Help me plan my se asia trip. :)

well, before i head back to the states, i’d like to travel around southeast asia a little while i’m over here. currently, don’t really have anything except a general idea of where to go and so forth.

the main point of my trip would be food. i’m going to travel to eat(and drink). given the choice between a neat temple or a neat local market, i’d choose the market. i’ll be back some other time to do the “usual” stuff, but right now i just want to go eat stuff. :slight_smile:

places i definitely will go to are bangkok and saigon. the more i think about it, the more i feel i have to go to hanoi as well since i am all about food. was considering laos and cambodia since they’re in the area, but not sure if it’s worth adding to the list. not sure if the food there is worth the trip, and i’m trying not to make the trip more complicated than it has to be. might come back to do ankor wat later.

main question is how should i plan this? just buy tickets here and then book some hotels? i don’t want to do a tour, but are there packages that i can get here that might correspond to my chosen locals? better to plan, book, and buy everything now or wing it when i get there? not trying to do a shoestring tour, but i’m not planning on staying in 5-star’s during the trip, either.

i saw the bangkok hotels thread and will refer to that for lodging. anyone has suggestions for saigon and hanoi?

not sure what the public transport’s like so i’m thinking i’ll just fly around. is it hard to show up at hanoi and just buy a plane ticket to bangkok?

finally, anyone have any suggestions for cool food-related places/things/dishes that i need to check out when i’m there? :slight_smile:

Thailand is a must. Bami Nam! It is basically noodles, veggies, various meat or fish and some vegetables. It is the staple of the people there, for good reason. Usually overlooked by the Farang.
Saigon has some really amazing cuisine. They also have the best baguettes outside of France. If it is the exotic you are after, Saigon is at the top. The week of the Tet festival would be the best time. That is when everyone and their grandma is cooking up their secret recipes.
Hong Kong has, in my humble opinion the best open market cuisine in the world. Temple Street, towards the South end, after dark any day of the week.
Planning never hurts but be flexible.

If you like food, you picked two great countries in Thailand and Vietnam. In Vietnam you seemed to state a preference for Saigon, but in my opinion Hanoi is definitely the more beautiful city. It’s got lots of French colonial buildings with lakes and trees and sidewalk cafes, whereas Saigon is more of a big ugly city. Personally, I’d only choose Saigon over Hanoi if you’re planning on going down to the Delta to explore the waterways by boat – which is a lot of fun. But, between the two cities, Hanoi’s much more beautiful. And they both have great food. But I do remember when a friend visited me in Vietnam we played a game called “guess the organ,” which involves trying to discern whether it’s kidney, spleen, liver or lung in your bowl of pho. Pho, you will learn is one of the basic food groups in Vietnam, though it’s a lot harder to pronounce than one could imagine. Even after a month of repeating the damn word over and over some people still hadn’t a clue what I was saying (it’s pronounced something like phuh). Vietnamese menus are a riot too with their fractured English. I still remember “brittle bass head part” but others that I’ve forgotten were harder to figure. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the food was delicious, even the simple but terrific baguettes and sweet coffee.

Unless you’ve got at least a couple of weeks, if you plan on seeing both Saigon and Hanoi, you’ll want to fly rather than drive between the two as Vietnam is a long country. If you do have the time, and you reaaalllllly want to eat good food, then the best Vietnamese food in the entire world probably is in the town of Hoi Anh, a beautiful centuries old port town where the Japanese and the Dutch used to trade long ago, there’s an old Japanese bridge there that is hundreds of years old, many beautiful old buildings, a great beach and food that the town is famous for. If I recall correctly, that’s about 1/3 of the way north from Saigon.

Thai food too. Mmmmm. Actually one of my favorite recollections of food in Thailand was the seafood omelets at a simple beach bungalow resort on Koh Samui, enhanced by just hangin out doing nothing day after day but sleeping, swimming, cruising around on motorbike and partaking in the occasional spleef. God I need a vacation now.

Don’t worry about too much planning. Buy your tickets from country to country in advance but I wouldn’t make internal travel arrangements in advance in case your plans change. I loved having the freedom to buy my train, bus or boat tickets as I went, so I could stay another day if I chose or suddenly decide to head north instead of south. But that assumes you’re not traveling with someone who insists on a fixed itinerary.

Have fun and bon apetit.

Balinese food is nummers.
Tambusan be Pasih
Be Pasih Mepanggang
Nasi Goreng
Be Siap Base Kalas
So are Bali boys. Nummers.

Thailand is lovely. Inundated with Eurotrash, but lovely.

Philippines is still my favourite of all, though. Great food, beautiful beaches, nice people, handsome men, good food, fantastic mountains, cheap cheap cheap, not many tourists.

thanks for the replies so far. i can’t really spend as much time travelling as i’d like to(only want to do a quick 2 weeks), so i had to limit myself to only a few places. hopefully i’ll be able to come back and visit some other countries later.

thailand because i love thai food. went to phuket over chinese new year and while i had a lot of fun there, it wasn’t really thailand. i saw more swedes and germans there than actual thais. :stuck_out_tongue: hopefully bangkok is more of a real thai city where i can go eat at places real thai people eat at(that don’t all have pizza and wienerschnitzel on the menu).

vietnam is another must for any foodie. i grew up a couple of miles from little saigon and have always loved vietnamese food so i want to get the real thing. that’s also why i chose saigon first. not so interested in looking at nice colonial architecture on this particular trip, but i do realize now that i need to hit hanoi as well for the food. been reading about all the great food in other areas of vietnam, but with my limited time i think i’ll only get to hit the 2 main cities.

i’ll be going in september which seems like a good time. not as hot, i hope, and fewer tourists.

anyone have specific suggestions for places to stay or must-visit food sites or restaurants in those 3 cities? :slight_smile:

ps: i love offal. :smiley:

Yup. What she said. 'cept for the handsome men bit - I wouldn’t know about that. :sunglasses:

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