I'm going to have about a week and a half in Vietnam at the end of November. I'm coming in from Phnom Penh, so will be travelling from the south. I'd like to be able to see as much as possible, including the Mekong Delta and up to Hue/Hoi An. I'd also like to see some of the central highlands.
I'm planning on taking the train back to Saigon from wherever I end up (if I can make it to Hue, or from Hoi An), but I'm wondering if it's practical, time-wise to attempt the central highlands scenic stuff too on the way up?
I won't have the most time, and would like to have a couple of days in Hoi An and maybe a day in Hue. How long does it take to go from Saigon to Hue through the central highlands, like on bus or in a hired car? Am I cutting it to close by attempting that?
Thanks in advance for your help.
#1 halu has been a member since 21/8/2006. Posts: 31
Well, let's day you've got ten days in Vietnam, it will take you one day to get to Saigon (from Phnom Penh) and it takes around 20+ hours from Saigon to Hoi An (give or take). A lot of people go Saigon -> Dalat -> Nha Trang -> Hoi An -> Hue, so if by the Central highlands you mean Dalat, you could probably fit it in, but if you mean BMT, Plei Ku, Kon Tum, then you will not have enough time -- particularly if you also want to see the Mekong Delta.
If you're coming from Phnom Penh, you could do something like:
Phnom Penh -> Chau Doc
Chau Doc -> Can Tho
Can Tho -> Saigon
Saigon -> Dalat
Dalat -> Nha Trang
Nha Trang -> Hoi An
Hoi An ->Danang, fly back to Saigon and exit
Even with the above, I'd say it's pretty rushed -- ten days isn't all that long and Vietnam is a big place -- on the ground transport, while reliable, tends to take longer than most expect. You could fit more in by doing the Open Tour thingy, or by travelling at night -- but believe me, you'll enjoy Vietnam a lot more if you decide to see fewer places at a more comfortable pace, than by travelling every day.
Hope that helps!
#2 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,651
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Thanks, Somtam! That is VERY helpful.
#3 halu has been a member since 21/8/2006. Posts: 31
Okay, so we're probably nixing trying to get through the central highlands AS WELL as the coast.
I have one more question on the subject:
If we go by bus from Saigon to Hue, where should we stop to break up the journey a bit? Do we have time for that? Or should we just take the train up and back? I'd definitely like to have some time to spend in Hue and Hoi An.
#4 halu has been a member since 21/8/2006. Posts: 31
If you come from Cambodia and been to Angkor you can give Hue a miss. Itinerary could be:
Phnom Penh-Chau Doc
Chau Doc-Can Tho (1/2 CD, afternoon to CT)
Can Tho-HCMC (floating markets, afternoon to HCMC)
HCMC-Buon Me Thuot
BMT (elephant riding, canoe, trekking, homestay around Lak Lake)
Kontum-Hoi An (take the back route Highway 14 to Danang !)
Hoi An till flight out via HCMC or Hanoi
You'll have the best of the central highlands, the delta and Hoi An to finish with (great old town with nice beach 4 km out of it)
Do you know, roughly, the travel times between each of these places?
I hope I'm not asking too much.
#6 halu has been a member since 21/8/2006. Posts: 31