Photo: Canals of Ca Mau, Mekong Delta.

Vietnam forum

Itinerary 3 weeks Vietnam & questions

Posted by VietRoos on 9/12/2013 at 12:36

Hi there,

Me and my friend are going to Vietnam in january. Never been to Asia so I'm exited :)

We love nature, strolling around, food, having a beer, watching people living their lives and drive around on bikes (no motors!). We're not in great shape so trekking in the mountains isn't on our list.

We have a few things arranged already (private tour Ninh Binh province, train to Hue , hotel in Hoi An and flight to HCMC).

This is the plan so far:

1 Arrive early in the morning in Hanoi
2 Halong Bay or Bai Tu Long (overnight on island or boat?)
3 Halong Bay or Bai Tu long and early in evening back to Hanoi
4 Hanoi
5 Private car to Mai Chau (homestay)
6 Cuc Phuong NP (guest house)
7 Hua Lu & Tam Coc (nighttrain from Ninh Binh to Hue)
8 Hue (relaxing, tombs, perfume river?)
9 Hue
10 Hue
11 Taxi to Hoi An via the pass (mayby a stop at the Cham Museum in Da Nang or a visit to Bach Ma NP?)
12 Hoi An (relaxing, My Son, biking?)
13 Hoi An
14 Hoi An
15 Taxi to Da Nang for flight to HCMC
17 Mekong
18 Mekong
19 Mekong
20 Mekong
22 Early in morning flight back home

Any suggestions, do's en don'ts are appreciated!

My questions:

- Is Bai Tu Long indeed more quiet and beautifull (less pollution) compared to Ha Long Bay?

- Is 4 days Hue mayby too long (enough to do?) and is it easy to get on a bike (without getting hurt in hectic traffic ;)) and visit more peacefull villages/scenery?

- I'm thinking of cutting Hue short and spent a night (on our way to Hoi An) in Bach Ma NP. Good idea? Or just walk there a few hours and skip staying the night?

- We are in Hoi An during Tet; are the shops mostly closed before or after 30th of january?

- Then the Mekong; Is there a big difference between the north and the south of the Delta? I would like to stay in the south; Ben Tre, Tra Vinh, Vinh Lon and Sa Dec. Mayby stay at 1 (nice) central location and do daytrips? Which location would be wise?

Thanks in advance!

#1 VietRoos has been a member since 9/12/2013. Posts: 4

Posted by UsTwo on 9/12/2013 at 14:04

I spent three relaxing days in Cai Rong after seven weeks of riding around northern Vietnam.
Bai Tu Long is, indeed, much quieter than Ha Long. Beauty is subjective, but I certainly was impressed. Took a ferry to Minh Chau, nice beach there.
Did not see any tour boats there, so if you want to spend time overnight on the bay, not sure if you can.
Can't help with the rest of your questions.

Have fun!

#2 UsTwo has been a member since 22/4/2010. Location: Australia. Posts: 72
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Posted by VietRoos on 9/12/2013 at 14:56

Thanks for your response!

#3 VietRoos has been a member since 9/12/2013. Posts: 4

Posted by antoniamitchell on 9/12/2013 at 16:02


I'm not a confident (or terribly experienced) cyclist. I would never have dared cycle in the mad traffic of HCMC, but I felt safe enough to cycle in the Hoi An area, as well as a bit around Hue .

There's some really lovely quiet countryside around Hoi An to cycle in (I went out one day with Heaven and Earth Bike Tours, but you can easily explore on your own with a good map) - rice fields, ricketty wooden bridges connecting small islands, roosters running about in narrow streets, etc. You can also cycle or walk (maybe 3-4 miles) to the beach from central Hoi An.

The tombs in the hills around Hue are a bit out of town - you'll have to be quite fit or used to long-distance cycling to make visiting them all on a bicycle practical (I'm lazy so I went to the tombs by motorbike, and only visited a few temples nearer town by bicycle).

Hope that helps!

#4 antoniamitchell has been a member since 13/5/2012. Posts: 541
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Posted by VietRoos on 10/12/2013 at 02:15

Thank you for the information! I'm a scrared of motorbikes. Hopefully I will get some courage once set in Vietnam ;)

#5 VietRoos has been a member since 9/12/2013. Posts: 4

Posted by PinkPox on 19/12/2013 at 22:03

Posted from within Vietnam.

Bai Tu Long bay is indeed quieter than Halong bay with much less tourist cruises. As you only spend one night in the bay, staying overnight onboard is highly recommended. If you want to go Cat Ba island and stay overnight at a hotel in Cat Ba, there will be a bit rush because you should do 3 day/ 2 night Halong bay - Cat Ba, not 2 days/ 1 night.

Many cruises do Bai Tu Long bay trip like cruises from Indochina Junk, Treasure Junk, Legacy Cruise, Paloma Cruise.

Have a great trip in Vietnam!

#6 PinkPox has been a member since 28/12/2012. Posts: 6
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