Thailand And Vietnam

Hello all, as the well travelled group of individuals that you are I was hoping for some hints,tips and good places to go for the following:

I'm planning on a month long trip split between Thailand and Vietnam.
The plan with the Vietnam portion is to do the Top Gear challange so South to North on a bike, any and all decent places to stop along the way ( definately interested in the military side of the country) and useful do's and dont's would be great.

Thailand will mostly be spent in Pattaya (for obvious reasons) however my aim is to get AFF qualified prior to going out and Ive seen there is a DZ not far away, has anyone used it?
Also wanted to squeeze in my PADI course, any advice and good dive schools to use would be appreciated.

I look forward to your replies.
These guys did a ride recently that sounds like what you are looking for.
The Idiots Ride Nam

They had the bikes shipped from Hanoi down to HCM [Saigon].
Note that in retrospect they felt it would have been better flying in to Hanoi and sorting bikes out with the rental guy
and then riding south rather than the way they did it.
Bike rental in Vietnam is limited and the guy they used [Cuoung - they spell it incorrectly in the report] has the best rep,
but it is nothing like Thailand where you have more options.
Avoid renting Minsks at all costs.
Remember that Vietnam is still communist and incredibly regulated which can be a wake-up call for those used to doing things Thai style.

In Hanoi I would recommend you stay in the old-quarter and for a military buff would recommend the Army museum,
the Air Force Museum, the B-52 Museum, and the B52 still in the small city lake, also the Hanoi Hilton.
HCM's Mausoleum if you are into waxworks.

GT Rider is good for all riding info for South East Asia.
PM me if you need any further info.
Note the Monsoon season is bout to start.
Hi ive travelled a lot around South East Asia so its hard to say where to start. There’s so much to see and do! In respect of Thailand I suppose ive gotta say The Bridge at The River Kwai is worth a visit along with the death Railway at Kanchanaburi. Chang Mai’s worth a visit the overnight train back to Bangkoks an experience.

If your gonna learn to dive its not cheap in Thailand id probably link into a good company in the UK for the pool work and get a referral to a company in Thailand for the open water work. Any dive operator here will help sort you out. As for diving in Thailand, Kao Tao’s a bit of a diving mecca so loads of choices of good operators.

As for Vietnam! What can I say Saigon is amazing, there use to be a bar called Apocalypse Now well worth a visit.

and the war remnants museum is worth a visit but you need to get a guide book to find all the sights. The tunnels at Cu Chi are worth a visit as well as the tunnels at the DMZ. Hue is also worth visiting especially the citadel (still battle scarred) from Hue you can book a trip the Khe Sanh the old marine combat base and dien bien phu.

If you get to Na trang there are some good dive operators and diving is cheap. Hanoi also worth a visit, Uncle Hoe,s worth seeing if your prepared to queue he’s embalmed and on show in a mausoleum.

Havent got enough time to write it all, the lonely planet do good guide books probably best to invest in them.

What I will say though is fly into Pnomh Penh Cambodia from Thailand and get the bus across the border to Saigon an amazing trip 6 hours but worth it if you need any further advice pm me
Mermaids Dive School, Pattaya. Good outfit, plenty of shops all around Pattaya, near to all the main places.

Tell 'em the ******** who broke the door in Soi Whitehouse sends his love.
Spot-on to all this is the kinda stuff I'd like to know, lessons learnt are often the best guide ive found, will def get a lonely planet guide used one in Oman was excellant, thanks for the advice on cost of diving, that was a concern to me but my priority whilst in the UK is the AFF so may just have to take it on the chin and start from scratch when I'm out there, I was tild the diving isn't the best in pattaya which is why I was thinking more Phuket area but I'm happy to be corrected?
I'd heard about Apocalypse Now bar my friend said its worth the visit so hopefully still exists!

The rental thing for the bikes would be ideal so will look into the limited options available, anything else anyone can think of would be much appreciated.

1) Watch out for "ladies' with an Adam's apple and "ladies" with a horizontal scar where their Adam's apple used to be.

