Photo: Canals of Ca Mau, Mekong Delta.

Vietnam forum

Vietnam first time, 4 weeks. Tips?

Posted by Sparrk on 15/11/2010 at 10:20


Me and a few friends are going to Vietnam in late december to end of january. Ifound a suggestion for vietnam in 2-3 weeks here on travelfish which I likedalot, what I dont know is how long to time to spend in each place.

1) Hanoi-> Ha Long Bay
2) Hanoi-> Hue
3) Hue-> Hoi An
4) Hoi An-> Nha Trang
5) NhaTrang -> Mui Ne
6) Mui Ne-> Ho Chi Minh City
7) Ho ChiMinh – Phu qouc
8) Phu qouc – Sihanoukville
9)Sihanoukville – Siem Reap

Is thereanyone that could give me a suggestion for how long to spend in each place, Idont mind cutting down on a stop or two in order to see the most of each place.Im thinking to spend around 3-4 days in Shianoukville and siem reap im thinkingjust a day to see the angkor wat. Is there anyone that could give me a suggestion for a total of 4 weeks? Also is the travel route good? im not sure about how to get from phenom penh to phu qouc.

Just to be clear, ew will travel with train through vietnam.

Thanks for the replies

#1 Sparrk has been a member since 19/9/2010. Posts: 5

Posted by jojo123 on 15/11/2010 at 13:19

We haven't been yet so can't comment on what places to miss out, but make sure you factor in transit time between places. I found this made a big difference to how many places where 'do-able' once we had started looking up train and flight times and adding them into the picture.
You also seem to have quite a few beach places on there - maybe that is one place you could cut down if necessary.

#2 jojo123 has been a member since 15/11/2010. Posts: 16

Posted by travellingsarah on 15/11/2010 at 14:22 TF writer

Posted from within Vietnam.

Hi - it's difficult to comment on this like this as it depends on where your interests lie. I've made a broad and rough suggestion to fit with the time you have available but agree with jojo that you could make life more pleasant if you cut out one or more of the beach places. Then you could spend an extra day in Hanoi, Ha Long, HCMC or Hue, But as I say, it depends what type of holiday you're looking for.

1) Hanoi-> Ha Long Bay - Days 1 - 2 in Hanoi, 3 - 4 Ha Long
2) Hanoi-> Hue - overnight train then day 5 (just time to see some of the temples and pagodas, an extra day would be better to get over the train journey but with the time you have one day could do it)
3) Hue-> Hoi An - morning bus then days 6 - 8
4) Hoi An-> Nha Trang - overnight train (from Danang) then days 9 - 11
5) NhaTrang -> Mui Ne - bus from Nha Trang, days 12 - 15
6) Mui Ne-> Ho Chi Minh City - afternoon bus on day 15 then days 16 - 18 (time for Cu Chi and a one day trip to the Mekong if you want to but an extra day better if possible)
7) Ho ChiMinh – Phu qouc - flight on day 19, then days 20 - 22
bigeyes.gif Phu qouc – Sihanoukville - I don't know how you do the trip either or how much time Sihanoukville is worth, but let's say Days 23-25
9)Sihanoukville – Siem Reap - I suggest at least 2 days at Angkor plus allow for travel time, which takes you up to 4 weeks

#3 travellingsarah has been a member since 23/3/2010. Location: Vietnam. Posts: 681
 Where has travellingsarah been?   Website 

Posted by Sparrk on 15/11/2010 at 15:17

Thank you both for the good replys. I will use your timetable,it sounds like a good plan. Should i reserve bustickets and traintickets before i leave or should I do it at the stations? I might remove one of the beach place like Nha Trang. Also im thinking about expanding the trip with a few days.

#4 Sparrk has been a member since 19/9/2010. Posts: 5

Posted by busylizzy on 15/11/2010 at 15:25

No need to reserve buses and trains before you leave - you want to keep things as flexible as you are bound to change your mind about your plans once you are there. But given that it's also the peak time, you may want to book your ticket out of a place almost as soon as you arrive to ensure you can leave on the dates that you want.

Just check when Tet is - I think it's Feb. That would be the exception to my comment as I believe travel is fully booked over that period.

