Hi to all in the the travelfish community. My first post here so looking for some much needed advice and help.
As my title explains, I am visiting Vietnam between 7th - 29th December this year, travelling SOLO! 5 years ago I done a gap year with my best pal to "find myself" and travel (drinking mainly in hostels with other).. now I'm 25 and decided it's time to dust down the backpack and visit Asia again.
I have spend around 12 weeks in total in South East Asia before so I know what to expect in a way, my main difference this time is I'm going alone and for only 3 weeks not 12 months.
I don't want to pre plan my whole trip as I worry it could hamper my experience. Instead, I know I want to end up in Hanoi on Christmas eve and from Boxing Day to the morning of 29th visit Halong Bay. The time in between is mine to travel and explore so please give me some advice
I have read from research that the weather will be milder in the south so I don't want to head into Hanoi before the 24th (at least I can come home with some sort of tan!)
My initial rough plan involves mulling around Saigon for a day or two to get over the jet lag (flying from London) and get used to my surroundings, then head up the coast to visit some beach towns. I was thinking to fly from Danang to Hanoi to save time, but would like to stay in Hue first so would mean going back on myself?
My main worry is Hanoi at Christmas. I know Vietnam isn't a Christian country but I expect a lot of European travellers will be staying in the hostels etc. Can anyone recommend somewhere from previous experience?
Also, the most popular question... Halong Bay boat tours... has anyone been on a tour just after Christmas?
Thanks for reading, any little tips or stories would be appreciated.
Oh and my budget is going to be around Â£300 a week, Â£900 in total. The exchange rate works out at about 1,500,000 dong per day for everything. I plan to stay in hostels or hotels. I would prefer a bit of luxury in the hostels if possible and would be drinking a few beers every now and eating in mid range budget restaurants (but would also love to be eating with the locals and trying the wonderful street food) Does this seem a reasonable budget?
#1 travellingtom88 has been a member since 7/10/2013. Posts: 1
You'd never know you're in a Communist country, because the Vietnamese love Xmas, and decorate more than we do in the States. I love Hanoi , and you probably will too because it's such an intimate friendly town. Stay in the Old Quarter or Cathedral District - I suggest Hanoi Backpackers Hostel on Ngo Huyen Street or the Especen Hotel around the corner. This page gives a good link to a Hanoi Old Quarter map. By the way, that's more than enough $$$!
One more tip, go to Sapa in the NW Highlands - an awesome place
#2 daawgon has been a member since 17/4/2007. Posts: 1,111
Yeah, as Daawgon said, Ngo Huyen is the most popular street for backpackers that looking for a budget hostel and it takes only 3 minutes on foot to Joseph's Cathedral. Vietnam isn't a Christian but we still decorate as a Christian and warmly welcome every where you go in the city on Chiristmas. The weather is a little bit cold at that time in Hanoi (totally different from the South of Vietnam). If you want to meet up local please feel free to contact me. I can not show you around but definitely I'll give you some best street foods in Hanoi. The budget is reasonable or not depending on how long are you staying in the North? I don't know much about the price in the South but about Hanoi I can give you a quick response. Leave me more detail if you need help.
#3 VietBuddy has been a member since 23/9/2013. Posts: 2
The above posts say right about Christmas in Hanoi. Hanoian love Christmas and decorate the streets a lot. Especially young people, they often go out to celebrate Christmas. You will have a nice time there, don't worry.
For cruises in Halong bay, there are no differences if you go just after Christmas. Everything will be as normal. Halong bay cruises are very professional in event celebrations and their services, so don't worry. I think a 3 star will cater basic needs very well: good foods, private cabins, private bathroom with hot water, but if you need a bit luxurious, choose a 4 star. Glory Preminum is very nice 4 star one, which offer reasonable prices.