Help needed please! This will be my first time in Vietnam and I really have no idea where to go or what to do. I will be travelling end of August/beginning September for 9 days max. I would like to visit Saigon as well as some other interesting places to get a feel for the country but would also like some beach time so:
The best airport to fly into would be???
How much time in the capital???
How to then travel to a beach resort???
Any tours recommeded???
Thank you for your help.
#1 Emma23 has been a member since 13/4/2012. Posts: 13
If you want to visit Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) then fly into there, airport code SGN. It is nice because the airport also isn't that far outside of town. However, all of this is contingent on how much you want to deal with the monsoons that are kicking in August and September . . . though it rains more in Da Nang then from what I've heard.
With 9 days, keep to a single region, and since you want to explore the south you should stick to the Delta area around Saigon. I'd say you have a few options - but I might do something like this.
Fly into Saigon, spend 3-4 nights there including arrival day.
Depart for Can Tho and spend the night there, enjoy the floating market EARLY the next morning. Stay an extra night if you like it, otherwise move on that same day to Rach Gai (1-2 nights) to catch a ferry over to Phu Quoc Island to get some beach time there (3-4 nights). I personally recommend an extra night in Can Tho though, I think if you get up early the next day you'll have plenty of time to get to Rach Gai and then onto Phu Quoc.
Fly back from Phu Quoc the same day as your departure and just stay in the airport until it is time to leave - after all, for international flights you need to get there 2 hours early, so just book a flight back that arrives 3 or 4 hours before your international flight.
I know my max days shows 10, but minimum shows 7 - so you have something to play around with.
Once you've narrowed down your spots it'll be easier to ask about more specific beaches and tours.
Thank you so much for the information. It's really useful.
How is it best to travel within Vietnam. I have read that public transport is very slow and what with only having 8/9 days I don't want to spend all the time travelling. How would you get from Saigon to Can Tho? and then onto Rach Gai? Are taxis cheap and reliable?
I think the itinerary sounds great and would like to try and do it. However, I have been reading that scams are a big issue in Vietnam so therefore could you recommend any tours or trustworthy travel agents with whom we can do tours.
#3 Emma23 has been a member since 13/4/2012. Posts: 13
I'm sorry I don't know about travel agents or tours, I usually travel on my own - not taking public transport as much, but rather privately owned bus companies. The two that I have experience on are Mai Linh and Phoung Trang. Mai Linh are green and Phuong Trang a sort of orangish-red or redish-orange . . . actually I'm a little colorblind.
The best bet, if you want to do it outside of a tour, is to ask your hotel to book you tickets with either of these companies --- though that doesn't make certain you'll be traveling with either of these companies. Otherwise, if you really want to travel with them, you get a taxi to the correct bus station for your onward destination (again asking the hotel you stay at) and then head to either of these counters - usually very clearly marked - and book the next available ticket.
As I said - I've never done a full Mekong Delta tour - so I can't help with the best way to do it as an organized tour. Perhaps best to post a specific topic in the Vietnam thread about doing organized Mekong Delta tours to Phu Quoc.
I second that!
Casey's itinerary sounds perfect to me. It's possible that an operator in Saigon will offer a tour which matches this itinerary but if not, and if you don't want to do it 100% on your own, you could look for a tour that goes to Can Tho (I know they exist although they will probably do the touristy spots in My Tho as well) but leave the tour in Can Tho (rather than returning to Saigon) and continue onto Rach Gai on your own. The bus to Rach Gai can be organised in Can Tho easily through your hotel and when you get there you will be able to easily sort out the ferry to Phu Quoc.
OP - don't mind this joker - you can do it all by yourself, and easily (as casey, the male, has highlighted).
#7 chinarocks has been a member since 17/6/2011. Posts: 738
Agree it's not too difficult to do alone, but when we went we found it was cheaper to take a one day tour to My Tho , partake in all the activities, eat lunch and then not go back to Saigon with the tour than it was to just get the bus to My Tho. So if the OP is cautious about doing it alone, a combination of tour and go-alone could provide both security at the start of the trip and a cheaper option.
We did actually find it tricky to get from My Tho to Can Tho , so if doing it alone a bus direct to Can Tho from Saigon is recommended.
Are taxis cheap and reliable?
Taxis are one of the biggest problems in Vietnam - the opportunities to scam tourists are just too easy to pass up for the average poor cab driver. Only use recommended cabs that have been recommended by other reliable travelers (Mai Linh is the one I use).
Long distance buses can be a real danger, but shorter runs like HCMC-Can Tho are not too bad, and really the only way to get to the Delta short of a tour. (Vietnamese roads are dangerous places)
By the way, Saigon is not the capital of VN - that's Hanoi.
I think the laughter was that you mistook me for a girl (honest mistake though as Casey can be a lady's name as well).
However, having a travel agent suggest that you need a travel agent does ring disingenuous at first.