I have 13 days in Vietnam starting in Hanoi. Is this enough time to see Hue & HoiAn and take the train along the coast eventually spending time in the Mekong Delta, or is it better to fly to HCMC and go to PhuQuoc and visit the Mekong Delta at a much slower pace? Are Hue and HoiAn must visits or are they over commercialized?
#1 kathyt has been a member since 22/9/2008. Posts: 2
Hanoi is a 4 nighter. Hue' is a two nighter and well worth it if you want to sight-see. Hoi-An is a one nighter if you are there only to shop. Taking the train is the best route if you have time. Make sure you ask for a 4 bed soft sleeper, or you will regret it.
Just to offer a different opinion (and of course, opinion is all it is...)
I would say Ha Noi is easily done in 2 days, especially if you've no interest in Ha Long Bay. I'm biased though as I wasn't too fond of the place, for various reasons.
Hue is nice enough, but you can see most touristy things (ie, palaces) in one day, two if you take it easy and maybe take a river trip.
Hoi An is very commercialised, a real tourist trap. However, it is as it is for a reason - which is that it's picture-postcard beautiful and has plenty of things to see, and a ton of history. I would say it is a 'Must See' - I was utterly charmed despite its drawbacks.
The Delta can easily be done in a 2/3 day organised trip from HCMC. It can be a bit tourist-merry-go-round but it time's of the essence I think it's the best way to have a meaningful experience of the Delta, as the towns themselves aren't really much to write home about! I can recommend the tours run by Rainbow Adventure at the base of the giant Dragon hotel, HCMC. Same itineraries as everyone else but their guides are absolutely excellent.
Can't comment on Phu Quoc - that's our next stop!
I hope you figure it out and have a great trip!
#4 chaosclaire has been a member since 18/9/2008. Posts: 7
Difficult one really - as it depends on what you want... here's my thoughts tho
Hanoi - lovely city, could easily spend 4 nights here just wandering the streets and soaking up the atmosphere - get out to Tam Coc as well
Hue - a couple of days if only to see the Citadel and maybe a side trip to DMZ / Vinh Moc
Hoi An - Loved the place, wandered the streets eating and drinking ... lazy days on Cua Dai beach... great place, easily worth 4 days for me
HCMC - busier than Hanoi I thought, but again if you like city life this is a great place - just grab a chair in a cafe and watch the world go by... a couple of days in my mind
Phu Quoc - now i really loved this place, did nothing for a week... bliss! Hire a jeep and head to Bai Sao ... amazing beach
Hue and Hoi An are touristy, but get into the side streets and you are away from it all ...
I think you could take people's estimates of how long you *have* to spend somewhere and halve them. You could easily 'do' Hanoi- Ha Long Bay -Hue-Hoi An in 7 nights if you're clever about overnight travel:
Ha Long Bay
Night train Hanoi->Hue
Add a night in Ha Long Bay or Ninh Binh if you can spare another day.
Then it's another overnight trip to HCMC, and 5 nights around there (including 2 in the Mekong - which is touristy and overrated imo). Not sure you have time for Phu Quoc as well, unless it's a real flying visit.
#6 Karimster has been a member since 11/9/2008. Posts: 15
What about Dalat? Will you consider that as well? I heard it's a nice hill-side town worth spending a day or two. Again, definitely it depends on your own preference.
I will be heading to HCMC and all the way overland to Hanoi during X'mas time for around 12 days.
#7 frankyday has been a member since 30/9/2008. Posts: 9
Thank you for all of the information. We have further questions. Can anyone recommend a hotel in Hoi An and Hue ? Cheap, quiet, centrally located. Also, does anyone know a beach slightly South or North of Hue or HoiAn that would be worth spending a few days? Has anyone spent time at Ba Na Hill Station? How many days should we plan on spending there? Thank you.
#8 kathyt has been a member since 22/9/2008. Posts: 2
We stayed at the Thanh Xuan (Long Life) in Hoi An, and the Orchid in Hue.
Read the listings on the respective pages in this site... there's loads to choose from, and it depends on what you mean by cheap... might be less / more than other peoples cheap!
Cua Dai beach in about 3 kms out of Hoi An, which is as good a beach as any...