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Vietnam forum

3 weeks taking it easy: skip South and Central Vietnam?

Posted by saranneman on 31/12/2012 at 09:29

Hi there!

we plan to go to Vietnam in June for 3 weeks.
It's our first time we're going to SE Asia. We're 25 and we like different types of traveling, like trekking (West Highland Way in Scotland, some trekking in Norway and last year the GR20 in Corsica), but we can also enjoy a 3 week road trip in the USA! But we never discovered a non-western culture. So this time we wanted to combine beautiful nature with a different culture. So we made our choice, Vietnam it is.

I still have a lot to read, but we also still need to book our flight tickets (and we don't want to postpone that any longer), but before we can do that, we need to have a broad idea of our itinerary.

I first thought to do the classical South-North trip from HCMC to Hanoi.
However, we do not want to rush from one city to another and spend more time on public transport than enjoying our holidays.

Things we would like to include are a motorcycle trip, a small trekking in the mountains in the North West (and in the central NPs?), cooking classes, a boat trip (Mekong or around Halong Bay) ... you know, the things where you can relax a bit and see the real Vietnam. Things we are less interested in are beaches, parties and war museums/memorials.

So I'm starting to doubt whether these type of activities can fit in a 3 week HCMC-Hanoi trip without rushing? Is it a better idea to skip the Southern part of Vietnam (and so HCMC and the Mekong Delta), and fly directly to Danang? From there on we can discover Hué, Hoi An and then head up to the North and seeing more by doing less?

I know this a very general question but any help will be appreciated!
Anybody has done a similar trip, skipping South and Central Vietnam?


#1 saranneman has been a member since 31/12/2012. Posts: 1

Posted by MorrieC on 31/12/2012 at 15:13

In 2011 we were having the same thoughts you are now having. We had 18 days and decided to see Vietnam in sections. The main consideration was the weather patterns. If you do some research you will see the weather is quite diverse from south to north and I would pick the area with the best weather for that time of year you are going to visit.

I am a total believer that traveling less and enjoying the culture and the area you are in is the way to go.
Have a great trip.

#2 MorrieC has been a member since 27/12/2010. Posts: 7
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Posted by LolaNguyen on 3/1/2013 at 04:27 TF writer

Posted from within Vietnam.

I'd skip Central Vietnam altogether, if you want to do all the above in a relaxed manner over three weeks. Ha Noi, Sapa and Ha Long or the more beautiful and less touristy Bai Tu Long nearer the Chinese border would cover city (nightlife), trekking and boat trip, from there you could travel down to Phong Nha national park which has the worlds largest cave and as of the end of Jan 2013 they are starting up the tours to Hang En cave - a trek where you overnight in a spectacular cave that is only just opening up to tourism, the park is mind blowing and there is a beautiful beach (totally unspoiled) about 50kms away.. If you go in the dry season Northern Vietnam could in fact tick all your boxes - unless you are looking for beach party time, then it would be worth flying down to Saigon where you could do the Mekong Delta for a few days and head over to Phu Quoc or up to Mui Ne.

#3 LolaNguyen has been a member since 28/8/2012. Posts: 94
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Posted by travellingsarah on 3/1/2013 at 05:12 TF writer

Posted from within Vietnam.

I definitely agree on Hanoi , Sapa , Halong and Phong Nga, but think Hue and / or Hoi An could be fitted in there without overdoing it in 3 weeks. I had friends over (to Hanoi) at the end of last year for just under 2 weeks and they spent 3 days in Halong, 4 in Sapa (more than most people do) and shopped for days on end in Hanoi and 2 weeks was plenty of time to enjoy and relax, so I think spending the 3rd week for Phong Nga and Hue or Hoi An is perfectly feasible. But then I went top to bottom in 2.5 weeks the first time I was here and loved it so each to their own!

#4 travellingsarah has been a member since 23/3/2010. Location: Vietnam. Posts: 684
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