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Going to Singapore, Vietnam and Cambodia in June. Advice? =)

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Going to Singapore, Vietnam and Cambodia in June. Advice? =)

Post by sinui » Mar 19th, '09, 21:36

Hello everyone ! =)

No where better to ask than here, I'm from london and going this summer to travel around south/east asia: Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia.
All I really know is about the Angkor Vat and that the food is good.. will look up some travel guides but wondered if anyone new some special spots ? ;)

Also going to Japan in September, what is everyone doing this summer?

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Post by tanpopo1982 » Mar 20th, '09, 02:12

sinui, i look like you, i love to travel, so i've been to many different place, i just got back from sydney australia, and i plan to go to LONDON end of this year. i've been to VIETNAM twice, it was awesome. it is very beautiful place to travel, and everything is cheap over there, if you stay in HO CHI MINH CITY, you need to go BACH DANG HARBOR, it's pretty at night time, and also DIAMOND PLAZA is nice place for you to shop and play the DDR game. if you want to buy souvenier (gift) you need to take a taxi to BINH KHIEM MARKET b4 rush hour time at 4:00 p.m., so you can buy a lot of thing half price than the other market, but you need to bargain. There also two famous places to visit, there are HALONG BAY and SAPA. well, i hope you have a great time if you plan go to VIETNAM.

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Post by XrayZ » Mar 20th, '09, 03:03

A mate of mine told me that Cambodian weed was really out there, but "you gotta be careful who you buy it from"....

But that aside, my advice is to dress down so you look slightly less like a rich Westerner. Not "so you don't get robbed" so much as so you're more "one of us" to the people around you.

Disregard that advice if you're staying in 4-star hotels, else they might not let you back in.

In both cases I speak from personal or family experience (my dad was once refused entry into the hotel we were staying at because the desk geek hadn't seen before and assumed his clothes equalled his wealth!).

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Post by sinui » Mar 20th, '09, 08:36

tanpopo: =D thank you, will make sure to check those places. Especially the market, I love markets but really suck bad at bargaining! wish me luck...
And you're right, travelling is probably the activity I enjoy most, I even like the actual travelling bit: aka being in the plane, boat, coach.. wish it was cheaper tho ;)

XrayZ: I am grom east asian origin, maybe that'll help a bit XD ? ... to mingle among the population but I will be staying in hostels so will try and dress casually. thanks!

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Post by LilyJade » Mar 20th, '09, 09:03

In Saigon aka Ho-Chi Minh City, you certainly have the Diamond Plaza as tampopo said. But you have 3 Parkson Mall, they're really great and nice to shop. The highest floor has an international food market so you can buy food from France, UK etc. and you have a lot of restaurants. :P

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Post by hinako442003 » Mar 20th, '09, 12:48

I was in 2 of the 3 countries you listed back in December :D . Vietnam's traffic is hell. I say go for "xe om" (moped-taxi) rather than taxi-taxi if you don't have family members there. You can bargain with the driver and book the entire day. Give him some extra tips for coffee while he waits around for you. With moped-taxi, you pay for the trip, so bargain as you see fit. With taxi-taxi, you usually pay by the mile/hour, so they can drive around and around and rip you off. Even when they offer a set price at the airport, I was horrified that they asked for VND200,000 for a trip that only costs VND50,000 max. Don't be afraid to bargain. They're actually more lenient towards foreigners :lol
I had an okay time there. Family is all swell as always but city people are mean mean mean. There's no line anywhere, even at bookstore check-out registers. Everyone's pushy if not rude. The best time I had out shopping was actually at fish stores with my cousin. Fun and non-stressful. We got some kois for his pond and he got ripped off too even though he lives there all his life ^_^.
Don't know if you can stomach street food, but they're the best IMO. My family took me to expensive restaurants catering to foreigners and overseas Vietnamese, and I'd have to say I enjoy sitting on the sidestreet eating o^'c (escargots-ish???) more.
This is all HCM City (Saigon).

