Vietnam - 2 week itinerary at the end of this month. Feedback welcome!
Replies: 13 - Last Post: Aug 21, 2012 12:00 PM Last Post By: Belmont
Aug 15, 2012 8:38 AM
Vietnam - 2 week itinerary at the end of this month. Feedback welcome!My wife and I are planning to visit Vietnam for 14 days (August 27th - September 9th, 2012 ). I’ve been doing research on how to make the most of our 2 week stay in this forum and I’d love to hear some feedback on the basic itinerary that I’ve come up with.
Here’s the rough city itinerary:
Halong Bay, Cat Ba island
Da Lat (maybe)
Mui Ne (maybe)
Cat Tien National Park
Da Lat and Mui Ne are potentially on the chopping block. I’m not interested in rushing from place to place, and if we plan on visiting all of these cities, we’d roughly get 2 days in each, which is too fast paced for me.
I’m really interested in seeing Saigon, but I haven’t heard a ton of great endorsements for it, so it’s possible that we show up there and just fly out in order to help us spend more time in other areas. If you have any thoughts on this, please share!
We currently aren’t attempting to explore Sapa from Hanoi, although we’ve heard wonderful things. If you think it’s a must-see, please tell us why! Thanks for any feedback!
Specific plans per location
We understand that Hanoi Backpackers is the place to stay while here. “Old Town” apparently has the most interesting night life. I also found a strong recommendation to find the restaurant “Indochine” and try their “banana salad”. From Hanoi we want to take a trip to Ha Long bay.
Ha Long Bay and Cat Ba:
There’s an adventure company at slopony.com. We were thinking about doing rock climbing adventure (1 day) and the Cat Ba motorcycle adventure (1 day). I’ve heard recommendations to stay one night on a boat here. We don’t have that setup, and I don’t know if that’s what we want to do, but I’m interested in any suggestions, especially on how to find a reliable, safe boat with an entertaining crew.
I hear this is just a nice town to explore and have clothes made. I think we’ll probably just wander; no itinerary.
Da Lat and Mui Ne:
Nothing planned for this places because I’m not sure if they’re worth visiting. Mui Ne is a beach location, and I simply don’t know if it’s worth it to visit the beach during August/September. I understand it will be the rainy season. But, if we do go, I might try the kite boarding lessons offered there.
We don’t have a good idea of what’s available here, but I’m interested in any suggestions!
Cat Tien National Park
All tips are welcome - travelling, culture, food, suggestions. Thanks in advance!
Aug 15, 2012 10:27 AM
1hi there! i wanna give you some of my silly ideas :D
Sapa is really a nice place! it is a chance for you to see Vietnamese Northern ethnic people ( there are 54 different ethic group in VN), they now still wearing traditional clothes and keep their own living activities.
- if you are interested in beach, Nha Trang and Phu Quoc island are other options you should think about, especial Phu Quoc, it is isolated and has not been exploited too much, people there are very honest! you can hire a motorbike and go around the island by yourselves or book a short tour in any hotel. Squid-ing at night is very interesting !
finally, Sai Gon, i live there, and i dont have any idea about it,too. however, i love it and still dont know why ! hahahh :))) i'm sorry for not helping anything about this.
think 14 days is not enough for you to enjoy, there are still many other destinations such as: Hue, Can Tho, Buon Ma Thuot - you can try riding an elephant here!! sounds great, right? ;)) and blablaa !
tips for you:
- September 2nd is our National Celebration so airplane/ train/ bus tickets are expensive and rare than normal, even hotel room, therefore, you should book for ticket and hotel days before ( more than 2 week is the best)
- try " xích lô " if you see it, its not expensive and only available in VN
- i'm ashamed to say that, but, be careful with your pocket and your baggage :(
- if you need some helps, try to ask local people, i know some of them are .... but there still many friendly people around you !! catch and ask a young guy if you can because many of them can speak English
our services are not good enough to meet tourists' demands ( both internal and external ) but i hope it doesnot influent to your trip
hope you have a great vacation !
Aug 15, 2012 10:34 AM
Aug 15, 2012 12:07 PM
Here's one. It's a very cool place, good food, good people. Visit the War Remnants museum.
I was somewhat disappointed by Cat Tien. Little different than any American national park, just some forest, deer, and such. Not bad, but not worth a huge trip. Also, it's on the road from Dalat to Saigon, so visit in that order.
Aug 15, 2012 8:31 PM
4I would say skip Mui Ne unless you are a kite surfer.
If you want to beach time then An Bang beach near Hoi An is worht a visit as is Cua Dai (don't believe the guide book We were there three days ago completely hassle free) it is easy to get to by bicycle from Hoi An.
I liked Dalat, so different fromt he rest of Vietnam and a most welcome drop in temperature. We just spent two nights and spent a day with easy riders. Absolutely fantastic - saw loads and were very well looked after for us$20 each
Also agree that the War Remnants museum is worth a visit.
