Saigon and Hanoi in a week?

Old Jun 28th, 2007, 03:28 PM
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Saigon and Hanoi in a week?

My husband and I are unable to vacation for longer than a week, but my dream has always been to see Vietnam.

Just trying to plan air flights from Honolulu is daunting with 16 hours layovers in Korea or China.

At any rate, does anyone think it would be possible to fly into Saigon, then fly to Hue then Hanoi (with the boat trip) and return in a week or should we just forget it and plan on visiting somewhere else.

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Old Jun 28th, 2007, 04:00 PM
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onetravel.com is showing a two hour layover in Seoul on Korean Air for Honolulu to Saigon. You could do Saigon and Hanoi in a week, but I doubt you could add Hue and have time to experience much.
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Old Jun 28th, 2007, 04:41 PM
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Hanoi and Saigon in a week is doable, but bloody hard if you drop in Hue also.

My view is do either Saigon OR Hanoi.

Personally, I'd choose Hanoi, as it is far more interesting and far more attractive, especially with the lake.

Hanoi also allows you the opportunity to do an overnight cruise on Halong Bay, or to go to Sapa (I never got to Sapa, but people say it is great).

Hanoi has character and is charming and is far less westernized.

I have some photos at http://jmprphotography.com which include Hanoi and Halong Bay

Do both Hanoi and Saigon, and you will need to fly. You could probably get an early morning flight from Hanoi to Hue, and then continue on to Saigon with a late afternoon flight so you got to spend a day in Hue. But you are really going to be stretching things.

Forget the Reunification Express. You'll spend all your time on the damn train, and internal flights are not expensive.
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Old Jun 28th, 2007, 04:46 PM
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A week is better than no time at all...so I'd go. But I'd go to either Hanoi or Saigon, and do one or two trips out of the city to places that interest you. I wouldn't try to cram in a whole lot, because then you will spend a good percentage of your holiday time getting from place to place, which isn't fun. You can always come back to Asia when you have another week and see another spot.
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Old Jun 28th, 2007, 06:05 PM
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Mahalo to everyone for all the information.

Available JAL flight from Honolulu goes into Saigon inbound, but outbound out of Hanoi through Kansai.

From all I've read, we'll probably skip Hue.

By the way, does anyone know of a short stay hotel at Kansai?
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Old Jun 28th, 2007, 06:14 PM
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there's the Nikko inside KIX but it's not cheap

http://www.nikkokix.com/e/top.html

or some listings in nearby town of Kishiwada

http://tinyurl.com/2y4prf

Aloha!

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Old Jun 28th, 2007, 06:15 PM
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Tried onetravel web site. Flight goes Hanoi to Pusan, Pusan to Inchon and then Inchon to Honolulu. 24 hours time with two plane changes and 3 hours layovers plus price is over $2000/pp

JAL flight goes Honolulu to Narita to Saigon- total 17 hours.

return via Kansai has long layover.

China air has 24 hour layovers each way and Korean Air is sold out for dates needed.

Next step is to try going out through Bangkok.
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Old Jun 28th, 2007, 06:36 PM
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I use these to check fares.....they check just about every site

kayak.com

and

itasoftware.com
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Old Jun 28th, 2007, 06:40 PM
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this doesn't look too bad, except the time you leave Hanoi, I picked random dates
via Delta

http://tinyurl.com/2o8h3k
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Old Jun 29th, 2007, 12:47 AM
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We flew HNL to Saigon on JAL and they put us up for the night at the hotel in Kansai airport. It was a nice way to get there, as we had an evening in Osaka for free!

(BTW-since you seem to be on Oahu- it was booked through Danny at Kings Travel)
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Old Jun 29th, 2007, 08:11 AM
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Hi there,

We just did Saigon and Hanoi in one week. No Hue, and even this was tight. We did 3 nights in Saigon with one night in the Mekong Delta (two-day/one-night tour), so 4 nights in the South total. Flew to Hanoi and spent two nights in Hanoi, then two days/one night in Ha Long Bay.

