Hello all, I am in the beginning stages of planning my 1st trip to Asia, I have 5 weeks beginning mid February. I have a list of places I would like to see in Vietnam, I was hoping I could get some feedback on my choices. Have I chosen "repetitive" destinations? Like too many islands etc? It will be my boyfriend and I traveling, we are in our early 30's, enjoy nature, beaches, good food, budget accommodations (but no dorms), and DESPISE over tourist-ed areas. I understand I will be hassled, but I try to stay away from the worst places.
HCMC, Ben Tre, Can Tho, Ca Mau, Phu Quoc Island, Ba Chuc Bone Pagoda, Chau Doc, Cat Tien National Park, Son My/My Lai, Quy Beach & Leper Hospital, day trip to Dai Lanh Beach, Whale Island, sand dunes in Mui Ne, Con Duo Islands, Vinh Moc Tunnels, Khe Sanh Combat Base, Hue, Danang w/ day trip to Hoi An, Cham Islands, My Son, Phong Nha-ke Bang National Park, Paradise Cove, Sinho or/and Ha Giang Province?, (here's where I'm most undecided) Halong Bay, Lan Ha Bay or Bai Tu Long Bay, or Cao Bang, Hanoi.
Is 5 weeks too long or not long enough for all these destinations, should I also spend time in Cambodia or Laos, or should I spend my entire 5 weeks in Vietnam? I'm not the type to lounge around my room and hang with other tourists, I want to see the place, relax, enjoy it, then head out. Thanks for your help!
#1 randihanis1 has been a member since 2/8/2012. Posts: 3
You left out the Vietnamese kitchen sink - do you seriously expect us to comment on how long you should spend here when your list of places is so "short"???
I'll give you one hint here - the Vietnamese people are far more interesting than any single location - experience their friendliness and you'll have a very rewarding trip. Mid Feb will be on the expensive side since Tet in '13 is Feb 10th - you will also have some problems finding transport as everything will be booked out. It will get cheaper and easier, but demand just exceeds supply at that time.
So..what your saying is I need to pick more places to visit in Vietnam to fill up my 5 weeks? And what is a Vietnamese kitchen sink? Let me give you a hint...I'm not asking you how interesting Vietnamese people are, I'm asking "is 5 weeks a good amount of time for Vietnam, or should I also see parts of Cambodia or Laos during my 5 week trip"?
I arrive Feb 15, will I have problems with buses and trains being full?
Thanks for your help minus your snarky comments!
#3 randihanis1 has been a member since 2/8/2012. Posts: 3
There is plenty to do in Vietnam in a 5 week period and it would allow you to do it at a reasonable pace. I haven't gone through your long list in detail, but the more places you try to see, the more frenzied the experience it. I spent 4 weeks there - and could have happily spent another month or two. I aim to have a minimum of 3 nights at each place on average unless it's merely a transit stopover.
If you wanted to see another country, you could travel north to south in 4 weeks, and continue overland into Cambodia for a week. It really depends on what pace you want to travel at, and what interests you. You say you want to avoid touristy places and to relax - but you're hitting up quite a few touristy places (which you can't really avoid!) -and I wouldn't call it a relaxing pace.
WOW! That's a lot of places! I guess I've got lazy with my travel. Everyone has their own style of travel and opinions on what was good and what was bad, I've been to most of the destinations on your list and there are some great places and then there are some places I found a bit of a struggle. What I can say to you is you can strike the Cham Islands off your list, the military do not let boats out there in Feb or March as the sea is too dangerous. The beach weather on the Central coast is also a bit hit and miss at that time, so you might want to concentrate your beach stops further south (as in Nha Trang down). There is a beautiful stretch of beach called Doc Let that sounds like it might tick your boxes. remember that traveling overland here takes a lot longer than back home, I usually bank on an average of 30kms an hour between destinations unless I'm on a fast train and with all the faffing around it's usually bang on. The best advice I can give though is sometimes the touristy areas are some of the only places you actually relax so don't discount them and take your list of must see's, but be prepared to tear it up. Five weeks with a loose plan makes sudden itinerary changes less stressful, I can't imagine it for a minute but you might hate Vietnam and with Cambodia and Laos so close its not such a huge thing to pop over the border.