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North Vietnam versus South Vietnam

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Apr 30th, 2010, 08:39 AM
  #1
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North Vietnam versus South Vietnam

I have a possibility of going with a group of collegues to vietnam and cambodia. There are two options: a longer trip of 12 days (actually 10 full days touring) or a shorter version of 9 days (actually 7 full days including a few hours possibly at the end leaving the Ho Chi Minh City airport and visiting the city for a few hours. The Short version does the north: Hanoi and Halong Bay and Siem Rep-Angkor Thom-Angkor Wat, Bang Malea then going to Ho Chi Minh City in the AM to transfer to an international flight in the evening back to the uSA. The longer version lands in Ho Chi Minh City-tours this then goes to Hoi An and Hue. The trip is with Kenington Tours. There are multiple options for flying to VietNam: everyone doing things a little different. I was thinking going Cathay Pacific and staying in Hong Kong for two full days apart from the departure and arrival (if I do this suspect will leave 9AM from NYC-another option is leaving the evening before and transfering in Vancoover at 2AM). Question is what does the South offer different from the North(VietNam). Icoulddothe long+HKortheshort+moredaysin HK
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Apr 30th, 2010, 08:56 AM
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The weather at the time of year when you are traveling may determine where you want to go. I like this website for checking weather:
www.wunderground.com
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Apr 30th, 2010, 08:58 AM
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South is much more tropical and generally hotter than the North. I would say the big thing in the South is the Mekong Delta and it's water-borne lifestyle that is quite interesting with floating markets, etc. Actually, I far prefer the North because of the city of Hanoi - a much more interesting city than Saigon (my opinion). Either option does not really give you enough time on the ground to see this wonderful country. Ideally, 3 weeks is the minimum time period I suggest for seeing Vietnam. Very best thing about this place is not the sights - it's the extremely generous and wonderful people. Independent travel is the way to go in SE Asia - guided tours are unnecessarily expensive and totally unnecessary in this easily-traveled country.
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Apr 30th, 2010, 09:20 AM
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Neither one of these tours sounds appealing to me. They are trying to cram too much into too little time. Pause and think about what it is you want to do/see/experience.

The short version visits Hanoi and Halong Bay and Siem Reap, Cambodia. Those places would be my preference, but I'd do it independently. It will be cheaper (probably much cheaper) and you'll be able to do and see what you want, stay where you want. Note that the way they are routing you, you'll need a double-entry visa for VN.
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Apr 30th, 2010, 10:01 AM
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I think a lot depends on what you want to get out of this trip. The
south and north of Vietnam are culturally, scenically, and
climatically quite different. If you want to get even a limited sense
of what the country is "like" you should do the longer trip.
Personally, I find Saigon, Hoi An, and Hue no less interesting than
Hanoi. I agree with others that it would be better to spend longer
(go to the highlands, too) and you don't need to go with a tour. I'd
take the time away from Hong Kong (two days are enough, unless
you are into shopping)
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Apr 30th, 2010, 10:26 AM
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Why go to Hong Kong at all? I'd save that for another trip. Fly into a Southern destination and work your way North or visa versa. Stay in Cambodia and Vietnam only.
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Apr 30th, 2010, 02:36 PM
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if i were to drop one area it would be HCMC, as it offers the least for the average tourist....the reports seem quite mixed on the delta area as well...

hanoi is fantastic and siem reap is unbelievable...i think you need at least 4 days in each...

and i think a couple of days in HK is an excellent idea....can you extend by a few days and do the whole thing on your own??

we will help you plan
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Apr 30th, 2010, 04:27 PM
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I am going around feb4 or feb 7. the short tour starts about Feb11th. The chinese new year begins Feb3, 2011. I wonder how this factors into staying in HK or VietNam. The reason to go to HK is that there are no nonstop flights from USA to Viet Nam. They usually stop in Japan (I have visited), Korea, HK. Cathay Pacific seems to have the most flights, hence, why not HK. Your input makes me think of doing the short version and possibly exploring more in HK baring any conflict with the lunar new year (advise please).
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Apr 30th, 2010, 07:15 PM
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During the Lunar New year some shops and restaurants will be closed as people spend the new year's celebrations with their families.
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May 1st, 2010, 04:50 AM
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The Lunar New Year in Vietnam is Tet. This is an extremely busy time to be in Vietnam because anyone who is able will travel to spend the holidays with family. And Vietnamese living abroad will often return for Tet. Saigon, particularly, will be packed with Viet Kieu, and it will be difficult to get a hotel room. Rates rise and restaurants are very crowded.

Having said all that, I loved being in Saigon in the days before Tet as the energy level (normally stratospheric) rises. People are out in their holiday clothes shopping and promenading. But I love that city at any time of year. I've been twice and hope to return.

I do not think the New Year period will be the best time to visit HK. Again, rates will soar above their already high levels and restaurants will be packed. Many tourists will arrive from other Asian countries and beyond.

Have you made certain that your ticket will include a free stopover en route to Vn? I have taken KoreanAir via Seoul a few times and thought the connections and service were very good.

On your other thread you asked about differences between north and south. This is far too complex a question to receive a meaningful answer. It is like asking "which is better, the north of Italy or the south?" I think that Hanoi probably has more to offer a first time visitor as far as "sights." Neither city is particularly beautiful in the way that Rome or Paris, or Kyoto, is beautiful. There are lovely areas of both, of course--the leafy areas out of district 1 in Saigon; the Lakes in Hanoi.

Why don't you look into a private guide so you can set your own schedule?
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