Vietnam trip - is my itinerary rushed? Tips?
Replies: 2 - Last Post: Aug 16, 2012 8:13 PM Last Post By: indochinatravel...
Aug 13, 2012 7:18 PM
Vietnam trip - is my itinerary rushed? Tips?I need a bit of help. I'm currently planning for Vietnam for the need of the year (December-January) (their winter??). Need some advice..
- 4 days in Hanoi (overnight in Halong Bay)
- 2 days in Hoi an - so overnight really
- 3 days in HCMC (overnight at Mekong Delta. We're thinking of skipping the Cu Chi tunnels as it doesn't really interest us)
Am I trying to fit too much?? Should I cut out Hoi An and spread those 2 days instead? If necessary I might add 1 extra day for our trip. If I do, where should I add it to?
I'm not interested in the beachy stuff as we're in Phuket before hand (+ overnight in Bangkok) before we head over to Hanoi.
Also, does it matter where I am for NYE? We're not fussed about not having a big celebration. Just hoping shops etc aren't closed?
Aug 13, 2012 10:29 PM
1Personally, I think it depends on what type of travel you like. I could have spent over a week in Hanoi as I really enjoyed the street food (live fresh pippies cooked in lemon-grass broth was a favourite!) and the drizzly weather was nice for drinking coffee and contemplating. The best coffee we had in Vietnam was in Hanoi. - It almost tasted like chocolate, or liquid gold...
If you don't mind touristy things, the Mekong delta trip was pretty good, but I really must insist that it is very schedualled and the food that they gave us was not very impressive. A lot of the places we stopped were designed simply to sell us tacky tourist items (If I could I would've skipped out on the
coconut candy factory and the rice-paper factory. But that's my opinion. Actually, the rice-paper factory was really good for photography! big steaming vats of rice-water and plenty of thatched coconut leaves. The resident (photogenic) cockerels really add to the atmosphere.
If you can, do the 'home-stay' option as opposed to the hotel. It's a bit off the beaten track but suprisingly it was not an actual home-stay and we were given our own room with a bathroom which looked out onto a small creek. If you stay at the home-stay, they offered for a side-tour to a small local village market at 5.30 in the morning before everyone else wakes up. I would really recomend this as it is very rustic and non-touristy. We had to cross in a canoe in groups of three to get there. They were selling baby chickens and I got myself a delicious pork-bun from there. The people there seem much less accustomed to tourists :).
I can't speak for the Cu Chi Tunnels as they didn't interest us either so we also left them out.
Seeing as you're going on a pretty short trip, I'm not sure about Hoi An, it is very beachy but the food was so, so amazing! We loved Hoi An so much because it was a welcome relief to the usual bustling Vietnam that you grow accustomed to in all the other towns. It is visually enticing as it has heritage buildings. And also, Hoi An is well known for the tailored clothing and shoes! If you like shopping I'd recommend it! The centre of Hoi an has no cars so it's beautifully peaceful and if you happen to be there for a full moon, all the people in the village celebrate by placing thousands of lanterns into the river.
For Halong Bay, we couldn't seem to get there without joining a rather costly tour, where the food was also not very appealing. However, it was really worth putting up with for the beauty and atmosphere of the islands. Waking up on the water and looking out over the misty waters was something I'll never ever forget.
I'm not sure of the exact dates for Tet next year but when we were there in january for it, yes, most shops were closed and the markets were much quieter. This didn't seem to affect hotel availabilities for us but we had booked in advance. We didn't get to enjoy the new year celebrations because we arrived on the new-years day. (so everyone was probably a bit tired out). But one positive thing to note was that the market-stall owners were much more likely to give us good deals as it is supposed to be good luck to treat people well at the beginning of the year.
Hope this helped! I'll be there again in january to february.. Can't wait! __
Oh, in terms of temperatures we found that Hanoi was about 10-15 degrees C. (during the day.). Foggy breath at night & Rainy. We wanted to go to Sapa (to see the hill tribes) but heard that it was snowing and that you would need proper thermal winter clothing. Ninh Binh was much the same as Hanoi, then we got on an Overnight bus heading south, landed in Hoi An and from there to Saigon it was warm enough to wear shorts and a singlet. We didn't go lower than Saigon though
Aug 16, 2012 8:13 PM
2nice sharing #2 :-)
i agree that everything depends on your travel's purpose. for some kind of time limitation, i think 4 days are a little bit rushing but still enough to cover both Hanoi and Halong, you may spend 3 days for Hanoi city tour (focusing on the food and drink will be better than just wandering around the streets) and 1 day in Halong for cruising or kayaking. so to be more comfortable, you can add your extra day to the Halong trip, not rather costly like #2 mentioned, i think, it also depends on what your choice of tour operators is. last year i took the same short trip as this one with my close friends and it was really nice indeed.
i also consent to the idea of skipping Cu Chi tunnels, but don't cut out Hoi An. it's really worth a visit, and 2 days are enough for sure.
last thing, if you happen to spend NYE in Vietnam, there's nothing to worry about. esp Saigon is a dynamic city with load of shopping malls and entertainment centers opened all days. just plan proper time to discover it :-)
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