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Starting the Vietnam research... (tours?)

Starting the Vietnam research... (tours?)

Old Jul 28th, 2018, 03:46 AM
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Starting the Vietnam research... (tours?)

Good morning all

I am considering making winter 2019 the year I finally get myself to Vietnam. I have one book, so far, and am poking around on the internet.

If there is any internet resource you've really liked, I'm all ears.

I am considering doing this as a tour with an "active/adventure tour operator" such as Backroads - I have gone with them twice before and they are wonderful - just pricey. Has anyone used a active tour operator (hiking) and liked their experience? A friend mentioned to me that they really like MTS tours, too. (Mountain Travel Sobek).

Alternatively I could do this mostly solo but pick up different tours for activities while there. IE base in Hanoi and wander solo for a few days, and then do a 3 day trip with a tour operator to Halong Bay for instance, or any other places I find interesting. If anyone has used smaller/focused/shorter tours for certain activities I'd love to hear about it.

Thank you for any thoughts!

PS: and what is the best time to avoid the hottest weather in your experience?

Last edited by flygirl; Jul 28th, 2018 at 03:53 AM.
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Old Jul 28th, 2018, 04:27 AM
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This is a good site for determining weather patterns in Vietnam :
https://www.selectiveasia.com/vietna...ather/november Just use the drop down to change the month. Wether patterns vary a lot between north, south and central Vietnam.

https://www.travelfish.org/country/vietnam Is a decent resource for planning.

We used About Ethnic Travel | Ethnic Travel: insight into Vietnam a couple of years ago for a hiking trip in the north and to Ninh Binh. Lots of photos and information on our blog @ https://accidentalnomads.com/category/vietnam/

Tonkin, Buffalo Tours, Topas and Custom Vietnam Travel are other Vietnam based and highly regarded operators. I would avoid booking with operators outside of Vietnam as they will likely just outsource to a Vietnamese operator anyyway and add extra cost.

It is very easy to book stuff on the ground in Vietnam at short notice, especially Halong tours. DIY travel is extremely easy in the country and there is little need for tours for most places.
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Old Jul 28th, 2018, 11:25 AM
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Thank you crellston!

I will peruse your blog and thanks for the other links.

I am tempted to do this solo - I planned my Thailand solo trip from scratch and it went swimmingly. Is Vietnam as "easy" for a westerner as Thailand was?

On the other hand, the few tours I've taken have been wonderful and it's nice to meet people that way.
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Old Jul 28th, 2018, 07:04 PM
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Agree with the above post!
You can do it yourself easily in Vietnam by doing research on Travelfish.org and then "Things To Do" on TA Page to make your own plan.
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Old Jul 29th, 2018, 10:28 PM
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Just don't try to cram too much in, less = more. Getting around can be a bit frustrating and eat in to more time than you'd hope for, especially with domestic flights which regularly get delayed, mainly due to the weather, or less often but more frustratingly cancelled.

The earlier you book internal flights the more chance that the schedule is likely to change several times before you travel. So it's best not to book accommodation too far in advance, or don't bother booking in advance at all except at Vietnamese Holiday times such as TET.

Our first trip was for a month, and all we did was Saigon, Dalat [escape the heat for a few days], Danang, Hue, Hoi An, and then back to Saigon. We felt that was enough for a first visit.

If you want to spend any time by the sea, have a look at an up-and-coming place called Quy Nhon. Hardly any western tourists, we loved it for 6 nights, but the signs of 'progress' were already becoming evident.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2018, 04:55 PM
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following.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2018, 03:54 AM
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Hi again!

So sorry to just disappear. Busy with work including some business travel. Back again and since October is nearly here I guess I should at least start thinking of dates and some logistics.

I learned from my boss that December is OUT - end of year, no traveling except for Xmas. So, I guess that means January or February.

It looks like Tet is February 5 - which means, hmmmm, do I plunge and have my two weeks encompass that date or would I be better off avoiding that especially for a first trip? Or is it a don't miss? It certainly looks like it could be a lot of fun! Is the main celebration the week leading up to it?

Next, also due to work (sigh) I have to figure out if I have to make this entire trip fit into two weeks which means 12 days on the ground realistically. I would vastly prefer to take extra days for travel time and have the full two weeks/15 days on the ground.

Lastly, and only if I can get the longer time - do I want to add Angkor Wat to this and fly home from Cambodia?

Thank you again for the thoughtful help and the website links!
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Old Sep 22nd, 2018, 05:16 AM
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Angkor Wat is a very large site. A good visit really requires three days. Sounds like you don't have time.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2018, 11:29 AM
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Tet is not so big a deal as it used to be and everything doesn’t close down like it once did. You are unlikely to witness much by way of celebrations unless you have Vietnamese friends as it is very much about families. I would probably avoid the weeks either side of Tet.

Weatherwise, jan and Feb are good months for the north and the south.

Forget about Cambodia, you don’t have enough time even with 15 days on the ground. Savour the Vietnam experience which rewards slow travel.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2018, 03:22 PM
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While I prefer Cambodia to VN, if VN is your goal, don't try to add in Cambodia you just don't have enough time. Save it for when you can devote some real time to it. Pick up a copy of Dawn Rooney's book, Angkor: A Guide to Cambodia's Wondrous Temples to give you background for when you are ready to visit Angkor. She recommends a minimum of three days just to see the "major" temples, you'll want more time if you are especially interested.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2018, 04:58 PM
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Thank you everyone, Vietnam only, then. Thanks for making that easy!
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