#5 busylizzy has been a member since 31/12/2007. Location: New Zealand. Posts: 2,155
 Where has busylizzy been? 

Posted by travellingsarah on 15/11/2010 at 15:46 TF writer

Posted from within Vietnam.

Tet's 3rd Feb next year so the couple of weeks either side are likely to be fully booked, but I think you'll be gone by then.

#6 travellingsarah has been a member since 23/3/2010. Location: Vietnam. Posts: 681
 Where has travellingsarah been?   Website 

Posted by violets on 16/11/2010 at 05:31

4 beaches in a row seem excessive. I'd cut at least 2- Mui Ne and Phu Quoc would be the most inconvenient to get to, so perhaps the best to cut. You'd need to get back to HCMC in order to fly to Cambodia, unless you're planning on the very time-consuming trip overland, and then you'd at least have to get back to the mainland.

I think you need way more time in Hue and in Siem Reap. Angkor Wat is only one of a great many temples and the whole area is fantastic. I think at least 3 days there.

You don't want to spend your holiday just moving from one place to another and organising transport and hotels.

#7 violets has been a member since 6/7/2009. Posts: 151

Posted by halongcalypsocruiser on 17/11/2010 at 17:23

Posted from within Vietnam.

I totally agree with Sarah for her itinerary. Though it is peak season in Vietnam, you don't need to reserve for transportation like bus & train, it should be flexible when you want to change the itinerary. I can suggest you some more details for your itinerary.
1) Hanoi -> Ha Long Bay: Hanoi city tour & shopping, 2 days 1 night in boat in Halong Bay. Some recommendation hotel in Hanoi: Hanoi Moment (3*), Boutique (4*), La Belle Vie (3*)... The price is around 45 usd/room/night and boats in Halong: Paloma Cruise (4*), Halong Calypso Cruise (3*), Halong Phoenix Cruise (3*)...Depend on your budget, you can choose a suitable one
2) Hanoi-> Hue : go by bus or train in the evening (19:00 or 20:45). Just stay 1 night in Hue, Hue is so quiet & peaceful place. Hotel: Hue Ideal (3*), Hue Smile )3*), Hue Queen (3*)... The hotel rate in Hue is quite cheap in comparison with other places in Vietnam, just around 30 - 35 usd/room/night for superior room
3) Hue-> Hoi An : take a bus in the early afternoon (13:00) to Danang City or Hoi An ancient town. There are many resort stretched Cua Dai beach. You can choose one, price around 50 usd/room/night or you can stay in Hoi An Town, the price will be cheaper around 40 usd/room/night.
4) Hoi An-> Nha Trang: take a bus or train. There are many activities in Nha Trang. You should choose hotel located in Tran Phu street, it is near the beach. The hotel price is reasonable around $45/room/night. Eg: The Light, Green Hotel, Que Huong,..(the same standard 3* hotel)
5) NhaTrang -> Mui Ne ; take a bus, Mui Ne is ideal place for relaxation with beautiful dune and beach. There are many resorts, you should choose one in Nguyen Dinh Chieu Str or in Ham Tien
6) Mui Ne-> Ho Chi Minh City: take 6 hours from Mui Ne to Ho Chi Minh city by bus. You should choose hotel in Dist 1. Eg: Kingston Hotel, Sapphire or Tan My Dinh... price around 50$/room/night
7) Ho ChiMinh – Phu quoc: flight or go by boat, there are not many hotels and resorts in this place, the price seems a little bit expensive around 40 usd/room/night in hotel and more than 100 usd/room/night in resort

