I have been reading lots of posts here at travelfish and hope someone out there maybe able to help me with my travel plans.
I am traveling to Vietnam 12 May to 8 June 2012 to celebrate my 40th birthday.
The itinerary I have so far is as follows:
12-5-12 - Arrive in Ho chi Minh spend 6 nights visiting the Mekong Delta during this stop.
18-20 - Fly to Siam Reap for 3 night stay
21-25 - Fly back to Hanoi and travel to Sapa for 4 nights (is this do-able or should I stay in Hanoi for a few nights first?)
25-29 - 5 nights in Hanoi
30-31 - 2D1N tour on Halong Bay (my birthday treat!)
1-2 - Hue
3-4 - Hoi An
5-7 - Dalat
8- travel back to Ho Chi Minh for my flight home
I am interested in the more off the beaten track places, not too much touristy things. I would appreciate any advice on my intinterary, changes that could be made, amount of time spent in each place, best way to travel between cities, should I book in advance (especially transport tickets), would I be better off to give Cambodia a miss and use those extra days in Vietnam. I am on a budget but can stretch it if needed. I am looking for a stress free holiday without any transportation glitches :)
Thank you in advance for any assistance you can give.
#1 Huckie72 has been a member since 8/3/2012. Posts: 5
If you could possibly change your flight plans a little (using open jaw - into Cambodia and out of Vietnam) Cambodia would make more sense and save quite a bit too. Your plans to go directly to Sapa from the airport will not work too well - I would stay in Hanoi for a day or two first. I also think 6 nights in the Delta is about 2 days too long. I would skip Hue too - I think you'll get quite a bit of history in Siem Reap!
Remember that June will be EXTREMELY HOT in the lowlands!
The start of your trip looks quite leisurely and nicely paced, then at the end it's all a bit of a rush through Hue, Hoi An and Dalat. I agree with daawgon that you could cut your time in the Delta down a bit - unless you have a specific reason for spending that long there - and I also think you could move maybe a day from Hanoi , unless your 5 nights in Hanoi includes time spent out of the city. Regarding skipping Hue, I think it's a very distinctive place, with sights you won't get elsewhere in your trip, so if you want that side of things, don't skip it.
Re travel, if you would feel more comfortable fixing your plans and foregoing the opportunity to go with the flow then booking flights in advance could provide some savings. Also worth considering booking Hanoi to Sapa train, especially if you want to go straight there on the day you arrive in Hanoi. The other things can easily be booked here as you go.
All that said, you say you want to get off the beaten track with not so many touristy places, but everywhere you're going is really touristy (with the exception maybe of the Mekong Delta if you're going to venture beyond the day / 2 day trip places). I don't think that's a bad thing - they're popular for a reason - but I'm interested to know if you're planning to just base yourself in the main hubs but spend most of your time visiting further afield places?
Thank you for your replies,
I have return flights booked for Sydney to Ho Chi Minh and I don't think they can be changed. Was advised to make the side trip into Cambodia. Wish I had thought of flying there first! Like the idea of saving money where I can.
I was planing on basing myself in the main hubs and travelling out from there. Only concrete plan was a couple of days in the Delta. Would love any suggestions you might have on what tours to take/where to go to take advantage of my time. The rushed second part of the trip is a esult of me wanting to spend my birthday on Halong Bay...may have to rethink that part. Obviously there are good reasons why parts are touristy and attract many people. I do want to see these as well but am interested in getting a look a the local life in Vietnam. Not keen on too many big crowds either.
Maybe when in the north a better plan would be to spend 1 night after flying in from Cambodia ans then heading off to Sapa and then only 3 night in Hanoi on my return?
Thanks you again for your help....very much appreciated.
This is my first time planning a trip of this length and first time in Vietnam so I am finding it a little overwhelming with all the blogs out there. Especially those that do not paint the country in a postive light!
#4 Huckie72 has been a member since 8/3/2012. Posts: 5
You would be better to base yourself in Hoi An rather than Danang (it's about 20-30min drive away, and Hoi An is far more interesting). The trip from Hoi An to Hue to 4 hrs by bus or 2.5 hr by train. I'd forget about doing it as a day trip by bus; the possibility of doing it by train I guess depends on the train times - but personally, I don't think I'd bother.
Also - keep in mind that if you arrive in Vietnam twice, you will need to visa's. Personally, I'd save Cambodia for another trip and focus on Vietnam this time around. There's so much to see as it is!
Why don't you take fly to Siem Reap first and visit Siem reap, teh take flight to Ho Chi Minh and make south to north of trip in Vietnam. This is more reasonable than and you can save your money for return flight.
This is my suggestion:
Siem reap - flight to Ho Chi Minh - Mekong Delta - Dalat - Hoi An - Hue - Ha Noi - Ha Long Bay - flight back ho Chi Minh.
If your flight is booked, you plan is ok. However, you can shorten tiem in Hochiminh or Ha Noi to make speed boat from Chau Doc in mekong delta to Phnom Penh and then to Siem Reap. Around Ha Noi there are much things to see such as Hoa Lu Van long, Cuc Phuong NP...
#8 ecotravelvietna has been a member since 21/3/2012. Posts: 13
Hi Huckie72, I am wondering if you are open to having a travel buddy with you for the Sapa/Hanoi/Halong bay route :) I'm female, in my 30s. It's sort of a last minute holiday for me, before I start getting back into the corporate grind.