Photo: Canals of Ca Mau, Mekong Delta.

Vietnam forum

North to south Vietnam itinerary. Thoughts please

Posted by Brooker6139 on 4/10/2012 at 12:38

My partner and I have 28 days to travel from north to south Vietnam. Were very new to backpacking and have never done anything like this before. This is our first time to Vietnam so would like as much information as possible. So far our itinerary is as follows-

Day 1 - Arrive in Hanoi (booked)
Day 2 - relax in Hanoi (booked)
Day 3 - 2 day 1 night trip around ha long bay (booked)
Day 4 - Travel back to Hanoi, arrive back around 4pm.
Day 5 - Travel to sapa stay for a 2 day 1 night stop over.
Day 6 - Travel back to Hanoi (stop over at Hanoi or move on?)
Day 7 - Travel to Phong Nha cave and Thien Duong cave
Day 8 - Phong Nha cave
Day 9 - Thien Duong cave (paradise cave) Travel to Hue
Day 10 - Hue
Day 11 - Hue
Day 12 - Travel to Da Nang
Day 13 - Da Nang
Day 14 - Hoi an
Day 15 - Travel to cental highlands
Day 16 - ???????????????
Day 17 - Travel to Dalat
Day 18 - Dalat then travel to Ho Chi Minh
Day 19 - Ho Chi minh
Day 20 - Mekong delta tour 2 or 3 day
Day 21 - Mekong delta
Day 22 - Travel back to HCMC or to Rach Gia depending on which way to travel to Phu Quoc
Day 23 -Phu Quoc
Day 24 - Phu Quoc
Day 25 -Phu Quoc/ Travel back
Day 26 - Travel to HCMC
Day 27 - Ho chi minh
Day 28 - Leave for Australia
Not really looked at travelling to central highlands so where would you recommend going? Also has anyone got an idea about the travelling to Phu Quoc?

Regarding the tours does anyone know of any good agents? or any good websites to make a note of for tours and accommodation?

Is Vietnam on a whole easy to travel around?

Many thanks for your help and ideas, if you have anything else to add just say.

#1 Brooker6139 has been a member since 3/10/2012. Posts: 2

Posted by Blackley on 4/10/2012 at 14:52

Hi Brooker,

I've been looking for information how people travel from north to south Vietnam and being able to see all the sites. All I have found out is an apparently terrible bus journey which takes over 30 hours. Any help would be greatly appreciated as I've just started planning my trip and I'm struggling with transport.


#2 Blackley has been a member since 4/10/2012. Posts: 1

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Posted by caseyprich on 4/10/2012 at 21:14

Save time by flying to Phu Quoc, cheap and convenient.

#3 caseyprich has been a member since 3/3/2010. Location: China. Posts: 1,281
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Posted by antoniamitchell on 5/10/2012 at 00:53

Hi Brooker,
I think you're trying to cram in too much. Distances are long and travel is slow - it takes something in the region of 9-11 hours to get from Hanoi to Sapa (by train and bus) and 11+ hours to get from Hanoi to Hue by train.

You can save some time using internal flights, but even with internal flights, you're scheduling yourself to move on every 1-2 nights - that pace is going to be exhausting (and you'll end up spending more time in travel than actually enjoying yourself.

So my advice - cut it back. You'll have more fun.

Enjoy your trip

#4 antoniamitchell has been a member since 13/5/2012. Posts: 541
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Posted by caseyprich on 5/10/2012 at 03:55

I agree with antoniamitchell but didn't say anything as I'd mixed up reading your post with another Vietnam itinerary post where they had experience already traveling in Vietnam. You've got 28 days and want to see all the highlights, which is admirable, but you may want to cut something out in order to take a more relaxed time and leave some room to juggle days here and there.

Most would probably recommend you either cut out the caves or the highlands as you could then fly Hanoi to Hue (quite affordable). Though, I do like the experience of catching the train downtown Hanoi and getting off the next morning in Hue, there wasn't that much to see on the ride, but it saves a night at a hotel. I highly recommend the train (2 hrs?) between Hue and DaNang, but most likely you'll skip Da Nang and focus on Hoian. Station yourself there and you could spend a few days exploring the entire area, even Monkey & Marble Mts up by DaNang and the beaches around both DaNang and Hoian.

