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Vietnam forum

Advice on SHORT trip to Vietnam...

Posted by knauermd on 13/11/2009 at 09:40

Cheers all,
Wondering if any might have an advice...I have only 11 days on short holiday trip to visit Cambodia/Vietnam...I've heard that if I'm in SE Asia, Angkor Wat is not to be my tentative plans..
I arrive in Siem Reap on Monday, 30 November at 8am, so I get a full day in Angkor Wat... and possibly spend the next two days (so 3 full days) there until Wednesday, 2 December. From there my itinerary looks to be the following:
2 December - Siem Reap - Ho Chi Minh City arriving mid-afternoon 2:40pm - seeing the History Museum, Unification Palace, and then the markets. The following day, on the 3rd, possibly going out to see the Cu Chi Tunnels carved out by the Viet Kong...anyone know if they're worth seeing? Or simply a tourist trap? If not, I'd leave on the 3rd for Da Nang ...otherwise...
4 December - HCMC to Da Nang, arriving early in the morning and catching the train to Hue , returning to Da Nang the following day. Anyone know if Hue is worth the 2.5-4.0hour train ride each way?
6 December - Da Nang to Nha Trang , and spending two days in Nha Trang
8 December - Nha Trang to Hanoi and on to Ha Long Bay for 2-3 days until 11 December, when I leave...
Any ideas if this is a decent itinerary for my first, almost cursory, visit to Vietnam? Anyone think I'll need more time somewhere else? Need to see any other sites or cities or beaches or islands? Phu Quoc looks really beautiful...but is it worth skipping anything else? I have been told it's the most beautiful place in Vietnam...maybe worth skipping Da Nang? Any advice is greatly appreciated!!!

#1 knauermd has been a member since 13/11/2009. Posts: 3

Posted by somtam2000 on 13/11/2009 at 11:02 admin


That's a very very ambitious schedule.

Realisticly, If you're intent on seeing Angkor Wat and Ha Long Bay, I'd skip Da Nang, Hue and Nha Trang and fly (check cheap airfares from Jetstar) from Saigon to Hanoi. Then divide the total days you have for Vietnam between Saigon, Hanoi, Ha Long Bay.

CuChu is touristy, but worth a look I'd say -- if you do a tour out there from Saigon it is generally a day-long jaunt that also includes the Cao Dai temple near Tay Ninh, which is also worth a gander.

If you wanted to add one more spot, perhaps Hue, but flying in and flying out -- I wouldn't recommend trying to do it by land because of your time constraints.

Hope that helps.

#2 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,933
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Posted by thepegasusleague on 13/11/2009 at 16:28

In 14 days (which is a few more than you have on this trip) in Vietnam and Cambodia in August 2008, I did the following:

Flew in to HCMC;
Spent one full day in HCMC;
Caught the bus to Mui Ne ;
Spent a few days in Mui Ne;
Caught the bus to Nha Trang and stopped overnight;
Flew to Hoi An early next morning;
Spent a few days in Hoi An;
Caught an early morning bus to Hue and spent the rest of the day there, including a tour from Cafe On Thu Wheels to the tombs, bridge, pagoda and citadel;
Flew to Hanoi ;
Spent a couple of days in Hanoi (skipping Ha Long Bay );
Flew to Siem Reap;
Spent two full days at Angkor ;
Caught the bus to Phnom Penh ;
Spent a day in Phnom Penh and flew home that night.

Mui Ne is better than Nha Trang unless you're into the party scene. The best of HCMC can be seen in a day. Ha Long Bay is very time-consuming in the context of a short trip, but can be fitted in if you really want to see it (though I didn't bother). The best of Angkor can be seen in two days.

I wouldn't bother with Hue unless you're a real aficianado of 19th c. Vietnamese architecture. It didn't occur to me to go to either Da Nang or Cu Chi, but then again I'm not greatly interested in war stuff and the beach at Mui Ne was enough for me.

It seemed to me that the beach at Hoi An was almost as good as the beach at Mui Ne, though I don't know about Da Nang. Moreover, in my estimation, Hoi An was the most interesting place I saw in Vietnam. I wouldn't miss it if I were you. Phnom Penh is worth visiting but not on a trip of eleven days.

So I would do something like this:

Siem Reap/Angkor (two full days);
HCMC (one full day);
Hoi An (four full days, including plenty of time at the beach);
Hanoi (one or two full days);
Ha Long Bay (two or three days).

All the best.

#3 thepegasusleague has been a member since 9/11/2009. Posts: 5

Posted by knauermd on 20/11/2009 at 09:56

Somtam and Pegasus, thanks for the info...really glad to have it. Either of you been to Cat Ba Island? I'm thinking of going rock climbing there and kayaking from the I missing anything if I don't take a cruise, or do I definitely need to take a cruise? Thanks again!

#4 knauermd has been a member since 13/11/2009. Posts: 3

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