Enjoy your trip
Aug 16, 2012 4:22 AM
5you can refer to this itinerary and skip some of stopovers you aren't really excited in. Saigon is a dynamic city, so don't worry about what to do here, just think about how much time you can spend here :-) you can visit the markets, the shopping maill or take a city tour to discover some kind of historical relics in this beautiful place. and one more thing i should add, that is, were i you, i should skip Cat Tien :-) you should spend those last days of your vacation relaxing rather than exploring - somewhat exhausted :-)
so, good luck on your trip :-)
Aug 17, 2012 4:21 AM
6Hoi An old town is interesting to see but is incredibly touristy. Plus it's a bit off the track so takes some extra time to get to. I found Hue to be more interesting but that's me. Consider booking an overnight sleeper train to DaNang or Hue for the evening you get back from Halong Bay. Ask your tour operator what time you should return to Hanoi. There's usually plenty of time to make the train.
Aug 17, 2012 4:30 AM
7I would only stay in Saigon 1 night and definitely go mui Ne it's beautiful the sand dunes are amazing 2 nights is fine. Hoi an is really quiet but nice to wander around.
Aug 19, 2012 8:21 AM
8I would skip mui ne as well, it wasn't much of a beach destination from our experience. Nha Trang is far superior for the beach, although it is more of a resort type place.
Sapa was ok for us, if we had our time again we probably would skip it though. Very heavy handed groups following you on a trek for a day expecting you to buy something from them at the end of the day. If you do do it, make sure you are clear with the groups that start following you, you don't want to waste their time.
Halong bay we did for two nights, one night itinerary just didn't seem enough (depart at lunchtime, back late morning the following day). We loved Hoi An and Saigon, and there are plenty of things to do in Saigon, the war museum an obvious destination for half a day. Good luck planning!
Aug 19, 2012 2:58 PM
We are planning to visit at the same time as you and our itineraries look very similar. We have seen on the BBC news tonight that there has been a typhoon in northern Vietnam and there is possibly another one on the way.
This has raised quite a big question in our minds now as to wether we should delay our visit (assuming we can sort out flights at such short notice).
Are you still planning to go? Is there anyone reading this thread in northern Vietnam at the moment who can advise as to wether it is safe to travel in the coming week?
We hope anyone that is already out there is safe.
Thanks a lot and all the best
Olly & Ella
Aug 19, 2012 4:22 PM
10Hello! It was great to see this post as my boyfriend and I are planning very similar trip although we wanted to include Sapa instead of Cat Tien.
However, looking at the recent Typhoon in the area and the weather in general, thinking we may have to reconsider this.
I was wondering if anyone who is currently in Vietnam, could describe the weather? Looks like it have been pretty much continual rain and thunder, is that right? Or is it downpour with still snatches of sunshine breaking through.Should we plan to drop some of the activities we were hoping to do (trekking in Sapa, boat trip in Halong bay etc) because of this?
We were planning to arrive this Sunday and stay for about 2.5 weeks.
Thank you so much!
Aug 19, 2012 9:45 PM
So I actually live in HCMC - which is pretty much unaffected by the typhoon; but my friends in Hanoi say basically it's been raining and flooding all day there.
If you guys still can, I think delaying the trip until mid-September would be a good idea. That would have been the end of the rainy season (all across Vietnam) and autumn in Hanoi is almost a legend of scenic romance, widely celebrated in old and new Vietnamese arts.
Trekking in Sapa, according to my friends there, should be feasible. There has been light rain but the weather is otherwise sunny and breezy. Halong boat trip however is definitely a 'no' because no boats are allowed out in the stormy sea at the moment.
Hope this helps. I'd be happy to provide further information if needed.
Aug 20, 2012 2:14 AM
phuongnnn - Thank you very much for the info. I'm not sure we will be able to delay our visit now as it is too close to when we fly so it seems we will be still coming over as planned. It is good to know that the south has been unaffected so if when we arrive it is really bad we could get another flight down to HCMC and travel around there.
Belmont - It sounds like you are planning a very similar itinerary to us! We are arriving on Monday and planning on heading to Sapa pretty much straight away. We emailed the guides we are almost certainly going with to ask about the situation and they said they had to cancel their tours on Saturday but other than that it is business as usual.
From looking at the weather today it appears to be rain with sun with no further news on the typhoon so I guess we will just have to hope for the best.
Aug 21, 2012 12:00 PM
13phuongnnn - indeed thanks so much for the very useful info!
Omaynard - how funny I didn't even see your post when I posted almost exactly the same question! Yes, our itineraries are almost identical, we arrive Sunday and will judge the weather and if looks ok, head straight up to Sapa too. I guess we'll see you out there! Have a great trip over Iz & Oscar
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