2) If blokes walk up to you shouting "Tuk Tuk", they're taxi drivers offering you a lift back to your hotel not, as I thought, rent boys offering bum fun.

3) Tuk Tuk drivers can get quite nasty if you slap them about while half cut and shouting "Aer ye callin' me a poof" in a broad Scottish accent.

4) Remember the film "The Mummy"? Remember when they went into the tomb and beetles rushed towards them? Then the beetles engulfed the hapless victims and the last thing you saw was a screaming face sinking into a writhing mass of beetles. Well, that's what Pattaya's like except you'll be engulfed by prostitutes instead of beetles.

It's funny for about five minutes but it gets annoying very quickly. If you're a bloke travelling without women, take a wedding ring with you. You can buy cheap, fake ones from travel shops. They'll leave you alone if they think you're married.
Hey bud,

I just got back from a 6 month trip of both Vietnam and Thailand.

With regards to Diving I would recommend Phi Phi (where the "beach" was filmed). I did my PADI rescue course there and the diving in my experiance was comparable with Eqypt and Auz. Stay away from the cheaper Koh Lanta (teaching and diving is crap). Also one of the best party Islands going.... Cost me £30 to fly from BKK to Phucket then got the boat across to Phi Phi and took about 2 days travel in total.

Pattaya gets boring very quickly indeed. Think Costa Del Sol with lots of this.

I got my Vietnam vista from the embassy in Bangkok and took about 2 days. Saigon (as the locals call it) is nuts... moped capital of the world and the most distorted disruption of wealth you will ever see. I remember seeing a Lambo (costs around £600k after the 300% import tax) with agent orange victims next to it begging for pennies so they can eat (pretty fcked up to be honest).

Anyways Chu Chi tunnels were amazing so was the national war museum.
One bit of advice for Vietnam is to keep yourself safe as possible. I have a few mates that were robbed...conned by taxi drivers, police ect.. NEVER GET INTO A TAXI UNLESS IT'S METERED.

Good luck should be a trip of a lifetime!
Mai lai has a nice long windswept beach, mostly to yourself. Good food at night and great to watch the locals bring in the fish. Nha trang is a hole, unless you love benidorm resort towns.
The best diving in Thailand is off the West coast, in the Andaman Sea. But we are now in the monsoon season until October. So not good for vis and weather.
Pattaya is also entering a short rainy season.
I have a friend who is very well connected with diving in Vietnam.
Drop me a PM for more info.
Don't be put off by the prostitutes explaining that the only reason you are in their country is because you cannot form relationships with normal women in the UK.

Hope this helps.
natotattie said:
Don't be put off by the prostitutes explaining that the only reason you are in their country is because you cannot form relationships with normal women in the UK.

Hope this helps.

Relationship? Fcuk that. If I see a prostitue it's for sex.

I went to Vietnam last year (with my wife which rather precluded the prozzy option) and enjoyed Hue and Hanoi best out of the cities we went to.

Personally I found the most of Vietnam era stuff that everyone has heard of contrived (Hanoi Hilton, and photos of how much John McCain enjoyed his stay there - shit you not) or just fake (Cu Chi Tunnels). The war museum in HCM has some stuff of interest, but when I visited devoted much of it's space to stuff on a fundraising exhibition by a charity concerned with agent orange victims (with the obligatory limbless beggars).

Of more interest to me from the American war was the DMZ. We had a great guide who differed from all the others in that she was South Vietnamese and remembered being evacuated from Hue just before the massacres (first time in our trip we weren't bombarded with neo communist claptrap). Quite interesting to see the areas that had been defoliated - green as a day 1 recruit.

The place I enjoyed most both from a military and cultural perspective was Dien Bien Phu. I realise it's way off your route, but if you go there it really brings home the folly of the French operation. Unfortunately, the hills used by the French are changing very quickly - people are digging away the soil to use on there gardens: Anne Marie 2 has dissapeared altogether, but it's a great place to visit if you read about the battle beforehand, and the museum's not bad either. Additionally, you are well away from the usual tourist spots and in the heart of the golden triangle - it's a bit more 'earthy' than some of the usual places in the country. It's a fairly short flight from Hanoi, and it's cheap as you like.


