Photo: Canals of Ca Mau, Mekong Delta.

Vietnam forum

Vietnam itinerary confusion

Posted by dganitbz on 24/10/2010 at 05:11

My husband and I like nature and atmosphere…. (Like in Hoi An)
We plan to be in Vietnam on March, 2011.
I was wondering whether or not to include Hue in our itinerary
If we do include Hue we will only have one full day (not including the transportation time.)
This will cause visiting Tam Coc, Ninh Binh , on Saturday and after spending one night in Ninh Binh-Departing to Hanoi on Sunday-I guess visiting Ninh Binh on weekend will probably not be the best time … too many people…
After that we would like to spend 3 days in Halong bay& Cat Ba Island and than- 4 days in Sapa (on weekend)
If we skip Hue-we will be able to arrive to Ninh Binh a day earlier-that is on Friday- visit Tam Coc, spend the night in Ninh Binh and depart to Hanoi on Saturday.
This will leave us one more day in Halong bay & Cat Ba Island -so we can be there 4 days instead of 3.
Which option is better?
Will be happy to receive your recommendation…

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Posted by rawjer on 24/10/2010 at 19:13

In that case I'd skip Hue on a trip like this. On a one-day visit you'd be most tempted to see the citadel and/or a half-day boat tour of a string of local temples. I did both of those things when I was there for 8 days this last March, and I found them all a bit underwhelming. The citadel in particular is about as plain as a site can get, which the main Travelfish review also says, but I had to see it myself to believe it.

It's true that Hue is kind of a charming town, and I quite liked the food and the vibe there, but Hoi An is far nicer with even better food. If you really wanted to see the DMZ, which I didn't, it might be worth it, but otherwise I'd add that extra day elsewhere.

On the other hand, I did Halong Bay on the 2-day/1-night thing, which actually felt like plenty of time, even though the place is amazing. Adding an extra day to explore the national park on Cat Ba sounds like it could be good for you guys, but I'm not sure a 4th day there is a good use of your time. The people I met who spent time on Cat Ba said it's not that special, though others might disagree.

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Posted by mikethediver on 24/10/2010 at 19:32

Yes I would skip Hue, not really worth it unless you have lots of time.

I would spend the extra day on Cat Ba and hire a motorcycle to drive around the island as it's not that big and is very pretty.

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Posted by travellingsarah on 25/10/2010 at 09:57 TF writer

Posted from within Vietnam.

I get that Hue isn't for everyone but the motorbike tour around some of the temples and mausoleums was one of the highlights of Vietnam on my first visit here 7 years ago. I've since done it again and still really enjoyed it. A day is enough though. I've not really explored Cat Ba so can't comment on whether your time is better spent there.

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Posted by swag on 25/10/2010 at 11:51

Looking at your trip I would lean toward skipping Hue and adding a day somewhere else. We were there in June and found the 3day/2 night Halong trip to be plenty.This also included one night on Cat Ba which the group of 6 really enjoyed. Might have something to do you with the people your with. Loved Hoi An and also spent 4 nights in Sapa . Was so glad we had allowed that time in Sapa as first two days completely white out no chance of trekking. Then had 2 perfect days. There were people staying at the Hotel for 2 nights and unfortunately saw nothing. Hope that helps.

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Posted by eastwest on 27/10/2010 at 18:39

I vote for 1 day Hue. I did the summer palaces trip a few times by boat and I really thought that was a great day on the Parfum river. They made lunch on the boat and floating over the river gives an extra dimension to the visits. It's far better than on the back of a motorbike which basically just brings you from A to B while the boat trip in itself is very pleasant as well.

Would definitely favor that over extra day in Halong. One full day there gives you a great impression but another day would be more of the same for me since there aren't that many actual things to see.

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Posted by dganitbz on 27/10/2010 at 19:28

Based on your various advises, it looks like 1 full day in Hue can be nice …
Sooooo…… I think this will be our itinerary:
After several days in Ho Ch minh & the Mekong delta, we will take a morning flight from Ho Chi Minh to Hue and arrive to Hue at noon.
The next day we will stay around Hue and the day after, we will make the way between Hue and Hoi An by a private car or motorbikes- so that we will be able to make some stops on the way.
Than we will spend the next 2 full days in Hoi An and on the 3rd day we will fly to Hanoi.
The rest of our time in Vietnam we can do 3 days- Halong bay cruise + 2 days at Ninh binh + 4 days in Sapa .
Hope you all approve…..
I really thank you all….

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