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rjbriskin Aug 4th, 2016 07:31 PM

Need help on itinerary for trip to Vietnam in November
My husband and I are celebrating our 30th year anniversary and want to go to Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia. I am reviewing several itinerarys, Would love to hear feedback and comments on the following itinerary:
Hanoi 2 nites Sofitel Legend Metropole
Fly to Halong Bay on Halong Violet for 1 nite
Fly to Danang to Hoi An 3 nites Hotel Royal Hoi An
Fly to Saigon 2 nites The Reverie
Board Gecko Eyes Cruise for 2 nites exploring Mekong Delta
Fly to Siem Reap 4 nites at Shinta Mani Resort or Sala Lodges
Fly to Bangkok 2 nites The Peninsula

Any advice would be greatly appreciated, We like to travel very high end. I have not seen several of these hotels from the posts I have read so far so I was wondering how good they are,

crellston Aug 4th, 2016 08:00 PM

The Sofitel is arguably the best in Hanoi. We had a few problems when we stayed there but that was a few years ago befor Accor took obverse the running. I understand it has improved a lot since then.

Not aware of any flights to Halong Bay ( unless chartering a helicopter). Normally, it is a five hour drive. A lot for one day.

Haven't stayed at the Reverie but met some people who did and liked it but thought it way OTT. Not sure of its location but there is a lot of work going on in Saigon at the moment with the subway. I would double check that it is not affected.

We did our own thing in the delta but did see a couple of the Gecko Boats - they looked FANTASTIC!

The Peninsula is in a great position on the Chayo Praya River. One of the best in Bangkok. Choose your room carefully as the design of the rooms means that some are easily overlooked from other. The suites are amazing and worth the extra $$$ especially if you take up there upgrade offer on arrival.

Looks like a great trip. Personally, I would lose a day in Cambodia and add it to Hanoi, but that's just my preference.

braydenbyn Aug 5th, 2016 01:01 AM

I find that you shouldn't go to visit Danang and Hoian in November. At this time, Hoian is in flooded season, which will have some effects on your trip. Instead, you can visit some places in the North like Sapa.

Kathie Aug 5th, 2016 07:51 AM

November is the wrong time to go to Hoi An/Da Nang/Hue. There are heavy rains, flooding and often loss of life at that time of the year. You need to cut the whole of central VN from your itinerary.

You have a mere two nights (one day) in Hanoi - not nearly enough time to explore this fascinating city. I'd cut Halong Bay - not worth the two five hour drives for an overnight there. And there are no flights (as Crellston said). Move some or all of the nights you planned for DaNang to Hanoi.

Your plans for HCMC and the Delta and for Siem Reap all look fine.

Two nights in Bangkok is inadequate for this marvelous city. Do add some nights here if you haven't spent time in Bangkok previously.

rjbriskin Aug 7th, 2016 01:43 PM

The flight to Halong Bay is a sea plane. Does that change your mind about going there if we won't be driving the 5 hours? I know it's the rainy season in Central Vietnam but I have been told I should not miss if I am going this far? I am tempted to cancel it. Thanks for all your feedback.

crellston Aug 7th, 2016 02:42 PM

Personally, I would not bother with Halong for one day. I found it grossly overcrowded, especially at the various caves where there were massive queues and at night when all the boats are moored up in the same area. Bai Tu Long bay would be much quieter and you could maybe include a junk with an overnight stay on one of the islands

The seaplane would reduce the time considerably except that you would still spend a fair of time transferring to/from the airport. Two nights in Hanoi realistically gives you one full day. Three nights would substantially increase your time in a city that has so much to see and I would prefer to spend that time there.

As Kathie mentioned, the storms in central Vietnam can be very severe at that time of year. It is not just a case of bad weather, travel can be disrupted and there can be a lot of flooding. Hoi An/Hue/ Da Nang would not be much fun in those conditions.

Another thought would be to include a trip to Ninh Binh or Mai Chau which are reasonably close to Hanoi as an alternative to Hoi An. Some photos of our time there last year on our blog . Not sure there is much in the way of high end accomodation in Ninh Binh but there are some very nice lodges in and around Mai Chau. Lots of amazing countryside and minority villages in the area. Alternatively add the time to Bangkok.

Kathie Aug 7th, 2016 06:20 PM

Personally, Halong Bay holds no interest for me. The bay has become very polluted and there is lots of floating garbage. So I would skip it. Fewer places and more time in each place will make for a more interesting trip.

And I would certainly skip central VN in November. Indeed, I did skip central VN in November. If you cut those two places would have more time for the other places you are visiting. I'd add a day or two to Hanoi and a day or two to Bangkok.

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