Ask Joan

Exploring Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos; I want to be alone on New Year’s Eve

Take a boat trip down the Mekong Delta in Vietnam

Take a boat trip down the Mekong Delta in Vietnam


Could you please give me some advice on a trip to Vietnam, taking in Cambodia and Laos? We are a couple, early 50s, interested in culture and history rather than shopping or sunbathing. We could have more time to spend if we travel during July or August but I have heard the humidity is highest at this time. So perhaps Easter would be a more suitable time? Would we be better going on an organised tour or should I plan it myself?

– FJ Dublin

July and August are hot and humid and also high season. Going earlier in the year makes sense, though Easter may be busy too.

Joining a tour would ensure that you see as much as possible. Not having to worry about transport and accommodation would take a lot off your plate. There are plenty of companies offering trips.

Next March, there is a guided trip from Dublin with GTI Travel to Vietnam and Cambodia over two weeks. Beginning in Saigon, the cultural and historical experiences include Cu Chi tunnels, a boat trip on the Mekong, temples of Tay Ninh and Sam mountain, Phnom Penh palaces, the Killing Fields and Angkor Wat (from €2,499pps, 01 -8434734).

If planning the trip yourself, you could talk to Brendan Barry of (021-4635440). He has been in Vietnam many times; his company works with Travel Indochina, a small group specialist company. He has lots of great insights on what to see and do. Other companies that offer on-the-ground trips include, who work with and and, who work with

I’m a single woman who hates New Year’s Eve with a passion. I looked at a few hotels and B&Bs for a few days’ escape. However, those that aren’t booked out are ridiculously expensive. Ideally, I would like to stay in Clare/Limerick. – CH, Galway

Limerick city is better value than the county. The Railway Hotel has two nights for €80 including breakfast or the Best Western Pery Hotel is €128 for two nights with breakfast. I found these on Irelandhotels. com, the website of the Irish Hotels Federation.

Those offering bed and breakfast accommodation tend to base the price on two sharing, but you can certainly phone and ask for a one-person rate. Find the best selection of properties on

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