Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Indochina 7 Days Solo Backpacking Summary

vietnam, cambodia and laos 11th solo backpacking tour
august 24 - september 1, 2011
wednesday to thursday

day 0: ho chi minh city arrival at night
day 1: ho chi minh to siem reap bus trip
day 2: angkor archaeological park solo day-tour
day 3: siem reap to 4,000 islands bus trip
day 4: champasak province (southern laos) solo day-tour
day 5: pakse to phnom penh bus trip
day 6: phnom penh city solo half-day tour
day 7: ho chi minh solo day tour


here are some observations and advices  that would be helpful just in case you like to do the same.

indochina country maps

1. upon arriving on Tan Son Nhat International Airport (vietnam), copy exactly the local time as reference time for the start of your journey (-0100H from Philippines or UTC +0700H). as for me,  i used the flight-mode function of my mobile phone because i didn't use the roam service since i don't have wristwatch. i used it in every alarm, bus departures and tours i planned.

angkor archaeological park route map
ho chi minh city route map

2. don't lower your guard at all times. after that negligence on day 1, from time to time, i double-checked my passport and count the remaining pocket money i have. It made me have a phobia to left my backpack. sometimes i even want to bring it though it is not needed due to gut feeling. remember, atm is only available in the key cities of this countries.

from pakse to 4,000 islands vv (laos)

cambodia bus route map

3. vietnam has the most english-speaking locals while laos has the least, but vietnam has the almost zero visibility of english-translation in every billboards/ads/signage i've seen in public. in regards to pakse city (laos), the only english speakers i encountered were the bus terminal personnels and the travel and tours staff, no one else. thus, it was really hard to negotiate.

4. be systematic to local bills. vietnam dongs, cambodian riels, laos kips and us dollars  have almost similar physical looks with each other when joined together. even same currency with different amount is more confusing to count. as for me, if i'm in different country, i kept the previous remaining bills inside my bag. I bring only sufficient amount of dollar and local money to be spend for the day only.

5. if you're really on a tight budget just like this, plan your things to do every night before. even the details of possible expenses. this is one of the best tip i highly recommended.

peso against international bills

6. just chill and relax, feel the moment that you are there. whether you are just walking, waiting for the bus to depart or eating, enjoy the time of the journey. the lost money happened gave me a 200% alertness on all of my senses. it triggered the sleeping fighting spirit within me. i immediately told myself this will not ruin my mindset. things will still go my way, no matter how it takes. though there were things i really want to do but because of the shortage, i just took it as "there will be next time". by the way, i don't have credit card, my savings debit card is just on its maintaining balance.

indochina suvenir items


  1. This is awesome. Thanks so much! Now im more excited for my trip! :D

  2. I am really excited to plan my indochina trip this year. Thanks for the info, much help really! :)


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