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16 nights in Vietnam - let the planning begin!

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Jan 2nd, 2019, 10:32 PM
  #41
 
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Hoi An is quite compact and easily walkable, even better if you have a , and it's right on the water. Nucks and crannies everywhere, just avoid the tour groups.

Hue is very spread out, and while it sits on a river it's not that interesting a river.

Hoi An comes to life when the hundreds of colouful lanterns come on at dusk, and is very easy on the eye. Loads of places to eat and drink, people watch, and generally enjoy the street entertainment.

Hue Airport is tiny, and a fair distance south of town. Da Nang is a relatively small International Airport, it's soulless, lots of glass and very hot in the afternoons. The woman on the PA system is a pain in the butt. And expect delays.

Getting from Saigon Airport to downtown is often gridlock, so allow for that too.

Are you happy with the way that taxis operate?
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Jan 3rd, 2019, 04:40 AM
  #42
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Thanks LL!

Not sure what you mean by taxis, i have not been there yet?

What part of Hue should I look for a hotel? I assume the ones I listed are in a good location. Mostly I want to be able to walk to things including nightlife. I'm only there two nights.

I envision arriving Sat AM, and leaving "some time" on Monday en route to Hoi An, and while en route taking in Ba Na Hills (unless i leave that for my actual days in Hoi An, since i leave Thursday afternoon). This gives me at least 48 hours in Hue - while I'll be sleeping three nights in Hoi An it's really just two full days plus Thursday before the airport...

Last edited by flygirl; Jan 3rd, 2019 at 04:44 AM.
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Jan 3rd, 2019, 06:07 AM
  #43
 
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I missed a word out in the first line of my last posting.....push bike.

Taxis are everywhere, but there are a lot of 'look-alikes' who's meters are rigged. Crellston will probably have the most up-to-date info, or alternatively have a look on the Trip Advisor forum.

Not a right lot of point asking me about hotels, I tend to go budget, but make sure I get a good one. The one we had in Hue was a bit more expensive, BUT it was one frequented by Tour Groups and Wedding Parties....neither types I like at all.
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Jan 3rd, 2019, 06:20 AM
  #44
 
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Mai Linh or Vinasun Taxis are everywhere, and they're the recommended ones to take.

Mai Link are green, and Vinasun are a creamy white. But be careful there are plenty of 'look-alikes' who should be avoided. The 'look-alike' gag applies to much more than taxis in Vietnam, eg hotel names [mentioned by Crellson earlier], so you need to be careful [but not paranoid].

When you initially change money, make sure that you get plenty of low denomination notes, and not all 500,000 dong notes. Hanoi International Air Terminal is very good, and the money change kiosks are just after you've cleared Customs. The rate is only a tiny bit less than you'll get in town. Changing money in banks can be a bit time consuming. Most travel agencies will oblige.
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Jan 3rd, 2019, 06:59 AM
  #45
 
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This might help:-

The Mystic East - a tale of hot food, hot weather, airmiles and imodium.
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Jan 3rd, 2019, 09:14 AM
  #46
 
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Teh hotels you have listed are in a reasonable area for restaurants and nightlife etc. I haven’t stayed in any of them. Most times in Hue we have gone for $20 pn places rather than $200pn. Last time was in a Hue Garden Village, a similar location which was good but the hotel was - well, what you expect for $20 - adequate.

The 5* places we have stayed at in Hue include the Saigon Morin - agreat location but a bit dark and depressing for my tastes.

My favourite place in Hue was by far La Residence. The former French Ambassadors Residence from the 30s. Art Deco in style, it is very elegant and te rooms overlooking the perfume river are excellent. Great food too. The downside is the location. It is quite a walk from the main restaurant area near where your other hotels are. Although quite close to the bridge across the river for the Imperial City.

There are some very nice places to eat in Hue ( I think I sent you our food map) so it is good to be with in walking distance. It is safe to walk around Hue but then, I love walking and staying the 1km away at the Residence didn’t bother me. Bear in mind that with only 48 hours in Hue, to see stuff you will really need to book tours. The more expensive the hotel, the more expensive the tours will be if booked through them!

As suggested by LL, it is probably best to use Vinasun and Mai Linh taxis which are clearly marked, although I have never had problems with taxis in Vietnam although there are plenty of possibly, apocryphal tales online! All seem to use the meter without argument, unlike say Bangkok where it is getting a real PITA!

Any problems that do arise are likely to be in Hanoi from the airport. Only get a taxi from the official booth at the airport. Better still, get your hotel to arrange transport. Always helps to have the name of the destination written down.

From Hoi An to Hue should cost around 50-60 USD, with Ba Na, possibly a bit more. Last time I just arranged it with a random taxi driver but again, your hotel should help.

Don’t forget to keep checking in the website for your visa!!
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Jan 3rd, 2019, 05:23 PM
  #47
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I have been checking obsessively! It is now 8 AM Friday morning in Vietnam.

By the time I head to work at 9 AM, it will be well past quitting time in Vietnam.

If I don't have the visa waiting for me when I wake up, should I panic and try for plan B?

