My freinds and I are due to travel to Hanoi on 17/03 returning from Hanoi on 28/03. This gives us 11 days, which we are hoping to go around Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.
This is the provisional destination hittng list we have (to go round in this order)
-Halong Bay or Hue
-Siem Reap (Angkor)
There is a lot there so here are the Qs:
1) Time: is it feasible to do this within 11 days?
2) Priorities: What are the must sees in V/C/L given the time.
3) Travel: What travel arrangements are worth making, air, bus, coach? Any information on travel most welcome.
4) Accomodation: Any useful places to stay in the above locations?
Thats all for now, its a very general Q at the moment but need to gauge from peeps who have been there or are there of what logistial constraints there are.
Look forward to your responses. Happy travels and blogging.
#1 rooster has been a member since 7/2/2008. Posts: 1
You should first recognise that the distance / time ratio you are familiar with in your home country are way different and journeys will often take double or more time.
Ha Noi through Ho Chi Minh City usually requires a minimum of three weeks.
Ha Long Bay is usually a 2-day trip; Hue is a 12 hour road trip from Ha Noi - a three plus hours by air (city centre to city centre). Hue city can be adequately covered by a half-day City Tour bus tour.
If you are going to Hoi An plan on staying over in Hue overnight and taking a 4 hour bus journey to Hoi An.
Hoi An doesn't have an airport so you will spend the better part of a day in a bus and aircraft getting into HCMC. Hoi An requires a day and a night to even quickly see the important parts of town.
HCMC generally require almost 3 days to see everything.
There are flights to Siem Reap, from HCMC, or a 1 day road journey to PP and another day to SR. IMHO PP can be given a miss.
Assume two-thirds of a day to fly into each of your other destinations then add at least 1.5 days for each of your Laos destinations.
Bottom line is, to my mind, to much in to short a time.
#2 CatBa has been a member since 5/3/2007. Posts: 349
Hi Rooster. I have never been to Vietnam, but based on my research, it seems that your time might be better spent in Hanoi and Ha Long Bay given the amount of time it takes to get to Hoi An. I was in Cambodia last year, and I found Angkor to be a far more valuable experience than Phnom Penh. I would skip PP and spend at least a day and a half touring Angkor and enjoying Siem Reap in the evening. Good luck!
#3 lolamcg has been a member since 23/2/2010. Posts: 3
As CatBa pointed out, too much in too little time. I hate to say anything is impossible, but this itinerary is in the running.
Idea 1: You could see Ha Noi (3 days [4 nights] to do it justice); a 2 day, 1 night Ha Long cruise; fly to Hue (2 nights); Hoi An (2 nights). You're up to nine nights. You could add a close-in overnight from Ha Noi (Ninh Binh/Tam Coc, etc.), or add a night somewhere else.
Idea 2: Fly in to Sai Gon (4 nights); fly up to Nha Trang or spend some time in the Delta; go to Da Lat; maybe work in Phan Thiet/Mui Ne.
Idea 3: Wait until you can bank more time and go for a longer time?
There are several variations on this theme, and perhaps others will weigh in. Bottom line, I guess, is do a lot of research and try as hard as you can to severely limit the scope of your travels. My prejudice is always towards more time in less places.
All people are right. Travelling to too much places in 11 days. I advise you to travel on plan to save your time. I would like to propose the itinerary for you as following:
Day 1: Hanoi arrival - Free time
Day 2: Hanoi - Halong bay
Day 3: Halong bay - Hanoi fly to Danang - Hoi An .
Day 4: Hoi An free time
Day 5: Hoi An - Danang - Siemriep ( flight)
Day 6: Angkor visit
Day 7: Angkor visit
Day 8: Siemriep - Vientiane
Day 8: Vientiane visit
Day 9: Vientiane - Luangprabang by car
Day 10: Luangprabang
Day 11: Luangprabang - Hanoi - fly out
Have any question, feel free to ask people here.
@Archmichael: nice to meet you again there.
#5 travel2vietnam2010 has been a member since 24/2/2010. Posts: 8
No way is that itinerary possible even if you flew every single route. 11 days is not a lot of time.
<"Hoi An doesn't have an airport"> True, but Da Nang has an international airport half hour from Hoi An.
