I am planning a trip to Vietnam in July 2011 and wanted to know if it is best to go by plane or train to all these different hops?
Also, do you think that staying:
5 night in Hanoi
2 nights in Hue
5 nights in Da Nang
4 nights in Nha Trang, and
5 nights in Ho Chi Minh City
is a good amount of time? or maybe too long??
Also, is this a good website to book the train hops?....
I wanted to book everything before i leave so i don't have that hassle of booking things when im actually in Vietnam, and i know travel agents here in Australia love to charge 3 x more in price, so i'm trying to do it all myself.
#1 aussiegirl has been a member since 15/4/2011. Posts: 2
If by 'Danang' you mean Hoi An, you're planning on a Halong Trip whilst in Hanoi , and going to the Mekong Delta whilst in HCMC, then this schedule seems fine to me as giving a general overview of the country. It's actually pretty similar to the schedule I had 8 years ago and that worked fine. Only thing you might want to consider is moving a couple of days out of Danang or HCMC and going up to Sapa .
As for transport - I'd do it all by train personally (bus between Hue and Hoi An), but it's worth looking at flights offered by Jetstar as they can be as cheap as the train and make a change.
Re the site you sent: I've not heard of them before so can't vouch for them or not. But the prices are still high: For example, last time I took a soft sleeper from Hue to Hanoi it cost under $25 and Hanoi to Sapa was under $20. Have a look at www.seat61.com which lists prices which are roughly right then you can decide how much booking in advance is worth to you.
I would go by train mostly. It gives you a better feel of where you are. If you are not comfortable on the long stretch from Nha Trang to Saigon for example, fly but local trave is part of the allure.
And there is nothing to keep you in Danang for 5 days usually. Hoi An like Sarah said. Or going up to Dalat?
Danang used to be a biggest Air/Marine bases of US Forces in SVN during vn war. There were fierce battles b/t US and Vietcong there during war time, This is Randy knowledge of Danang nowadays, some high lights are: Cham museum in Danang City, My Khe Beach and NamO Beach where US personnels used to relax during vn war. SonTra mountain ( US named as Monkey mountain), Bana mountain (VietCong strongholds around bottoms and US Special Force base on top) now is resort with cable cars, Marble Mountains (5 of them) face to "China Beach" with a lot of caves, Buhddist temples...HaiVan Pass, beautiful sceneries with " cloud and ocean " hanging in front of your eye when you motorcycling up and down 20 km of the pass. Not mention about HoiAn ancient town which is 30km from Danang and MySon sanctuary +30km from Danang. To those who want to travel back to history of fierce battles b/t VietCong and South Korean Forces during vn war, there is an area named CAU DO, 15 km from Danang..To me, Danang is a MUST TO SEE. Cheer...
#4 Randy has been a member since 3/2/2011. Posts: 28
Meh...for a war buff. The average backpacker in Vietnam isn't there to see old battlefields but to see antient stuff and to party as well as eat and see local life. I didn't meet too many young Americans there. The Viets and many Europeans call it the American war by the way. I can see the allure of beautiful scenery but not because it was a battle ground. If anything that is a turn off.
Train is fine. You save time over having to get out to the airports and wait in departures etc. Though I would recommend if you can budget for it do a car or motorbike transfer from Hue to Hoi An - make a day of it, and get them to stop at the nice places on the way, particularly on the way up and down Hai Van pass and then at Marble mountain as mentioned already. Da Nang city itself is fine, but I would agree with recommendations to stay in Hoi An instead, especially if you can time it with one of the lunar month lantern evenings.
Also if you travel by train and get the sleeper carriage, choose the top bunk as I picked the bottom one and mice decided to run over me and the guy in the other bottom bunk all night, gross! (and yes this was in Livitrans 'first class', lol).
Maybe don't spend 5 nights in HCM, but a couple out on the delta instead.
#6 jojo123 has been a member since 15/11/2010. Posts: 16
To be frank, I am not really keen on train in Vietnam, except for those tourist trains go to Sapa.
Flights get delayed most of the time (either cheap Jetstar or Vietnam Airlines), but I would still go with planes.
And I agree with travellingsarah, you should go up to Sapa. And in my opinion, if you're already having 5 nights in Danang/Hoi An, 4 nights in Nha Trang is not really necessary.
#7 matpet has been a member since 24/3/2011. Posts: 3
I'll add my voice to those saying Hoi An instead of Danang, unless you have a strong preference for modern towers and unfinished resorts over picturesque small towns.
Danang might have a fair few sights but many of them can be seen by taking a motorbike tour from Hue to Hanoi (with or without driver; highly recommended - you'll pass through Danang anyway) and the others can be seen on easily on day trips out of Hoi An where you'll have more choice.
#8 enigmatic has been a member since 14/4/2011. Posts: 84
Day 1 Arrive HCMC, relax
2 War Remnants Museum, Central Post Office, Reunification Palace, HCM Mausoleum
3 Mekong Delta
4 Cu Chi Tunnels and shopping
5 Early flight to Hanoi
6 Wander the Old Quarter - shopping
7 Train to Sapa & arrange a trek for this day (train often in the evening)
8 Markets – train to Hanoi
9 Old Hanoi Cooking Centre
10 Halong Bay
11 Return from Halong Bay & free time
12 Fly to Denang, hire car & driver to Hoi An
13 To HCMC
14 Free Day probably shopping
How many days depends on your decision
You have many days to go, that's great. But I think you spend too much days in Hanoi and Da Nang. You should spend 2 days in Hanoi, 3 days in Sapa, 2 days in Hue, 2 days in Da Nang, 1 day in Hoi An, 3 days in Nha Trang, 2 days in Mui Ne, 2 days in Da Lat, 4 days in HCM and mekong delta. So you can travel more places
Sorry evivatour but I don't agree. Your schedule means loads of travelling and never being able to fully rest up and and experience any one place. Plus I assume aussiegirl is planning a trip out to Halong Bay as part of her 5 days in Hanoi.