Vietnam: HCMC or Hanoi?

Old Mar 14th, 2007, 12:40 AM
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Vietnam: HCMC or Hanoi?

My husband and I are going to Vietnam for 4 days at the end of May. We are flying there from BKK and had been planning on visiting HCMC. Now we are thinking of doing Hanoi instead. Does anyone have any arguments for one or the other? We are 25 and looking to see as much as possible while also having a good time. We are meeting my brother who is 23 and will just be finishing a teaching English program in Phnom Penh. My parents (early 50s) will also meet up with us for part of it. I am really up for anything, so if anyone would like to share any experiences in either or both of these cities, please post or send me a message.

I appreciate all the expertise I have found so far on these boards - the wealth of information here is really quite amazing.

missmara112 is offline  
Old Mar 14th, 2007, 05:47 AM
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I'd recommend Hanoi. It has retained both the old Vietnamese architecture and the French colonial architecture. There are lots of wonderful things to see ind do in the city - the Temple of Literature shouldn't be missed, and while you are there stop at the Museum of Fine Arts, CraftLink (a fair trade craft shop) and Koto (a restaurant that trains street kids to work in food services). Wander through old town and the around the lake, stry off the tourist track to toher lakes in the city and other pagodas. Visit teh excellent ethnographic museum. There are lots of reports on teh board about Hanoi - do a search here.
Kathie is online now  
Old Mar 14th, 2007, 06:12 AM
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Both are great cities, but based on your age, I'm going to recommend HCM. Hanoi has lots going for galleries, colonial architecture, the Old Quarter, etc. But it still has the vibe of the capital of a communist country. Just a little uptight.
By contrast, HCM has more snap, more buzzy energy and definitely more nightlife. Both have lots of good restaurants, but HCM really wakes up after dark. You can do a half day trip to the Cu Chi tunnels, wander the stalls at Ben Thanh market or stroll on tree lined boulevards, just soaking in the scenes of the neighborhoods. In the evening, have a cocktail at one of the famous roof top bars.

HCM is also the jumping off point to explore the Mekong Delta. With 4 days, you have time to do that. There are lots of good 2 day/1 night trips to the Mekong that will introduce you to a whole other way of life in that country.
Lindsey is offline  
Old Mar 14th, 2007, 07:23 AM
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I'm with Kathie. It's hard to beat wandering Hanoi's old quarter for atmosphere and window shopping. There are plenty of sights in Hanoi, plus you could maybe visit Halong Bay (four days is a bit short for an overnight). Even better, it's likely to be cooler and less humid!
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Old Mar 14th, 2007, 08:01 AM
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I am in my twenties and I loved Hanoi. There are plenty of fun boutiques for shopping, etc....but the architecture and charm of the city is the most appealing thing about. I am already planning my seond trip there.
Definitely Hanoi
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Old Mar 14th, 2007, 09:03 AM
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i have only been to hanoi, and the main reason for that is that we thought that there were very few things in saigon to occupy our time there...
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Old Mar 14th, 2007, 02:10 PM
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I've been to both cities and would definately recommend Hanoi. It really is a lovely, walkable city with lots to see and do. And you can take several trips outside of Hanoi, such as halong bay, that are also interesting.
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Old Mar 14th, 2007, 05:57 PM
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I liked HCMC better...Probably just because we had a better time there and stayed in a better location...Something about Hanoi, even though it is a nice city, did not appeal to me...But i am sure u will have a great time no matter which city u choose!!!
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