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Advice for our Vietnam travel itinerary

  • slangrish

    Joined Travelfish
    26th November, 2012
    Posts: 2

    Hi everyone, myself and my girlfriend will be travelling to Vietnam from the 17th Dec - 5th or 6th January.
    We're crazy excited about it as it will be our first trip to Vietnam and having moved to Thailand back in August are keen to make it as memorable as possible over the Christmas period. Its also my birthday on the 27th! It will be the first Christmas & New Years away from home in the UK so have no idea what to expect in regards to these Western holidays.
    We've put together an itinerary using both this forum and other research over the past few weeks and are hoping for some feedback & advice about if its both manageable/places of interest/hotel recommendations from people that live there or have visited it themselves. We have a budget of about £1000 though as we both work in Thailand, saving money where possible would be great to!
    The idea is for the familiar route of travelling from the North down to the South:

    Fly into Hanoi from Thailand (probably Bangkok)
    Move steadily south visiting several places along the way
    Fly back to Thailand from Ho Chi Minh

    Living on Koh Samui we've seen plenty of beaches lately and are keen to experience the more cultural and historically significant aspects to Vietnam but with a few relaxing beach days thrown in. That being said, we are realistic in understanding that you're only really scratching the surface in our timeframe! We'll be packing for the colder north and hoping from some sun too once we hit the south. Once again, thanks for taking the time to read my post, sorry if its a bit long but as you can imagine, we want to make the most of our first big adventure outside Thailand!
    I'd really appreciate some advice on any overnight travelling options and tips for safety. Ive included our 'rough' dates places of interest. Each date however is open to change though we'd like to be in Hoi An for Christmas & DaLat for New Years flower festival (unless someone recommends differently!)

    Arrive Hanoi – 17th evening - 20th
    • Vietnamese women’s museum
    • Ho Chi Minh mausoleum and museum
    • One Pillar Pagoda
    • Water puppet show
    • Jazz club
    • Tran Quoc Pagoda
    • Hoa Lo prison
    • SF Salon and spa
    • Markets – Hang Da, Cho Ho, Dong Xuan, Old quarter night market
    • Hanoi Old town Hotel £12 a night (excellent reviews)

    20th-22nd Halong Bay
    • 2 day trip – book in Hanoi•
    • Junk boat tour & overnight

    22nd - 24th Hue (overnight train from Hanoi (Livitrans Express recommended))
    • Imperial Citadel
    • Tombs of the Emperor
    • Blind massage
    • Bike tour (top gear)
    • Than Tan hot springs
    • Ho Chi minh museum

    24th Da Nang (possibly just stay the day and head to Hoi An on the evening) or skip altogether if can't fit in) 40km Taxi $25
    • Cham museum
    • Marble mountains
    24th-26th Hoi An
    • Old town – coupon to see 5 attractions
    • Hoi An orphanage
    • Gioan riverside restaurant cooking lessons
    • Bicycle tour to Cam Kim
    • Christmas eve meal????
    • Hoi An Trails

    gap here as do not know where to spend my birthday on the 27th... stay in Hoi An longer or travel down to Nha Trang and then move everything up a few days on the itinerary for a new place or stay longer in one of them? advice needed!
    28th – 30th Nha Trang
    • Beach
    • Waterfalls
    • Bicycle tour
    • Surfing!

    30th – 1st DaLat (five hr bus from Nha Trang)
    • Monastery on top of mountain
    • Markets
    • Lake
    • Lang Biang mountain
    • Flower festival
    • New Years eve!

    1st – 3rd Phan Thiet (Mui Ne)
    • Best beach?
    • Hoang Kim Golden

    3rd -5th Ho Chi Minh City
    • Reunification Palace
    • War remnants museum
    • Thien Hau Pagoda
    • Twenty three September Park (sports/social)

    5th or 6th fly home to Thailand
    Thanks for reading sorry its so long, take care and your advice is massively appreciated!!

    #1 Posted: 26/11/2012 - 00:20

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  • chat

    Joined Travelfish
    28th November, 2012
    Posts: 2

    hi guys,
    I travelled vietnam north to south last year with my boyfriend and had the most amazing time got to say the best place weve been so far!!
    just guna reccomend a few things.
    Ha long bay we were given on here a number of different boats/tours to book ect we ended up booking with the hanoi backpackers hostel and was brilliant we done the 2night tour second night stayed on private island in basically a matress and a mosquitto net! but was amazing defo a must must for etertainment puroses too!!
    Another thing we went to DaNang and got the hell out of there after one night wasnt much going on there.
    As for Nah trang...brilliant, theres also an island called VINPERL world which is around $10 for all inclusive water/amusement/theme park and gorgeous beach!! defo do! snorkling here is also brillian too. all round for great entertainment, night life, food, tour etc,
    hoi an was beautiful for food small town near the beach lovely bike rides.
    Dalat was brilliant we done the easy rider bike tour which was good but to go for new year id be unsure of doing only as we were id say the only forgieners in dalat!!
    Mui Ne was brilliant do the sand dunes tour can do quad bikes/sand surfing etc here! cant really remeber beach here.
    Ho chi min..war museum is a must along with cu chi tunnels!!!
    Nah Trang also has massive beach festivals so look up there for new year see if any upcommig events.
    Vietnam is basically whatever you want to make of it we met so many people all travelling in same direction and had the most amazing time ever things will just fall into place when your there.
    have a fab time..well jealous!!!

