Vietnam Itinerary -- please critique

Old Aug 4th, 2016, 02:08 PM
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Vietnam Itinerary -- please critique

We are four women friends considering the following itinerary. Most of us haven't been to Vietnam before, and of course we want to see as much as reasonably and enjoyably possible in the time we have. We would very much appreciate any comments/opinions/critiques. Thanks very much!!

Day 1: arrive Hanoi
Day 2: Hanoi
Day 3: Hanoi – Halong
Day 4: Halong – Hanoi
Day 5: Hanoi – Mai Chau
Day 6: Mai Chau
Day 7: MaiChau – NinhBinh
Day 8: NinhBinh– Hanoi
Day 9: to Hue
Day10: Hue city
Day 11: Hue – drive to Hoian
Day 12: Hoian – Ho Chi Minh
Day 13: Ho Chi Minh – SiemReap
Day 14: SiemReap
Day 15: SiemReap
Day 16: Leave for home
shellie8888 is offline  
Old Aug 4th, 2016, 04:06 PM
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Shelley-your itinerary seems a bit rushed to me. Hanoi is a wonderful city full of atmosphere and deserves at least 3 days. You will not have sufficient time to see the city during your travel days to and from Halong bay. IMO, while the scenery is nice, the long and boring trip each way was exhausting. Also, if you are going during a hot time of year (almost always), it can be brutal sitting on the deck of the boat. Many only have air conditioning in the bedrooms. We also loved hue and Hanoi. 1 1/2 days in Hue is sufficient to cover the majority of sites there, but you hardly have time in hoi an. I would spend another day there and the remaining time in Saigon. IMO you do not have enough time for Siem reap which deserves at least 3 full days.
dgunbug is offline  
Old Aug 4th, 2016, 04:29 PM
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I pretty much agree with dugunbug. You really are trying to pack too much into the time available. What time of year are you planning on going as the weather could have big influence on your plans.

I would certainly forget about Siem Reap and probably Halong too. Spread out that time in the remaining places. Hanoi definitely deserves more time as does Hue

If you do decide to keep Halong then it would make more sense to go Halong - Ninh Binh - Mai Chau - Hanoi. You could even get the overnight train from close to Ninh Binh to Hue which would save a days travel.

To get to HCMC from Hoi An would mean getting to Da Nang and flying from there. I suggest checking flight/train/ bus times as travelling between all these destinations could really eat into your time.

We used Ethnic Travel to arrange our trekking from Mai Chau via Pu Long to Ninh Binh and they did a very good job. Details and photos of our time there last year on our blog @

With the time you have available I do think you need a tour to make the most of your time there, at least for that part of the trip.
crellston is offline  
Old Aug 4th, 2016, 07:15 PM
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Agree with both replies. The Halong - Ninh Binh - Mai Chau - Hanoi route gives you a bit more time in Hanoi, a fascinating city with much to do. You'd need to deal with a local travel agent to organise this. I've used Ethnic Travel too, professional and flexible.

Consider a train from Hue to Da Nang, about 2.5 hours, sit on the left for fantastic South China sea views.

I'd also cut Siem Reap, there's a lot more to Cambodia, I think it deserves its own trip.

With a bit more time in HCMC you could maybe get to the delta for a night on a boat.
sartoric is offline  
Old Aug 5th, 2016, 01:07 AM
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I think with two weeks, you cannot cover all the places you mentioned. You should only visit Vietnam in this trip and skip Siem Reap to spend more time in Hoian.You can take a trip to Cambodia on another occasion.
braydenbyn is offline  
Old Aug 5th, 2016, 07:44 AM
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Even cutting Siem Reap, it's a pretty busy itinerary. This is a part of the world that rewards slow travel. If you move too fast, you'll miss it all.
Kathie is offline  
Old Aug 6th, 2016, 08:38 AM
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It seems you just go to Hochiminh City for one night to flight to Siem Reap, so why not flight directly from Danang to Seam Reap (some non stop fly some stop over in HCM but still just one move)?
longvietnam is offline  
Old Aug 7th, 2016, 09:26 AM
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Thanks so much for the replies! I will adjust my itinerary accordingly.
shellie8888 is offline  
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