Planes, trains & tuk-tuks: The joy of getting around in Southeast Asia

Like this post? Help us by sharing it!

While I was anticipating my holiday to Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos in spring, I was excited to head back to Vietnam’s food markets, looking forward to the stunning scenery of Phong Nha National Park, and practically giddy at the thought of exploring the ruins of Angkor. One thing I wasn’t especially looking forward to was getting around.

Too often, getting from A to B is seen as a hindrance on holiday, rather than part of the experience itself. We spend our time planning to make the journey as short and comfortable as possible, forgetting that half the fun of a destination is in the getting there.

But on my recent trip, I was reminded of just how much I enjoy the travelling bit of travel as I explored Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos on all kinds of different modes of transport – from tuk-tuks and cyclos to bicycles and boats. If you’re lucky enough to be heading out to Southeast Asia soon, my advice is to try as many of them as you can!

Kayaks

On Halong Bay, we explored the hidden coves and jungle islands by kayak – giving us the independence to explore under our own steam and discover quiet corners away from the crowds…

Kayaking on Halong Bay
Kayaking on Halong Bay

Boats of many stripes

In Hoi An we were chauffeured along the river in a traditional basket boat; on Halong Bay we cruised among the karsts on an elegant Chinese junk; in Phong Nha we were conveyed through spectacular caves on a traditional longtail boat…

Boats on Halong Bay
Cruising on Halong Bay
Longtail boats wait to take passengers to Phong Nha Cave
Longtail boats wait to take passengers to Phong Nha Cave
Basket boating on Hoi An's river
Basket boating on Hoi An’s river

Tuk-tuks

In Siem Reap and Luang Prabang we hopped into tuk-tuks to tour the temples of Angkor and pay a visit to Kuang Si Falls…

Colourful tuk-tuks in Luang Prabang
Colourful tuk-tuks in Luang Prabang
Puttering around at Angkor Wat
Puttering around at Angkor Wat

Cyclos

In historic Hue we took an evening tour of the town and its ancient Imperial Citadel…

Cyclo touring in historic Hue
Cyclo touring in historic Hue

Vespas

In Hoi An we were whisked from bar to bar on the back of a Vespa, sampling delicious street food along the way…

Vespa adventures in Hoi An
Vespa adventures in Hoi An

Trains

From Dong Hoi to Hanoi, we were rocked to sleep in the comfort of the sleeper train…

Catching the sleeper train at Dong Hoi
Catching the sleeper train at Dong Hoi

Bikes

In the Hoi An countryside we explored boat-building workshops and paddy fields under pedal power on a bicycle…

Cycling in the Hoi An countryside
Cycling in the Hoi An countryside

Cars

On the way from Hoi An to Hue we relaxed in a plain old car as we passed stunning views over the Pass of the Ocean Clouds…

Driving over the Pass of Ocean Clouds in central Vietnam
Driving over the Pass of Ocean Clouds in central Vietnam

Feet

And in Phong Nha National Park we carried ourselves on our own two feet: the only way to truly explore the remote, jungle-covered mountains and caves of Quang Binh Province.

Trekking in Quang Binh Province
Trekking in Quang Binh Province

If you’re interested in travelling to Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos and would like expert planning advice – get in touch with one of our travel consultants to get started today.

Like this post? Help us by sharing it!