I applied Tuesday night, which is Wednesday AM in Vietnam. Wed-Thurs-Fri is three days...

I thought I saw one hotel in Hanoi offering a visa approval letter service...

Thank you for the reco on hotels and locations!

I will look at Hue tonight and Hoi An hotels maybe too.

As soon as the visa comes through I am booking at the L'opera in Hanoi. Although maybe I should do that anyway and just be ready to cancel Sofitel.

Thanks LL for the new tips, too!

That link, hmmm, I hope I don't need immodium lol
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Jan 4th, 2019, 12:02 AM
  #48
 
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For VOA I have used https://www.instantvietnamvisa.com several times. They offer several runs vis services. Complete online and they will email the letter to you. Print it and take it to the airport with 2 passport sized photos and $25 US. Sod’s law, as soon as you apply, the evisa will be there!
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Jan 4th, 2019, 02:55 AM
  #49
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WHOOP WHOOP

i woke just now and they emailed me - visa done! I havenít retrieved it yet but itís done!

yay!!

crellston thank you for the VOA info! Had this not come in Iíd be doing that today.

yay! One week from RIGHT NOW Iíll be boarding the Seoul/Hanoi flight. Happy dance!
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Jan 4th, 2019, 05:09 AM
  #50
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and now I have the L'Opera and canceled the Sofitel.

I am getting the Grand Deluxe room - King size - huge room even with vestibule on entry... for less than half what the Sofitel costs. I think it is 5 stars too? Blown away by the price... like I said I have paid what the Sofitel charges in NYC for a basic Hilton room... so this will be quite a treat.
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Jan 4th, 2019, 09:41 AM
  #51
 
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Fantastic! You are good to go! Don’t leave the visa so late next time!
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Jan 4th, 2019, 10:24 PM
  #52
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Thank you again!! Countdown....

I will make my Hue and Hoi An rez tomorrow morning.

I think the Allegro Hoi An looks quite nice - does anyone know if it is well located?
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Jan 5th, 2019, 01:39 AM
  #53
 
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The Allegro looks a bit out of the way to me, especially after dark. If you're relying on taxis it'll be fine though.

Crellston stayed at Travel Lodge Hotel, which is v.central in the Old Town, at the the top of Le Loi. He recommended it to me, and we stayed there for an enjoyable week. Perfectly adequate, but it might not fit your 5***** needs. Friendly, Free cycles, swimming pool, quiet, clean with nice modern rooms, a good travel desk, less than 5 minute walk from the centre....tick enough boxes?

Last edited by LancasterLad; Jan 5th, 2019 at 01:42 AM.
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Jan 5th, 2019, 07:31 AM
  #54
 
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The Allegro doesn’t seem too much out of the way to me and very similar to a lot of places in HA. Last time we stayed at the Calla Villa which was a bit further out. Before that the Travelodge as mentioned by LL. On balance, I preferred the Travelodge for much the same reasons as listed by LL. Both are away a bit from the crowds in the Old Town but within walking distance which is a good thing IME

The first time there we stayed in Vinh Hung Heritage Hotel, the only hotel within the old town proper. Very atmospheric and jam packed with antiques. We were lucky enough to be given the main suite which Michael Caine used when filming The Quiet American in the town. It was really nice but 20 odd years ago when the town was a lot quieter than it is now and I fear it could be a little hectic - although at least you could stand on the balcony and wave to the crowds below!
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Jan 6th, 2019, 05:40 AM
  #55
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Thank you LL and crellston!

How was that suite? Did it have any photos of Michael Caine?

I only have to find Hue and Saigon hotels now!

I get the sense in Saigon "District 1" is the area to stay in, and haven't sorted Hue yet as far as location.

A few more days...


EDIT:

I have the Hue hotel now.

Thanh Lich Royal Boutique Hotel - deluxe studio - under 160 bucks for two nights. Looks fantastic! Is that a decent location from what you've seen? I'm a walker so a 20 minute walk at night is NOTHING (so long as it's safe of course).

I will poke around for Saigon but clearly have time - I arrive there nearly three weeks from now.

Mostly with any town I want to have a good location for walking around.

Last edited by flygirl; Jan 6th, 2019 at 06:21 AM.
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Jan 7th, 2019, 09:05 AM
  #56
 
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It was very nice and did have some of photos of him. I got to meet the great man a few years later when taking some clients out for lunch at his restaurant in London. An incredibly nice guy!

District 1 in Saigon is certainly where many of the iconic sights of the city are to be found. Lots of new 5 * places springing up. We have stayed at some of the more historic ones like the Rex, Continental and Caravelle. All are in a great central, location but the problem is much of that area is under construction for the subway and I am not sure how much this would affect your stay. We have also stayed at the Sofitel which was nice (but we did get upgraded to a Club Suite) . Another, nice Accor property is the Pullman Saigon Centre but that is a bit further out. These days we always stay at a Vietnamese friends Homestay. Comfortable, and the best hosts ever but not 5*. A "quieter" location in D3 but easy walking to the Reunification Palace and the War Remnants museum. Some superb local restaurants.
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