Unfortunately due to a string of events, we've ended up having to really cut down our trip duration...
We've got two nights in both Hanoi (arr 4pm, dep morning) and HCMC (arr 11am, dep morning).
So my questions are:
1. What is the best area to stay in for each? We'll book accommodation before we go to save time/hassle
2. What are two MUST SEE sights for each that we could do in the AM and then PM on the full day we have.
PS have posted something similar for Pnomh Penh.
#1 smash has been a member since 21/6/2009. Posts: 162
Can't comment on HMCM as haven't been there (yet!) but as for Hanoi , you are best off staying in the Old Quarter, I would recommend the Hanoi Youth Hotel - see other posts for details. Try taking in a water puppet show if you can.
just wondering, do people think the Cu Chi tunnels are worth visiting in the morning of the full day we have in HCMC?
#3 smash has been a member since 21/6/2009. Posts: 162
yep... tight schedule!
we're doing halong and sapa :o)
whirlwind tour... we can always come back!
#5 smash has been a member since 21/6/2009. Posts: 162
I agree with Silversnapper, Hanoi is too good for only 2 shortened days! Stay in Hanoi's Old Quarter or Cathedral District - I stay at the Especen Hotel on Tho Xuong (good location near the Cathedral and the Lake with excellent places to eat nearby) firstname.lastname@example.org
Saigon is not my favorite, but I stay in the Pham Ngu Lao downtown at the Bich Duyen Hotel - you can walk to most downtown areas. email@example.com
Both of those hotels should be pre-booked as they are quite popular. Neither hotel requires a deposit to hold a reservation, but you should keep in contact with all hotels - send them periodic emails to let them know you'll show up (many do not, and that's the problem!) These are 2*, $20.-26. for better rooms
We stayed at the Serenity Hotel in the Old Quarter - wonderful, wonderful service and cheap. Computers and flat screens in the rooms and a BATHTUB!! They have sister hotels with a block if booked. Very easy to book anything you need out of there...breakfast, awesome staff. While in HCMC we stayed in an alley guesthouse - much less noise than on the main street, and cheaper. For sights, we went to the Hanoi Hilton, the mausloleum, some army museums, and really just enjoyed the people. Some nice art galleries there. Have a great time!
#7 grasshopper322 has been a member since 30/9/2009. Posts: 25
You won't regret it! Make sure you spend some time just meandering around the little shops in the Old Quarter - even if just for window shopping. There are some lovely places there.
Enjoy your trip! :)
Good call to add a night to your Ha Noi stay. Definitely stay in the Old Quarter. I've stayed at Ha Noi Elegance #1 (8 Hang Bac St.) and Ha Noi Pacific. Prefer the former. Delightful staff, great location. Approx. two doors down (west) is a very cool little hole in the wall shop selling authentic old bracelets, woven goods, shaman's stamps, etc., etc. (along with some newer items). The owner is very knowledgeable about tribal goods. See Hoan Kiem Lake, eat on the street, Water Puppets (touristic? yes -- worth it? yes), Ethnology Museum is very cool (take a cab out there), Temple of Literature.
Enjoy the people and the city, and have fun!
I think you'd be better off in Hanoi in the area to the west of the lake. (the Especen is here). It's close to the old quarter without the noise or the heavy foot traffic which can really slow you down. It's also easy to get from there to the Temple of Literature and the Hoa Loa museum and it gives you easy access to the opera house, the French quarter and the area below the lake. There's also a good supermarket nearby down a lane at 26 Le Thai To, opposite the west side of Ho An Kim lake.
Two places I suggest you eat at in your brief visit
Quan An Ngon, ( which also has a branch in Saigon).A smart restaurant that serves street foods from different parts of Vietnam with reasonable priced, 18 Phan Boi Chau, on a corner. Go early to ensure a seat or book ahead.
Koto, 59 Pho Van Mieu, 747 0338 where street kids are trained. The food is good and the decor and ambience are very pleasant.There are 3 different floors.
#11 violets has been a member since 6/7/2009. Posts: 152
I think because you just 2nights in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh city, I recommend you for first day of arrival, you should discover Hanoi by going to these places: Hoan Kiem Lake, ( try to see water pupet just 40,000VND), Temple of Literature, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, night market if you go to Vietnam on last 3 days of week.... And for second day you can go to Halong, after Halong, you take flight to Ho Chi Minh city
Reminder while walking along the streets, especially near Hoan Kiem Lake and Plaza, there are too many hawkers. They let you carry their stuff then force you to buy their produce, usually bananas. Well, it's up to you if you want a snapshot of yours while carrying those bananas and wearing the traditional Vietnamese hat. Nice experience, anyway.