1. Arrive in Hanoi via flight from Bangkok and spend 2 nights there
3. Sleeper train to Sa Pa, stay there for a few days then back to Hanoi
4. Then a bus to Ha Long Bay and get a tour there and stay maybe 1/2 nights before returning to Hanoi
5. Then get the sleeper train down along the coast stopping at Hoi An and Nha Trang for a couple of days each
6. Arrive at HCMC and spend 3 days there and then get a flight back to Bangkok
Is this a good plan?
#1 liverpoolmeg has been a member since 21/5/2014. Posts: 3
You'll book the train to Da Nang and from there head to Hoi'an, which has okay beaches near it, the one closer to Da Nang is often cleaner. I'd recommend you skip Nha Trang , I've never been but had several people tell me it was disappointing. You might want to add an extra day around Hoi'an anyway. You could spend a day exploring Da Nang on a motorbike (Monkey Mountain? to Northeast of the city is a great morning excursion). Then you could fly out from Da Nang the next day to HCMC to save some time. If you wanted to move another day from Nha Trang I'd explore taking a one night trip to Can Tho to check out the floating markets. It'll be a bit hectic, but you could leave HCMC early one day, stay the evening, wake up very early for the floating market (that is how it is done) and then leave in the afternoon to return to HCMC. Not ideal, but I love Can Tho.
In my opinion, Hanoi itself deserves more time (less in Saigon), and I also agree that Nha Trang is not worth it. Most Halong Bay cruises include transportation from Hanoi. Don't expect much on Viet trains - you might want to use domestic air instead.
I'm going to add another voice to those that advise to skip Nha Trang . I really liked Hoi An, and stayed longer than planned there, Nha Trang was just a Russian resort. Which is fine if you are Russian, but your name gives you away :)
I liked the street food better in Hanoi (compared to HCMC), but I liked the war monuments and exhibits better in HCMC than Hanoi. However, when I was there, Saigon in January had perfect weather, and Hanoi in March was drizzly, so that may have colored it for me.