We stayed near Orchard St. in Singapore. As long as you book the hotel near the main attractions (half-way into the country, so an hour from the airport, and not yet Jurong?) then you're set to go. It's extremely easy to travel by taxi in Singapore, just tell them the destination's name. They are really really honest and it amazed us how cheap some of the trips were. We also took buses and rail which are cheaper alternatives, but we were with a local so she took care of the routing details :mrgreen:
No matter what, and I repeat, no matter what, you have to eat their chili crab, along with fried buns to dip in the sauce. We ate at a hawker centre I think. SGD27 for one crab at the time. Hawker centres are really fun I think. They're food-courts, but people come with their menus and start advertising/taking orders, and then bring your food to your table. You'll still might have to browse around some because the place is huge and not all of them will seek you if you're on the other side. And then afterwards they clean up your mess. Not really self-service like in the West.
Shopping on Bugis Street is cheap and fun, esp in the evening. Orchard St was pretty with the light decorations and expensive store-fronts (we went Xmas time) but they mainly had Guccis & the likes. Not really my type of shopping experience. If I had wanted Gucci, I'd stay in America.
Their IT mall is also fun. Customer service was really really good. My friend bought a laptop. The guy started Windows and set it up for her (not difficult, but eh, always nice to have someone else do it). They gave so many freebies too (maybe because it was Xmas). The friend got a 4gb iriver multimedia player for spending over SGN700 on the laptop o_0. I heard electronics are cheaper here than in Europe. So check the mall out. But prices are mostly higher than in America, so I wasn't interested in buying.
Other places we went to included the Botanics Garden (free, but Orchid Garden within it costs a few bucks), Sentosa Island (we got there by rail and then left on the sky-lift). - costs too much to do the sky-lift IMO, Marina Bay (pretty at night), Vivo City...

Looks like Malaysia's not on your list, but since you'll be in Singapore, why don't you just cross the border by coach into Kuala Lumpur? It costs like USD40. KL is a nice balance between chaotic HCM and orderly Singapore. Still noisy and crowded, but just enough for some city liveliness. Their double-decker city tour bus is really convenient to get around the city. We found ourselves not having to use taxi the entire time except to get out to Putrajaya and eventually the airport to fly back home.

o_0 Hope that's not too long to read. Have fun.

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Post by LocaBonita » Mar 20th, '09, 13:43

Hey ..

i've been to singapore last summer and my advice to u is wear light clothes cuz its hot there and be sure to pack an umbrella with you cuz u dnt know when its going to rain .. and also dont pack to much cuz believe me you wil buy many thing from there .. there is alot of malls and shopping centers and also the is the bugis junction its a cheap place for a very good things and make sure you go to sentosa island .. its a total fun and also go the birds park and the zoo
also the night safari is a good place to be at night .. and believe me you will like it there ..

Have fun .. =)

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Post by chinhao » Mar 20th, '09, 13:56

I'm from Singapore. =)

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Post by labyrinthine » Mar 20th, '09, 14:27

I am from Singapore too and I think Ican bring you around Singapore if you want, povided that I'm free. You can drop me a private message if you are interested.

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Post by chinhao » Mar 20th, '09, 15:01

I do can bring you around if i'm free and not enlisted to army yet by then. =)

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Post by sinui » Mar 21st, '09, 01:24

wow hinako that really was some post!! =D hehe thank you so much. it'll be interesting to ride on a mop taxi, however how did you bargain without speaking the language? I dont speak any asian languages apart from japanese. and to be honest, I think I need to practice a bit my bargaining.
Would you have any guideline prices for basic things? umbrellas, normal transport fees, .. ? dont bother if this is too complicated. ^^; am still a bit clueless and afraid to bargain.
I think I will like the messyness though. My mother is from Greece and I think it's quite similar in some ways: rude people, terrible traffic ;)
I totally agree on street food, I like my food authentic and LOVE CRAB! ..
Actually I might go to Malaysia, depending on wether another friend goes there, dont want to travel alone in a place I dont know and dont speak the language.

Locabonita, thanks for the umbrella tip, *notes it down*

and thank you for offering :) altho I'm already going to stay with my friend, she's from singapore but I probably cant rely on her all the time

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Post by jnske » Mar 21st, '09, 01:45

my advice to u is not to drink any wine/spirits in vietnam because they a mixed n cause cancer... stick with beer!

