Kristina needs Vietnam Itinerary Advice

Old Dec 19th, 2008, 11:49 AM
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Kristina needs Vietnam Itinerary Advice

I guess it's time to start planning...

We are going to Vietnam in July with a few days in Bangkok tagged on to the end.
We've never been to Vietnam but have been to Bangkok many times and we love it. We have to fly out of BKK due to FF tickets.

July 2-leave LAX
July 3-Arrive Hanoi late evening
July 4,5,6-Hanoi
July 7-12??
July 13,14,15-Saigon/HCMC
July 16-Fly to Bangkok
July 17-Day with Tong
July 18-BKK
July 19-Fly home.

I'm now trying to figure out what to do with days 7-12.
I think we have some wiggle room here as to number of days in any location, but we do want to be in BKK by the 16th.

Option #1-Sapa and environs. Concerned here about wet, monsoonal weather.

Option #2- Hue, Hoi An, DaNang beach time.
There has been an auction on Luxury Link for 3 nights at the Furama resort near DaNang I've been considering if they make it available for July.
We're not able to go luxe the whole trip, but it would be nice to have a beach break there and it looks like a good deal.

I think we've ruled out Halong bay for now, due to weather and similarities to other places we've visited.

I'm open to suggestions for these locations or even other options.
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Old Dec 19th, 2008, 03:39 PM
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We spent the month of July in Vietnam as you likely know. There was a terrible flooding in Sapa and environs whereas travel to Danang, Hue, and Hoi An were effortless since, apart from the heat, it was a good time of the year to visit central coastal Vietnam.

If you opt for Furama, do allow some time for the lovely beach if you enjoy beaches. The swimming was sensational. You can take the Furama courtesy van into Hoi An for a day, if you like, rather than switching hotels. It is also an easy cab ride from Furama to the Cham Museum. My Son also makes for another special daytrip (but I got a stomach bag and had to cancel that trip at the last minute so cannot comment).

If you do choose this option, I hope that you can travel overland between Hue and Danang rather than fly.

I wonder if anyone has had passable weather in Sapa at that time of year...Would love to hear.
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Old Dec 19th, 2008, 05:00 PM
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Marya-thanks, yes, I recently re-read your trip report because it came up when I searched for info here on Furama.
You said, "I hope that you can travel overland between Hue and Danang rather than fly."
Did you mean between Hanoi and Da Nang? I had to look at a map, but Hue and Da Nang don't look that far apart.
Any advice for going between Hanoi and Da Nang? Train? Car?
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Old Dec 19th, 2008, 05:28 PM
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Kristina -- Sorry I wasn't clear. Yes, I did mean to say that I hope that you go overland between Danang and Hue just because the drive is so pretty. Yes, it is a short distance -- about a 3+ hour car trip for us although others describe doing it quicker. I don't even think that there is a standard commercial flight on Vietnam Airlines between Danang and Hue but don't know about other small carriers. In any event, travel by car or train over that stretch affords some lovely coastal views.


As to the Hanoi-Danang connection, we found it to be a very easy 1 1/4 hour flight so we were not tempted to travel that leg any other way.

Good luck figuring this out. I hope that someone can weigh in with summer-time experience in the Sapa region.

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Old Dec 20th, 2008, 03:59 AM
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We really enjoyed our overnight trip to Halong Bay. You could go on the 7th, then fly to Danang on the 8th and still have 4 full days there before going on to Saigon. We did the Jasmine Junk overnight,it was very comfortable, a great crew and interesting people. But of course, the reason to go is the scenary and it was spectacular.
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Old Dec 20th, 2008, 06:57 AM
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Is trekking out of the question? I really enjoyed the Mai Chau trek; as I recall it was a couple hours out of hanoi...
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Old Dec 20th, 2008, 07:09 AM
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FromDC-I think I'd like to do the Halong Bay thing someday, but from what I've read, July is not exactly optimal for this as there can be tropical storms at that time. OTOH, I know it's sort of hit or miss.

Lori-Trekking is not out of the question, but again, will we be slogging through the mud at that time of year?
My LP guidebook has less than a page on Mai Chau. How did you organize your trip there?

I suppose I could leave July 7,8 and 9 open to decide what to do once we get there, based on the weather? Though I think that effectively rules out Sapa because while I know people do it, I don't want to spend 2 nights on a train there and back and only one night there.
Then we could spend July 10,11, and 12 in the DaNang area, going to HCMC on the 13th.

Looks like we are going to need to fly Hanoi-DaNang and DaNang-SGN. Should I try to buy these tickets in advance? Once we get there?
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Old Dec 20th, 2008, 07:57 AM
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I hired a guide through Buffalo Tours.

I went on that trek the end of October and it was a little rainy but not so much muddy. All I remember was I had the wrong shoes and was frickin' COLD.

July will be rainy and HOT, possibly making it miserable.

Sapa is a lovely little town, but maybe not so good for a day trip. If hill tribes interest you and you don't have time to trek out past the tourists, probably no sense going.

I like the Hue, Hoi An, Danang option...do you have time to go by train?

http://www.seat61.com/Vietnam.htm
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Old Dec 20th, 2008, 09:00 AM
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Lori-I was wondering about the train! I think maybe Hanoi-Danang overnight might be an interesting option. Looks like the Danang-HCMC route is a much longer trip.
Hmmmm...so much to consider.
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Old Dec 20th, 2008, 10:34 AM
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Or at least the section between Hué and Danang

'...over the Hai Van Pass, where the train runs along the coast past bays and islands and through the hills. The train travels at low speed up the fierce gradients, with an assisting locomotive at the rear and people sitting on the roof'.

Smashing.
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Old Dec 20th, 2008, 03:17 PM
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Yes, now I just have to convince David it will be an "adventure" to take the train. Did you see that video link on the seat61 site? The view looked incredible.
D was happy though, when I told him I'd changed my mind about going to Saigon. He was obsessed with the movie Apocalypse Now as a teenager. I told him to lower his expectations and that things have changed in the last 40 years. ;-)
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