If you skipped the Central Highlands it would give the the opportunity to spend more time in HCMC and travel overland to Phu Quoc which could be enjoyable with the ferry trip and all. I'd defiantly book a flight back to HCMC though, no need to go over the same ground again. You don't necessarily have to skip all the Central Highlands though, there are flights from Da Nang to Dalat and that could save a day or two.

It also depends on what time of year you're traveling. Certain areas might be less pleasant and hospitable than others. There is also that allure of going the whole way without flights, but then you'd certainly want to cut out Caves and just do a stop over in Dalat before heading into the Delta. Also - you seem to have a lot of time on your itinerary for natural beauty and very little time for cities (HCMC for instance) so my advice to skip the caves should certainly fall on deaf ears if you want that sort of thing. I just know that myself, I like to take a rest for a few nights in one spot at least every couple of days, if just so I can soak a place in and unpack my bag, let my laundry dry properly and the sort.

#5 caseyprich has been a member since 3/3/2010. Location: China. Posts: 1,281
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Posted by Brooker6139 on 7/10/2012 at 08:56

caseyprich and antoniamitc-hell

Just want to say thank you, I'm going to take on your advice and cut a few things out, what would you suggest as well as the caves? were flying over on the 20th November. which places would you say to get internal flights between? we have a very tight budget so cheaper the better

#6 Brooker6139 has been a member since 3/10/2012. Posts: 2

Posted by samwin on 9/10/2012 at 02:38

Posted from within Vietnam.

Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE Vietnam is easy to travel around. I’m atour operator and I have some experiences in Vietnam traveling, my suggestion below:
Day 1 - Arrive in Hanoi .
Day 2 - Hanoi city tour. Overnight in Hanoi
Day 3 - Hanoi - Halong Bay cruise
Day 4 - Ha long
Day 5 - Halong - Hanoi - night train to Lao cai. Overnight on train
Day 6 - Laocai arrival - bus trip to Sapa . Overnight in Sapa
Day 7 - Sapa
Day 8 - Sapa
Day 9 - Sapa - bus trip back Laocai - night train Laocai back Hanoi. Overnighton train
Day 10 - Hanoi - Tam Coc Ninh Binh . Overnight in Ninh Binh
Day 11 - Ninh Binh - Thien Duong Cave. Overnight in Quang Binh Province
Day 12 - Phong Nha Cave - Depart for Hue (Mondial Hue Hotel is a good choice)
Day 13 - Hue (Mondial Hue Hotel)
Day 14 - Hue - Hoian
Day 15 - Hoian
Day 16 - Hoian - Danang. Overnight in Danang
Day 17 - Danang - Dalat. Overnight in Dalat
Day 18 - Dalat
Day 19 - Dalat - Hochiminh City
Day 20 - Hochiminh (Cuchi tunnel, city tour...)
Day 21 - Mekong Delta 2 days 1 night would be interesting
Day 22 - Mekong Delta (Chau Doc - Can tho)
Day 23 - Mekong Delta - Hochiminh City. Overnight in HCMC
Day 24 - HCMC - Phuquoc Island
Day 25 - Phuquoc
Day 26 - Phuquoc
Day 27 - Phu Quoc - HCMC
Day 28 - HCMC - leave back Australia
I hope this itinerary can maximizeplaces you visit and minimize your time and your money. Have night trip to you.Remember to bring raincoat, umbrella and warm coats when you're traveling because it's cold and rainy in November in Central and North Vietnam.

#7 samwin has been a member since 1/10/2012. Posts: 5

Posted by AnneVu on 16/10/2012 at 01:08

Posted from within Vietnam.

You're just too rush to travel. The intinerary seems good at the beginning but if you do these Vietnam package travel you may get tired of moving but enjoy the trip. And it's not flexible. What if you want to stay longer in a place? I suggest you book tour only from Hanoi to Halong and Sapa . Then you ask for a train go to Hue . Then book tour in Hue - Hoi An -Phu Quoc. Finally is HCM then all done.That was my Norway friend's intinerary. They travel by train to the South from Hanoi after travelling in Hanoi, Halong. But they didn't go to Sapa coz they had only 1 week in Vietnam. If you go with your friend you can choose the Halong group tours or Sapa group tours to save your budget. But then you can book another tour while you stay in Halong or Hanoi to the South. It's easier to arrange than the whole month trip :)

#8 AnneVu has been a member since 10/10/2012. Posts: 6

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