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11 days in Vietnam - need input on itinerary

11 days in Vietnam - need input on itinerary

Jan 26th, 2017, 05:46 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2017
Posts: 3
11 days in Vietnam - need input on itinerary

I am heading to Vietnam in mid-March with my family (2 children (12 yrs, 11 yrs) and my husband.)
I would appreciate feedback on the itinerary - too long , too short, travel time between destinations isn't reasonable... etc. what you loved or didn't
Hanoi- 2 nights - city touring , water puppet theater
Halong Bay - Leave Hanoi via airport, take a sea plane to Halong Bay (has anyone done that? was it a good experience) then board a junk for an overnight experience through Vietattidude.
Drive back to Hanoi airport and depart for Hue.
Hue- 2 nights visit Tombs and Palace...
Hoi An - take private car from Hue to Hoi An stay 2 nights closer to town. (Almanity resort)

Here is where I really need iinput. HCMC first or after Con Dao. and how long in each?
Ho Chi Minh - ? nights - Intercontinental Residences
Con Dao - ? nights - Six Senses Resort

You input is greatly appreciated!
Warmly, Selina
selinahuber69 is offline  
Jan 26th, 2017, 06:13 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 32,987
Be aware that two nights somewhere is just one full day. Hanoi has much to do and see, spending just one day there seems almost like skipping it. You are spending a lot of time getting to/from Halong Bay. Yes, you are flying one direction, but the other direction will be a 4-5 hour boring drive. How important is Halong Bay to you? Then you fly to Hua for another 1 day stay, and 1 day in Hoi An.

Do you have the option to extend this trip? If so, add some days so you have a chance to see some of what these places have to offer. If you cannot extend the trip, then cut some of the destinations. When I am planning, I always look at the proportion of travel days to days I get to see/do/experience in a place. I never want more than a third of my days to be travel days. Fully half of your days are travel days.

How many nights do you have on the ground in VN?
Kathie is offline  
Jan 26th, 2017, 11:36 PM
Join Date: May 2004
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Halong Bay - we drove both ways for two nights on the bay. A tedious five hour drive each way. My subjective view is that it was not worth the effort. Great scenery, certainly but heaving with other boats and crowded with other tourists.

Hanoi - I agree with Kathie that Hanoi warrants way more time than you are allocating, but of course, that largely depends on what floats your boat! Loads of history, decent museums and outstanding food option.

Hue - I really like the city. One full day will enable you to see the citadel, take a boat on the Perfume River to the pagoda etc. and in the afternoon, fit in two or three tombs. For me the tombs were more impressive and in better condition than the citadel. If you like markets, there is a great one just down the road from the citadel. Also close by is my favourite restaurant in the whole country Lac Thien. Do try it for lunch. Details are on our blog @ https://accidentalnomads.com/category/vietnam/ see the entry for Saigon to Hue via Hoi An for some photos of Lac Thien.

Hoi An - I would stay in or around the old town. Loads to see but it is VERY crowded and hot. One day will provide enough time to see the highlights. If you want to eat in one of the more famous restaurants, do book in advance.

Ho Chi Minh City and Con Dao - I haven't been to the latter but it's on the list for this year. I have stayed at a couple or Six Senses place and they are amazing! I doubt I would leave the hotel. Con Dao is good for diving and snorkelling which is why we are visiting. I suppose how long you stay depends upon how much you need beach time after all that treavelli Saigons main sights can be visited in two full days. Most are located in District 1 and 3 so I guess you could do it in one day but it would be very rushed. I spent a couple of weeks there in 2015 so I clearly love the city but appreciate it is not to everyone's taste. I would add days in Hanoi in preference to Saigon. I don't think it matters as to which order as you presumably need to fly out of Saigon? So I would go with the most convenient flight times.
crellston is offline  
Jan 27th, 2017, 12:30 AM
Join Date: Mar 2014
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Arrive in Hanoi late on 10 February, and have 4 full days, and then another 2 full days 22/23 February. Got nothing planned yet, but want to concentrate our time on all that Hanoi has to offer, and tread off the beaten track when the chances crop up.

Our escape is flying to non-touristy [yet] Quy Nhon, on the China Sea south of Hoi An, for 6 nights.

I've purposely avoided Halong Bay, too long on the road and the risk of being disappointed, and also Sapa which is, I understand, blighted by too much construction work and hassle.

Topping and tailing in Bangkok [+Kanchanaburi and perhaps Ayutthaya].
LancasterLad is offline  
Jan 27th, 2017, 11:02 AM
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All of your insights are greatly appreciated! I think we will have to skip Halong Bay and spend more quality time in other areas.

The itinerary you (crellston) offered for Hue, we may follow to the T- including the great restaurant suggestion. Thank you!
Con Dao seems like it will offer a more peaceful , less travelled opportunity for us. We would enjoy diving but since my kids aren't certified we will snorkel and hopefully bike, hike and relax.

We will be on the ground for 12 days in Vietnam.

From what I understand the Mekong Delta would pose the same challenge coming and going as Halong Bay would and therefore I shouldn't consider it on this trip is that right?
selinahuber69 is offline  
Jan 27th, 2017, 11:34 AM
Join Date: May 2004
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You can do the Mekong Delta in a couple of days - either Cantho or Ben Tre, but yes, you do face the same issues as Halong i.e. 3 hour plus ride from Saigon. In 12 days, probably a destination to far. Leave it for a return trip...
crellston is offline  
Jan 28th, 2017, 07:50 PM
Join Date: Jun 2008
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You can do a farm/home stay in the Mekong Delta - stayed 2 nights and liove seeing the kids walk to school eating rolls, sitting at a coffee shop on the banks of the river on tiny plastic chairs etc.
northie is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2017, 03:29 PM
Join Date: May 2004
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One of the post-ers here, rjbriskin, wrote a trip report about VN. She took the sea plane from Hanoi to HaLong and enjoyed it.
A different p.o.v. : I would not skip HaLong Bay. Do a search for this forum and you'll find that others enjoyed it and of those, (including me) used the Indochina Junk Company boats which go to an "arm" of HaLong, called Bai Tu Long. This is an ipprtant distinction. I really think your family wold enjoy it--the kids on the boat i was on loved it!! Also, you would be flying one way, and the return trip is broken up with a trip to a village. At any rate, i traveled by van only one way and did not find it particularly boring--there was wifi in the van and it was a good excuse to catch up with email and internet stuff, and chat wit other guests.
Two full days in Hanoi, with your 11 day itin, is sufficient, imho.
CaliNurse is offline  
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