    #2 Posted: 28/11/2012 - 19:43

  • LastWalkman

    Click here to learn more about LastWalkman
    Joined Travelfish
    20th November, 2012
    Location Vietnam
    Posts: 10

    Posted from within Vietnam.

    I don't know what is your travel style but i don't see any places of North west-east? These places in North are trully character, trully Vietnam.

    #3 Posted: 28/11/2012 - 22:01

  • antoniamitc-
    hell

    Click here to learn more about antoniamitchell
    Joined Travelfish
    13th May, 2012
    Location United Kingdom
    Posts: 216
    Total reviews: 3
    Places visited:
    At least 39

    Hi,
    Sounds like a lovely trip - here's my 2 pence worth.

    As you live on Koh Samui, I'd recommend you cut back a night in Nha Trang and spend an extra night in Hoi An. There's lots to do around there - you can visit My Son easily (would complement the Cham art you saw in Danang), go by bicycle around the surrounding country, etc.

    With respect to Danang, the museum is worth a visit but it wouldn't (IMHO) be a huge loss if you didn't stay overnight in the town, but pushed on to Hoi An.

    With respect to travel, I'm afraid a lot of it isn't amazing. I took a bus from HCMC to Dalat, and found the traffic so terrifying I decided to take internal flights for any longer trips from then on (Dalat to Danang, or Hue to Hanoi). Now, I am a bit of a wimp about things like that. But my recommendation is you do really research you bus company before you buy the ticket, avoid overnight buses, and take the train instead of the bus where possible for any long journey (in my experience the train was hardly luxurious - even in 1st class - but at least I felt safe).

    Have an amazing time!

    #4 Posted: 30/11/2012 - 14:01

  • mariajames

    Joined Travelfish
    29th September, 2012
    Posts: 58

    Vietnam is basically whatever you wish to accomplish of it we met so abounding humans all travelling in aforementioned administration and had the a lot of amazing time anytime things will just abatement into abode if your there.

    #5 Posted: 4/12/2012 - 09:56

  • hoangthuthuy

    Joined Travelfish
    7th December, 2012
    Posts: 3

    Posted from within Vietnam.

    Transfer from Da Nang to Hoi An, you should use the service of shuttle bus with only $6 per person, very cheap and convenient.

    #6 Posted: 7/12/2012 - 19:46

  • springpeach

    Joined Travelfish
    2nd December, 2012
    Posts: 3

    Posted from within Vietnam.

    is 6 usd for local shuttle bus for tourists bus? if so travel with group of 3 to 4 people should better take taxi, i think 6 usd for tourist backpacker bus from Hue to Hoian

    #7 Posted: 10/12/2012 - 00:16

  • slangrish

    Joined Travelfish
    26th November, 2012
    Posts: 2

    Thank you SO MUCH for all your responses regarding our itinerary! We've had two sets of guests staying with us for the last few weeks so haven't been able to dive in and reassess our plans properly. Now they've gone we are trying to make up the time with earnest!
    We are looking into Sapa & My Son after their recommendations on here and other forums and will only spend the one day at Halong Bay to make room for other places/extended time elsewhere. In regards to booking hotels, did everyone mostly book ahead of time or simply walk-in. I'm a big fan of researching hotels and the like but worry that perhaps now given the lack of time remaining it might not be possible to book everything. (Given the fact that we might like some places more than others also I don't really want to tie us down too much!) I'm pretty certain we'll not be visiting Da Nang now and instead possibly Sapa or Mai Chau.
    Quick question -
    How much/whats the best way of getting from Hanoi airport to Hanoi? Hoping an airport pick-up might be an option but if not, want it to be as stress-free as possible!
    Thanks again for your help.

    #8 Posted: 10/12/2012 - 23:45

  • enigmatic

    Joined Travelfish
    14th April, 2011
    Posts: 84
    Total reviews: 11

    Random thoughts:
    Don't OVERplan
    You'll want to stay overnight on a boat or Cat Ba as a bare minimum: it's too far and too spectacular to restrict it to a day trip.
    If you're doing a "Top Gear" bike tour from Hue, chances are you'll include the Marble Mountains in it, pass through Danang and end up in Hoi An for the evening anyway. Hoi An's a nice place for the birthday unless you want to end up in a swanky nightclub
    My Son is massively overrated though, although the motorbike ride to get there is nice.
    Booking ahead is probably essential for a Dalat NYE

    #9 Posted: 14/12/2012 - 05:13

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