Book Reviewer
Don't go to Pattaya for diving - it's a sewer - you'd be a lot better off going to Koh Samui or Phuket. Air fares to koh Samui are quite expensive but if you have time on your hands go by bus and get a ferry.

It is low season right now and fecking hot so pace yourself accordingly - just got back from visiting the g/f's Thai side of the family and kept having to pour quarts of ice cold beer down my throat to stay alive.

Get LOTS of insurance and take your own helmet they have very small heads out there.
Stayed at the Furama Resort in Danang about 7 years ago, and I can recommend it. the Furama is on China Beach, which was the in-country R & R spot for the Spams.

I've always been fascinated by the VN war, so had to go and see the military museum in Danang - BIG mistake! It's set in a big mansion and I'm not sure how you can make a VN war museum boring but they've managed it. The female VN army soldier we sold us the tickets also came around with us, turning on the each room light in turn as we went through (we were the only visitors).

The pedicab drivers - get a firm price and write it down. We'd agreed US$1 per hour, but when it was time to pay they said $2, and I though things were about to kick off (I know someone who was once chased into a VN airport by a taxi driver with a knife and the cops did nothing).

Hội An (pronunciation Hoy An: 會安) is only 20-25 mins away from Danang and well worth a visit, it's a World Heritage site and known for its silk and art, as well as the Chinese bridge.

We did a day trip with a car and driver up to Hue, the ancient capital. It's a nice city, and also well-know for the battle during the Tet offensive. Going form Danang to Hue you travel on part of Highway 1, the main arterial road which links HCM to Hanoi. At the time it was being upgraded to dual-carriageway, but still had people cycling up the wrong side, people herding water buffaloes.
I know that I am giving you answer very late but it may help you if you have not find it yet. You should search on the Internet because you can find the best on it and you can find it also from other person who knows all the things about Thailand and you know that person.
Schaden said:
Don't go to Pattaya for diving - it's a sewer - you'd be a lot better off going to Koh Samui or Phuket. Air fares to koh Samui are quite expensive but if you have time on your hands go by bus and get a ferry.

It is low season right now and fecking hot so pace yourself accordingly - just got back from visiting the g/f's Thai side of the family and kept having to pour quarts of ice cold beer down my throat to stay alive.

Get LOTS of insurance and take your own helmet they have very small heads out there.
My bold for Koh Samui. Having lived here for 10 years forget anywhere inside the Gulf of Thailand and stick to the Andaman side for Scuba Diving. Now for Muff diving then Pattaya is the place right now, the place is empty and the girls gagging for it.
Me and my wife had visited Thailand and Vietnam in last summer holidays and it was great experience we had done. We have taken some things in my gym bag so that I can keep it with me all the time because it is very nice and easily portable that I have purchased from swettybetty.


Kit Reviewer
I had a great time visiting the Cu Chi Tunnels. the firing range half way round was great fun. Fired off $300 wort of M-60 link, M-16A1, AK47, Thompson Sub Machine gun and others. The missus wasn't too chuffed as the only romantic photo we got that day was on top of a destroyed M-48. In Saigon I got a ton of suits made and if that's your thing I can give you a tailor to use. The missus got a load of silk dresses made for practically nothing and they all look fantastic. The markets are great fun and I came back with an extra bag just to put things in. We stayed at the Rex hotel which was distinctly average and isn't worth the money.

I also stayed on the island at Phu Quoc at Cassia Cottage. The island is a bit "Meh" but Cassia Cottage is lovely. the Kiwi that ran it had his staff making blinding Bacon Sandwiches and the Vietnamese stuff in the evening was superb.

If you're in Bangkok then the three things I would recommend is afternoon tea at the Oriental, the River City Mall which is about 6 floors full of antiques and handicrafts (picked up a great Siam Naval Sword) and this... Banyan Tree Bangkok Hotel - A Luxury 5 Star Hotel in Bangkok | Banyan Tree Bangkok, Thailand The Vertigo Bar at the Banyan Tree hotel. It's an incredible view.

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