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9D8N Vietnam, too many things, too little time & money?

  • DomesticG

    Joined Travelfish
    3rd June, 2010
    Posts: 15

    Hi all, my first post on Travel fish! Been a silent reader for a long time... Am currently planning my year end trip to Vietnam and I would really need some help...

    I am planning to depart from Singapore to Vietnam on Christmas day 25 Dec and return to Singapore on 2 Jan.

    My plan are as follows;
    25/12: HCMC
    26/12 & 27/12: Hue
    28/12: Hoi An
    29/12 - 31/12: Nha Trang (Confirmed: Take up diving courses)
    1/1: Mui Ne (Confirmed: For the sand dunes)
    2/1: HCMC back to SIN

    Also, I have a very tight budget of US$1400 for 2 to look into. My flight from SIN to HCMC should be around US$350. OW Course for my partner US$270, AOW Course for myself US$220. In total, we are left with US$560 for transport, food and accommodation in Vietnam for 9D8N.

    Do you think it will be wise for me to spend my time & money travelling to Hue & Hoi An and to just stay there for 3 Days? I have always been interested in Hue and it's history, culture, the Perfume River and the DMZ.

    I am looking at taking the night train for all the places to save on accommodation & time. It's ok that I will be missing out on the sights along the way.

    Also, I will definitely be going to Nha Trang to take up my diving courses and will be visiting Mui Ne for the sand dunes. It's just that the rest of the trip are still in bits and pieces.

    Any suggestions people?

    Cheers,
    Fiona

    #1 Posted: 2/8/2010 - 13:00

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  • DomesticG

    Joined Travelfish
    3rd June, 2010
    Posts: 15

    I was looking through the travel guides, and I think I've decided to skip Hoi An. So I have 1 more day in Hue ... And I've changed the itinerary a little;

    25/12: HCMC (Take a night train/bus to Mui Ne )
    26/12: Mui Ne (Sand dunes) (Take a night train/bus to Hue)
    27/12: Hue (Perfume river)
    28/12: Hue (Imperial Capitals, Temples)
    29/12: Hue (DMZ day trip) (Take a night train/bus to Nha Trang )
    30/12: Nha Trang (Dive)
    31/12: Nha Trang (Dive)
    1/1: Nha Trang (Dive) (Take a night train/bus to HCMC)
    2/1: HCMC (Museums)

    Does this sound more feasible?

    Can someone advise me on the transportation routes from HCMC to Mui Ne, Mui Ne to Hue, Hue to Nha Trang, Nha Trang to HCMC?

    TIA.

    #2 Posted: 2/8/2010 - 15:11

  • daawgon

    Joined Travelfish
    17th April, 2007
    Posts: 915
    Total reviews: 2

    9 days and most of that time on the train??? Viet trains are nothing special and not much to see except between Danang and Hue!

    this is crazy

    #3 Posted: 2/8/2010 - 23:28

  • violets

    Joined Travelfish
    6th July, 2009
    Posts: 150
    Total reviews: 28

    I know your budget is tight but I'd be flying to Hue (to save a very long train trip) then getting an overnight train to Nha trang then a bus (Sinh cafe bus goes early in the morning) to Mui Ne , from where it is easy to book a bus to HCMC (4 hours). Getting from Mui Ne to Hue is not easy requiring changes and a lot of time. I would not be getting night buses, not only will you probably not be able to sleep, but they are dangerous.

    #4 Posted: 3/8/2010 - 09:16

  • travellings-
    arah

    TF writer
    Joined Travelfish
    23rd March, 2010
    Location Vietnam
    Posts: 662
    Total reviews: 11
    Places visited:
    At least 87

    Posted from within Vietnam.

    I completely agree with violets - if you're determined to go to Hue then fly there and then head down by train and bus. It will probably be just as cheap and save you about 25 hours of travel. Are you able to change the dates of your diving course? If you move that forward a day or so you will be able to go to Mui Ne en route to HCMC which makes a lot more sense.

    #5 Posted: 3/8/2010 - 11:29

  • eastwest

    Joined Travelfish
    17th December, 2009
    Posts: 771

    I completely agree with what the others have posted. Although I actually like most train rides in Vietnam since they show a bit more of the countryside while the roads seem to be built between houses nowadays.

    Perhaps the budget issues made you plan it in such a way but things can be very cheap in Vietnam (if you're willing to rough it a little).
    I'd spend the money on flight to Hue and some money on excursions in Hue to make the most out of it.
    Take cheaper rooms and stick to streetfood and Bia Hoi (local street beer) to save a bit for Hue if that's the most important place for you. It might even add to your experience.

    #6 Posted: 3/8/2010 - 12:13

  • DomesticG

    Joined Travelfish
    3rd June, 2010
    Posts: 15

    Hi all, I have made queries to several dive schools and got a very good rates for the courses. So here is my revised budget;

    Flight SIN to HCMC for both US$350
    OW Course US$200
    AOW Course US$190
    Total budget left from US$1400 = US$660

    BTW, have any of you dived with Angel Dive or Coco Dive in Nha Trang ? Any good/bad feedbacks about it?

    I am considering to spend my New Year's in Nha Trang, thinking that since it's a beach diving place, there should be a lot of backpackers and beach countdown places? Correct me, if I'm wrong. Or will Mui Ne/ HCMC be a better place to do the countdown at? I am no big party animal, but I would like some new year's countdown feel too...

    As for flying to Hue, I am looking into finding a pair of cheap air ticket there on Christmas day.

    Otherwise, I am considering to just stay around the South of Vietnam. Where else would anyone suggest for some beautiful sightseeing? I am definitely going to Nha Trang & Mui Ne. So suggestions around that areas would be very helpful.

    Thank you for all your kind and informative replies.

    #7 Posted: 3/8/2010 - 12:25

  • eastwest

    Joined Travelfish
    17th December, 2009
    Posts: 771

    ok. so let's say you need to pay for 2 tickets to Hue roughly $260 if you can find two on christmas day. that would leave you with $50 per day for the two of you. I think that's very well feasible and it's not even neccessary to really rough it. There are backpackers who scrape by on $10-15 per day per person so you should be fine. Getting those tickets might be a little harder though.

    Nha Trang or HCMC are probably your best bet for new year's. Remember that's not new year for vietnamese so you should look for places with big concentrations of westerners.

    From HCMC there are plenty of day trips (Mekong delta, Cao Dai temple, Cu Chi tunnels and so on). If you're more historically/culturally inclined the south is not that great (especially compared to Hue & Hoi An). You do have some beautiful pagodas though in HCMC and around.

    #8 Posted: 3/8/2010 - 15:53

  • violets

    Joined Travelfish
    6th July, 2009
    Posts: 150
    Total reviews: 28

    Tickets to Hue should be about $60 each if you buy them from Vietnam airlines (now in Nguyen Hue street in Saigon).

    You might go instead to the Mekong which is easily reached from Saigon. Either do a tour or just get a bus to Can Tho or Vinh Long.

    Or maybe just the 2 beaches and a few days in Saigon would be plenty to do in a week.

    #9 Posted: 4/8/2010 - 13:57

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