A friend and I are flying into Hanoi on March 5th and out of Ho Chi Minh on March 20th. Rather than spend so much time traveling down the coast, we thought it might be worth the flight cost to hit up Laos instead. Do you think this itinerary will work for us? I understand that less is more, but when you have full time jobs, two weeks a year is all you get and we want to make the most of it. Sadly, another trip back to Asia anytime soon is unlikely, and I've already seen and loved Thailand and Cambodia. Here is what we were thinking. Is it possible/enjoyable?
Thanks in advance! The advice posted on this site is always invaluable.
Hanoi > Ha Long Bay > Luang Prabang > Vang Vieng > Phu Quoc > Ho Chi Minh City
#1 lolamcg has been a member since 23/2/2010. Posts: 3
i guess it is possible, but it seems like you'd be choosing a whirlwind tour of southeast asian airports rather than taking the opportunity to explore vietnam in a bit more depth.
i definitely understand the idea of limited time and wanting to make the most of your trip, but i really think that the itinerary you've listed above will have you spending far too much time in transit and nowhere near enough doing what you are flying to asia to do. and that doesn't even take into consideration the cost of all those flights.
also, if you fly to luang prabang, the only way from there to vang vieng is by bus, and it is pretty much an all day trip. from there, you'd either need to bus back up to luang prabang (all day again) or down to vientiane (3 hours or so) to catch a flight to HCMC and on to phu quoc.
getting from place to place in southeast asia always seems to take longer than expected. so, in other words, possible yes, enjoyable no.
i know, it is always a trade off, but i think you'll be much happier just relaxing and making the most of the time you have in vietnam and spending the money that would have gone to airfare on nicer hotel rooms and such. just my two cents of course. have a great time. cheers.
You are so right to point out that I might get more than a little sick of airports. Exacto, do you think it is a wise compromise to cut out Vang Vieng and Pho Quoc (in favor of the overnight train to Nha Trang, time and energy permitting). Is Luang Prabang worth the flight? Thanks so much to you both for the advice.
#4 lolamcg has been a member since 23/2/2010. Posts: 3
hi again. if i were to cut out one thing of the itinerary, it would definitely be vang vieng, just because the time and effort to get to VV wouldn't be worth the one or so days you have to spend there. i love luang prabang, so yes, i think it is worth the flight. but it depends on how much money you have for those extra flights, extra visas, etc.
i've never been to phu quoc or nha trang, so i'm afraid i can't comment there. phu quoc looks pretty great though. are you a beach person?
i guess one other thing to consider is availability of flights. have you checked to see if seats are still available for the dates/routes you want to travel? cheers.
15 days would be right for Laos alone, wrong for Laos and VN, and certainly too short for all of Vietnam (just my 2 cents).
#6 daawgon has been a member since 17/4/2007. Posts: 1,113