Vietnam and Singapore OR Vietnam only?

Sep 18th, 2019, 01:22 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 87
Vietnam and Singapore OR Vietnam only?

Hi everyone,

I have a 2-day conference in Vietnam (Hanoi) in October and I can extend my stay to 10 days.

I'm thinking I can either do 4 days Hanoi (2 will be spent in the conference), 2 in Ha Long Cruise, 1 in Hoi Ann, and 3 in Ho Chi Minh City.
OR
I can do 4 days in Hanoi and then fly to Singapore for 6 days (but I fly back home from Hanoi). The reason is that I've heard so much about Singapore and it is much cheaper to travel from Vietnam than Egypt (where I'm based).

Main concern:
-Will I like Vietnam? Is it worth it?
I was recently in Hong Kong and Macau, and although I enjoyed them, they would not be on top of my list. I've found that I enjoyed Europe and Japan the most in my travels because I like architecture, nature (cruises, caves), shopping, and big cities with old vibes. I know they are all completely different but I mention them to give examples of what I like. I'm also not into museums or war-related things.

-If I do Vietnam and Singapore, will I not be able to see either fully and will just lose time in flights? Or would it be a good idea to see old vs. new.

-I did some research but people either love Vietnam or hate it so it's difficult to form an opinion. I'm trying to avoid pictures because they look much prettier than reality and I end up being disappointed

If you have other suggestions please let me know.

Thank you in advance.

Last edited by Rana25; Sep 18th, 2019 at 01:33 AM.
Rana25 is offline  
Sep 18th, 2019, 02:15 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
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With the limited time, you should focus on visiting only Vietnam.
1 night in Hoian is too rushed/ nothing so I would skip it to spend that time in Hanoi.
DinHo is online now  
Sep 18th, 2019, 09:21 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
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I am a big fan of Singapore but it will click some, not all of your boxes. You will see new architecture within a newer city and will not have old vibes though to an extent you can get that in China town and little India.

You can shop till you drop but be advised Singapore is very expensive, perhaps the most expensive city/state in the world. However it is a beautiful place to see though perhaps more new and urban for your taste and six days is probably overkill anyway.

Not far from Singapore is Kuala Lumpur. Its also a beautiful city with cool architecture as noted by the Petronas Towers, has a China town and little India too and is way less in cost. Friends we know went to both places and said their three night stay in KL cast as much as one night in Singapore and in KL the shopping is amazing too. We were very pleasantly surprised but KL and it has great food too.

Melaka is an older colonial city about halfway between Singapore and KL and then you have the amazing Batu caves which also clicks one of your boxes:


https://www.malaysia-traveller.com/batu-caves.html

Have fun planning!
jacketwatch is offline  
Sep 18th, 2019, 11:29 AM
  #4  
 
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I'd suggest dividing your time between Hanoi & Singapore. If you love Hanoi it'll be a reason to return to VN to see more & spend longer than the few days you have this trip. I usually enjoy long stays wherever I go but because Singapore is expensive I usually just stay several days and have enjoyed it every time.

So, not counting your conference days, with 8 days to enjoy I'd do 4 in Hanoi & 4 in Singapore. If you decide you must go to Halong Bay (not one of my favorite experiences), then 5 including that in Hanoi & 3 in Singapore. That seems to me about the minimum for each.
MmePerdu is online now  
Sep 18th, 2019, 06:11 PM
  #5  
kja
 
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I haven't been to Vietnam yet (though I look forward to 3 or 4 weeks there), but I have been to Singapore. Like jacketwatch, I suspect "it will click some, not all of your boxes."

If you haven't already seen it, you might find some useful information in my trip report:
A Memorable Solo Month in Singapore, Java, and Bali
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Sep 18th, 2019, 11:14 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: May 2004
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"Will I like Vietnam? Is it worth it?" only you can answer these questions and only after you have been. The country certainly meets all those items on your wish list. Whereas Singapore doses the, apart from the shopping.

Vietnam is very inexpensive whereas Singapore is one of the most expensive destinations in Asia. I am glad I visited Singapore once but have never felt the need to return apart from as a transit stop. Vietnam, I have returned many times and will doubtless return again.