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Post by tanpopo1982 » Mar 21st, '09, 02:53

i agree with you jnske, the wine is not very good, beer is ok, but i rather like to drink the coconut, it taste better and cleaner. sinui the most important thing when you go to eat at the restaurant in VIETNAM, don't order 'HU TIEU MI" it can hurt your stomache if you eat that, bc they put the worms in the soup so it makes HU TIEU taste better.

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Post by hinako442003 » Mar 21st, '09, 03:45

A taxi trip of about 10 min would cost me VND40,000. And I think it costs +VND150,000 to go to Quan Nhat (business district/city centre). I literally was :cry: because that money could buy me a set of ao dai fabric. as for moped, here's what one website is saying:
http://www.tripadvisor.com/Travel-g2939 ... round.html
20,000 for short trips, 150,000 plus tip for a half-day
If you can, while in the suburbs (anywhere not Quan Nhat), ride the cyclo for the experience. They've long banned cyclos to travel into the city centre but these guys are still around elsewhere. I feel bad that they have to pedal in the heat and not make much but if they're gone, I feel that half of what Saigon is about is also gone.

A good bowl of pho should cost you VND25,000? People in VN don't use umbrellas. They use ponchos :mrgreen: a disposable one on the street when it rains should be less than VND10,000. But my rule of thump is, if you think it's worth it once converted to English pounds, then spend and don't overdo the haggling. I only bargain to the price I'm willing to pay, not necessarily the price a local may pay. (Tip: start walking away if they don't lower their price and they'll call you back with a new offer :lol )

Malaysians speak English, dude! That was all I spoke when I was there. The driver who took us to Putrajaya speaks English like so
"why go to Putrajaya?"
me - what do you mean why, that's my own business.
"why go to?"
me - "..."
"Putrajaya ... big city, like KL... why you want drop off."
me - oh, he means where to drop us off...
and then afterward he handed us his phone #
"you call I, I come pick you up." :roll

lol, but most people I met there speak better English. I have more faith in the average Malaysian's English than the average Vietnamese's. And I actually felt pretty safe in Kuala Lumpur. People were so nice in telling us directions and stuff. And since our hotel is right by the Hop-on-hop-off tour bus stop, it was really convenient and safe to travel.

Don't worry. we were afraid to bargain too. the first taxi driver in Malaysia took RM50 from us for a trip that takes 10 min :cussing: we later went to Putrajaya (40 minutes away?) for the fixed price of RM35 from KL Sentral, and back for RM30 - a price we didn't have a bargain because the driver was more than honest, ended up tipping the guy extra. after we landed in HCM again, I lashed out at the guy who demanded for VND200,000 and ended up hiring another cab for VND50,000. you'll be bolder once you get rip-off'ed :D

oh right... how to bargain without knowing the language. i've seen foreigners lug around a calculator and take turn punching in numbers with the shop owners :D handy to do conversions too lol a bit tacky, but there's something to think about
Last edited by hinako442003 on Mar 21st, '09, 03:59, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by jtgamer » Mar 21st, '09, 03:46

Based off what I hear from family and friends that went to Cambodia, be sure to know where you are going and to be safe. If you are going to Angkor Wat, be sure you go on marked paths when wandering the temple. Also be on the lookout for the red signs that notify about land mimes. There are still many out there. Being Cambodian myself, I would visit in the capital city, the Royal Palace and the National Museum. I would also recommend staying for the day in Siam Reap, where Angkor Wat is located. They have many things to do there. There is the wax museum, the Heritage village and the night time performance (not sure if they are still doing it) Overall, I would bring extra cash to cover for the tickets to enter places and also to get some nice stuff to remember the trip.

Hope that this help out a little bit!

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Post by syzzlyn » Mar 24th, '09, 04:19

I'm from Singapore. It's a modern cosmopolitan city so it's easy to get around... and you can converse in English with little problems. Having been living her from the time I was born, I find there's nothing much to do here, except shop alot, eat alot LOL

Our history is not that long either, being a relatively young country. There are WWII sites to visit if you are interested in that kind of thing. Sentosa can be fun for one day, and the zoos are worth a visit if you are into animals :p

If you need further info, just ask... I'd be glad to help

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asian tour

Post by dabogy » Jul 14th, '09, 11:06

hope you had fun with your vacation!!

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