To be honest we would have liked more time in Hanoi...probably 4 nights, plus one night on Ha Long (I would definitely do the Ha Long tour). If you do not want to see the Mekong Delta, you could "see" Saigon in two days (that would be enough for me) or skip Saigon and do Hue for two days. But do not short-change Hanoi!

I just posted a long trip report about the Vietnam trip, along with our time in Siem Reap and Singapore...you can search if you'd like more details.
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Old Jun 29th, 2007, 09:15 AM
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spent most of January as a tourist in Vietnam. Time in Hue was only okay -- but with only a week, would ditch that and just do HCMC and Mekong area, and then up to Hanoi. We had time to Halong Bay and Cat Ba Island. Beware of the weight limit on flights internal in Vietnam! They do weigh your bags, but did not weigh the carry-on. Hue was interesting for the imperial tombs (world heritage site) and the Cham temples (as old as Angkor Wat, but unrestored). But -- shopping was poor, and unless you're there to explore Vietnam war sites, very limited touring.
Bought an ao dai at Sy Hoang in HCMC.
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Old Jun 29th, 2007, 09:56 AM
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8Nina, Sounds like you didn't really care for Vietnam. Surprised to hear that you did not find shopping good, and also that sites for touring apparently weren't that interesting. We were particularly looking forward to interesting sites (not war related), as well as some natural beauty, and good shopping and restaurants. We've just started planning a two-week trip for February. What can you tell us about places you visited? We're planning on Saigon (with maybe a day trip or overnight in Mekong Delta), Hoi-An, Hue, and Hanoi, with perhaps an overnight trip from Hanoi to Mai Chau.
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Old Jun 29th, 2007, 10:17 AM
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I think I've been on every web site available. Taking advice of everyone, seems better to just skip Saigon and concentrate on seeing Hanoi.

Received an email from Tony @ Anntours which has been highly recommended by others here on the web site. His itinerary from Saigon, Mekong Delta, Hue, DaNang, shortchanged Hanoi. (which really interests us the most!)It was exhausting just reading the itinerary.

Newest plan- Korean Air from Honolulu thru Inchon to Hong Kong-same day arrival late evening. Two days in HK- for foodies like us a real plus. Leave Hong Kong 9Am via Cathay Pacific arrive Hanoi 10AM. 5 days in Hanoi. Return to Honolulu via Air Vietnam, thru Hong Kong and Inchon. No long layovers just a lot of plane changes.

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Also, is a visa needed for Hong Kong?
Hotel suggestions for Hong Kong?
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Old Jun 29th, 2007, 02:43 PM
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I agree that Hanoi much more interesting than HCMC. It is less "modern" and less industrial. Han Lon Bay certainly worth doing either day or overnight. But Hanoi is also less HOT!! We roasted in HCMC in January.
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Old Jun 29th, 2007, 02:44 PM
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No visa needed for HK (assuming you hold a US passport?)

Not sure what your price range is for hotels, but here are a few suggestions:

Marco Polo - Three hotels all conveniently located in Kowloon near the Star Ferry. The Marco Polo Hong Kong is the nicest but a little more expensive than the Gateway or Prince. All three hotels are connected by the huge Harbour City/Ocean Terminal shopping malls so plenty of restaurants for us foodies!

On HK island, the Excelsior is nice and a good value. One block from the bus line and two blocks from the MTR which can get you anywhere.

For pure luxury, the Four Seasons was the best hotel room I've ever stayed at, but pricey (US$700/nt - mercifully my boss insisted we stay at the same hotel because I'd never pay that much!)

You might want to check out these supermarkets in HK:

TASTE
www.aswatson.com/eng/retail_fegm_221_taste.htm

GREAT FOOD HALL
www.greatfoodhall.com/store_guide/index.htm
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Old Jun 29th, 2007, 04:13 PM
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Thank you Lia for the helpful information.
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