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2 weeks in Vietnam

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Aug 16th, 2017, 03:46 AM
  #1
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2 weeks in Vietnam

Hi all

I'm going to Vietnam in April, flying into Ho Chi Minh and travelling up to Hanoi over 2 weeks. Anyone got any suggestions for places to definitely go or to miss??

Thanks
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Aug 16th, 2017, 06:42 AM
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hoi an
rhkkmk is offline  
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Aug 16th, 2017, 08:29 AM
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What are your interests? Have you looked at a guidebook?
crellston is online now  
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Aug 16th, 2017, 09:09 AM
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i've been looking at Dalat, Nha Trang, Hoi An, Ha long bay, sapa before ending up in Hanoi. WE HAVEN't really got an idea of what we want other than to see as much as posdible. Definitely want to stay near a beach at some point.
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Aug 16th, 2017, 05:17 PM
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Ok that is eight locations in 14 nights. Less than 2nights per location which leaves only one day per location and travel in Vietnam takes a long time.

Hanoi to Halong is 5 hours each way by minibus. Sapa and overnight train and return, say eight hours each way. Factor in checking in and out of hotels and you will hopesfull see that you won't actually be seeing and experiencing much.

What I enjoy and what you do may be entirely different but for me when I vistbVietnam I likely to enjoy the scenery, tenhistory, the people and of course, the food.

At outset, I would say forget Dalat, pleasant enough but not the most interesting place in the country especially for a first timer. I would also knock out Nha Trang unless you have an affinity for hard partying backpackers and drunk Russians. The diving is good though!

Saigon deserves 3 nights - 2 full days. Explore the sights of District One. War Remnants, Jade Pagoda, NOtre Dame, the Post office, Reunification Palace. Maybe a visit to Cholon, a few markets.

A Mekong Delta trip would be nice but require at least an overnight. Probably don't have time. Avoid the tourist trap of Cu Chi tunnels. A waste of time and money.

Hue and Hoi An - lots to see here. Hue has its imperial citadel, tombs and river. Hoi An is the quaintest town in Vietnam and for that reason is overrun with tourists so be prepared! This is probably the most logical place for beach time although the beaches are just ok. You could fly from Saigon to Danang to get here or, use the overnight train. 3-4 nights would be enough but add more if you want beach time.

One option would be to continue nort by train, gettingboff at Dong Hoi for Phang Nha caves. We were there in June and some people were able to get off an early morning train ( albeit travelling north to south) visit the caves and then get back on another train the same day. The cave are spectacular so if that interests you take a look at seat61.com for train times.

Either way the next stop would be Hanoi. That city alone is worth 4 days IMO.

Not sure how many days you have left but the choices I feel come down to;

Halong Bay - didn't impress me that much for a variet of reasons.
Sapa - will take a min 3 nights and a long trip. Again a place spoiled by over toursism unless you are prepared to get way out into the valley off the beaten path.

Ninh Binh might make a nice, more easy accessed place - oft described as Halong Bay on land.or maybe even the Mai Chau valley, a couple,of hours from Hanoi.

Some photos of most of these places can be found on our blog @ https://accidentalnomads.com/category/vietnam/

My wife is about to post about Phong Nha shortly so that should be there next week

On other thought. If beach time is really high on your list, consider Phu Quoc. It is quickly reached by air from Saigon.

Hope this helps a little
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Aug 17th, 2017, 07:42 AM
  #6
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Thank you for your help and insight. I think we may stay 3 nights in Ho Chi Minh and get the overnight train to Danang for Hoi An. Spend 2 nights there before getting train to Hue, spend 2 nights there being getting overnight to Hanoi and heading straight to Halong bay finishing off with3 -4 days in Hanoi.

Does this sound reasonable? obviously it would be great to see more places but I think these are the main spots for our first visit.

Thanks
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Aug 17th, 2017, 03:50 PM
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Sounds like a reasonable plan. I am not a fan of Halong Bay but can see why many people want to visit. You may want to check out Bai Tu Long Bay next to Ha Long. Same scenery with far fewe boats and tourists.

Book your trains a few weeks in advance. Try and get the bottom bunks in soft sleepers on overnight trains and seats on the right when going from Da Nang to Hue.
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Aug 20th, 2017, 01:42 AM
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There's a train from Da Nang to Hue @ 0835. Like Crellston mentions, sit on the right hand side for the views.....it's a lovely journey. Seats are allocated when you book your ticket, we went 3rd Class @ 42K dong per ticket.

What's your accommodation daily budget, you might get a few first hand recommendations.
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Aug 20th, 2017, 05:50 PM
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We loved Bai Tu Long bay. One of our highlights from our trip this past April/May. I would not go to Sapa again, too many tourists, too much construction. Very little old charm in my opinion. Loved Hoi An, Loved Mai Chau and Ninh Binh, did not like Saigon.
We are all different in our likes and dislikes so it depends on what you want to do. I am more into the country side, I found Saigon far too noisy and busy.
We Flew from Saigon to DaNang, very inexpensive and fast.
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Aug 26th, 2017, 06:16 AM
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Thank you for your help and insight. I think we may stay 3 nights in Ho Chi Minh and get the overnight train to Danang for Hoi An. Spend 2 nights there before getting train to Hue, spend 2 nights there being getting overnight to Hanoi and heading straight to Halong bay finishing off with3 -4 days in Hanoi. ---> Great suggestion.
Just would like to give you some details:
- From Hoi An to Hue --> you should take a private car, it's not much but you can stop anywhere on the way to take a picture.
- From Hue, you should join group tour to Paradise cave in Quang Binh (full day trip).
- From Hue, you should fly to Hanoi or sleeping bus.
- You can forget Halong bay & Visit Bai Tu Long bay or Lan Ha Bay 2 days/ 1 night if you don't want touristy places.
- You can join group tour to Sapa or Mai Chau valley (Mai chau is not touristy).
- Or you can do private tour to Ba be national park, lake & Cao bang tours --> great experience on hill tribes...
Good luck!
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Sep 17th, 2017, 04:38 AM
  #11
 
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You can travel from North to South of VN within 2 weeks.
North of VN (Hanoi, Halong Bay and Ninh Binh)
Central VN (Hue and Hoian)
South of VN (HCMC, Mekong Delta and Phu Quoc island or Con Dao island or Mui Ne beach)
Make your own plan with some info above.
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