Photo: Canals of Ca Mau, Mekong Delta.

Vietnam forum

Itinerary Critique - Vietnam South to North in 6 days

Posted by camsydt on 3/5/2013 at 06:43

Hello all!

I would be more than grateful if you can give information with regard to our itinerary (Is it doable? What should I include and/or delete?):

May 16
*Arrival from Manila: 1:00 AM
*Explore the Chu Chi Tunnels in the AM
*Explore downtown HCM in the PM
May 17
*Travel to Dalat in the day, via bus/van/train
*Explore Dalat the rest of the day
May 18
*Explore Dalat in the AM
*Travel to Hanoi in the PM, via plane
*Explore Hanoi in the PM
May 19
*Travel to Halong in the AM, via bus/van/train
*Explore Halong Bay and stay overnight
May 20
*Travel back to Hanoi in the AM, via bus/van/train
*(1) Explore the rest of Hanoi OR (2) Travel to Sapa and stay overnight
May 21
*(1) Explore the rest of Hanoi OR (2) Travel back to Hanoi in the PM, via bus/van/train
*Flight back to Manila: May 22, 1:00AM

I'm thinking of skipping Sapa, as we have that kind of countryside here in the Philippines (I know it's not the same, though. SIGH) and adding Hoi An to the itinerary. Is Dalat worth seeing or is it "skippable?" I don't need to see the beaches as I've been living in an island for the past year; no need to include in the itinerary.

Thank you so so much!

#1 camsydt has been a member since 3/5/2013. Posts: 2

Posted by caseyprich on 3/5/2013 at 07:05

6 days 5 locations! Seems to me that you should keep to one area, for example just spend 6 days around HCMC and the Delta OR Fly directly into Da Nang and spend all 6 days checking out Hue-Hoi'an and Da Nang OR just fly to Hanoi and check out Halong Bay with maybe a trip out to Sapa if you have the time.

Or . . . fly into HCMC and spend 2-3 nights there and then fly up to Hanoi for the 2-3 nights in Hanoi with one day in Halong Bay if you really want to see more.

#2 caseyprich has been a member since 3/3/2010. Location: China. Posts: 1,281
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Posted by chinarocks on 3/5/2013 at 08:01

Good advice from casey.

I hit up 5 locations when I was in Nam but I had almost three weeks. You do not want to be rushing around as much as you are proposing.

You could easily spend six days in Saigon alone, sampling the street food, visiting the war museums and hitting the excellent nightlife.

In any event, cut back on what you are planning. For what it's worth I thought Hanoi was much nicer than Saigon. Hanoi and HB in six days would be reasonable.

#3 chinarocks has been a member since 17/6/2011. Posts: 738

Posted by antoniamitchell on 4/5/2013 at 03:54

Hi Camsydt,

I'm afraid I also completely agree with the other posters - unless your main vacation aim is "to see the beautiful buses of Vietnam" you're setting yourself up for a disappointment.

If memory serves, the bus I took from HCMC to Dalat left after breakfast and didn't arrive in Dalat until 3 in the afternoon (traffic is bad, so the trip look about an hour longer than scheduled). By the time we'd gotten from the drop-off point to the guesthouse and checked in, it was close to 4pm - not much time left to explore before dark, so we'd effectively spent almost the entire day in transit. That was fine for me, as I was on a slow schedule (and stayed in Dalat for a further 3 days before I moved on) but I'd hate to spend the day on a bus when I had to move AGAIN on the following day.

I also think Dalat is all right, but not a must-see (I much preferred the Hue/Danang/Hoi An area).

Caseypritch's advice is spot-on: basing the entire trip around one region (HCMC+Mekong Delta, or HoiAn+Hue or Hanoi+Halong Bay) if your main flights aren't booked yet, or spend 2 days in HCMC then fly to Hanoi/Halong Bay if your main flights are booked.

Best of luck whatever you decide, and have a wonderful time!

#4 antoniamitchell has been a member since 13/5/2012. Location: Singapore. Posts: 510
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Posted by Geer1 on 5/5/2013 at 01:26

Dalat isn't worth it for a day. It has neat evergreen forests and rolling hills but other then that isn't really anything special. Sapa as well isn't worth it for only a peek as it is 9+ hours travel each way.

With so little time I would spend another day in HCMC(1 day isn't enough, Cu Chi tunnels and then War Remnants Museum(they will drop you off here on way back from tunnels) will eat up most of the day let alone seeing anything else in the city. The rest of your itinerary kind of makes sense, 2 days in Hanoi is good as is 1-2 days in Halong Bay which leaves 1 extra day. Since it seems you want to see as much as you can it would make sense to try and see something close to either HCMC or Hanoi. Maybe a day tour of the Mekong Delta? Other options for day tours as well but I didn't go on any of them so not sure.

#5 Geer1 has been a member since 14/9/2012. Posts: 540
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Posted by sybille47 on 10/5/2013 at 07:36

there is something else you should consider. It would only take one major delay to throw your whole itinerary out of wack. Rethink seriously, because you are spending a lot of money, but ask yourself what you are really getting out of a trip like that.

#6 sybille47 has been a member since 13/1/2008. Posts: 4

Posted by daawgon on 11/5/2013 at 12:19

Totally agree with the others - stick to one region, and you will be better suited. Avoid as much road travel as possible as VN roads are bad, and the drivers are really really really BAD!!!!!

(By the by, Sapa is not to be missed)

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Posted by camsydt on 12/5/2013 at 01:43

Hi all,

Thank you for everyone's input! I've made the necessary adjustments in our itinerary. :)

May I know if visiting the "Cao Dai Temple" will be worth it? We were thinking of going there, coupled with the trip to the Cu Chi Tunnels.

Thank you so much!

#8 camsydt has been a member since 3/5/2013. Posts: 2

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