If I were you I'd stick to Vietnam - Ha Noi, Ha Long Bay, fly to Hue, Hoi An, fly back to Ha Noi from Da Nang. (If it were me I'd cut out Hue, fly to Da Nang and spend an extra day or two around Hoi An, that way you could get a roundtrip from Ha Noi to Da Nang to Ha Noi).
Altenrately... Ha Noi, Ha Long Bay, fly Ha Noi to HCMC, fly roundtrip HCMC to Siem Reap back to HCMC, fly HCMC to Ha Noi. This would be more expensive, a lot of flights and not a lot of time at each place. Or you could do a roundtrip from Ha Noi to Luang Prabang instead of going to HCMC/Siem Reap. This would also be an expensive flight.
Personally I would save Laos and Cambodia for another trip. Just do Ha Noi/Ha Long/Hoi An and maybe Hue. Just that would be a good experience.
As Christay2009 and DLuek say: too much in too little time. Concentrate on the northern part of Viet Nam (Ha Noi, Ha Long, Hue, Hoi An, etc.), or the southern part (Sai Gon and various destinations accessible from there).
Flights within Viet Nam are quite inexpensive. All flights between countries (i.e., HAN>LPQ, SGN>REP, etc.) are pretty pricey.
Less destinations. More time in each. You'll have a much more enjoyable holiday.
11 days is short time to travel around 3 three countries.
With your time limited, I suggest you 2 options:
Option 1: If you want to discover deeply culture, local life.
I suggest you travel around Vietnam.
Vietnam have a lot of “can’t be missed” destinations.
Hanoi : 2 days, join the full- day city tour ( visit HCM mausoleum, unique one pillar pagoda ,temple of Literature, explore the Hanoi Hilton - a nick name given by US pilots during the war…) and you are free to stroll around the city .
Halong Bay : 2 days, sight-seeing the beautiful limestone islands, explore the Cave of Surprise, swim or kayak at Hang Doi, overnight on boat.
Hue: 1 day, visit the citadel, the traces of splendid dynasty Nguyen,Thien Mu pagoda, enjoy the boat trip along Perfume River.
Hoi An : 1 day, explore My Son Sanctuary, join Thu bon river visiting handicraft villages, cheerful time at Cua Dai Beach.
Nha Trang : 2 days, visit a beautiful and crystal beaches, explore Mun Island, Mot Island, Tam Island, Chai Village, relax in luxury resort.(Vinpeal Land),..
Mekong Delta: 3 days, visit Ho Chi Minh city, expore local lfie with floating –market (Cai Be, Cai Rang), visit Nam Cat Tien National Park.
Option 2: If you want to widely culture, adventure tour
I suggest you travel around Vietnam and Cambodia
Your schedule Hanoi (2day) – Halong Bay (2days) – Hue, Hoi An (3 days) – Ho Chi Minh (1 day) – Siem Reap ( 3 days) – Hanoi
From Ho Chi Minh to Siem Reap you can fly with Vietnam Airline or Laos Airline.
In Siem Reap: You can join the cycling tour to expore Angkor Complex (Angkor Thom, Ta Prohm, Banteay Kdei and the remote areas( Kompong Phlux & Rolous Group, Banteay Srei).
From the city use can use bus or coach.
Indochina Travel Service
@ Daawgon: Lao is great, but given logistics there, don't you think 11 days is still too little to do it justice?
@ LaureneCao (Van Cao): Both your options have these folks traveling a lot and not having much time to relax anywhere. E.g., one day at Hoi An, split between My Son and Cua Dai doesn't sound very cheerful. I think one would do a trip like that, come back, and the whole thing would seem a bit of a blur. That's my take on it, anyway.
All the best, and happy travels!
I reread your OP and am thinking your air tickets must've already been bought. If that is so, and you are locked in to flying in and out of Ha Noi, I would suggest you restrict your holiday to the northern part of Viet Nam. Three days or so in Ha No, a Ha Long bay cruise (1 night only I would suggest, due to time constraints), perhaps up to Sapa, down to Hue and/or Hoi An . The beach at Hoi An really is quite nice. At least this way, you're flying within Viet Nam, which is cheaper than flights between countries in SE Asia.
Luang Prabang is beautiful, but you can't fly directly into there.....you have to go through Ha Noi, Sai Gon or Bangkok first, which would eat up some time.