First time post, just became a member and have been reading all your posts.
My wife and I are going to Vietnam in March 2010,our first time, for 19days. We are backpacking it from North to South. I have put together an itinerary below.
Could all of you Vietnam experienced travelers please have a look and make suggestions if I have missed something or something wont fit due to travel times ect.
Yes it is the Bannana trail but we have added free days here and their to go off and explore.
Also we will only pre book Hanoi hotel, to get us started and then wing it from then on.
Day 1 : Arrival Hanoi Morning – Rest of day free
Night 1 : Hanoi guest house
Day 2 : Hanoi relaxing and shopping – free day
Night 2 : Catch night train to Lao Cai
Day 3 : Lao Cai - Sapa - Cat Cat - Sin Chai
Night 3 : Sapa – Mountain view hotel
Day 4 : Sin Chai - Lao Chai - Ta Van -
Night 4 : Catch night train back Hanoi
Day 5 : Hanoi Arrival - Halong Bay (overnight on boat)
Night 5 : Halong bay
Day 6 : Halong - Hanoi
Night 6 : Hanoi Guest House
Day 7 : Hanoi - Hoa Lu - Tam Coc – Hanoi
Night 7 : Hanoi Guest House
Day 8 : Hanoi – Free Day
Night 8 : Hanoi – Hue - Train 12hrs
Day 9 : Hue : City Tour / Boat Trip / Shopping
Night 9 : Hue
Day 10 : Hue – Bus to Hoi An
Night 10 : Hoi An
Day 11 : Hoi An - Beach and shopping in Hoi An Old Quarter
Night 11 : Hoi An
Day 12 : Hoi An - Danang
Night 12 :Danang – Nhatrang : Train
Day 13 : Nhatrang Tour
Night 13 : Nhatrang
Day 14 : Nhatrang – Bus / Car to Dalat
Night 14 : Dalat
Day 15 : Dalat - Nhatrang
Night 15 : Nhatrang – Saigon - Train 12hrs
Day 16 : Saigon – Free Day
Night 16 : Saigon
Day 17 : Saigon - Tay Ninh - Cu Chi – Saigon
Night 17 : Saigon
Day 18 : Saigon - Mekong Delta – Saigon
Night 18 : Saigon
Day 19 : Saigon Departure to KL
Appreciate your time and advise. Stuart
#1 stuartaus has been a member since 24/9/2009. Posts: 3
I think your trip looks great and you have left yourself a fair bit of time at the end in Saigon so if you want to spend a day or so longer somewhere else you have the option.
I would think when you can to take the train instead of the bus (I have just read some horror stories about the bus.
We are also in the throws of planning a trip and we are going to rent motor bikes from Hue to Hoi An , but there is also a train to Danang which isn't far from Hoi An (that is you can get a taxi from the Danang to Hoi An without breaking the budget).
Not sure what the travel time is from Nha Trang to Dalat, but you could do an easy rider tour or similar.
Just a couple of thoughts anyway that I hope you find useful.
We will be doing a trip in December/January, so I will post back and let you know how we got on. Not the same trip as yours but some similar short stints.
#2 KazAussie has been a member since 18/7/2009. Posts: 221
My only comments would be to:
a) consider dropping one place -- either Hue or Dalat, to give you a bit more time to spread around the other spots.
b) Look at doing the leg from Hue to Hoi An by train (means you get off the train at Da Nang and get a taxi/bus/moto from there) -- it is easily one of the most beautiful train trips in the region.
Otherwise, looks good, and agree with KazAussie that the buffer time at the end in Saigon is a good idea.
#3 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,789
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Thanks guys for your input, will take it all on board.
#4 stuartaus has been a member since 24/9/2009. Posts: 3
What time does the train from Sapa get into Hanoi ? The trips to Halong tend to leave Hanoi at around 7 / 8 am I think so you may want to make sure you have arrive in time to catch the tour.
Taxi from Hue to Hoi An was around the $40 mark booked through the hotel - for Hue (budget depending) I would recommend the Orchid Hotel (http://www.orchidhotel.com.vn/) - great place
Have a great trip
I'm familiar with 2 of your hotels. Hanoi Guest House has a bad habit of not holding reservations - they did not keep mine. My friend swears by the Phoenix Hotel and I like the Especen on Tho Xuong. Mountain View in Sapa is rather a dump IMHO - better to try the Anh Dao or Cat Cat Hotel. If I were you, I'd fly between Dalat and Saigon to save time. I would also say you need more time in Hanoi, and I feel you're wasting too much time in transit.
Your way of travelling is just like changing places. After your trip you can say that you have been to Vietnam, but you have seen nothing. I would to that in 2-3 months, not in 19 days.
My only suggestion would be to spend longer in Hanoi if you can - I reckon you could easily while away a couple more days there. As others have said, though, the extra day or so you have allowed yourself in HCMC at the end of your trip might mean you can do that. Enjoy.
I think you'll find the timeframe is too tight and you won't be able to relax. At least if you haven't booked everything you can change your plans and slow down. Your itinerary looks like the organised tours, but someone has organised everything for you; I think you will spend a lot of time booking the next part of your trip and not enjoying what you are doing.
Hanoi is a terrific city and needs time. I think you'll find Hue and Hoi An more enjoyable if you give them another night. Sapa looks very tight and, although it's probably possible to go straight on to Halong (train gets into Hanoi about 5am ) I think you will feel stressed out and not have time to savour each trip.
I would cut 2 or 3 places and see more of what you leave in.
#9 violets has been a member since 6/7/2009. Posts: 152