Photo: Street food Phetchaburi Soi 10, Bangkok.

Southeast Asia forum

3 weeks: Hanoi to Bankok

Posted by lelive18 on 29/7/2012 at 22:54

I'm traveling with 2 friends for 3 weeks. We're flying into HoChi Minh City, spending a quick weekend there, then flying up to Hanoi. Our international flight home (20 days later) is out of Bankok. (I've already been to Chiang Mai and Phuket)
Any itinerary, hostel, tour ideas? Prefer nature/adventure over temples/museums...

Here's what I have so far:


Thursday, August 2: Arrive in Ho Chi Minh City

Friday, August 3: CuChi Tunnels

Saturday, August 4

Fly to Hanoi
Minibus (2$) or Taxi (10$) to Old Quarter
Stay at ?

Sunday, August 5: Book Trains and Sapa Trip

See Hanoi
Water Puppet Theater
Ho Chi Minh complex
One Pillar Pagoda, Tran Quoc Pagoda
Museums? (Temple of Literature and Museum of Ethnology)
Don Xuan Market

Night train to Sapa Trek

Monday, August 6

Tuesday, August 7

Wednesday, August 8
Halong Bay
Cat Ba Island
Ba Be National Park (Homestays)

Thursday, August 9
Night train (or fly) to Hue
Nguyen Emperors’ tombs
Thien Mu Pagoda
Hoi An
(Skip Nah Trang: Sand Dunes and Dalat: falls)
OR
Go to Dong Hoi and Phong Nha Cave

Friday, August 10: Fly from Danang to HMC (or directly to Phnom Peh?) or Fly from Dalat to HMC

Saturday, August 11


Sunday, August 12: (If in HMC) Mekong Delta

Monday, August 13: Boat (?) to Phnom Peh

Tuesday, August 14: Phnom Peh to Siem Reap

Wednesday, August 15: Cambodia to Bankok (or fly directly up north)

Thursday, August 16: Fly to Chiang Mai/Chiang Rai

Friday, August 17

Saturday, August 18

Sunday, August 19

Monday, August 20

Tuesday, August 21

Wednesday, August 22
Flight Home

#1 lelive18 has been a member since 29/7/2012. Posts: 4

Posted by chinarocks on 30/7/2012 at 04:32

Even by the standards of some itineraries on here, this is madness. Sorry but it is and if you try and do this you will need another holiday (or more) afterwards. I count at least 10 places and 3 countries in 3 weeks.

I would generally try and refine an itinerary but I wouldn't even know where to start with this one. How about sticking predominatly to Vietnam or Thailand - at least in 3 weeks you can see a good bit of whichever country you choose.

The standard counter response is that you only have so much time and want to squeeze in as much as possible - IMO that's crazy logic. Even if you won't get back for a while, that's no reason to speed round the place like this.

#2 chinarocks has been a member since 17/6/2011. Posts: 740


Posted by DLuek on 30/7/2012 at 04:53 TF writer

Agree with chinarocks - madness.

Why go to Cambodia at all if you're only there for 2 days? It will take that long to travel across the country - you wouldn't see anything except what's outside the bus window. So first skip Cambodia and fly from HCMC to BKK.....

Thurs. Aug. 9 - you're going to do all of Hue and Hoi An in a single day, and then get back to Da Nang the next morning for a flight? That's craziness. I don't understand why you even put Da Lat in there... It would be impossible to get there in that time frame.

Sorry, don't mean to sound harsh, but if I were you I'd single out the 3-5 destinations that you want to see the most, and go for those only. This is a huge region and it's not quick getting around, even when flying.

#3 DLuek has been a member since 19/6/2008. Location: Thailand. Posts: 1,148
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Posted by lelive18 on 30/7/2012 at 08:49

Thanks for responding. The info there so far is just the options that are available. I posted this so people can tell me which spots are worth visiting (and why) and which ones to leave out completely, which spots can be visited quickly, and which ones need more time, best ways to travel between each one, etc.

#4 lelive18 has been a member since 29/7/2012. Posts: 4

Posted by chinarocks on 30/7/2012 at 10:33

Would Laos appeal to you?

If you like "nature / adventure", then perhaps it is a country to consider. It is not one to be rushed though.

#5 chinarocks has been a member since 17/6/2011. Posts: 740

Posted by daawgon on 30/7/2012 at 10:44

Chinarocks is correct - MADNESS!

Since you're flying into Saigon, I would say to skip Vietnam for this trip and travel through Cambodia and Laos enroute to Bangkok.

#6 daawgon has been a member since 17/4/2007. Posts: 1,091

Posted by daawgon on 30/7/2012 at 10:47

I meant to say - skip most of Vietnam (just the Delta + Saigon)

#7 daawgon has been a member since 17/4/2007. Posts: 1,091

Posted by lelive18 on 30/7/2012 at 22:03

Thanks for your replies. I already have the tickets, so it's too late to change that...

#8 lelive18 has been a member since 29/7/2012. Posts: 4

Posted by MADMAC on 30/7/2012 at 22:24

Yeah, let's add Laos - he only had three countries, let's add another. Are you guys nuts? And Laos? Why add Laos of all places?

#9 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by lelive18 on 30/7/2012 at 22:26

Still waiting for the absolute best Vietnam has to offer. And more unique Thailand stuff, because that'll be my second time there.

#10 lelive18 has been a member since 29/7/2012. Posts: 4

Posted by chinarocks on 31/7/2012 at 03:11

"Yeah, let's add Laos - he only had three countries, let's add another. Are you guys nuts? And Laos? Why add Laos of all places?"

I was suggesting Laos instead of the other spots, not in addition to.

Why - well becasue I think it ticks the nature / adventure box pretty well.

OP - are you flying from HCMC to Hanoi and then working your way back down to HCMC? If so, can I ask why? If this is the case, then please just do Vietnam in your timeframe and nothing more. This region is huge, and travel is slow and unreliable. Then, try and catch a flight from somewhere within Vietnam (probably HCMC) to Bangkok for your flight home.

#11 chinarocks has been a member since 17/6/2011. Posts: 740

Posted by MADMAC on 1/8/2012 at 01:06

Since you are flying into Saigon and flying out of Bangkok, I would recommend you focus on Saigon and it's environs, then fly to Bangkok and work it's environs. Three weeks is no time at all. Spending it sitting on a bus tooling across the Cambodian countryside would suck.

#12 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by chinarocks on 1/8/2012 at 03:57

Potentially a good suggestion MM - I would just wonder though is there enough in Saigon and surrounds + plus Bangkok and surrounds to keep the OP occupied for 3 full weks? It sure sounds better than the original plan nonetheless.

In 3 weeks I still think a highlights tour of Vietnam (allowing for some downtime also, in the cafes of Hanoi and Hoi An etc) would be best.

#13 chinarocks has been a member since 17/6/2011. Posts: 740

Posted by DLuek on 1/8/2012 at 08:35 TF writer

I'd go ten days in each country. Saigon, Mekong delta, Hanoi , Ha Long Bay or Sapa, then fly to Bangkok or Chiang Mai from Hanoi and split the time between Bangkok/Ayutthaya and Chiang Mai/Chiang Rai. Ten days is limiting, but it's enough to get a feel for a country.

#14 DLuek has been a member since 19/6/2008. Location: Thailand. Posts: 1,148
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