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China vs Vietnam - trying to decide on our next destination

China vs Vietnam - trying to decide on our next destination

May 3rd, 2009, 06:19 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2008
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China vs Vietnam - trying to decide on our next destination

We are trying to decide on our next Asian destination, after having visited Thailand and Cambodia this past year and are curious about the opinions of those who have visited both China and Vietnam, as to their favorite destination. We will have about 3 weeks time. Opinions please? Thanks in advance.
dgunbug is offline  
May 3rd, 2009, 08:08 PM
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China is a very big country, with a great deal of diversity. You will be able to see only a small part in three weeks. Vietnam is much smaller, and more homogeneous, and you can cover all or most of the main tourist destinations in three weeks. It would be more like visiting Thailand or Cambodia. If you will come back to Asia, you could see Vietnam this time and save China for later, otherwise, go to China.
thursdaysd is offline  
May 3rd, 2009, 11:03 PM
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Time of year would be a big factor to me as well. While Beijing can certainly be beautiful in the winter, it may not be your idea of a vacation to visit the Great Wall in freezing temps with a cold wind blowing. So if your vacation time is in the winter months, Vietnam may work better. Conversely, see the rainfall/monsoon info for Vietnam which can have deluges in Oct and November, whereas Hong Kong is in superb, sunny, dry weather at that time and much of China is good temps for touring too. Otherwise, and without knowing your interests, it’s really hard to compare the two. Both are quite interesting and either would certainly make for a good holiday experience. I don't think I could say one is more of a favourite over the other, it depends on what you want to see, do and experience.
Cicerone is offline  
May 5th, 2009, 07:19 PM
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Thursdaysd - I realize that China is huge and we have debated over whether to do a highlight tour or focus on specific areas. I am torn as one never knows when one will get back to a country.
Cicerone - weather is definitely a big consideration and we will keep that in mind when we make our final choice.

I was hoping that some of the Fodorites out there that have done both could give me their incites and opinions on which they preferred and why. Which is more foreign? Given the choice of only being able to go to one place (and having been to Thailand and Cambodia), which would you all choose?

Of course I hope to get to each country on multiple trips, but who knows what the future will bring.

If we do Vietnam, would we be better off splitting the trip between Laos/Northern Vietnam for one trip and Mid to Southern Vietnam on the next trip? Oh...so many options...so little time.
dgunbug is offline  
May 6th, 2009, 08:12 AM
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We were in China for 3 weeks last October our itinerary was:
5 nts Beijing
2 nts Xian (We flew but most people take the overnight train)
3 nts Lijiang
2 nts Kunming
3 nts Yangshou
2 nts Hangzhou
4 nts Shanghai

We covered quite a lot of ground but it didn't seem rushed we flew between places as flights are very cheap. We didn't have any guides we just got the concierge to write down where we were going on a piece of paper we even went to the great wall using public transport the same to the Teracotta Warriors, it was fun.
We booked all our flights through our concierge in the Plaza hotel in Beijing when we arrived it worked out great.

We've never been to Vietnam we're planning to go either there or India this October. We enjoyed China but the people aren't nearly as nice as the people in say Thailand or Japan.
Clark55 is offline  
May 6th, 2009, 11:01 AM
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Just because I preferred China to Vietnam, or vice versa, doesn't mean that you will. You need to tell us what you liked about Cambodia and Thailand, and what you are looking for in your next destination. I would probably say, if forced, that I preferred China to Vietnam, but that's because it's so much more diverse. As I said above, if you only have three weeks, and you expect to return to Asia, it would make good sense to just visit Vietnam, provided, as Cicerone correctly points out, the weather will be good.
thursdaysd is offline  
May 6th, 2009, 11:33 AM
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My best answer to this is to refer you to my trip reports; I'll give you the links. I was in both China and Vietnam in the summer, both for three weeks. And I certainly enjoyed both very much. To me, Vietnam would be a bit more familiar to you after Cambodia and Thailand, whilst China of course has the size/variety/"it's the great wall!"sites. Let's just say, I wouldn't want to have missed either one, and would return to either one. Hmmm, not much help, huh?


Amy is online now  
May 13th, 2009, 06:57 PM
Join Date: May 2009
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You may want to do a 3 week China/Vietnam
Beijing 3nites, Shanghai 2nites, Xian 2nites, Guilin 2nites,
Hongkong 3nites, Hochiming 3nites, Danang/Hue 4nites, Hanoi 2 nites, use Hongkong as the hub stop for international flights.
Cat12345 is offline  
May 13th, 2009, 08:49 PM
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Come on!! Go to china, i have been to there, very funny and the great wall is significant!
ees12 is offline  
May 15th, 2009, 05:57 AM
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Thank you all for your opinions. Cat - we would prefer to concentrate on one area or the other. My husband has suggested that we go wherever we are able to use our frequent flyer miles. That's assuming that we will even be able to use them!

The planning for the Vietnam trip seems very easy. It's the China trip (which I think will be more interesting given the diversity) which is more difficult to plan. I can't decide on whether to concentrate on one area or do the highlight tour.
dgunbug is offline  
May 27th, 2009, 08:56 PM
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I've been to Vietnam twice now and just love the people there. I'm seriously considering doing S. China and N. Vietnam next. You would be hard pressed to see all of Vietnam in 3 weeks - I would suggest the Central Coast and N. Vietnam for your time frame. I usually go for 30 days and I hate to rush. Hanoi is by far the most interesting city in my opinion. While many hate the place I can't seem to get enough. By now you're probably aware that the area has a problem with dishonest cab drivers and such, but I have solved the problem by taking very few cabs. I urge you to contact Hanoikids for their free tours at hanoikidsclub.org - they're wonderful and it's so nice to meet real Vietnamese and not just more travel pros. I just hope the Chinese are 1/2 as friendly as the Viets - I have so many friends there after 2 trips. Try to meet the average person on the street and you will enjoy your trip a great deal more!
daawgon is offline  
May 28th, 2009, 06:15 AM
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Thank you all for your replies. Daawgon - we will definitely use the hanoikids while there. Not sure where we will end up as my husband does not want to book any trips right now since we are moving in one month. Once we get settled we will decide where to go - or Delta Airlines will decide for us, depending on where we can book our flights using frequent flyer miles! In the meantime, all opinions are appreciated.
dgunbug is offline  

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