Jahanzaib Shafique, an event manager and entrepreneur, loves to travel, explore and document his experiences. This inveterate globe trotter aims to hit a score of 50 countries by 2018
What started as a casual, first solo holiday to the USA in 2011 turned into a lifelong passion to travel. From then on, my itinerary has always included a few less-frequented cities, which according to my experience, are always more interesting to explore. So in my last trip I chose Colombia, Mexico and Panama as the â€œwild cards.â€ This time, my 12 day trip included Vietnam and Cambodia, in addition to Dubai and Thailand.
What is the best time to visit?
Vietnam has diverse weather with the North enjoying all four seasons and the South having quintessentially tropical weather throughout. Cambodia follows a similar pattern. This makes December to February ideal to enjoy these countries rain-free so you can explore at will.
Where did you stay?
Hanoi, Vietnam: Conifer Boutique Hotel has excellent customer service, location and balconies for smokers.
Halong Bay, Vietnam Pelican Cruise has the best in room service and room quality. I had a sea view private deck and it was amazing, relatively expensive but worth the money.
Phu Quoc, Vietnam: Novotel Puu Quoc Resort has the most amazing facilities with a Halal buffet menu, infinity pools and everything else you can ask for.
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam: Liberty Saigon Riverside Hotel boasts an excellent location, and contemporary room decor.
Siem Reap, Cambodia: Les Bambous Luxury Hotel has the best customer service ever along with super sized boutique suites. They give you a phone and an iPad with direct line to the front desk 24/7.
Phuket, Thailand: The Kee Resort & Spa has an excellent location right on Bangla Street with excellent suites, one of the best spa services and a lavish breakfast spread.
How to Get Around?
In Vietnam, scooter is the preferred mode of commute. So I went for a scooter tour to explore most of the cities. Alternatively, tuk-tuks are common in all three of the Southeast Asian countries with variations in the size and shape of the vehicle. Transport in Cambodia is REALLY cheap. People can understand English in all three countries so hailing a tuk-tuk works most of the time.
What did you get up to during the day?
I took 3-4 day tours in different cities. For the rest of the days, my time was spent discovering the local markets, land marks and filming for my travelogue.
Where to stay?
I plan a maximum of three days in a city so my preference is living downtown so most of the attractions and food options are at walking distance. Booking.com is a great website to find good deals for almost any city.Â I look for 8.5 or above rating with a 1 km radius set from city centre.
What to eat?
Iâ€™m not a big foodie, but thereâ€™re a lot of seafood options available in these countries. Donâ€™t miss the morning breakfasts at your hotel. Iâ€™m still missing the assortment of exotic fruit ?
What to See?
Vietnam: Sapa Trekking up in the North, Hoi An Chams Ruins, Phu Quoc Island for some beach time and Ho Chi Minh City to experience the people of Vietnam.
Cambodia: Angkor Wat Ruins, Ta Prohm Temple, Bayon Temple, the Floating Villages on Tonle Sap Lake and quad biking in the countryside.
Thailand: I skipped the typical cities, Bangkok and Pattaya, and went only for Phuket. Donâ€™t miss the Patong Beach and Bangla Street life along with some great sunset points at Promthep Cape.
Essentials that I cannot live without when travelling
My Backpack with:
Passport & Wallet
Samsung S7 Phone
Go Pro Hero 5
Gimble and Gear
My Macbook Air
Spare Power Banks
You can follow Jahanzaibâ€™s adventures on Insta : @JbsLog and Snapchat : JBxLog.