#8 halongcalypsocruiser has been a member since 16/11/2010. Posts: 4

Posted by ElaineMcG on 25/11/2010 at 09:35

Hey I was interested in your post as I am think I am going to go to Vietnam as part of my travels early next year, have already been on the road almost 5 months currently settled in China for a bit.
Anyways before I got here I did Thailand, Cambodia and Laos so I can't help on much of your itinerary In Vietnam. However I will say we ended up staying a week in Sihanoukville, it's a great fun place with lots of partying would def recommend these two hostels which are across the road from each other; "Utopia" which have really cheap dorm rooms, have great pool parties and brilliant for meeting people and "monkey republic" which has nicer accommodation for only a little extra, they have excellent food and is a really cool place to chill out in. When here we did a day trip out to an island Koh Ron, this was amazing like a paradise island it was so quiet, not at all commercialised def worth a trip here, ask for details in Utopia.
Then just one other thing I'll say is about Siem Reap and Ankor Wat, some people say you need at least 2 days here other people say more. This totally depends on the type of person you are. I did sunset one evening and sunrise the next morning then did a full day and believe me this was loads, I really was "templed out" after this, I think one full day is more than enough but it is totally based on the individual.
I didn't have accommodation booked when landing into Siem Reap bus station but there were loads of touts and I went along with one of them to "No Problem Villa", and surprisingly enough it was perfect. Don't usually do this but I was pleasantly surprised, not much fun here though but it was very convenient for what I wanted and a great location!
Also no need to book most tickets too far in advance from my experience however public holidays would be a different story. Don't know if you are new to travelling or not but expect LONG and usually unreliable bus services, haven't tried the trains yet.
Hope this helps a little would love to hear how your travels go as I need to book my plan for my next travels soon!

#9 ElaineMcG has been a member since 16/11/2010. Posts: 10

Posted by Archmichael on 25/11/2010 at 10:29

As several others have said, amount of time spent somewhere (i.e., Angkor Wat) is subjective, depending upon what you're interested in. (Temples? Beer? Trekking?)

It is possible to travel from Sai Gon (HCMC) to Sihanoukville overland, via the Ha Tien (Viet Nam) border crossing. You would go up through Kep and Kampot to Sihanoukville.

Happy travels!

#10 Archmichael has been a member since 23/7/2008. Location: Global Village. Posts: 396

Posted by Sparrk on 25/11/2010 at 18:23

thanks for all the answers :) they have come in handy in our planing prosess. Ive desided that i will take each place as it comes, not realy plan how long im going to stay each place before i get there(i have a little clue ofc)

3 more til ill be in vietnam:! cant wait

#11 Sparrk has been a member since 19/9/2010. Posts: 5

Posted by Archmichael on 25/11/2010 at 22:06

Good approach.
Have a great trip!

#12 Archmichael has been a member since 23/7/2008. Location: Global Village. Posts: 396

Posted by 69bertie on 5/12/2010 at 00:40

Posted from within Vietnam.

You'd need to get back to HCMC in order to fly to Cambodia, unless you're planning on the very time-consuming trip overland, and then you'd at least have to get back to the mainland.

It takes around 11 hours going from HCMC to Sihanoukville via Phnom Penh . That is going via the Moc Bai / Bavet border crossing. Takes about 5-6 hours to PP. Flying to Phnom Penh from HCMC is expensive for the mileage covered i.e. it's cheaper to fly to Bangkok. There is an airport near Sihanoukville but in the 3 days I was there (September 2010) I didn't see any aircraft movements, even the radar was stationary ....  
Loads of agents sell bus tickets to S'ville in HCMC - cost about $18USD one way. It's $25 for the Cambodian visa.
I don't know if I'd be wanting to do an overnight Ha Long bay trip in January. Same with Hoi An for the beach. You'd need to check out the weather - might be a bit cool. Down south it will be shorts weather. Very warm and if it's anything like January last year, very dry.
As others have said Angkor Wat might merit one day only.... I could have spent 4 days in the general area easily. 

#13 69bertie has been a member since 22/12/2009. Posts: 90

Posted by MiaBritton on 5/12/2010 at 17:52

In terms of SEA beaches, Sihanoukville (excluding Otres beach) has rather average beaches. We spent 4days here just because it took so long to get here but found we would have much rather had more time in Siem Reap! Definately spend at least 3 days in SR- amazing town, hire some bicycles and cycle around. Try and do your beaches in Vietnam rather than Cambodia :)

#14 MiaBritton has been a member since 25/11/2009. Location: New Zealand. Posts: 17
 Website   Twitter 

Please login to add a reply

You need to be a Travelfish member to be able to add a reply to this post. Please use the button below to log in. After logging in you'll be returned to this page automatically to add your post. Not a member? Join up here.