Photo: Canals of Ca Mau, Mekong Delta.

Vietnam forum

3 week itinerary dilemma

Posted by Talia1968 on 16/3/2017 at 06:07

3 week trip itinerary dilemmas...

Hi all, we are planning a 3 week visit to Vietnam in August. We are a family of 5 persons (ages: parents - 48, kids - 19,16,12) and are looking for a trip that will include:

* Experiencing the culture
* Nature
* Animals (if applicable)
* Adventure (Rafting, Zipline)
* Spiritual element (Temples - Would love to see a prayer ceremony, and maybe experience the spiritual aspects, if applicable)

We have put together the following itinerary that includes North, Central and South Vietnam:

Day 1 - Saigon Arrival.
Day 2 - Saigon City Tour.
Day 3 - Saigon - Tay Ninh (Cao Dai Temple), Cu Chi Tunnels.
Day 4 - Saigon - Mekong Delta - Can Tho .
Day 5 - Can Tho - Floating Market, then Back to Saigon.
Day 6 - Fly to Danang - Arrive at Hoian - Walking Tour
Day 7 - Hoian - Farm & Fishing Eco Tour - Is it any good? other ideas?
Day 8 - Hoian Cooking Class half day.
Day 9 - Hoian - Beach Day
Day10 -Drive to Danang, then to Hue - Lang Co Beach, Royal Citadel, Imperial
Museum, Mausoleum of King tu Duc , Dong Ba Market.
Day 11-Hue - Lady Pagoda (Thien Mu Pagoda), Khai Dinh’s and the Minh
Mang's tombs. Then drive to Phong Nha .
Day 12 - Phong Nha - Paradise Cave (Dong Thien
Duong ) and Dark Cave (Hang Toi).
Day 13 - Fly to Hanoi . Afternoon City tour in Hanoi
Day 14 - Hanoi City Tour
Day 15 - Drive to Lao Cai - Sapa Sightseeing and Cat Cat Village
Day 16 - Sapa - Visit hill tribe villages.
Day 17 - Bac Ha (Sunday) Market , then drive back to Hanoi
Day 18 - Drive to Ninh Binh - Hoa Lu & Tam Coc - Is trang An preferable in August? should we do them both?
Day 19 - Drive to Halong Bay - Overnight on the cruise.
Day 20 - Finish cruise and drive back to Hanoi.
Day 21 - Flight back home

Our dilemmas:
Are we trying to cram too much into 3 weeks?
would it be preferable to skip the South?
Are there places that are preferable over our suggested itinerary? for example, Da Lat?

I would appreciate your opinions and suggestions as well as any other recommendations for activities, guides, special accommodations, etc.

Thank You and Cheers

#1 Talia1968 has been a member since 16/3/2017. Posts: 1

Posted by jonathanlee on 20/3/2017 at 22:16

Posted from within Vietnam.

Hi Talia1968
Wow ! You have a good idea , I have no suggestion about your program. I just want to let you know that I am from Vietnam Eco Travel ( one of the best tour companies in hanoi ) , If you want to know more information , you can contact me, i can help you to answer your requests. I recommend you one more place to swim, that is Mui Ne Beach which is really beautiful and near Ho Chi Minh city. Hope you will have a nice journey in my countryside.
Good luck and cheers

#2 jonathanlee has been a member since 20/3/2017. Posts: 1

Posted by maxlewis on 21/3/2017 at 01:51

Posted from within Vietnam.

Hi Talia1968,

If I am honest I think you're squeezing a little bit too much in. Personally, I always prefer a bit of a rest day and after 21 full on days you may be absolutely exhausted as Vietnam's highlighted destinations are hours apart. I found in regards to Tam Coc and Hoa Lu its quite nice but you wouldn't need to do both. Ninh Binh is an excellent day trip from Hanoi and that'll most likely include both destinations anyway though. Are you travelling or yourself or going through an agency?

#3 maxlewis has been a member since 20/3/2017. Posts: 7

Posted by fishtunar on 21/3/2017 at 03:34

Posted from within Vietnam.

Hi there !

I am planning to do 10 days trip in Hanoi in April .

have you find any good agent to book service for your holiday - if yes, pls share with me . I am so confusing now.

FYI , I have book my stay at La Siesta Hotel & spa at Ma Mai street for our frst 2 nights then I plan to visit Halong bay , Visit Mai chao ... any other place would you recomemend?

I heard that Ninh Binh is nice city - but it is the halong bay on land in Vietnam ? May I skip this place or worth to see ?

Any suggestion would be well come



#4 fishtunar has been a member since 4/3/2017. Posts: 7

Posted by maxlewis on 21/3/2017 at 21:25

Posted from within Vietnam.

Hi Tunar,

I went with Tonkin Voyage Travel and I was very satisfied with their service. My consultant was Vy and she had a very strong command of written English so communication was simple and effective. Our guides were great too. Since you receive a new guide at every location I feel you get more of an experience because they're usually local.

If you're time conscious, then I don't think Ninh Binh is an absolute must. To be honest I found it not as nice as the photos and I would definitely do Halong Bay over Ninh Binh. Perhaps fit in Cat Ba when you near Halong City?

As for other places...if you have the time I would definitely try and fit in Hoi An. However, this is something a travel agent will be very good at working out. Are you just staying in the north of Vietnam?


#5 maxlewis has been a member since 20/3/2017. Posts: 7

Posted by SoManyMiles on 22/3/2017 at 09:35 TF writer

Hi Talia1968,
Your itinerary is in theory doable though I do think you are trying to cram a bit too much in. One more relaxation day or an extra day added somewhere would be less hectic especially since your itinerary involves a lot of shuttling around, to/from airports which always eats up time.
Here's a few notes on your itinerary:
-Feedback from travellers - often people say one day in Saigon is enough.
-seeing 3 caves Phong Nha, Paradise Cave and Dark Cave in one day is ambitious but doable full day if you manage your time. Rushed though. You'll probably need to make private arrangements as most public tours lump Paradise Cave and Dark Cave into one full day trip.
-I suggest you try to drop one thing, and considering spending one more night somewhere, perhaps on the Halong Bay cruise or Phong Nha. Both offer the nature component you are looking for.
Hope this helps!

#6 SoManyMiles has been a member since 7/2/2014. Posts: 104

Posted by fishtunar on 22/3/2017 at 22:21

Posted from within Vietnam.

Dear Maxlewis,

Thank you so much for your kind advice. My friend also said That Hoi An is amazing - but we ONLY have 8 days for our Holiday so do you think we have enough time to visit both Hanoi and Hoi An ?

the one we must to do is Halong bay - other place still open plan now
If you give me some more advice . that would be perfect


#7 fishtunar has been a member since 4/3/2017. Posts: 7

Posted by maxlewis on 23/3/2017 at 03:53

Posted from within Vietnam.

Hi Fishtunar,

I think I've just replied to another thread of yours but I'll continue here. I think (with kids) it would be a bit much to fit in Hoi An . I would definitely just stick to the North. Hanoi, Halong Bay & Sa Pa will leave you busy enough as it is. You can contact the girl I was dealing with and she can send you a free itinerary. She's English so very easy to deal with.

I think Halong Bay tours its easily to get ripped off so I would recommend doing your research. Don't go too cheap but obviously, you don't need high-end with kids. I mentioned Sapa driving before and I wouldn't recommend it. Leave Hoi An for when you come back without the kids. Hope this helps you. Good luck

#8 maxlewis has been a member since 20/3/2017. Posts: 7

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