My boyfriend and I are off to Vietnam and Cambodiabetween 9.1.13 - 1.2.13. So far we have a flight booked to Hanoi and we have aflight leaving from Phom Penh. The rest is undecided! I have researched forweeks to come up with an itinerary...I'm just wondering if I am either tryingto squeeze too much in or I'm missing anything out. We plan to fly between HCMCto Siam Reap but haven't booked our flights yet. Do you think we should do thisbefore we leave or wait until we get out there?
Below is a rough idea of what we are planning to do:
10.1.13 - Arrive Hanoi midday.
11.1.13 - Hanoi - explore city
12.1.13 - Travel between Hanoi - Da Nang
13.1.13 - Day in Da Nang
14.1.13 - Travel between Da Nang - Hoi An
15.1.13 - Day in Hoi An
16.1.13 - Travel to Nha Trang
17.1.13 - Day in Nha Trang
18. 1.13 - Day trip to Da Lat and spend night there.
19.1.13 - Travel to HCMC
20.1.13 - HCMC - Cu Chi Tunnels, water puppets, possibly Mekong river cruise.
21.1.13 - Fly to Siam Reap
22.1.13 - Siam Reap
23.1.13 - Siam Reap - Angkor Wat, Quad bike tour.
overnight bus to Phom Penh
24.1.13 - Phom Penh
25.1.13 - Phom Penh - Killing fields, Royal Palace.
26.1.13 - Travel to Sihanoukville
27.1.13 - Boat ride to Koh Rong
28.1.13 - Koh Rong
29.1.13 - Koh Rong
30.1.13 - Boat ride back to Sihanoukville. Bus back to Phom Penh. Sleep overPhom Penh.
31.1.13 - Travel home :O(
Any advice would be much appreciated! Thank you.
#1 janeybaby83 has been a member since 2/12/2012. Posts: 8
Wow, you're trying to squeeze too much into too little time. Personally, I wouldn't dream of being on the move every second day. You've only got limited time, does it bother you that you'll spend half your holiday in transit? Only giving a destination a day is completely rushing it to tick them off the list.
History wise and for an interesting feeling place you are skipping Hue . You could take an overnight train from Hanoi (could easily spend two days in Hue and you save a hotel/travel time at night) - take a morning train to Danang, some great scenery on the way. It won't take a day to get from Danang to Hoi'an, about 1/2 hour. For what you're planning on you could probably skip right through Danang and go directly to Hoi'an.
I haven't heard great things about the beaches around Nha Trang and since you're ending with beach time you could maybe skip that and see about flying(?) or bus to Dalat directly to save time that you'd otherwise spend exploring Hue - there are also beaches near Hoi'an but when I was there in February no one was swimming. Otherwise fully cutting out Nha Trang and Dalat would give you more time to explore either Hanoi or HCMC if you liked. Around Hanoi you are skipping Ha Long Bay which is pretty high on a lot of people's lists of things to do in Vietnam.
Maybe book the flight in advance as ticket prices tend to go up near the end of January because of the Tet holiday.
Thanks for the info, it's kind of what I thought. Last time I went backpacking, I spent 10 months travelling so I've never been so short for time. I don't want to do too much and come back off of my holiday and feel like I need another one!
It's interesting that you say to visit Hue because I had been told by other travellers to miss it out. It's really difficult to chose what to do with so little time.
I know Halong Bay is meant to be beautiful, the only reason I've not included it is because I thought it might be too cold in January and might be raining?
Can you recommend any websites to book the flight from HCMC to Siam Reap?? Thanks.
#4 janeybaby83 has been a member since 2/12/2012. Posts: 8
I would suggest Vietnam Airlines first. Otherwise Skyscanner.com perhaps . . .
Seems strange to skip Hue as it is one of the cultural centers of Vietnam and not an over-busy hustle-bustleburg like Hanoi and HCMC. I'd read the comments at the bottom of the post on Hue from Travelfish users:
janeybaby, dont dismiss Halong Bay in January: yes, it can be drizzly and cool. I was last there in January and on my travel pics, everyone is wearing a jacket, but 2 of our group went for a swim. OK, they were british and possibly used to cooler water temperatures. But Halong Bay is still stunning and we are off there next month.
I love this time of the year, because although cool in the North, it is bearable in the South. I dont "do humidity", and that is from someone who spent her childhood in the then Saigon.
I agree with previous posts of culling out a couple of towns, eg getting the beach experience out of Hoi An and skipping Nha Trang.
And for internal travel, do look at VietNam Airlines as suggested. Our up and coming itinerary for 2 weeks: HCMC/ Dalat/ DaNanag-Hoi An/ Hanoi. 3 internal flights which totalled US$245 . Beats sitting on a bus on a narrow road stuck behind some motorbikes. And we still get to see the countryside when based in the town above for a few days.
#6 m4yb has been a member since 4/12/2012. Posts: 9
Hello, Thank you so much for all your advice. I have now booked my flight from HCMC to Sieam Reap on 20.1.13 so I have 11 days in Vietnam. My time in Cambodia is all organised but I am still having trouble deciding with Vietnam.
I am undecided about Halong Bay, is the scenery similar to South Thailand? I am a bit of a sun queen and I'm worried I will be a bit disappointed if its misty and aining there.
I have changed my iteniary so many times but this is what I'm thinking. I have missed out Nha Trang as suggested. I've also missed out Dalat which I'm not sure is a good idea or not. I don't want to be too overloaded with cities/towns and thought a trip to the countryside might be good to break it up a bit.
Day 1 Arrive Hanoi at Midday
Day 2 Hanoi
Day 3 Hanoi
over night train to Hue
Day 4 Hue
Day 5 Hue - Hoi An
Day 6 Hoi An
Day 7 Hoi An
Day 8 Hoi An - HCMC (not sure best way)
Day 9 HCMC
Day 11 HCMC fly to Siem Reap (evening)
My other possible alternative is: Hanoi (2 days), fly to Da Nang (2 days). Train to Hoi An (2-3 days), Travel to Dalat (2 days) I'm not sure best way to do this. Then fly from Dalat - HCMC (2 days).........thought I'd put it out there as another idea!!
I will get there in the end! Thanks for all your help.
#7 janeybaby83 has been a member since 2/12/2012. Posts: 8
If you're going to Ha Long Bay for the day, this will take up a whole day. I did it this way and it is a total of 8 hours travelling there and back, plus the boat excursion is slightly shorter. Saying that, it was amazing even though the weather is terrible! You'll need to take warm clothes for that part of your trip.
Personally I wasn't a fan of Hue. The old citadel is pretty cool, but not anywhere near as cool as the one's you'll see in Cambodia. But it does fit with you're itinerary, but if you're a beach person then you could spend more time in Hoi An . A little tip, when in Hoi An head for the 'local' beach, it's a lot quieter and is actually closer to the town. Also a great place to buy some cheap clothes!
I flew from Hoi An to HCMC and it only takes about an hour and cost around £30-£40 but I booked a couple of months in advance. Really good way to make the journey as will help with time.
If you want to go to Dalat remember that the weather there can be very hit and miss and can also be quite cold.
#8 djkeith has been a member since 28/11/2011. Posts: 13