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travellingmd May 20th, 2007 09:00 AM

Travelling from North to South in Vietnam
Hi, I basically am arriving in Bangkok Monday June 11th and taking Air Asia to Hanoi that evening. I depart back to the US from Bangkok on Sat June 23rd late evening and was thinking of flying into Bangkok from Ho Chi Min City. So I wanted to see if people have suggestions on where I should go in that time frame, using the least amount of time for travelling between cities.

I was thinking of Hanoi a couple of days then taking a flight out to Hue. Is there anything else I should see in that area before I depart. Is Hoi An a must see? Then I was going to hit Dalat and Nha Trang, the to HCMC. I want to go kitesurfing and have 3 days at the beaches, and wondering if the beaches are nicer at Mui Ne or Nha Trang. Any advice?

Also, what's the cheapest way to leave Ho Chi Min City back to Bangkok? AIr Asia is having 35 dollar sales from Hanoi to Bangkok, so I'm wondering if i should take a flight to Hanoi from HCMC and depart to Bangkok from there?

THanks so much!

Kathie May 20th, 2007 09:53 AM

VN, as much of Asia lends itself best to slow travel. So you will be happier and will experience more if you choose just a few palces to visit in your 11 days on the ground in VN.

You are starting in Hanoi, which is a delightful city (with unbelievable traffic). Do a search on this board for Hanoi, as there are lots of trip reports. Personally, I considered teh Temple of Literature, the FIne Arts Museum, KOTO (for lunch or a refreshing drink) and Craftlink (for fair trade crafts) a great about half-day stop. We very much enjoyed the history museum, and across the street, the Museum of teh History of the Revolution gives you a differnt perspective on VN's struggles with the CHinese, the French and the Americans. Of course, everyone loves the area around the lake and the old quarter. Lots to see and do there.

From Hanoi, there aer several day or multi-day trips to consider: the Perfume Pagoda (a day trip) Halong Bay (best done with an overnight at Halong) and/or Sapa (a multi-day trip). Obviously, you could spend your whole time in Hanoi and the north.

If you opt for one more area, I'd choose central VN, Hue and Hoi An. By all accounts the Cham Musem is well worth a stop as well.

What I have listed is already too much for your 11 days. So decide what is really important to you. If you want beach, you'll have to cut elsewhere.

If it were me, I wouldn't go to HCMC this trip. save it for another time.

WeiLong May 20th, 2007 05:01 PM

I would agree about Vietnam beng best suited to slower travel, it's a big country and there's a lot to see. I wouldn't say Hoi An is a "must see" bu definitely worthwhile.

From Hanoi excursions to Halong BAy and Sapa (which many would call "must see") is going to take up about a week of your time.

Mitch04 May 20th, 2007 09:49 PM

I agree. Your time is limited, and I found the north better than the south. I'd fly in and out of Hanoi.

Hanoi is fine for 2-3 days; Halong is best done overnigght, at least. Do it in one day, and 2/3 of your time will be spent in a mini bus.

You can also go to Sapa.

Hoi An is pleasant, but I am a photo journaoist so I saw it mainly through the camera lens, and it offered a great deal of variety and some wonderful shots. But it IS a little touristy.

Internal flights are pretty cheap. The return fare from Hanoi to Hoi An via Da Nang is less than $200. But you can do it cheap as chips by bus.

For Halong Bay I used which may not be the cheapest, but, in my opinion, is certainly the best.

I found HCMC rather tawdry and certainly less interesting than Hanoi.

Mitch04 May 20th, 2007 09:52 PM

PS: I have some Hoi An pics at in the Cambodia and Vietnam section/gallery

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