Myself and my friend will be travelling around Vietnam in December for 5 weeks. I have already booked an internal flight from HCMC to Hanoi where we will be for a week before heading onto Hue. I was wondering the best way to get from Hanoi to Hue. Our plan is then to take in Lang Co, Danang before heading south towards Nha Trang. Any advice on getting form place to place would be great.
Most people either fly or take the (overnight)train between the two. There are not many sights between the two and it's a fair distance.
You should book both in advance. Either from home or make it the first thing you do when you arrive in Hanoi if you stay there for a week. Especially in December. I don't think you can book train tickets through internet directly but someone might have an answer for you on that.
Getting around in small areas is easy and cheap and you have several options.
For the longer distances a lot of people on low budget take the open bus tour where you can hop-on & hop-off in all the main places. It is very touristy though and you'll miss a lot of small places/experiences being on a "foreigner only"-bus. I like some longer distances by train and recommend for people with bigger budgets to rent a taxi with driver. At least for some parts. It's not extremely expensive and you have the freedom to stop where you want if you see a beautiful bay, village or landscape. Especially between Hoi An and Nha Trang (which is a huge distance) the coastline and route is beautiful and varied.
And apparently riding a motorbike is getting popular but I've never done that but I guess that depends heavily on how comfortable you are with riding on a bike (in a developing country).
The difference in price between the train and flight at the moment isn't too much but getting the train you save on transport to the airport and as it's overnight it saves on accommodation and potentially time. As far as I know you can't book the standard train in advance but there is now a private carriage doing the journey between Hanoi and Danang which you can sort out in advance - obviously it's more expensive though - www.livitrains.com. Otherwise as eastwest says, book as soon as you arrive in Hanoi - either directly at the station (write down where you want to go, the date / time and 'sleeper (Nằm)' - I find it makes things easier) or through an agent, when you'll pay $5+ commission per ticket. The other option is the Open Tour bus - it's cheaper than the train though in my opinion not as comfortable.
it's the best way if you can find a cheap fligh tickets (VN air is on promotion at the moment, so you should check them out). Check out both options to see which one is decent.
I did hanoi to danang by train, it was a great experience so I advise you to go by train! you'll be already doing one leg of your trip by plane, doing too much in the air won't allow you to see the landscape changing, you'll miss alot... the scenery is beautiful don't miss it!
#5 Indoluso has been a member since 22/12/2009. Posts: 133