I will be flying into Ha Noi March 2. My partner and I will spend approx 4-5 weeks in Vietnam, and 3-4 weeks in Cambodia. We need to be in Thailand May 5 for a course.
I know this will be near the end of the "good" season and getting hotter before the wet season starts, so I was wondering how this rough itinerary would work (this is the vietnam section, so I will only post those places). Will any of these places be too hot? Or is it still manageable?
March 2 Fly into Ha Noi.
Ha Noi to Sapa. Trek and volunteer
Sapa to Ha Noi to recharge and go to Ha Long Bay for a day, then on to Bai Tu Long
Head back to Ha Noi.
Train or Fly to Hue.
Explore Hue, then train through to Da Nang and Hoi An (stopping in each, of course)
Hoi An to Nha Trang
Maybe Nha Trang to Da Lat
Con Dao Island, Phu Quoc Island
Anything else in the south of Vietnam?
We are interested in natural beauty, UNESCO sites, food, culture, people, and would love to see things off the beaten track. We don't plan to do much partying aside from a few beers,etc
My question is what would be a reasonable amount of time to see all these places? We are fine with overnight trains to save time, and I was also wondering how far in advance to book the cheap flight from Hanoi-Hue? Or can I do that once I arrive in Vietnam?
Thanks in advance, I already have done a lot of research and looked at other itineraries, which have been very helpful!
Hey guy stever
Got love to answer your answer, and feel u lucky, because we just do the same schedule as u with Nancy from Impressive Travel Vietnam via her business email: firstname.lastname@example.org but just a bit difference, our trip not end in Hanoi , we finish our trip in Ho Chi Minh city after 2 days Mekong tour finish.
Let me see, with experience of just taking a tour in Vietnam, so I just can help you with Vietnam information, about Cambodia, or another Laos... you should find a suitable ones who can help you more in the Cambodia forums.
The mentioned itinerary would work well, and u can ask for Nancy help.
As I know that Vietnam will be not too hot in March, that will be spring time, the weather is smooth, yes of course it is still manageable
March 2 Fly into Ha Noi - that ok. and you will be picked up from airport to hotel, if u need them help
Ha Noi to Sapa . Trek and volunteer => yes, do some easy trekking to Lao Chai Ta Van & Cat Cat villages. They are most nice one to visit. Do volunteer, that mean, you should bring children there yours old clothes, notes, pens...
Sapa to Ha Noi to recharge and go to Ha Long Bay for a day, then on to Bai Tu Long => Yes, you will come back to Hanoi early in the morning after Sapa tour finish. But u can go to Halong bay on the same day, since the picking up time is 8-8.30 am, so u still have nearly 3 hours of recharge. If u wish to visit Bai Tu Long Bay,1 day is not enough time, and it is also very rush, make u tired in often moving. 2 days on Halong Bay is great, easy, enjoyed - that's my suggest, and of course that we felt and experience
Head back to Ha Noi. => Yes u will back to Hanoi around 18.00 pm if u take 2 days, if 1 day, you will back later
Train or Fly to Hue . => Flight is not cheap. Train is better, and very good to take daily train with soft berth
Explore Hue, then train through to Da Nang and Hoi An (stopping in each, of course) => Yes, when the train bring u to Hue, it already late in the evening, so u will stay 1 night in Hue hotel first. Our arranged hotel in Hue is in very centre. To explore Hue, we took 1 day trip, with listen music on boat trip on Perfume River. No need to take train from Hue to Da Nang or Hoi An. I was talked that, around 30km in distance only, so best take transfer by car. This also arranged in the schedule for us, Nancy help us very well, and she made lots of take care during the trips
Hoi An to Nha Trang . U can not go straight from Hoi An to Nha Trang. There is no train station, or airport allow u to do this. U have to go back from Hoi An to Danang train station( if you want to take train), to Danang airport( if u want to take flight ). In Nha Trang we stay free and easy. But on second day, we took fishing and snorkeling tour. Nancy one again not make us disappointed, she arrange very skilled teacher who can teach us how to snorkel well. Also The Summer hotel that she arranged also very good option, our hotel room totally seaview
Maybe Nha Trang to Da Lat => Best way take flight. We did the same
Mui Ne: Stay easy is best
HCMC: Should go shopping at Ben Thanh market, and do some tour around if time permit u. Such as Cu chi tunnel or Mekong delta 2 days as we took
Con Dao Island, Phu Quoc Island => stay free and easy also the best
Can Thao => this call Can Tho , not Can Thao. it will have if u take 2 days on Mekong cruise tour, u will be slept in Can Tho area at hotel, or home stay, depend on your options. but remember we was advised that the homestay condition is so basic, that why we choose hotel staying
We are interested in natural beauty, UNESCO sites, food, culture, people, and would love to see things off the beaten track. We don't plan to do much partying aside from a few beers,etc => Yes, all u mentioned already adapted your wish, but for further u can go to Mai Chau. good way into further close ancient culture, people in local
My question is what would be a reasonable amount of time to see all these places? We are fine with overnight trains to save time, and I was also wondering how far in advance to book the cheap flight from Hanoi-Hue? Or can I do that once I arrive in Vietnam? => Yes, u have enough time to do all mentioned place seeing. As I said, you can save more to go by train from Hanoi-Hue, not flight as it is not cheap. If book flight, I think better deal with Nancy's Agent. Because we mad also a compare, to see it is still cheaper do the overall tour with her
Cheer up, hope you also enjoyed and have a nice trip with her carefully operation. We finish trip, but the feeling still besides, and remains. we also drop a thanks email to her when we back already Singapore, and not forget to give her agent well rates reviews on Tripadvisor. She is very useful, and sincere. We had t confess with her that we were totally persuaded
I can't really speak on Cambodia, as I've never been there. For Vietnam:
1) You've got quite a lot of places on your list to try and fit into 4 weeks - if you can manage the 5 weeks, that will be better. I'd recommend you keep your itinerary as a general guideline only, rather than a must-follow plan, so you can adjust it as you go along.
2) In my experience you don't need to book the internal flights a long time in advance. When I was out there a couple of years ago, I booked several flights just a few days in advance (I just went to the airline's ticket office in whatever town I happened to be in at the time, because it seemed easier than booking online and then having to find an internet shop where I could print the eticket). Tickets are a bit more expensive if you book last minute, of course, but even then they weren't fantastically expensive. If you have a look on the airline's websites, and search for tickets for a few days time, it will give you an idea of general last-minute availability and prices.
3) Weather wise, northern Vietnam will likely still be cool, although the south will be getting hot. Just slow down in the hot weather, and don't be afraid to take some time out with a cold drink when you feel like it, and you'll be fine.
Hope that's helpful. Have a lovely time.
I agree with Antonia on all points. As long as you're not travelling over a Vietnamese holiday - which you won't be in March - there shouldn't be a problem booking the flight once you arrive. If you were 100% sure of your travel date then I'd recommend booking in advance to potentially get better prices, but it doesn't sound like you are.
Regarding length of time - I did a very similar trip and took around 5 weeks (4th Aug - 7th Sept to be exact!) although we were in HCMC longer than expected due to sickness and wanting to hang around for some celebration or other (I can't rememeber what now).