Photo: Canals of Ca Mau, Mekong Delta.

Vietnam forum

1 month in Vietnam South-North Itinerary! Is it any good?

Posted by Peachula on 10/6/2011 at 12:05

Okay, so I am a 20 yr old female from Canada traveling solo through Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and ending in Thailand. This is my first ever backpacking trip and after much searching the culture, beauty and excitement of SEA has drawn me in. I don't want to miss out on anything and have been doing a TON of researching (amazing help from this site, especially) so if anyone could help me out, I have a general itinerary planned out. I will be heading to HCMC last week of September and arriving back home just before Christmas.
I plan on a month in Vietnam, 2 weeks in Laos, 2 weeks in Cambodia and a month in Thailand.
Kay, so my (rough) itinerary is:
Arrive HCMC (2 Days) - then one day tour of Mekong Delta (total of 3 days)
HCMC -> (4h Bus) Mui Ne (2 days)
Mui Ne -> (6h Bus) Dalat (2 days) [Is Dalat actually worth it? Everything I've read basically pans out to 50/50 a 'must see' or a 'can skip'. So I'm a little iffy if I should spend 2 days here or use these days somewhere else, or maybe just 1 day? It also uses up a lot of travel time as opposed to just going from Mui Ne to Nha Trang ]
Dalat -> (5h Bus) Nha Trang (2 days)
Nha Trang -> (15h overnight Bus) Hoi An (3 days)
Hoi An -> (15h o/n Bus) Hue (2 days)
Hue -> (14h o/n Bus or 13h sleeper Train) Hanoi (3 days)
Hanoi -> (2h Bus) Halong/Cat Ba (2 days)
Halong -> (2h Bus) Hanoi
Hanoi -> (10h sleeper train) Lao Cai -> (1h bus) Sapa (3 days)
Sapa -> (1h Bus) Lao Cai -> Hanoi
[At which point I'll probably be flying in to Vientiane]

I'll be traveling for about 4.5 days and the rest adds up to approx. 22 days which leaves about 3 days of issues allowed Visa-wise, haha.
I want to know if this is a decent itinerary or if it should use some tweaking.
I also was wondering if I get a 30 day visa for Vietnam and I'm doing a 3 month trip how do I fly back to HCMC to get back home, is it okay that I don't have a visa as long as it's straight from Thailand to HCMC then home?
And transport-wise I am planning on just booking bus/train tickets as I go but is this possible or will I have to book some early?

Any help would be greatly appreciated!
Thank you!

#1 Peachula has been a member since 7/6/2011. Posts: 5
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Posted by eastwest on 10/6/2011 at 13:20

That looks allright.

Personally I would skip Dalat. The place didn't do much for me besides the (cool)climate but since it's at the start of your trip probably not needed. Don't get me wrong: The place has many things going for it but I'd rather spend those extra days as buffer to spend some more time in a place you might like along the way.

For a single traveller Mui Ne may not be the greatest place. Nha Trang is far more social. I do prefer the beach in Mui Ne though.

have fun

#2 eastwest has been a member since 17/12/2009. Posts: 778
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Posted by travellingsarah on 10/6/2011 at 13:56 TF writer

Posted from within Vietnam.

I'm not a big Dalat fan either. The only thing that made the trip worth it for me was the scenery, but you're going to Sapa and the scenery there is more impressive. I also agree with eastwest about Mui Ne / Nha Trang too. So nothing to add but reinforcement is often useful!

#3 travellingsarah has been a member since 23/3/2010. Location: Vietnam. Posts: 681
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Posted by mysticpaki on 20/9/2011 at 04:10

Dear Peachula
I added 22 days as per what youve written so how do you add up 45 days in Vietnam.
I plan to also spend 28 nights in Vietnam but in end June.
If youve fine tuned your above itenary then do let me know please along with names and price of hotels.
By the way i spent 24 nights in Laos and have written a full detailed itenary so if you want let me know your email and ill mail it to you.Its on www.Teakdoor and also on travelfish.
I have been very often to Thailand so if you want to ask me anything go ahead.
Regds
Eddie

#4 mysticpaki has been a member since 24/4/2006. Posts: 10


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