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Vietnam forum

9D8N Vietnam, too many things, too little time & money?

Posted by DomesticG on 2/8/2010 at 13:00

Hi all, my first post on Travel fish! Been a silent reader for a long time... Am currently planning my year end trip to Vietnam and I would really need some help...

I am planning to depart from Singapore to Vietnam on Christmas day 25 Dec and return to Singapore on 2 Jan.

My plan are as follows;
25/12: HCMC
26/12 & 27/12: Hue
28/12: Hoi An
29/12 - 31/12: Nha Trang (Confirmed: Take up diving courses)
1/1: Mui Ne (Confirmed: For the sand dunes)
2/1: HCMC back to SIN

Also, I have a very tight budget of US$1400 for 2 to look into. My flight from SIN to HCMC should be around US$350. OW Course for my partner US$270, AOW Course for myself US$220. In total, we are left with US$560 for transport, food and accommodation in Vietnam for 9D8N.

Do you think it will be wise for me to spend my time & money travelling to Hue & Hoi An and to just stay there for 3 Days? I have always been interested in Hue and it's history, culture, the Perfume River and the DMZ.

I am looking at taking the night train for all the places to save on accommodation & time. It's ok that I will be missing out on the sights along the way.

Also, I will definitely be going to Nha Trang to take up my diving courses and will be visiting Mui Ne for the sand dunes. It's just that the rest of the trip are still in bits and pieces.

Any suggestions people?


#1 DomesticG has been a member since 3/6/2010. Posts: 15

Posted by DomesticG on 2/8/2010 at 15:11

I was looking through the travel guides, and I think I've decided to skip Hoi An. So I have 1 more day in Hue ... And I've changed the itinerary a little;

25/12: HCMC (Take a night train/bus to Mui Ne )
26/12: Mui Ne (Sand dunes) (Take a night train/bus to Hue)
27/12: Hue (Perfume river)
28/12: Hue (Imperial Capitals, Temples)
29/12: Hue (DMZ day trip) (Take a night train/bus to Nha Trang )
30/12: Nha Trang (Dive)
31/12: Nha Trang (Dive)
1/1: Nha Trang (Dive) (Take a night train/bus to HCMC)
2/1: HCMC (Museums)

Does this sound more feasible?

Can someone advise me on the transportation routes from HCMC to Mui Ne, Mui Ne to Hue, Hue to Nha Trang, Nha Trang to HCMC?


#2 DomesticG has been a member since 3/6/2010. Posts: 15

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Posted by daawgon on 2/8/2010 at 23:28

9 days and most of that time on the train??? Viet trains are nothing special and not much to see except between Danang and Hue!

this is crazy

#3 daawgon has been a member since 17/4/2007. Posts: 1,151
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Posted by violets on 3/8/2010 at 09:16

I know your budget is tight but I'd be flying to Hue (to save a very long train trip) then getting an overnight train to Nha trang then a bus (Sinh cafe bus goes early in the morning) to Mui Ne , from where it is easy to book a bus to HCMC (4 hours). Getting from Mui Ne to Hue is not easy requiring changes and a lot of time. I would not be getting night buses, not only will you probably not be able to sleep, but they are dangerous.

#4 violets has been a member since 6/7/2009. Posts: 153

Posted by travellingsarah on 3/8/2010 at 11:29 TF writer

Posted from within Vietnam.

I completely agree with violets - if you're determined to go to Hue then fly there and then head down by train and bus. It will probably be just as cheap and save you about 25 hours of travel. Are you able to change the dates of your diving course? If you move that forward a day or so you will be able to go to Mui Ne en route to HCMC which makes a lot more sense.

#5 travellingsarah has been a member since 23/3/2010. Location: Vietnam. Posts: 684
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Posted by eastwest on 3/8/2010 at 12:13

I completely agree with what the others have posted. Although I actually like most train rides in Vietnam since they show a bit more of the countryside while the roads seem to be built between houses nowadays.

Perhaps the budget issues made you plan it in such a way but things can be very cheap in Vietnam (if you're willing to rough it a little).
I'd spend the money on flight to Hue and some money on excursions in Hue to make the most out of it.
Take cheaper rooms and stick to streetfood and Bia Hoi (local street beer) to save a bit for Hue if that's the most important place for you. It might even add to your experience.

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Posted by DomesticG on 3/8/2010 at 12:25

Hi all, I have made queries to several dive schools and got a very good rates for the courses. So here is my revised budget;

Flight SIN to HCMC for both US$350
OW Course US$200
AOW Course US$190
Total budget left from US$1400 = US$660

BTW, have any of you dived with Angel Dive or Coco Dive in Nha Trang ? Any good/bad feedbacks about it?

I am considering to spend my New Year's in Nha Trang, thinking that since it's a beach diving place, there should be a lot of backpackers and beach countdown places? Correct me, if I'm wrong. Or will Mui Ne/ HCMC be a better place to do the countdown at? I am no big party animal, but I would like some new year's countdown feel too...

As for flying to Hue, I am looking into finding a pair of cheap air ticket there on Christmas day.

Otherwise, I am considering to just stay around the South of Vietnam. Where else would anyone suggest for some beautiful sightseeing? I am definitely going to Nha Trang & Mui Ne. So suggestions around that areas would be very helpful.

Thank you for all your kind and informative replies.

#7 DomesticG has been a member since 3/6/2010. Posts: 15

Posted by eastwest on 3/8/2010 at 15:53

ok. so let's say you need to pay for 2 tickets to Hue roughly $260 if you can find two on christmas day. that would leave you with $50 per day for the two of you. I think that's very well feasible and it's not even neccessary to really rough it. There are backpackers who scrape by on $10-15 per day per person so you should be fine. Getting those tickets might be a little harder though.

Nha Trang or HCMC are probably your best bet for new year's. Remember that's not new year for vietnamese so you should look for places with big concentrations of westerners.

From HCMC there are plenty of day trips (Mekong delta, Cao Dai temple, Cu Chi tunnels and so on). If you're more historically/culturally inclined the south is not that great (especially compared to Hue & Hoi An). You do have some beautiful pagodas though in HCMC and around.

#8 eastwest has been a member since 17/12/2009. Posts: 778
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Posted by violets on 4/8/2010 at 13:57

Tickets to Hue should be about $60 each if you buy them from Vietnam airlines (now in Nguyen Hue street in Saigon).

You might go instead to the Mekong which is easily reached from Saigon. Either do a tour or just get a bus to Can Tho or Vinh Long.

Or maybe just the 2 beaches and a few days in Saigon would be plenty to do in a week.

#9 violets has been a member since 6/7/2009. Posts: 153

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