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Critique my Trip Itinerary ?

  • powahgen

    Joined Travelfish
    17th August, 2011
    Posts: 2

    p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica}p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica; min-height: 14.0px}p.p3 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; line-height: 22.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica; color: #363636; min-height: 14.0px}p.p4 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; line-height: 22.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica; color: #363636}p.p5 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; line-height: 22.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica; min-height: 14.0px}p.p6 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica; color: #363636}span.s1 {text-decoration: underline ; color: #227994}span.s2 {color: #000000}My first time to Asia. Taking a trip through Vietnam and Laos after working on a project in West Java for two months.

    >Nov. 29th - SAIGON - 3 days

    >Dec. 2nd - Travel via bus to DA LAT

    >Dec. 3rd - DA LAT - 2 days

    >Dec. 5th - Take bus to Nha Trang

    >Dec. 6th - NHA TRANG - 2 days

    >Dec. 7th - Take 11:54PM SE6 overnight train to Hue arrive at 1:26pm next day.

    >Dec 8th - HUE - 2 days

    >Dec. 9th - Take train SE8 @ 2:12AM or SE20 @ 7:49PM (overnight) to Ninh Binh, arrive at 1:10PM or 8:57AM next day.

    >Dec 10th - NINH BINH - 3 days

    >Dec. 13th - Take train, bus or taxi to Hanoi

    >Dec. 13th (tuesday) - HANOI - take bus to Vientiane at 7:00PM (bus from Hanoi to Vientiane only runs on tuesday, thursday and saturdays)

    >Dec. 14th - Arrive in Vientiane at 7:00PM

    >Dec. 15th - Take an 11 hour bus to Luang Prabang (Vientiane - Luang Prabang by air-con bus, 10 hours, 2 morning departures, about 120,000-130,000 (around $16 USD) Kip one-way.)

    >Dec. 16th - 19th LUANG PRABANG

    >Dec 20st - Fly to Hanoi, take night train to Lao Cai (depart 10:00PM - arrive 7:20AM next day)

    >Dec 21st - take van, jeep, or motorbike taxi to Lao Cai

    >Dec 23rd - take overnight LC2 train (Departs 9:20PM from Lao Cai to Hanoi, arrives 6:55 AM)

    >Dec 25th - Depart Hanoi and return to USA.

    I could spend one less day in Luang Prabang if you guys think the end of the trip (to sapa) is cutting it close. Any tips/advice are welcome! I've been exploring these forums for a long time.

    #1 Posted: 17/8/2011 - 13:33

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  • travellings-

    TF writer
    Joined Travelfish
    23rd March, 2010
    Location Vietnam
    Posts: 679
    Total reviews: 11
    Places visited:
    At least 87

    Posted from within Vietnam.

    My three immediate reactions are:

    * Why 3 days in Ninh Binh? The town itself isn't anything special and a trip to Tam Coc only takes half a day.
    * I would seriously consider flying from Hanoi to LP or missing it altogether (not that I don't think LP is amazing but that's a helluva lot of travelling and expense with visas etc). At the moment you've got a 24 hour bus trip followed by an 11 hour bus trip the next day, all to spend 4 days in LP. Or go by bus direct from Hanoi to LP - I'm pretty sure that's possible.
    * You're going to be tired on Christmas Day!!

    #2 Posted: 17/8/2011 - 14:21

  • eastwest

    Joined Travelfish
    17th December, 2009
    Posts: 778

    Completely agree with sarah.

    Two bus days from Hanoi to Luang Prabang is really madness. Fly. Spend a little more but fly and actually enjoy your trip.

    #3 Posted: 17/8/2011 - 17:15


    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6956
    Total reviews: 10

    Frankly, I think it's over planned. A rough itinerary is a good idea, but what if you get to Saigon and love it and want to stay a few more days? What if you get to Hanoi and you hate it and want to move on? I would not plan day by day. You don't make something, so be it. No big deal. Take it slow, and don't worry about a timeline.

    #4 Posted: 17/8/2011 - 18:37

  • powahgen

    Joined Travelfish
    17th August, 2011
    Posts: 2

    Thanks for the replies! Yes, this is just a rough itinerary but I was looking to test the waters with seasoned travelers and get a feel for the loose plan. Also looking for tips about routes, or if there are any stops you think we should skip/not miss out on given our limited timeframe.

    On 3 days in Ninh Binh - a friend of mine went here and said it was his favorite place in Vietnam. Also, since we'll be in Jakarta for two months before this, we're looking to visit smaller towns on the Vietnam/Laos trip. Could shorten that to two days.

    Also if we were to fly to LP, two flights in and out would most likely run us over $400 compared to $70 via bus. Am I correct here or am I missing something? Nonetheless, it still may be worth the roundtrip flight.

    Flights are cheap on Christmas day!! I'll see the family when I get home... ha!

    Thanks again.

    #5 Posted: 18/8/2011 - 00:04


    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6956
    Total reviews: 10

    It is much cheaper to take the bus from Hanoi to Luang Prabang - but it's a very long, very uncomfortable trip. You're in country a touch over three weeks, so if it were me, I would do one country only, Vietnam. But IF you really want to see Laung Prabang, pay the money and fly.

    #6 Posted: 18/8/2011 - 00:54

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