Going to be visiting Vietnam in January. We are flying in from Bangkok to Hanoi and want to travel down to HCMC where we will be going into Cambodia.
1) Where should we go? We definitely want to go Hanoi and Halong Bay then HCMC, but other than that we’re not sure of where to stop off inbetween.
2) Is 10 days do-able? Or is this really tight.
3) Is it best to go by train or bus? And on a train, what’s the difference between a lower berth and an upper berth as it’s slightly more expensive on lower berths so I was wondering whats diserable about lower ones.
Sorry with all the questions!
I’d say 10 days is pushing it if you want to see a few places.
Probably looking at 2 days in Hanoi then 2 days Halong bay including the travelling if rushing.
If you can fly it’s maybe worth going to Danang then to see Hoi An for a couple of days then onto Ho Chi Minh.
Just an idea anyway
I did almost exactly the same journey as you in 2009. Check out my blog for inspiration (http://www.travbuddy.com/travel-blogs/30442/Vietnam-13-05-09-7). 10 days is pushing it to do the amount of stops I did - I only had 14 days - so you might want to choose your stops carefully or increase your time there. Choosing your stops best will greatly depend upon what you’re into. I really loved Hue for the Citadel but some people think it’s really boring.
I would DEFINITELY recommend train over bus. The sleeper buses are pretty uncomfortable unless you are under around 5’3. The sleeper trains also give you the chance to walk around if you want to stretch your legs, there are loos and sinks etc.
The class of berth I’d recommend is Hard Sleeper. It has 3 beds on each side and I personally preferred the middle bunk.
The person on the top bunk has access to the light switch so you have to be the one to guage when everyone else wants the light out. But the top bunk also has the luggage rack area so you can literally sleep next to your luggage (sort of at your feet) and you don’t have to worry about it).
The middle one is shaded from the direct lighting so if the person on the top is being slow about turning off the light, you don’t have it really bright.
The bottom berth is the one people all sit on when it’s morning or before bed in the evening and it’s more expensive (but the prices don’t vary by a great deal) because you can put luggage underneath your bed, the head height when you’re sitting on the bed is reasonable (you can’t sit upright on the top bunk because you only a short distance between the bed and ceiling) and because you don’t have to clamber up two berths to get to your bed!
Don’t bother with soft sleeper - 4 berths to a cabin. The only difference is that the mattress is slightly thicker and you have less people to share with but the hard sleeper is perfectly comfortable.
Have a good trip!
I’d also say 10 days is pushing it.
I had exactly 14 days on my first trip there, which was enough for me at that time (just!).
I then had 4 weeks on my second trip, went to Dalat and spent more time moseying through the Mekong Delta and Phu Quoc. However, I then ran out of time and didn’t have chance to see the north properly!!
So anyway, point is - you can spend as much time there as you want, but I’d say 14 days would be much, much better than 10, if you can.
Getting a domestic flight or two will help as road travel in Vietnam is painfully slow!
I travelled in Vietnam by bus, I am about 5"5 and I didn’t really have any trouble sleeping.
I didn’t use a single train… We looked in to it, more than once, but we found the times were slower than buses and the tickets were more expensive.
If you get travel sickness then I would say go train (or take tablets!), because some roads in Vietnam (particularly in the central highlands) are bad, the drivers are bad, and so many people are sick! I was sick once, but there were so many journeys where all the Vietnamese were sick too. Sick bags are usually provided!! :-P
RE things to see,
Hanoi and Halong bay
I liked Hue, but most people don’t rate it. You can do the sights in a day, so a lot of people turn up in the morning, do the tourist rounds and leave on an evening bus.
Hoi An is a definite - especially if you fancy getting lots of gorgeous dresses! There are a bizillion tailors there (I got about 8 dresses when I was there last, a couple of silk tailor made ones for about $20-$25 US and a few random summer dresses from $5-$12 US)
Nha Trang (I might have spelt that wrong). Very touristy, but still a cool place!
I wouldn’t bother with Mui Ne personally, not that much there.
If you do have time, Dalat is awesome. With ten days (or probably 14 days) you won’t have time.
I’m arriving in Vietnam tomorrow, I now only have about 10 days there
My question due to limited time
Which should I visit Da Lat or Sapa
NBA trang or Hoi an ?? -are these both beach towns
I hoping to go to Saigon, Da nang, Hanoi and Halong bay. And fit more in depending on buses / train times
I know… decisions decisions!
My friend went to Dalat and she really enjoyed it. I think it’s more adventury (if there’s even such a word). She went absailing down a waterfall!
Sapa sounds interesting too with the treks. Tough decisions but I guess it’s what you’re into.
I highly recommend Sapa and Hoi An. Very cool towns.
But yeh, just to stamp home what everyone else is saying; ten days isn’t enough.
I wouldn’t bother with Danang. The only reason people really go there from what I’ve heard, is because the airport is the closest to Hoi An.
You can’t really choose between Hoi An and Nha Trang, they are both good and both different!
Dalat, although awesome, is a bit off the track to get to if you are short of time. The journey from Nha Trang and then on to Ho Chi Minh is a day each way.
You should not miss Danag and Hoi An