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Itinerary overview - March 2010

  • stuartaus

    Joined Travelfish
    24th September, 2009
    Posts: 3

    Hi All,

    First time post, just became a member and have been reading all your posts.

    My wife and I are going to Vietnam in March 2010,our first time, for 19days. We are backpacking it from North to South. I have put together an itinerary below.

    Could all of you Vietnam experienced travelers please have a look and make suggestions if I have missed something or something wont fit due to travel times ect.
    Yes it is the Bannana trail but we have added free days here and their to go off and explore.

    Also we will only pre book Hanoi hotel, to get us started and then wing it from then on.

    Day 1 : Arrival Hanoi Morning – Rest of day free
    Night 1 : Hanoi guest house
    Day 2 : Hanoi relaxing and shopping – free day
    Night 2 : Catch night train to Lao Cai
    Day 3 : Lao Cai - Sapa - Cat Cat - Sin Chai
    Night 3 : Sapa – Mountain view hotel
    Day 4 : Sin Chai - Lao Chai - Ta Van -
    Night 4 : Catch night train back Hanoi
    Day 5 : Hanoi Arrival - Halong Bay (overnight on boat)
    Night 5 : Halong bay
    Day 6 : Halong - Hanoi
    Night 6 : Hanoi Guest House
    Day 7 : Hanoi - Hoa Lu - Tam Coc – Hanoi
    Night 7 : Hanoi Guest House
    Day 8 : Hanoi – Free Day
    Night 8 : Hanoi – Hue - Train 12hrs
    Day 9 : Hue : City Tour / Boat Trip / Shopping
    Night 9 : Hue
    Day 10 : Hue – Bus to Hoi An
    Night 10 : Hoi An
    Day 11 : Hoi An - Beach and shopping in Hoi An Old Quarter
    Night 11 : Hoi An
    Day 12 : Hoi An - Danang
    Night 12 :Danang – Nhatrang : Train
    Day 13 : Nhatrang Tour
    Night 13 : Nhatrang
    Day 14 : Nhatrang – Bus / Car to Dalat
    Night 14 : Dalat
    Day 15 : Dalat - Nhatrang
    Night 15 : Nhatrang – Saigon - Train 12hrs
    Day 16 : Saigon – Free Day
    Night 16 : Saigon
    Day 17 : Saigon - Tay Ninh - Cu Chi – Saigon
    Night 17 : Saigon
    Day 18 : Saigon - Mekong Delta – Saigon
    Night 18 : Saigon
    Day 19 : Saigon Departure to KL

    Appreciate your time and advise. Stuart

    #1 Posted: 24/9/2009 - 12:30

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  • KazAussie

    Joined Travelfish
    18th July, 2009
    Posts: 221


    I think your trip looks great and you have left yourself a fair bit of time at the end in Saigon so if you want to spend a day or so longer somewhere else you have the option.

    I would think when you can to take the train instead of the bus (I have just read some horror stories about the bus.

    We are also in the throws of planning a trip and we are going to rent motor bikes from Hue to Hoi An , but there is also a train to Danang which isn't far from Hoi An (that is you can get a taxi from the Danang to Hoi An without breaking the budget).

    Not sure what the travel time is from Nha Trang to Dalat, but you could do an easy rider tour or similar.

    Just a couple of thoughts anyway that I hope you find useful.

    We will be doing a trip in December/January, so I will post back and let you know how we got on. Not the same trip as yours but some similar short stints.

    #2 Posted: 24/9/2009 - 14:52

  • somtam2000

    Click here to learn more about somtam2000
    Joined Travelfish
    21st January, 2004
    Location Indonesia
    Posts: 7371
    Total reviews: 24
    Places visited:
    At least 113

    Hi Stuart,

    My only comments would be to:

    a) consider dropping one place -- either Hue or Dalat, to give you a bit more time to spread around the other spots.

    b) Look at doing the leg from Hue to Hoi An by train (means you get off the train at Da Nang and get a taxi/bus/moto from there) -- it is easily one of the most beautiful train trips in the region.

    Otherwise, looks good, and agree with KazAussie that the buffer time at the end in Saigon is a good idea.

    Have fun!

    #3 Posted: 24/9/2009 - 16:00

  • stuartaus

    Joined Travelfish
    24th September, 2009
    Posts: 3

    Thanks guys for your input, will take it all on board.

    #4 Posted: 25/9/2009 - 16:15

  • chrispyrolls

    Click here to learn more about chrispyrolls
    Joined Travelfish
    2nd November, 2006
    Location United Kingdom
    Posts: 198
    Total reviews: 4

    Hi Stuart,

    What time does the train from Sapa get into Hanoi ? The trips to Halong tend to leave Hanoi at around 7 / 8 am I think so you may want to make sure you have arrive in time to catch the tour.

    Taxi from Hue to Hoi An was around the $40 mark booked through the hotel - for Hue (budget depending) I would recommend the Orchid Hotel (http://www.orchidhotel.com.vn/) - great place

    Have a great trip

    #5 Posted: 26/9/2009 - 05:29

  • daawgon

    Joined Travelfish
    17th April, 2007
    Posts: 1065
    Total reviews: 2

    I'm familiar with 2 of your hotels. Hanoi Guest House has a bad habit of not holding reservations - they did not keep mine. My friend swears by the Phoenix Hotel and I like the Especen on Tho Xuong. Mountain View in Sapa is rather a dump IMHO - better to try the Anh Dao or Cat Cat Hotel. If I were you, I'd fly between Dalat and Saigon to save time. I would also say you need more time in Hanoi, and I feel you're wasting too much time in transit.

    #6 Posted: 26/9/2009 - 11:51

  • Armando696

    Joined Travelfish
    15th April, 2009
    Location Switzerland
    Posts: 18
    Total reviews: 7
    Places visited:
    At least 123

    Hi Stuart
    Your way of travelling is just like changing places. After your trip you can say that you have been to Vietnam, but you have seen nothing. I would to that in 2-3 months, not in 19 days.

    #7 Posted: 1/1/2010 - 04:54

  • chriswotton

    Joined Travelfish
    7th September, 2008
    Location United Kingdom
    Posts: 91
    Total reviews: 9
    Places visited:
    At least 50

    My only suggestion would be to spend longer in Hanoi if you can - I reckon you could easily while away a couple more days there. As others have said, though, the extra day or so you have allowed yourself in HCMC at the end of your trip might mean you can do that. Enjoy.

    #8 Posted: 1/1/2010 - 19:08

  • violets

    Joined Travelfish
    6th July, 2009
    Posts: 151
    Total reviews: 28

    I think you'll find the timeframe is too tight and you won't be able to relax. At least if you haven't booked everything you can change your plans and slow down. Your itinerary looks like the organised tours, but someone has organised everything for you; I think you will spend a lot of time booking the next part of your trip and not enjoying what you are doing.

    Hanoi is a terrific city and needs time. I think you'll find Hue and Hoi An more enjoyable if you give them another night. Sapa looks very tight and, although it's probably possible to go straight on to Halong (train gets into Hanoi about 5am ) I think you will feel stressed out and not have time to savour each trip.

    I would cut 2 or 3 places and see more of what you leave in.

    #9 Posted: 2/1/2010 - 19:14

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