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Hanoi to HCMC in 3 weeks

  • holty88

    Joined Travelfish
    3rd June, 2014
    Posts: 3

    Hi,

    I'm planning on driving from Hanoi to HCMC early July and would like some suggestions on places that are a 'must see'. I'm partial to a crazy night but the main purpose of my trip is to soak up some of the scenery.

    I don't have a route planned as yet so if anyone has already done this trip and could recommend places to see and miss that would be great. I've already been told Hoi An, Hue, and Dalat are great places to visit but want to sound out some more. Also would it be best to buy or rent given my short amount of time?
    I only have 3 weeks so time is going to be a bit restricted.

    If anyone else is going to be in Hanoi around the 2nd July and planning on driving south give me a shout.

    Thanks in advance,

    Will

    #1 Posted: 3/6/2014 - 23:42

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  • comtam3000

    Joined Travelfish
    4th June, 2014
    Posts: 48

    I just arrived HCMC by bike from Hanoi a few days ago. Passed over Dalat because I heard it was similar to Sapa, but I really enjoyed Hoi An. Hue will certainly provide you with a crazy night if that's what you're after. I really enjoyed Hanoi as well, much moreso than I do HCMC. Make sure to stop at Phong Nha on the way down (near Dong Hoi) to visit some of the beautiful caves there (don't miss the mud cave and the paradise cave!). Have a good time an stay upright!

    #2 Posted: 4/6/2014 - 01:13

  • holty88

    Joined Travelfish
    3rd June, 2014
    Posts: 3

    Thank you both for the replies.

    comtam3000 how long did it take you to get from Hanoi to HCMC, did you bike the full length of the journey? Also what advice could you give me when it comes to picking a bike, is it easy enough to do?

    Cheers,

    Will

    #3 Posted: 4/6/2014 - 21:02

  • comtam3000

    Joined Travelfish
    4th June, 2014
    Posts: 48

    I actually took the train from Hanoi to Dong Hoi with my bike so that I had two extra days to mess around. Additionally, I had heard that the scenery in between the two wasn't anything too special. All in all, it took me about 2 weeks to get from Hanoi to Saigon. I'd suggest slowin it down though, or even only biking a region (northern would be awesome). It's a pain in the ass biking 200-300 km a day after a while. Buying a bike in Vietnam is really straightforward, especially in Saigon or Hanoi. There will be tons of ads at the hostels where other travelers are selling their bikes. Make sure you get the owners card with the sale. Take the bike for a test ride, listen for any unwanted sounds (pings, clanks), test out the electronics on the bike, I'm sure there's a proper checklist somewhere on the web. Also, there are plenty of expats around the city, you could make friends with one and offer to pay em $5 to look over the bike and get their opinion if you don't know much about bikes. Chances are they'd do it for free. There are also some bike shops where the mechanics speak good English. Phuong bike shop was one in Hanoi near the cathedral, owner was very friendly and seemed rather honest, I don't doubt that you could take the bike to him, have him take a look over it and have him give you his .02. Tons of bikes in both HCMC and Hanoi for sale...don't get too excited about your first one and spend more than is reasonable. Any more questions feel free to ask brotha!

    #4 Posted: 4/6/2014 - 21:22

  • holty88

    Joined Travelfish
    3rd June, 2014
    Posts: 3

    comtam3000 you're a star, cheers man!

    Have you got the route you did by any chance? Also any places (routes) that aren't worth doing? Was it easy enough to book the train etc?

    #5 Posted: 4/6/2014 - 21:47

  • comtam3000

    Joined Travelfish
    4th June, 2014
    Posts: 48

    You're probably enroute on your trip now. I don't have the exact route, sorry. I entered Vietnam at Dien Bien Phu and went to Sapa from there, then down to Hanoi. The north was easily my favorite stretch of the trip. Make sure to check out Phong Nha cave complex, pretty wicked. Hoi An was wonderful imo. Thought Nha Trang was missable, but it's up to you. Personally I thought the coastal scenery down south was very pretty but the cities didn't do much for me, I enjoyed the north much more. Safe travels, keep us updated on how your trip went!

    #6 Posted: 12/7/2014 - 19:57

  • noddytravel

    Joined Travelfish
    18th February, 2014
    Location Australia
    Posts: 13
    Total reviews: 5
    Places visited:
    At least 85

    yep, might be too late, but I highly recommend going down the hcm highway west, down the laos side away from the coast. you can always cut in from prao or alui to the coast and see hue etc. but phong nha down the west hway is an amazing ride

    #7 Posted: 13/7/2014 - 07:58

  • comtam3000

    Joined Travelfish
    4th June, 2014
    Posts: 48

    Definitely second @noddytravel ^

    When you stay in Phong Nha , stay at Easy Tiger...the guys there are the ones that should be able to tell you about that route that noddytravel is talking about. There's a particular stretch just southwest of Phong Nha that's some ~150 of completely isolated beautiful highway with little to no traffic. Only downside is that there isn't a petrol station or a mechanic for just about that entire stretch, so it's a bit risky. Good luck!

    #8 Posted: 13/7/2014 - 08:12

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