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Vietnam forum

How many days HCMC -Da LAt- Nha Trang- HCMC

Posted by jmgh on 17/5/2009 at 19:52

Hi We have 10 days in Vietnam in late Sept and would like to see some countryside. Da Lat and Nha Trang appeal, can anyone advise if it is possible to see both places, I thought we could travel on the night train from HCMC to Nha Trang 2 nights there then the bus to Da Lat overnight there then back to HCMC. we are into the sights(not war related)the food and shopping also whats not to be missed in Ho Chi Minh City we've only booked our first 2 night accomodition so far.

#1 jmgh has been a member since 17/5/2009. Posts: 6

Posted by brucemoon on 18/5/2009 at 07:19


I think there are many here on Travelfish that could say 'do this, go there do that, etc.' And, they would probably say visit this city, go to that city, etc, etc. In part, you are doing the same by mentioning Sagon, Dalat & Nha Trang .

But, then, you also say you want to "see some countryside".

You then say that you want to travel between cities by night. I would have thought that if you want to "see some countryside" you may have entertained day travel. But, if I 'decode' these apparently conflicting messages, I suspect you are saying "we want to EXPERIENCE some countryside".

I am assuming you enter/depart Saigon (prefer Saigon to HCMC).

In many respects, Nha Trang is just a mini Saigon. Yes, it has beaches, yes there are a lot of expats there, yes its got a different night vibe. But, if one takes a sweeping generalised approach, for the tourist with so little time there is much similarity. Given this, I wouldn't be rushing to Nha Trang just because it's there.

If you 'must' see a beach, I suggest you go down to Long Hai and spend an overnight there: also much easier from Saigon, and if you go via Vung Tau, you'll see a quite varied array of scenery.

I would thoroughly recommend going to Dalat. Being in a mountainous region, it provides a very different scenery experience to the lowlands. And, the foods available are somewhat different to the lowlands as well.

When there, if you can ride a motorbike (eg. 125cc Honda dream, or auto step thru), you can spend much time enjoying the wonderful countryside. If not, hook up with the Dalat 'easy riders' to get taken around. In fact, if you can afford it, you might like to explore the option of going from Saigon to Dalat (each) with an 'easy rider' taking about 3 or 4 days. You WILL get a feel for the countryside, and have experiences that you will retain for many years to come.

As the Dalat - Nha Trang bus goes to the coast and first reaches Phan Rang, you can also choose to take the bus from Dalat to Phan Rang and then to Cam Ranh Harbour (or stay in the Phan Rang area), enjoy the wonderful beaches in the area (vastly better than Nha Trang) and experience a less western touristy city. Then, catch the train / bus back to Saigon: or catch a flight from Cam Ranh back to saigon (maybe in time to connect with your outgoing).

Hope this helps


#2 brucemoon has been a member since 27/12/2008. Location: Australia. Posts: 1,941

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Posted by anhluc on 18/5/2009 at 11:27

Tens days is alot of time and I would decide just how much of the country you want to see. The trip between Da Lat - Nha Trang - and Sai Gon is a very common one especially for locals during national holidays. Nha Trang is popular for the beach and the bay and the breeze tends to cool things down and Da Lat with it's higher elevation is also cooler. The cooler temperatures is what draws the locals and also explains why Bao Dai had villas in both places.

How is your budget? Is it really tight, or do you have some cash for in-country flights. If you can afford flights I would recommend going to Tuy Hoa - limited flights from Sai Gon or to Cam Ranh (Nha Trang's airport) and going inland to Da Lak Province ( Buon Ma Thuot ). This is rural South Central Viet Nam and a chance to see country and not many ex-pats and other tourists.

From Buon Ma Thuot you can go south to Da Lat real easily and from there you can fly back to Sai Gon. Again, the flights are the best way to go and any tour operator can get them booked for you, and they are relatively inexpensive when you consider the time you will save.

As far as food and shopping - it goes from one end of the spectrum to the other. Last month I was looking at a whole crocodile skin for UD $1400, and settled on a t-shirt for US $2.

As I mentioned, I was just in Viet Nam and have return tickets purchased the same time you will be there. Last month was my fourth time in three years, but my first up north. If you really want a good trip - get out of Sai Gon, get to Ha Noi and from there go to Sa Pa and then to Ha Long Bay . Ha Long Bay you will want to do 2 nights 3 days. Sa Pa you do a night train up - one night in Sa Pa and a night train back to Ha Noi - that's five of your ten nights.

You'll find out you can get alot done in just a little time if you plan properly. A tour operator will really save you time and money.

#3 anhluc has been a member since 15/5/2009. Posts: 32

Posted by jmgh on 18/5/2009 at 19:27

Thanks for the replies more food for thought,
Yes Brucemoon we will enter and leave Vietnam via Saigon,
My thoughts on using the overnight train are that it would give us more time to sightsee and I have a rotten habit of falling asleep on buses and in cars but not for some reason on trains.
I guess I am saying that we would like to "experience" some countryside.
love the idea of the easy riders Saigon to Dalat trip I have a bit more research to do now. If we go with the easy riders we can go where we want as we want, love it.
I intend to return in April 2010 with my husband and travel from north to south.

#4 jmgh has been a member since 17/5/2009. Posts: 6

Posted by brucemoon on 19/5/2009 at 06:26


When you 'research' the 'easy rider' option, I suggest you'll get confused at the many options.

A recent thread on this is at:

I suggest two options in my reply at that post. Note that the easy rider option is not cheap, but you REALLY DO get to experience a side of Vietnam that few others' would.

That said, I often 'digest' the issue of price.

Some say "I don't worry if people rip me off in Vietnam, cause the prices are so low anyway". I think "I hate being ripped off, I get cranky". But, while I get cranky about being ripped off, compared to what I'd be forced to pay here in Australia, prices are still very low. So, I measure 'reality' with 'is it value for money'?

Similarly, I recently spent 3 days 'doing' the Gibbon Experience in Laos. It was awesome. The price was 160 Euro's. For Laos that's really really expensive. But, was it value for money - absolutely. It couldn't be got any other way. And, there's nothing else like it.

And, adding to that, I spent 3 days on a Halong Bay cruise that moored at a remote location. It was expensive, was it value for money. For me, yes because I enjoyed the tranquility of remote locations in an overcrowded Halong Bay. Yes, I could have been at Halong Bay for less $$$, but not achieved the tranquility.

So, if you look at the easy riders price (and it's not cheap), ask yourselves - how much did it cost to get to Vietnam, and is this price thus too expensive. And, could we get a similar experience another way? If NO, then you have an answer.

ps. There are several 'easy rider' groups, and the prices do vary. The things to look for are (1) the relative fluency of the driver/s in your language, (2) the route you'd be taken, and the knowledge of the driver/s of the history, etc. along that route, and (3) what is included/excluded in the price.


#5 brucemoon has been a member since 27/12/2008. Location: Australia. Posts: 1,941

Posted by uktravelman on 11/6/2009 at 22:17

hi can anyone tell me the best wat to get from nah trang to da lat thank you

#6 uktravelman has been a member since 11/6/2009. Posts: 7

Posted by BruceMoon on 12/6/2009 at 09:21


Most people take a bus.

The travel firms - such as Sinh Cafe - can organise a ticket on a bus that goes from Nha Trang to DaLat. Generally, the bus is a day bus.

I'm not aware if there is a night bus on that route.

Have a look at and email them for advice over cost.


#7 BruceMoon has been a member since 27/12/2008. Location: Australia. Posts: 1,941

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