Hey! I'm going backpacking in Vietnam in April though I only have 9 days of free time. I saw this itinereary from a tour website
Day 1: Arrival
Day 2 Ha Noi
Day 3: Ha Noi- Ha Long
Day 4: Ha Long -Ha Noi
Day 5: Ha Noi - Hue
Day 6: Hue – Da Nang – Hoi An
Day 7: Hoi An
Day 8: Hoi An – Da Nang - Ho Chi Minh
Day 9: Departure
I found it intresting though it seems hectic. Just wanted to know what I can skip among the destinations or should i just extend my trip? Btw how much is the flight from Ha Noi to Hue?
Thanks in advance!
#1 kaelp has been a member since 2/2/2009. Posts: 3
I similarly have 10 nights in April, and I've decided to keep my side trips to a minimum. I was faced with the same dillema on whether to make the South-North trip from HCMC to Hanoi and I opted against it. I'll be setting camp in Saigon, and taking it slow, making the odd trip to Mekong, Phu Quoc, and maybe Hoi An. I figure I'd soak in the atmosphere rather than rushing to make departure deadlines. I'm on vacation afterall!
#2 keltron has been a member since 5/2/2009. Posts: 6
We're doing the same in April and I've done it twice before.
The HaLong bay takes up quite a bit of travel time as you have to go during the day.
Better to spend more time in HoiAn than NaTrang.
With such a short time I'd tend to travel at night. ie train to Sapa and return to HaNoi. Then train to DaNang /Hoi An. Then plane to Saigon.
I hate the trains but hey its VietNam and a real adventure.
See you there!!
I completely agree with both of you.
--Keltron Im thinking the same thing, I dont want to get harassed trying to stick to too stringent a sched, tho i wanna make sure i see the cant miss places.
--Stigron I agree with riding the trains. It isnt the most convenient or comfortable way to travel but it adds to the adventure.
Will try to trim down my schedule, but from what ive read Ha long, Hanoi and Hue are cant miss places so I might stick to that.
Incidentally where are you guys staying? Looking to stay at Tung Trang Hotel. you?
#4 kaelp has been a member since 2/2/2009. Posts: 3
I've been eyeing down the Saigon Mini Hotel. Looks nice for an affordable price.
#5 keltron has been a member since 5/2/2009. Posts: 6
To me, that itinerary seems like it would be spent almost entirely in transit. If you travel at night, it would be doable, but probably not enjoyable. I'm here in Vietnam now and have been south, central and north, and my favorite region is the central. I felt Hanoi and Ha Long were okay, but enjoyed Hue and especially Hoi An much more. My girlfriend and I are in Hoi An now and we've decided to spend an extra week here.
I would consider these options:
1. Do it as you have planned but forget the slow trains or busses and fly from Hanoi to Danang and then Danang to Saigon. Jetstar offers these routes for around U$30 one way.
2. Pick one region or the other. If you did the north, you could enjoy a more relaxing Ha Long trip and add Sapa to your itinerary - if you're the outdoorsy type, Sapa is for you (it was our highlight of the north). If you did the central, you could set up camp in Hoi An and take a side trip up to Hue.
3. Extend your trip.
For me, nine days would be the perfect amount of time for either the north or central, but I think doing both would be more tiring than fun. Although, if you're travelling alone and are seeking that 'open road' experience of being on a train with your journal, maybe pushing it is just what you're looking for.
Whatever you decide, enjoy it!
Thanks Dluek! I'm actually thinking of just doing HCM-Hue-Ha Long-Ha noi-HCM.
Is this more feasible or will this still be too stressful?
You hit the nail in the head as I really am an outdoorsy type. My ideal trip would be a couple days strolling the city and just being steady in the evenings and majority of the time seeing cultural and scenic spots. Given the time constraints do you think even with the revised itinerary I wont be able to have that kind of trip?
Should I really just settle on either the north or central? If so, can you give suggestion for the 9 days? Im kinda iffy about just going to 3 places in 9 days.
Thanks in Advance! appreciate the feedback!
#8 kaelp has been a member since 2/2/2009. Posts: 3
I haven't been to Hue. But me, I'm trying to get back to HoiAn for a week. Not sure if we can manage as getting from Seam reap to DaNang is a bit exxy.
HaNoi is an amazing city. Please DO NOT cut short your time there. Gees we had to go back after one trip.
One place not to miss there is a restuarant called Cha Ca LaVong. Ask anyone they know it. It's really worth it.!! And another is to have Bun Cha on the street for lunch. A Hanoi treat!!
we are not sure where we're staying in Saigon. A friend has a girlfrind there (don't ask) and she is going to help us. from there we have absolutely no idea where we'll end up.
I'd say your revised itinerary looks more doable than before, especially if you're flying the long stretches. If not, you can expect to spend close to half your total time on the train/bus. From HCMC to Hue by train is a full 20 to 24 hours, same for Hue to Hanoi . Even Hanoi to Ha Long City by bus takes 4 to 5 hours each way.
This itinerary and these time restraints may be better suited to tour companies rather than independent travel, which would cut out some of the effort and stress of finding your way to bus/train stations and fighting your way to the ticket counter (people don't really 'wait in line' here). Personally, if I only had 9 days, I would fly from HCMC to Danang, Danang to Hanoi, Hanoi to HCMC, or just pick one region, or pick 2 regions and fly from one to the other. If you skipped HCMC, you could fly directly to Danang, see Hoi An and Hue each for a day or two, then fly to the north for 4 days total, then fly from Hanoi back to HCMC. They do have an overnight train to and from Lao Cai (near Sapa), so that could be an option for you, and if you had 4 days in the north total, you could probably squeeze in Ha Long Bay too. If you do go to Sapa, I can recommend a good place to book a trek.
Hi kaelp -
Wy wife and I are headed to Vietnam in May. With kids at home, our time away is limited, so we are also only spending 9 days in the country. Our tentative itinerary is as follows:
Day 1 - Arrive in HaNoi, walk tour of the Old Quarter
Day 2 and 3 - Halong Bay junk cruise.
Day 4 - Fly from HaNoi to Danang(shuttle to Hoi An ).
Day 5 and 6 - Hoi An (My Son, beach, wander around). Fly to Saigon
Day 7 - See sights in Saigon and shop markets
Day 8 - Cu Chi Tunnels and My Tho tour
Day 9 - Depart
You can see that right now I have cut Hue out. That was a real tough one, because I really wanted to see the Hai Van pass and Vinh Moc tunnels, but I felt like the travel between Hue and Hoi An would just take too much of my limited time in Central Vietnam (we wanted some relaxation time). So we chose relaxing in Hoi An over seeing the culture of Hue. Not saying this is right, but just giving you another idea.
#11 pokycoug has been a member since 18/3/2009. Posts: 1