I see a lot of people post their itinerary and people give a lot of good advice.
We are a family of 5 travelling with three girls 10,13 and 16.
Day 1: Arrive late in Hanoi
Day 2: Hanoi
Day3: Halong Cruise with Handspan
Day 4: Halong and return to Hanoi-catch night train to Hue
Day6: Hue to Hoi An (possibly get a driver)
Day 7: Hoi An
Day8: Hoi An
Day 9: Fly from Danang to HCM
Day 10: HCM
Day 11: HCM-Mekong- Can Tho
Day 12: Can Tho fly to Phu Quoc
Day 17: leave PQ to Phnom Phenh
Day 18: PP
Day 19:PP leave late at night
I am worried that we are not spending enough time in Hanoi and HCM other than having one fully day. I also thought it
would be nice to stop and relax in PQ.
Thanks for any advice.
#1 Bellacat4 has been a member since 16/4/2013. Posts: 2
That looks like a reasonable itinerary to me. The only question I have is why you're going to Phnom Phenh at the end? Not that it's not an interesting place to visit but it seems like a lot of hassle and expense for just a couple of days. Personally I'd put that time in elsewhere in Vietnam, like in Hanoi, where you only have one day (not enough!), but if you are fixed to fly out of PP then so be it.
You can hire a driver between Hue and Hoi'an--- but you can also take the train right along the coast and this is very nice while not eating up too much time (though you only get to Da Nang then and have to catch further transport about 20-30 minutes to Hoi'an). My favorite set of tracks on the SE Asian mainland. Not sure the girls are interested in trains, but it might be a nice additional experience and both stations are right in the middle of town.
I overall agree with Sarah that you shouldn't waste the time/effort just to hit PP. There are certainly some interesting historical things to see in the city and it is by no means a 'miss' location, but it isn't worth the extra international airfare (You really don't want to try overlanding from PQ to PP in a single day!) and visa expense. Also, what is really worth seeing may not be right for teenage girls, the Killing Fields & S21. Why not fly back to HCMC so that you can have another night or two there?
That's a lot of time in PQ....
PQ is nice enough, but there's really almost nothing to do apart from the beaches (which /are/ nice).
Also depending on the time of year, it can be pretty blowy and is probably best avoided.. When are you planning to go?
there is an excellent article on this site which, among other things, recommends "off the beaten track." i know you want some security when travelling with sprogs but the vietnamese in general really like children - it can actually make your trip easier because they are more likely to help you. itinery is ok but what happens when you get somewhere like hanoi and realise that you are only going to see a lot of nonsense and will have no idea what life is like for the poor souls like me who live here, let alone the 20% or so who are "real hanoians" and the 70+% who came here to study or work and never left. a witty englishman was asked by a tourist "what should i do in hanoi?" - his reply, "leave"
same with saigon - backpackers walking up and down backpacker avenue with the lonely plonker in their right hand [reminiscent of the religion of peace and treated with the same blind devotion] luckily they only carry water bottles in the other hand.
one city or the other - you can't know places in 2 days. and for goodness sake don't get roped in to visiting uncle ho's mausoleum [built in defiance of the great man's instructions]
i forgot to mention - despite appearances, it is NOT compulsory to wear a red t-shirt with a yellow star.
So maybe leave PQ a day early so that you can break up your journey to PP . . . I'd consider trying to get to Kampot for a night, a quiet nice river town on the way way to PP.
Easyrider from Hue to Hoi An would be a nice experience. Great scenic ride and can stop at marble mountain on the way. I took the train since it is quite highly regarded but honestly it was somewhat disappointing and I ended up reading most of the way. I could tell there was nice scenery but my seat ended was on the non scenic side and it was difficult to see through the windows and nearly impossible to take pictures without leaving seat.
Alternative to Phu Quoc to save money and would be equally relaxing would be to go from Can Tho to Ha Tien then over to Kep. Rabbit Island is a nice enough little island to spend 2-3 days relaxing on and is much cheaper then Phu Quoc. Then you can check out Kep/Kampot(both of which are relaxing have some nice places to eat and decent sights/things to do) before heading into Phnom Penh.
Saves a plane ticket(or two if you were flying from Phu Quoc to Phnom Penh) and has cheaper accommodation. Also get to see a little more then just a beach.