If you like cruises then Bai Tu Long bay is a less crowded alternative to Ha Long. Hoi An is not worth the effort for one day and is also the height of the rainy season their and the town often floods. I love Saigon and that is definitely worth 3 days but I would be quite happy spending the whole ten days in northern Vietnam. Maybe 4 days in Hanoi, a couple of nights in Ha Long or BTL bay cruise. I would also consider some time in rural Vietnam. There is some spectacular scenery quite close to Hanoi where you could easily do a side trip to fill your remaining days.
crellston is offline  
Sep 20th, 2019, 12:11 AM
  #7  
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Thank you everyone for the responses! After reading your comments and trying to make it work, it seems that Vietnam+Singapore would be difficult (not enough time, I'll be rushing through things).

DinHo: do you suggest I stay more in Hoi An?

jacketwatch: I like your ideas, I'll add them to my 'to-do list' for later!

MmePerdu: after some research, Singapore will be expensive and I don't want to spend that much money on this trip

kja: thanks for the link! I'll check it out for Singapore later!

crellston: I did not see anything online about rain during October, but that would make Hoi An a bad choice, you're right. I will be there the last few days of October and first week of November, not sure the weather changes then. Where in rural Vietnam would you recommend?

All, could you please recommend cities to visit and places to shop in Vietnam?
Rana25 is offline  
Sep 20th, 2019, 04:36 AM
  #8  
 
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Both October and November are the peak months for the rains in central Vietnam. I would avoid. Also it would take a day to get there so one night would be a waste of time.

For rural Vietnam, with the time you have, I would consider a couple of nights in either the Mai Chau Valley or Ninh Binh . Both offer spectacular scenery. You could likely combine the latter with Ha Long bay instead of returning to Hanoi. In the case of Mai Chau, if you did a tour there you could perhaps get them to drop you back at Noi Bai for your onward flight.
crellston is offline  
Sep 20th, 2019, 06:56 AM
  #9  
 
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Originally Posted by Rana25 View Post
Thank you everyone for the responses! After reading your comments and trying to make it work, it seems that Vietnam+Singapore would be difficult (not enough time, I'll be rushing through things).

DinHo: do you suggest I stay more in Hoi An?

jacketwatch: I like your ideas, I'll add them to my 'to-do list' for later!

MmePerdu: after some research, Singapore will be expensive and I don't want to spend that much money on this trip

kja: thanks for the link! I'll check it out for Singapore later!

crellston: I did not see anything online about rain during October, but that would make Hoi An a bad choice, you're right. I will be there the last few days of October and first week of November, not sure the weather changes then. Where in rural Vietnam would you recommend?

All, could you please recommend cities to visit and places to shop in Vietnam?
FYI Singapore can be done more economically if you eat at the hawker centers which are plentiful, inexpensive and delicious. Two hawker center stalls were awarded Michelin stars around two years ago and many Singaporeans eat there so too.
Public transportation is inexpensive.
You can find more reasonable hotels too. Just go to a booking site, enter your max budget and I think you will be surprised at what you can get.
All the best!.
Larry
jacketwatch is offline  
Sep 20th, 2019, 08:49 AM
  #10  
 
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I stay at The Inn at Temple Street in Singapore, an excellent location in Chinatown, not expensive by my budget-travel standards. Attractive rooms and a great staff.

Inn At Temple Street | 3 Star Hotel in Chinatown, Singapore
MmePerdu is online now  
Sep 23rd, 2019, 02:08 AM
  #11  
 
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Vietnam is very inexpensive whereas Singapore is one of the most expensive destinations in Asia.
katimiller is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2019, 05:07 AM
  #12  
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All, thank you for the recommendations on Singapore; I will keep them for a future trip (esp. the Inn at Temple St.!).

