Hanoi or Saigon

Dec 1st, 2005, 10:41 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 13
Hanoi or Saigon

Just wanted everyone's opinion on which place of these two to visit. We will only be there for 5 days. We are interested in experiencing culture and nature. Any suggestions?
Carmel2 is offline  
Dec 1st, 2005, 10:47 AM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 4,282
Now this is easy-- Hanoi. No question
glorialf is offline  
Dec 1st, 2005, 10:50 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 13
That was easy. Any suggestions on where to go and what to see?
Carmel2 is offline  
Dec 1st, 2005, 11:21 AM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 9,922
On balance I'd say Hanoi, although I wouldn't write off Saigon, mainly because of the opportunities for interesting side trips out of town - the Mekong, the Cu Chi Tunnels and the Cao Dai Temple were all worthwhile, we thought - all have something to tell you about the Vietnamese people.

With 5 days it would be worthwhile to invest in a guidebook that will not only outline the city's attractions but also provide useful background on Vietnam's history, culture and language. You can also search the forum (see box above) for useful tips. If you opt for Hanoi I'd suggest an overnight side trip to Halong Bay, and perhaps another side trip to visit a Hill Tribes village (close enough to do as a day tour).

In Hanoi, the Ho Ch Minh mausoleum and museum (dont forget to dress respectfully, as you would in a temple), Temple of Literature and a Water Puppets performance, to start with. Get up very early one morning and before breakfast, stroll around the lake before the hawkers arrive and while people are doing their morning exercises. This is also a good opportunity to wander through the Old Town's shopping streets while they're coming to life.
Neil_Oz is offline  
Dec 1st, 2005, 01:08 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,430
Another vote for Hanoi, although, as Neil says, that is not meant as a put-down to HCMC, which is also very pleasant. But Hanoi is a bit of a jewel, and small enough for you to "learn" it in well under the five days you are there. Try and see a performance at the Hanoi Opera House, modelled on the famous one in Paris.... except that you'll get the best seats in the house for under $10! Also, a visit to the notorious "Hanoi Hilton" is worth an hour or two, as is the Temple of Literature. What is especially good about Hanoi is that you can walk between all these places, so don't let your hotel talk you into climbing aboard one of their tour buses. Hanoi is a very walkabale city -- although as you pass all those French patisseries you may find that you keep getting sidetracked!

You'll have a ball (and, after the fifteenth French pastry, you'll start to look like a ball)!
Alan is offline  

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