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Vietnam forum

Itinerary help for early July travel in SEA

Posted by yearn2travel on 3/6/2019 at 14:54

At the end of a 30 day trip around SEA we have about 4 days to make our way from Hanoi to Bangkok. We will have already visited, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Luang Prabang, Siem Reap, Halong Bay, Sapa and Hanoi. We like cultural sites, nature, good food and some smaller places that are laid back.
Ideas we are tossing around: beach (Vietnam or Thailand), Saigon (interested in the war) Or any sites throughout Vietnam that you would recommend? Bangkok the entire time
We could stay in Vietnam for 3 days and fly to Bangkok and just stay by the airport. However, we have never visited Bangkok. We also have thought about some beach time. Maybe Koh Samui (although we are a family of 3 and would rather have a laid back non-touristy beach). Karbi/Phuket look amazing, but the weather seems bad in July. Would you recommend a place in Vietnam to visit after Hanoi that would have culture, a bit smaller town, and good beaches the first week in July? (Thoughts on Hoi An) Although interested in the war, I'm thinking Saigon might be a busy city that would be tiring at the end of the trip. Do you think traveling Hanoi-Beach for just 3 days, then back to Bangkok for 1N is too rushed at the end of month long trip?

#1 yearn2travel has been a member since 18/2/2017. Posts: 3

Posted by antoniamitchell on 3/6/2019 at 23:46

Hi Yearn2Travel,

That sounds like a great trip, however one thing I noticed is that almost everywhere you've got on your list is a major tourist centre. You mentioned that you like smaller places that are laid back, but you're not necessarily hitting any of those places.

It also is worth noting that you've got yourself travelling quite long distances, and travel in SE Asia is slooooowwwww. I'm assuming you're planning lots of flights within the region (LP to Siem Reap , Siem Reap to Hanoi , etc.), but even using flights to avoid long bus or train journeys where you can, a lot of places will still take most of a day to get to. So I'm thinking that getting from Hanoi to one of the Thai islands (requiring a flight to Bangkok, waiting around in the airport for however long, and then another flight to Samui or Phuket or wherever) would be a tiring experience (and waste one of your final days) on a long trip.

(Especially since, as you say, the weather on the west coast of Thailand is often rainy at that time of year, and the main eastern islands - Samui, PhaNgan, etc. - are touristy and will likely be crowded as July is peak season).

So, in my opinion, your two best options both involve staying in Vietnam:

1) Hoi An is lovely, and although the main town is another very touristy place, it does have some quieter beachy areas nearby (the relevant pages on Travelfish have plenty of info).
2) The alternative is to stay in northern Vietnam, and spend longer in the Halong Bay area - most tourists seem to visit on 3D2N or 2D1N boat trips from Hanoi, however you can also base yourself on land in the area and visit the beaches of the various islands. The most popular sites in Halong Bay can be fairly touristy, but there are also quieter areas to enjoy. So that might be a better option to slow down and relax a bit at the end of the trip. I'm not really an expert on Halong Bay (I visited a long time ago, so it's undoubtedly changed a lot) but hopefully the Halong Bay and Cat Ba pages on this site will give you enough info to go on.

And in both cases, you're an easy flight back to Bangkok for your flight home (I wouldn't worry about not seeing Bangkok in this trip - it's an okay city, but hectic and noisy and Westernised - not a "must-see" in my opinion).

Have a great trip.

#2 antoniamitchell has been a member since 13/5/2012. Posts: 566

Posted by larsay on 4/6/2019 at 09:08

The amazing place which immediately comes to my mind is very charming Hoi An, with its fascinating Historic Dsitrict and its beautiful beaches (plus an exceptional gastronomy) ; no wonder it is classified since years as "the most pleasant town in the world where to live" ! You can then fly directly from Danang to Bangkok (5 flights a day from 9:35 t to 18:10 - type "flights Danang-Bangkok" on Googles)

#3 larsay has been a member since 20/7/2014. Posts: 56

Posted by gatoguts on 1/7/2019 at 23:07

I don't know if you've already made your decision, but I would say go with Hoi An. It's near Danang airport, and has history, culture, great restaurants, and some pretty decent beaches, something for everyone :) You could even make a nice day trip from there to My Son, the ancient Cham temple. And you could easily fly back to Bangkok from Danang.

#4 gatoguts has been a member since 23/7/2012. Posts: 29

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