Photo: Canals of Ca Mau, Mekong Delta.

Vietnam forum

If you had to choose- Hanoi, HCMC & Con Dao

Posted by sansucci on 17/9/2011 at 11:43

Yes, another itinerary help request! If you had 10 full days, only 3-4 places in Vietnam where would you choose?

Adventurous couple trying to get a mix of touristy can't-miss with off-the-beaten track in ten short days...would like to fit a remote village in here like mai chau but don't want to rush...would love feedback...any recent travel reports on Con Dao? Like the idea of secluded beach fix to end the trip.

1: Hanoi
2: Hanoi
3: Halong Bay (overnight/kayak)
4: Halong Bay
5: Hanoi- Ho Chi Minh (flight)
6: HCMC
7: HCMC-Con Dao
8: Con Dao
9: Con Dao
10: Con Dao- HCMC

#1 sansucci has been a member since 17/9/2011. Posts: 2

Posted by travellingsarah on 17/9/2011 at 12:31 TF writer

Posted from within Vietnam.

If I had 10 days I'd be tempted to stick to one end of the country. So either Hanoi and surrounds, the North West, Halong (maybe you can find a secluded beach in Halong Bay somewhere) or HCMC and surrounds, Mekong, Con Dao. Both of these give you the opportunity to see rural life and to get off the beaten track if you want.

#2 travellingsarah has been a member since 23/3/2010. Location: Vietnam. Posts: 681
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Posted by eastwest on 17/9/2011 at 12:31

I love Con Dao but apparently it gets mixed reports.

Don't go there if the beach part, in "secluded beach" is more important than seclusion. It's not your standard tropical paradise island. Phu Quoc is far better for that.
Con Dao, though, is excellent for remoteness and seclusion. I like the "end-of the world" feel it has combined with the beautiful wild and rough natural beauty. But as I said, don't expect the typical beach with loungers and some friendly locals serving you coconuts and cheap local food while you lie on the beach.
The few beaches there are are completely deserted, the accommodation, food & service is not particularly good or cheap nor is there much organised for tourists but some people (like me) gladly trade that for the exclusive experience of really being away from everything.

Driving around on a motorbike on the coastal road (hardly any traffic) while stopping anywhere to take a sip of a drink or your packed lunch is one of best things to do. For me better than anywhere else in the world.

Try to read up as much as possible because it's not an island for everyone.

#3 eastwest has been a member since 17/12/2009. Posts: 778

Posted by daawgon on 20/9/2011 at 19:29

I agree with Sarah. Rushing around is not the way you want to go in Vietnam. Rather than Con Dao, I would recommend Phu Quoc Island for the secluded beach part. I too far prefer the North, but when it comes to beaches, the South is the winner. Saigon is just another big city as far as I'm concerned - maybe you get turned on by large buildings? Hanoi is the real interesting part of the country IMHO!

#4 daawgon has been a member since 17/4/2007. Posts: 1,112

Posted by daawgon on 20/9/2011 at 19:32

I also like the Sapa area - really awesome.

#5 daawgon has been a member since 17/4/2007. Posts: 1,112

Posted by MADMAC on 20/9/2011 at 20:17

Eastwest
I love the way you wrote your position up - carefully explaining why you prefer what you do. I would hate Con Dao, because at a minimum I want some place where I can get a decent meal, a beer and socialize. Seldom am I looking for seclusion. But as you correctly point out, some people are. Well written advice there.

#6 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by eastwest on 21/9/2011 at 15:31

Thanks for the compliment MAC.

Just wondering if some people out here know of any island like Con Dao in the region? As far as I know it's in a different category on its own.
Most islands in this region seem to be the same. If you posted a picture it could be on any of those beautiful tropical islands in Thailand, Indonesia or Philipines in those light blue waters. I know it is for most people the ultimate tropical dream but that's not what I'm after..

If anybody knows a similar island please post

#7 eastwest has been a member since 17/12/2009. Posts: 778


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