Hi I'm wondering if anyone can help or offer any advice?? I am going to vietnam with my cousin start of July to mid August (around 16 days) flying in and out of hoi chi minh city. We were thinking it may be best to stick to the south and central rather than trying to do north to south and rush, can anyone recommend the best places and things not to miss? We are very keen to do war related stuff, a boat trip, cooking class, spa/massage and a home stay. Any advice about hotels etc would also be appreciated and the best way to travel around south and central (hoping to avoid buses and have been told trains are too slow but have heard good reviews of the open tour bus??)
#1 helenlouise140 has been a member since 27/4/2014. Posts: 2
Don't think you'd need the open bus tour as that is usually for people doing the length of the country over an extended period of time. I want to disclaim what I am about to say with the idea that there are different climate regions and I can never keep straight which is raining the most when, so you'll want to take that into consideration by doing some research. However, saying weather is not a factor I might suggest the following;
After a couple days getting into HCMC and exploring the surrounding war history catch a flight up to either Hue or Danang (depending on price really). Rent a car or motorbike in Hue to explore around the old city and DMZ, take the train from Hue to Danang for a couple hour ride that is super beautiful - be sure to get seats on the left side so you get the full view. From Danang you can also explore Hoi'an for a couple nights of the touristy thing, maybe even get some suits made. Then fly back down to HCMC and explore the area around Can Tho for a couple days to get some boat trips and dellta experience in. You could also fly from Danang to Phu Quoc Island for some beach time, then take the ferry across to the mainland and work overland to Can Tho for a few nights and end up back in HCMC.
HCMC - 2 nights
Hue - 3 nights
Da Nang/Hoi'an -3 nights
Phu Quoc - 3 nights
Can Tho - 2 nights
HCMC - 2 night
Do yourself a favor and avoid any bus or road travel as much as possible - those VN roads can be dangerous and buses damn uncomfortable and also dangerous. I really don't think you'll find much war-related except for what's in a museum. Hoi An is the real jewel as far as comforts and good food are concerned, and there is quite a bit to do there as well as the area islands. Hue is good for history buffs. I am not personally a fan of Saigon (too modern and western for me), but the Delta is quite interesting - be sure to see the floating markets. You are wise not to rush and try to see all of this country - impossible anyway. It will be rainy at that time - just prepare for it and don't let it ruin your holiday, but that doesn't mean 24/7 rain anyway.
I remember really enjoying Dalat and its environs; it was a nice change of scenery and clime, though the bus ride up was somewhat unnerving (we actually passed by the site where a truck had veered off the road and plunged down the slopes earlier that day!). Nothing as unique or exotic as visiting the delta though.