Arrived in Hanoi today, and between plans getting messed up previously, only have 11 days in Vietnam.
Tomorrow we're going to stay in Hanoi and do a bit of sight-seeing. After that we're doing 2 days/1 night on a junk boat.
This leaves us with a mere 7 days in Vietnam so are going to go South. The thing is (and trust me, we're doing our best to research) we're not sure where to go from there.
We're into the outdoors, but my main interest in Vietnam would be a chance to get to know some of the (war) history etc. - see places of historical interest in this respect (if that makes any sense)
So, where should we begin? We're going to fly to waste as little time as possible. However, we don't know whether to fly into Da Nong and start from there, or whether to fly into Ho Chi Minh City and radiate from there.
If anyone can offer advise on even where to start i'd be very grateful as it will give me a base as to where to start.
#1 alt has been a member since 7/10/2011. Posts: 15
Personally, I would stick to the North for your 11 days. Spend some quality time wandering around Hanoi, soaking up the atmosphere, sampling all the street food and chucking back some bia hoi. Great city.
Then hit Sapa and, as you mentioned, Halong Bay.
11 days is perfect for getting a good feel of these three places and allowing for a reasonable amount of travel time.
Come back some other time and do the rest.
#2 chinarocks has been a member since 17/6/2011. Posts: 740
I agree with Chinarocks - you'll get more out of your trip if you use Hanoi as your base and see Sapa, Halong Bay and perhaps another destination such as Mai Chau or Ninh Binh. VN is quite a large place, and you would waste too much of those 11 days in transit (besides, who wants to travel the deadly VN highways). You miss nothing by not going to Saigon.
#3 daawgon has been a member since 17/4/2007. Posts: 1,114
@daawgon. I have no idea what happened to you in Saigon but you seem to take every opportunity to bash it. IMO that's a bit overdoing it. There are places I don't like so much as others but I refrain from bashing because I'm aware it's a personal opinion. Perhaps you could consider doing the same.
Anyway, for recent history OP might fly to Hue and do the DMZ tour. The tunnels (I forgot the name) around there are also more genuine (at least left intact) than in Cu Chi which has become some sort of Disneyland. Also you could visit My Lai which was the scene of one of the most senseless massacres during the war. Visit Khe Sanh if you're australian
Afterwards, perhaps fly to Saigon and visit the war remnants museum, reunification palace and other sites related to the war. If you visit the tunnels near Hue you could skip Cu Chi.
If you decide to stay in the north you could visit Dien Bien Phu which was an important battleground against the French. It's not easy to get there though and since you don't seem to have budget constraints I'd say hire a taxi for 4-5 days.