. We broke into the closed B52 Victory Museum (only the outside) and went to a restaurant that served dog – fortunately they’d sold out.

Needing something a little less frenetic, I spent the following day on a boat visiting.......


http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/desti ... etnam.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;



Essentials

Getting there

London to Ho Chi Minh City flights start at £500, arranged through edreams.co.uk.

Visas

You can apply for a visa for Cambodia when you arrive in the country, it costs around £15: embassyofcambodia.org.

The visa for Vietnam is more expensive, especially if you need multiple entry, £54 and £85 for 30 days respectively. vietnamembassy.org.uk.

You can also order a visa to be collected at the airport in Vietnam. It’s cheaper but can involve a long queue.

Where to stay

Cambodia and Vietnam have a huge range of accommodation in all price ranges but you can’t go wrong with hostelbookers.com which books hostels, hotels, apartments and guesthouses.

Travelling around

By bus in Cambodia (and into Vietnam): see catmekongexpress.com.

By train and plane in Vietnam: see vietnam-railway.com; vietnam-airline.com.

seat61.com covers rail travel in both countries.
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Samouth
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Re: 54 year old Female Backpacker Travels Cambodia and Vietn

Post by Samouth » Sat Apr 11, 2015 11:24 pm

This is really amazing. She did inspired me to start backpacking around Southeast Asia where I can enter easily without visa.
បើសិនធ្វើចេះ ចេះឲ្យគេកោត បើសិនធ្វើឆោត ឆោតឲ្យគេអាណិត។

If you know a lot, know enough to make them respect you, if you are stupid, be stupid enough so they can pity you.
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Re: 54 year old Female Backpacker Travels Cambodia and Vietn

Post by phuketrichard » Sun Apr 12, 2015 9:13 am

only if u stay less than 14 days otherwise u will need a visa for Thailand, Burma and Laos
Vietnam,,no idea as have never been and never will
In a nation run by swine, all pigs are upward-mobile and the rest of us are fucked until we can put our acts together: not necessarily to win, but mainly to keep from losing completely. HST
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Re: 54 year old Female Backpacker Travels Cambodia and Vietn

Post by Samouth » Sun Apr 12, 2015 11:06 am

Right. Here are the countries in Southeast Asia that Cambodian can enter without visa

1. Brunei 14days
2. Indonesia 30 days
3. Laos 30days
4. Malaysia 30days
5. Myanmar 14days
6. Philippine 21days
7. Singapore 30days
8. Thailand 30days
9. Vietnam 30days

In 2014 the ministry of foreign affair and cooperation declared that Cambodian can enter to more than 50 countries in the world both without visa requirement and visa on arrival.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visa_req ... n_citizens" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
បើសិនធ្វើចេះ ចេះឲ្យគេកោត បើសិនធ្វើឆោត ឆោតឲ្យគេអាណិត។

If you know a lot, know enough to make them respect you, if you are stupid, be stupid enough so they can pity you.
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Re: 54 year old Female Backpacker Travels Cambodia and Vietn

Post by Username Taken » Sun Apr 12, 2015 11:08 am

Samouth wrote: In 2014 the ministry of foreign affair and cooperation declared that Cambodian can enter to more than 50 countries in the world both without visa requirement and visa on arrival.
But, Mexico isn't one of them. Haiti is though. %)
... give 'em a quick, short, sharp shock ...

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Re: 54 year old Female Backpacker Travels Cambodia and Vietn

Post by StroppyChops » Sun Apr 12, 2015 11:46 am

It took me a while to register that author was talking in pounds, not dollars. You could have a fairly lush holiday on those amounts of pounds...
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Re: 54 year old Female Backpacker Travels Cambodia and Vietn

Post by Samouth » Sun Apr 12, 2015 12:16 pm

Username Taken wrote:
Samouth wrote: In 2014 the ministry of foreign affair and cooperation declared that Cambodian can enter to more than 50 countries in the world both without visa requirement and visa on arrival.
But, Mexico isn't one of them. Haiti is though. %)
Haha I have no desire to visit Mexico and I don't think I will be able to visit there though. It is way too far from the kingdom. :)
បើសិនធ្វើចេះ ចេះឲ្យគេកោត បើសិនធ្វើឆោត ឆោតឲ្យគេអាណិត។

If you know a lot, know enough to make them respect you, if you are stupid, be stupid enough so they can pity you.
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Re: 54 year old Female Backpacker Travels Cambodia and Vietn

Post by potty » Sun Apr 12, 2015 12:28 pm

demis roussos died in january.
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Re: 54 year old Female Backpacker Travels Cambodia and Vietn

Post by prahkeitouj » Sun Apr 12, 2015 12:38 pm

Samouth wrote:Right. Here are the countries in Southeast Asia that Cambodian can enter without visa

1. Brunei 14days
2. Indonesia 30 days
3. Laos 30days
4. Malaysia 30days
5. Myanmar 14days
6. Philippine 21days
7. Singapore 30days
8. Thailand 30days
9. Vietnam 30days

In 2014 the ministry of foreign affair and cooperation declared that Cambodian can enter to more than 50 countries in the world both without visa requirement and visa on arrival.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visa_req ... n_citizens" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Thanks for your information. Oh I really want to visit Laos and Vietnam !!
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Re: 54 year old Female Backpacker Travels Cambodia and Vietn

Post by Samouth » Sun Apr 12, 2015 1:38 pm

StroppyChops wrote:It took me a while to register that author was talking in pounds, not dollars. You could have a fairly lush holiday on those amounts of pounds...
I personally feel that it is a lot of money too. I don't think my budget is that much for my Southeast Asia trip. I will try to spend as less as I possibly can.
បើសិនធ្វើចេះ ចេះឲ្យគេកោត បើសិនធ្វើឆោត ឆោតឲ្យគេអាណិត។

If you know a lot, know enough to make them respect you, if you are stupid, be stupid enough so they can pity you.
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