I have decided to stay in Vietnam and limit my trip to 3 places, in the following order:
Hanoi 3 nights
Hoi An 5 nights
Hanoi 1 night (I will stay one night here because the cruise leaves early from Hanoi)
Ha Long cruise 1 night

I liked Da Nang over Hoi An but read that it was not as touristy and popular as Hoi An, so maybe pics are misleading. Is it true that Hoi An would be a better base? Because I will probably fly from Hanoi to Da Nang then take a taxi to Hoi An.
Rana25 is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2019, 07:13 AM
  #13  
 
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If you like "touristy" you should be right at home in Hoi An. Personally I would spend minimal time there and more in Hanoi, although I might split your Hoi An days between Hue and Hanoi. But I hate crowds and don't shop.

I visited Da Nang a long time ago (2002) and enjoyed it precisely because it wasn't touristy. Had a good museum, too.
thursdaysd is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2019, 08:51 AM
  #14  
 
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A "better base" in terms of what?
Personally I wouldn’t choose either Da Nang or Hoi An in October simply because it is the wettest time of the year as I mentioned previously. You could be lucky and get a dry spell but I would rather spend those few days elsewhere. Hoi An is very quaint but massively busy these days, not only with people staying in the town but mostly from the tour groups from the mega hotels lining the highway the 20 Kms or so towards Da Nang. It may quiter in October because of the rain.
crellston is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2019, 12:08 PM
  #15  
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Thursdaysd: I shouldíve elaborated on Ďtouristyí. I read online that Da Nang didnít have many tourists, so tourists stuck out wherever they went, transport wasnít good and there was a lot of walking to get to places.

Crellston, youíre right, I was assuming that the weather wonít change much from Hanoi to Hoi An but looks like Hoi An is rainy. I was looking for a better base to visit Hoi An, Da Nang, and do day trips. But now that it will possibly rain, I will exclude it.

So Iím back Hanoi and Ha Long only. Other recommendations for a third place?
Rana25 is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2019, 12:17 PM
  #16  
 
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so tourists stuck out wherever they went
If that worries you, maybe you shouldn't be visiting Asia. I have been to over 70 countries in the last 15+ years, and I haven't looked like the locals in a lot of them. Never worried me any. Nor do I remember having any difficulty getting around Da Nang.
thursdaysd is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2019, 12:31 PM
  #17  
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Originally Posted by thursdaysd View Post
If that worries you, maybe you shouldn't be visiting Asia. I have been to over 70 countries in the last 15+ years, and I haven't looked like the locals in a lot of them. Never worried me any. Nor do I remember having any difficulty getting around Da Nang.
Iím only trying to make sure itíll be safe because Iím going solo and I donít speak the language. But I havenít had issues in any of my previous travels.
Rana25 is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2019, 12:50 PM
  #18  
 
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Vietnam is very safe. If you speak English you'll be fine.
thursdaysd is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2019, 01:06 PM
  #19  
 
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"So I’m back Hanoi and Ha Long only. Other recommendations for a third place?"

See my comments in post #8 above, repeated below.

"For rural Vietnam, with the time you have, I would consider a couple of nights in either the Mai Chau Valley or Ninh Binh . Both offer spectacular scenery. You could likely combine the latter with Ha Long bay instead of returning to Hanoi. In the case of Mai Chau, if you did a tour there you could perhaps get them to drop you back at Noi Bai for your onward flight."

As you are travelling solo, I would either join a group or private tour from Hanoi. Both of those places are within 2 -3 hours drive if Hanoi. You could do a couple of days in both, one or add time to Hanoi.
crellston is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2019, 05:11 PM
  #20  
 
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With 3 weeks we ran out of time before we ran out of stuff to do in Vietnam (though we did take a few days in Laos as well). A week of that was just around Hanoi and I kind of felt like I wouldn't have minded staying longer. Hanoi is an intriguing atmosphere that's a mix of Vietnamese, Chinese and French colonial, incredible food, really kind people. There are a number of villages to the west that, with a driver, are worth a day trip and are not swarming with tourists. Chua Thay's pagoda, built between a bluff and a small lake, was peaceful when we visited and a nice break from the city bustle and the large number of visitors to attractions. And once you get out in these places, the things you find yourself engaging with is always a bit unexpected.
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