Into Vietnam, out of Bankok


Jul 29th, 2012, 08:40 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2012
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Into Vietnam, out of Bankok

I'm traveling with 2 friends for 3 weeks. We're flying into HoChi Minh City, spending a quick weekend there, then flying on to Hanoi. Our international flight home (20 days later) is out of Bankok. (I've already been to Chiang Mai and Phuket)
Any itinerary, hostel, tour ideas?

Here's what I have so far:

Thursday, August 2
11:00 P.M. - Arrive in Ho Chi Minh City

Friday, August 3
CuChi Tunnels

Saturday, August 4

Fly to Hanoi
Minibus (2$) or Taxi (10$) to Old Quarter
Stay at ?

Sunday, August 5
Book Trains and Sapa Trip

See Hanoi
Water Puppet Theater
Ho Chi Minh complex
One Pillar Pagoda, Tran Quoc Pagoda
Museums? (Temple of Literature and Museum of Ethnology)
Don Xuan Market

Night train to Sapa Trek

Monday, August 6

Tuesday, August 7

Wednesday, August 8
Halong Bay
Cat Ba Island
Ba Be National Park (Homestays)

Thursday, August 9
Night train (or fly) to Hue
Nguyen Emperors’ tombs
Thien Mu Pagoda
Hoi An
(Skip Nah Trang: Sand Dunes and Dalat: falls)
Go to Dong Hoi and Phong Nha Cave

Friday, August 10
Fly from Danang to HMC (or directly to Phnom Peh?)
Fly from Dalat to HMC

Saturday, August 11

Sunday, August 12
(If in HMC) Mekong Delta

Monday, August 13
Boat (?) to Phnom Peh

Tuesday, August 14
Phnom Peh to Siem Reap

Wednesday, August 15
Cambodia to Bankok (or fly directly up north)

Thursday, August 16
Fly to Chiang Mai/Chiang Rai

Friday, August 17

Saturday, August 18

Sunday, August 19

Monday, August 20

Tuesday, August 21

Wednesday, August 22
Flight Home
lelive18 is offline  
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Jul 29th, 2012, 11:20 PM
Join Date: Jun 2011
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Heading back to Thailand in September and have just booked some things for us to do in Bangkok. Apart from visiting the Grand Palace, Wat Po and Wat Arun..we have booked a canal trip followed by an afternoon on a rice barge. Also a day trip to Hellfire Pass, River Kwai, Floating market, Train market and Elephant Bath. So many interesting things to do in and outside of Bangkok!
Little_Miss_Flighty is offline  
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Jul 29th, 2012, 11:27 PM
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Posts: 6,554
Not the best time to visit the region weatherwise but aside from that you seem to be packing a lot in and coverinng the major sights.

You appear to have very little time in Siem Reap. Angkor needs at least 2 full days (unless you are not into temples etc. and just wish to "tick it off the list".

I loved Ba Be - the lakes and the homestay were a great experience and easily arrange on arrival in Hanoi.

Sapa is great for trekking for a couple of days but even better would be to incorporate it into the "Dien Bien Phu loop", returning to Hanoi over the Fansipan pass via DBP, Son La and the Mai Chau valley to Hanoi. Takes 4-5 days and the scenery is great. A few photos on our blog:

I am not a fan of Halong Bay and would miss that out ( but others love it).

Hue and Hoi An have enough to keep you interested for a couple of days apiece but if you wanted to cut out one, I would suggest missing out Hoi An. If you can, try to incorporate the train ride from Da Nang to Hue as it ids one of the worlds great train rides.

We used and almost exclusively when booking accommodation in Vietnam and found them to be excellent even for last minute bookings (their reviews are pretty accurate too).

Otherwise, I love Phnom Penh which warrants a couple of days but was not that impressed with Dalat. Finally with the time you have, I would not bother with Northern Thailand and stick with Vietnam/Cambodia
crellston is offline  
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Jul 30th, 2012, 06:04 AM
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Just reading your frantic schedule exhausted me. With all that moving around, you are seriously shortchanging both HCMC and Hanoi. Allowing Ho Chi Minh only one day, after an exhausting flight, and concentrating your time on the novelty of the tunnels, can give you nothing except a superficial impression of a diverse and rapidly changing city. Slow down and smell the fish sauce.
But to be more helpful, my tip is that the easiest transport from any Vietnam airport can be arranged by your hotel, at about the same cost as a taxi and more comfortable.
Southam is offline  
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Jul 30th, 2012, 07:00 AM
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Thanks for the replies! Happy to leave some stuff out... (this schedule just has the various options) if you can let me know what's worthwhile and what's not.
lelive18 is offline  
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Jul 30th, 2012, 07:00 AM
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Way too much moving around. And you back track - you start in HCMC, then go back there before moving on to Cambodia. And then go go to PP but not to Siem Reap? And you have all of those days at the end in northern Thailand without any thoughts of what to do.

First of all, stop and consider what are the most important things for you to do/see/experience on this trip?

Slow down, as others have said. If your focus this trip is to be on VN, spend some time there. You have one day in Hanoi and you plan to "see Hanoi." We spent a week there and have no illusion that we saw it all.
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Jul 30th, 2012, 07:02 AM
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Crellston, would love to hear which babe/sapa trip you did, and who arranged it for you. Thanks!
lelive18 is offline  
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Jul 31st, 2012, 09:32 PM
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Lelive - We did the two trips on separate visits (but it should be possible to combine the two)- used Topas for the Sapa and Dien Bien Phu trip which included o\n train, 2 nts Sapa and trek,5 nights on the loop inc .Mai Chau valley.Booked from the UK.

For Ba Be we used Kangaroo Tours which we found by spending a morning trawling around the operators in Hanoi's old quarter.Tour was 3 nights and covered the very long drive there plus the homestay, boat trips on the lake, caves and stopping at various villages along the way. There are a number of 'kanagaroo imitators' in Hanoi - I will try and find the website for the correct one.
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