I plan to spend 9 days in Vietnam this June with my girlfriend. We will be flying to and from Vietnam from Thailand as we are spending 3 wks in SE Asia on our way to Australia. I realise that 9 days in Vietnam is not much but unfortunately that is all that we can fit in!
Any comments on my itinerary would be greatly appreciated. I was originally intending to fly into [url=http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Tourism-g293924- Hanoi -Vacations.html]Hanoi[/url] and out of Da Nang but I cannot find any direct flights from Da Nang to Thailand so will have to fly back from either Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh - we will be going to Chiang Mai after Vietnam. We are interested in nice scenery and interesting/historic cities and also would like to fit in a day of beach time in Hoi An . This is our first time in SE Asia. I am thinking something along the lines of the following:
1 - Hanoi (arrive early that morning from Bangkok)
2 - Hanoi
3 - 2 day / 1 night Halong Bay tour from Hanoi
4 - Night train from Hanoi to Hue
5 - Hue
6 - Hoi An (get day time train from Hue to Da Nang and bus to Hoi An)
7 - Hoi An
8 - Hoi An
9 - Two options:
- either fly to Ho Chi Minh from Da Hang with VietJut, spend the night in Ho Chi Minh and fly to Thailand on the 10th day
- or spend an extra night in Hanoi/Halong Bay/Hue/Hoi An and fly from Da Nang to Ho Chi Minh and on to Thailand all on the 10th day (i.e. just dedicate the 10th day for travelling)
Any comments/recommendations? I have a few questions:
- Which option would you recommend for the 9th night? At the moment I am siding with spending an extra night in Hanoi/Halong/Hue/Hoi An and just fitting both flights into the 10th day, missing out seeing any of the city of Ho Chi Minh. My thinking is to try and see the other 4 places as well as i can and just use Ho Chi Minh as a means of getting back to Thailand. I am also aware that the weather will probably be best in Hue/Hoi An in June.
- If i go with this option which of Hanoi/Halong/Hue/Hoi An would you recommend i spend an extra day in? I have heard that it is good to fit 2 nights into Halong Bay if you can but would this be advisable if we have only 9 days total in Vietnam?
- Is there much chance of the trip to Halong Bay being ruined by rain/storms in June?
- If we have only 9 days would you recommend getting a flight from Hanoi to Da Nang, instead of the night train to Hue, thus missing out on Hue altogether and spending extra time in Hoi An?
- Would anyone recommend cutting out somewhere else to fly down to Ho Chi Minh and spend 2 nights there before i fly back to Thailand?
I know this is a lot of questions, but with only 9 days in Vietnam i would like to try and spend them in the best places! Any help would be greatly appreciated!
#1 Poyntzpass has been a member since 17/2/2013. Posts: 4
A few thoughts:
I'd drop Hue and forget about Ho Chi Minh City -- you just don't have time.
On your day 9 option I'd go with option 2 and give the extra day to Hanoi
Your suggestion of ditching the train and flying is a good one - for a trip this brief I think that would be the better option as you're still managing to fot in Hanoi, Ha Long and Hoi An.
#2 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,798
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Or as you are interested in historic sites and nice scenery you could fly direct from Ha Noi to Hue and get the train or hire a car down to Hoi An (a really amazing journey, so do it in the day light).
Thanks for the comments.
I would like to see Hue and the scenery between Hue and Hoi An from the train as I hear they are both good. However with the time constraints maybe it is better to just fly from Hanoi to Hoi An and forget about Hue. I looked into flying to Hue from Hanoi instead of getting the night train but it looks like Hue airport will be closed in June which is a pity.
So you would recommend to spend the extra day in Hanoi instead of Halong Bay or Hoi An, even though I already have two full says sightseeing in Hanoi (we arrive at 9am the first day)? Are there good day trips you can recommend from Hanoi and Hoi An (that don't involve spending most of the day travelling)? I have heard that Ninh Binh is worth seeing. Is it far from Hanoi?
#4 Poyntzpass has been a member since 17/2/2013. Posts: 4
There are lots of day trips you can do from Hoi An where the journey is as much a part of the day as the destination. The loop taking in Son Tra, the Hai Van Pass and Marble Mountain with a little stop at Lang Co is stunning. As is heading towards the Lao border to the mountain minority villages near Prao. You can take a boat and bicycle trip over to the smaller islets from Hoi An old town and it feels like you are a whole world away or overnight on Cham Island which is at it's best in June for snorkeling and micro diving.
Hue is still a day trip from Hoi An, if you take a car direct it takes two and a half hours each way, if you were to overnight in Hue you could do the scenic Hai Van Pass/Lang Co route there and the tunnel or train back.
I'm a big fan of Saigon in 24 hours if you've got a good itinerary and a well located base. If you are dropping Hue, it might not be such a bad thing to see if there is anything of interest for you there as it is on your itinerary already.
Sadly Ninh Binh is not somewhere I have been lucky enough to go to yet, but maybe someone else can help you with the stuff up north.
I wouldn't bother with Ninh Binh . The main reason people go there is to take a boat ride down the river at Tam Doc, among the karst scenery. It is pretty, but you're going to Halong - also pretty! Ninh Binh area also has some good cycling routes, but so does Hoi An, and while the Hoa Lu ancient city is attractive, it's not really a must see, and you're going to Hue which has the historical dynasty stuff. So as you're short on time, I wouldn't bother.