I am presently in Ho Chi Minh City and trying to plan out the rest of my time in Vietnam. Is there a way to get to Vinh Moc from Hue or Dong Ha without an organized tour of the DMZ? Are local buses an option, and if so, where, when and how do I get them? Failing that, how much ought a driver cost me? I'm from the states, so never driven a motorbike before, so I'm not sure if I want to chance that.
I've been puzzled over the relative lack of solid information on alternate ways to explore Vietnam outside of packaged tours. Thanks for the help!
#1 Laki has been a member since 22/4/2010. Posts: 7
We organised motorbike guides via our hotel in Hue . The driver/guides took us on an all-day trip to the tunnels, and 8-9 other places of historic interested around the DMZ area. It was reasonably priced, definitely worth it - and not too scary on the back of a bike. (Had a sore bum by the end of it though!)
The tunnels are well worth seeing, too. When we went through, there was no one else there other than a Vietnamese family, including a grandmother who had been in the army in the war. She was a lovely lady, couldn't speak a word of English but was so thrilled that we were taking an interest in their culture. She was sharing her experiences with us as we walked through the tunnels (using our tunnel tour guide as an intrepreter). It was a very special moment for me.
You will find lots of opportunities in Hue to organise something - and I'm sure you could even find a taxi or car driver willing to drive you there if you didn't want to brave a motorbike.
I had to dig out my old notes -and it looks like to cost us US$30 each for the bike hire and driver, for the entire day. I recall we left at about 8am and returned about 4pm, with lots of stops along the way. It as another US$2 to get into the tunnels and museum.
I have to admit that in hindsite, it does sound a bit pricey, but it was worthwhile. That was organised through our hotel, and you could probably do a bit better with a bit of shopping around and some negotiating.
To help future 'packers looking into this, I arranged for a guide on motorbike to take me at $15 earlier today (entrance fee included), leaving around 8 (normally you would leave from between 9-11) and returning earlier than normal (at my request to make a bus connection) somewhere between 2-3. The cost for a tour bus should run you around $8-12 depending on your haggling and the market conditions (high/low season), leaving 6 and returning at 6. I think $5 is worth avoiding being tugged around with a bunch of others at an absurdly early time in the morning.
#5 Laki has been a member since 22/4/2010. Posts: 7
For those of you looking into this... I would definitely recommend it. It of course pissed down after days of beautiful weather, but throw on a disposable rain coat and a little rain never hurt anybody. My guide was named Bill, an ex-Marine aide with the South Vietnamese Army. Nice guy, very friendly, spoke perfect English (though of course obsecenity laden, as one would expect from someone who perfected their linguistic skills with U.S. Marines).
#7 Laki has been a member since 22/4/2010. Posts: 7
we managed to get a car and driver from hue to the tunnels for $20 (two of us)as we didn't want to do the whole DMZ tour, it was easy enough to organise, we just asked a few people and easily got a car and driver.
#9 roynolan has been a member since 29/1/2009. Posts: 48
Wish to resurrect this thread with a ? We will base ourselves in Dong hoi to bike up to PH and the caves and then continue south to Hue ..... But wish to stop off at the Vinh Moc tunnels en route, as its quite a trek back Hue. My?? Is there a tourbus or something else? I read that there is abus from Phong to Hue that does stop off but no info if it
goes via DH.
I know this isn't the direction that you asked about, but when I booked at the phong nha farmstay, they picked me (and others) up in hue, and we stopped at the tunnels, and at a DMZ museum along the way, as part of the trip to the farmstay. I know that they take people back to Hue, but I'm not sure if they stop off at the sites on the way back- I taxied to Dong hoi to catch the train after phong nha.
Correct it isn't the direction I will be doing, therefor isn't anyn help! However, I have just had a reply from Phong Nha farmstay saying they no longer do the bus tour from PN to Hue via the tunnels!