Monday, February 2, 2015

3rd Leg Earthbound Travels – Bangkok to Hanoi

Date: 1st March 2015

I will start writing firstly about the itinerary of my recent trip in Asia, being the 3rd leg of our earthbound travel, from Asia to Europe all the way through Scandinavian, Trans-Siberia and back to our city via Beijing. That was the whole plan, dividing the travel into 6 parts, out of which 3 has been completed. Our itinerary with some of the photo's are sharing below for your first review. Details are more to come.
A Siam boy in a train to Arayanprathet

We have covered 3 countries (Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam) with overnight stop in 5 cities, i.e. Bangkok, Siem Reap, Phnom Penh, Ho Chin Minh and Hanoi (5 cities) in 10 days. This trip was plan a month after we return from the 2nd leg from Europe, i.e. in May last year. Though Malaysia was raining continuously in the month of December due to monsoon season, we were happy to discover there's no rain encountered during our 10 days trip. We felt blessed as it gave us so much freedom to wander all intended places to visit during those short limited time.
Bangkok City
Day 1 - 25th December 2014 (Thursday)
6.30am - Depart from home to KL International airport
7.15am - Arrived at departure hall, dropped luggage and morning coffee at the airport
9.10am - MH 784 departure time to BKK, 2 hours 5 minutes journey
10.15am - Arrived at BKK, Suvarnabhumi Airport, take luggage & look for connecting train to the city. Notes: other means of transport can only be use if there's no railway tack in the area.
10.45am - Distance is 34.9km from airport terminal to Hua Lamphong hostel, *eta 30 minutes if by city cab. We hang around at the underground stations, having coffee once we found the train connection.
11.15am - Hotel check-in, placed luggage and rest for a while
11.45am - Out for lunch and shopping in China Town
3pm - A plan to Chatuchak Market was cancelled as it was closed so, we headed to MBK Mall, going all bonkers with foods and shopping
7pm - Back to hotel, early rest
Direct train (No. 275) from Bangkok to Arayanprathet
Bangkok – Arayanprathet – Poipet
Day 2 - 26th December 2014 (Friday)
4am - Wake-up call
4.30am - Check out from Hua Lamphong hostel, less than 5 minute walk to the train station
4.45am - Queu at train station to buy ticket to Arayanprathet, offering Fajar prayer and breakfast
5.55am - Train no. 275 departed for 4.5 to 5.5 hours journey to Arayanprathet
11am - Arrived at Arayanprathet station, take the first to come Tuk Tuk to Poipet border

Poipet Border

Poipet – Siem Reap
Day 2 - 26th December 2014 (Friday)
2pm - Allowed 3 hours for immigration clearance, lunch at bus centre before taking a bus ride to
Siem Reap, about 4 hours journey. Ride took-tuk to the hotel
6pm - Check in at Shining Angkor Boutique Hotel. Dine-in at the hotel.
Day 3 itinerary – 27th December 2014 (Saturday)
Full day sightseeing in Angkor's temple and nearby attraction.

At Bayon Temple with Apsara dancer 

Siem Reap – Phnom Penh
Day 4 - 28th December 2014 (Sunday)
4am - Wake-up call
4.30am - Check out, breakfast while waiting for transport to the boat dock of Chong Kneas floating 
village, located at about 11 km south of Siem Reap.
8 am - Speed boat ride to Phnom Penh
2 pm - Arrived in Phnom Penh, Sisowath Quay dock, 2 minutes walk to the hotel. 
2.05pm - Check in at Pillar Hotel
4pm - Late lunch and sightseeing all places at 1 go by took took

Dreams come true - a boat ride from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh
Phnom Penh city at night

Phnom Penh – Cambodia/Vietnam border - Saigon (Ho Chin Minh)
Day 5 - 29th December 2014 (Monday)
6.30am - Check out and breakfast
8am - Bus ride to Saigon/Ho Chin Minh city (6.5 hours)
2.20pm Arrived in Saigon
3pm - Late check in at Cherry Hotel, solat
4pm - Late lunch (ordered from Hotel kitchen) and explore Saigon at night by walk

Cambodia-Vietnam border

Ho Chin Minh City
Day 6 - 30th December 2014 (Tuesday)
Full day sightseeing at Notre Dam Cathedral, War Remnants museum,Uy Ban Nhan Dan Thanh Pho, Reunification Palace
7pm - Late check out and/or left lugagge at the hotel
8pm - Dinner at nearby hotel before the cab arrived
10pm - Departed on a train to Hanoi via Vietnam train SE#4 - soft berth
Hanoi Notre Damn

Day 7 - 31st December 2014 (Wednesday)
Full day in train - celebrated new year in train with Anne. 2 nights in train as the actual journey took 31.5 hours from Saigon to Hanoi. The longest ride after our experienced from Istanbul to Bucharest of 19 hours in April 2014. 
Hanoi City tour    
Day 8 - 1st January 2014 (Thursday)
4.30am - Arrived at Hanoi train station, took for motorbike to the hotel as we were not clear of the direction to the hotel.
6pm - Early checked in, paid a little bit extra for that but having an excellent breakfast at Hanoi
Eternity Hotel is priceless. Good choice of hotel, friendly and helpful staff with a cosy room.
* Complete all POI in Saigon, Old Quater, Ho Chin Minh Mausoleum, Hoa Lo Prison (Mason Centrale), Ba Dinh Square that equate with the Tiananmen Square of Beijing and the Red Square of Moscow, the square where Chairman Ho Chi Minh proclaimed the founding of Vietnamese Democratic Republic in 1945. 
Ho Chin Minh Mausoleum, Hanoi
Day 9 - 2nd January 2014 (Friday)
6.30am - Breakfast
7.30am - coach ride from the hotel to Halong Bay (3.5 hours drive)
10.30am - The magnificent Halong Bay, considered the 8th Wonder of the World, is one of the natural marvels of Vietnam. The 3,000 tiny islands rising from the emerald waters of the Gulf of Tonkin are dotted with innumerable beaches and grottoes created by the wind and the waves. There are three little bays in Halong Bay, each of which has its own scenic attractions. Enjoy boat ride & seafood meal.
7.30pm - Adjourned back to the city from Halong Bay after sunset
10.30pm - Arrived hotel

Ha Long Bay adventures 
Day 10 itinerary - 3rd January 2014 (Saturday)
9am - Late breakfast and packing for check-out. Took a morning walk in a rather warm weather in nearby area.
10.30am - Heading to Airport
1.10pm - Mas flight from Hanoi Airport to KUL
5.40pm - Arrived in KLIA. Journey ended
Heritage building around the Hotel area
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