Photo: Street food Phetchaburi Soi 10, Bangkok.

Southeast Asia forum

Laos/Vietnam advice wanted! x

Posted by iciclesecret on 24/11/2008 at 03:57

We're flying into HCMC on 27th December and have three weeks off work but nothing planned so far. I'm concerned that at this time of year that flights will get booked up in advance, and I'm not keen to spend time in travel agents or internet cafes trying to find last minute alternatives, as has happened to us at this time of year in Thailand.

1) Should we book flights in advance?
2) Should we book Halong Bay cruise in advance? Can anyone recommend a small reputable cruiser?
3) Should we book accomodation in Vang Vieng in advance? How much does a driver/car cost from Vientiane cost as we may miss the bus connection?
4) Any feedback on the below itinerary would be much appreciated. We're not keen on big cities so were going to give Hanoi/Vientiane a miss - and I know Vang Vieng is touristy but it's my partners birthday on New Year so we're keen to have people to celebrate with. Is Hoi An recommended? We were keen to do 4000 islands or Siem Reap instead, but it doesn't fit into the itinerary as well.
5) Would you recommend bus/train for any of the below flights for the scenery or experience?
6) Can anyone recommend a 2 day 1 night trek I could fit into the itinerary?
7) Is Nha Trang a bit rough? I've heard stores about prostitutes attacking! Is Mui Ne better?

27th Dec - land HCMC
28th Dec - HCMC
29th Dec - HCMC to Vientiane FLIGHT BUS/CAR onwards to Vang Vieng
30th Dec - Vang Vieng
31st Dec - Vang Vieng
1st Dec - Vang Vieng
2nd Dec - Vang Vieng - Luang Prabang BUS
3rd Dec - Luang Prabang
4th Dec - Luang Prabang
5th Dec - Luang Prabang
6th Dec - Luang Prabang - Hanoi FLIGHT
7th Dec - Halong Bay
8th Dec - Halong Bay
9th Dec - Hanoi - Danang for Hoi An FLIGHT
10th Dec - Hoi An
11th Dec - Hoi An
12th Dec - Danang - Nha Trang FLIGHT
13th Dec - Nha Trang/Mui Ne
14th Dec - Nha Trang/Mui Ne
15th Dec - Nha Trang/Mui Ne
16th Dec - Nha Trang/Mui Ne
17th Dec - Fly from HCMC at 8pm

#1 iciclesecret has been a member since 17/7/2008. Posts: 16

Posted by somtam2000 on 24/11/2008 at 20:17 admin

While you say you're not a big city person. I'd say you gotta give Hanoi a go! Shave a day off your Nha Trang slot and try it out -- it's a terrific town.

Onto your questions:
1) The problematic one could be Luang Prabang to Hanoi -- I'd try to sort that as soon as you arrive in Vn.
2) No. Book it in Hanoi . Search the forum here for Ha Long Bay tours and see the Feature stories section for a series of stories regarding looking for the right tour.
3) No. Unless you're set on a very specific place to stay, I'd just wing it
4) Hoi An is a bit disneylandesque, but worth a stop - especially for first time visitors to Vn. Check out our new Hoi An guide! (shameless plug)
5)The prettiest part of Vns railway is Da Nang to Hue -- which you're not doing. No other legs spring to mind, though I've heard the LP to Hanoi flight is very pretty.
6) Not quite what you asked for, but look into some of the elephant/mahout experience courses run out of Luang Prabang ... could be interesting -- I think we've got a story about that in the pipeline.
7) Depends on your interests -- yes NT can be a bit rough around the edges, but some find Mui Ne rather boring. Overall the beaches around NT are better -- note around NT.

Hope that helps!

#2 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,939
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Posted by markfromnaplesfl on 25/11/2008 at 02:43

hi i will be arriveing in hanoi on feb 9 and any
nice guest house i am traveling alone ....shood i bring my computer ???hope i can get some advice ...thank you mark

#3 markfromnaplesfl has been a member since 25/11/2008. Posts: 2

Posted by wigboy on 28/11/2008 at 17:52

I don't understand the logic for your stops. You are flying into South Vietnam, and then going to Northern Laos right away.

You"re giving yourself 4 days in VV and 4 days in LP, but you don't want to see Vientianne...the Capital? There is far more to see there than VV.

If I were you, I would take your itinerary and flip it. Do it in the reverse order. Then you go south to north in Vietnam, then cross into Laos and go north to south, and finally fly into HCMC from Vientianne. Just my opinion...

Also, I believe you will need 2x Vietnamese Visas the way you currently have it laid out.

#4 wigboy has been a member since 12/12/2006. Posts: 14

Posted by wigboy on 28/11/2008 at 17:57

BTW... Vientianne is a Capital city, but FAR from a big city.

#5 wigboy has been a member since 12/12/2006. Posts: 14

Posted by markfromnaplesfl on 1/1/2009 at 21:13

hi all i am traveing from Naples Fl and will be in H M C on feb 9 ..I am traveling alone if anyone want to meet and travel please let me know ..FYI 44 normal have done a lot of travel open to doing most things and i will be in south East asia until april 7 .....hope to meet other travlers ...Mark

#6 markfromnaplesfl has been a member since 25/11/2008. Posts: 2

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