2 weeks backpacking in southern Vietnam (few questions)
Replies: 10 - Last Post: Nov 11, 2012 11:25 AM Last Post By: Bassalegboy
Sep 9, 2012 4:49 AM
2 weeks backpacking in southern Vietnam (few questions)Hi all!
After a hard working year I'm setting myself for a two week holiday in Vietnam (the southern part only). It's gonna be my first time backpacking alone and I would just like to ask if there's anybody out there who could offer any kind of suggestion regarding my itinerary:
HCMC (0 or 1 day) - Hue (2 days) - Da Nang (1 day) - Hoi An (2 days) - Nha Trang (2 days) - Mui Ne (2 days) - Mekong delta (2 days) - HCMC (2 or 3 days)
I also have a few explicit questions for which I would really appreciate any help:
1) HCMC - Hue
I'll be arriving at the HCMC international airport on Saturday, 6.10.2012 at 19.35, and would like to continue to Hue as soon as possible (I'm leaving HCMC as a desert for the end). I reckon a night train would be the perfect solution for me. Is there anywhere I can check the connections online and even book a ticket on a sleeper train? How long does it take and how much does it cost approx.?
Alternatively: On my trip to Laos 2 years ago I took an all-night sleeper bus from Vientianne to Pakse. Does anyone know about such buses in Vietnam as well? Is it possible to book the ticket online?
I would like to spend a day or two learning how to windsurf. I read that there are a lot of surf schools in Mui Ne, but I haven't been able to find any info about any other place. So my questions is: Is Mui Ne really the best place for that or is it just so well marketed?
3) Mekong delta
All the stops of my itinerary are somewhat single areas, except for the Mekong delta. That's a huge area and I have no idea where exactly to go or what to do yet. Maybe book an organized trip with some agency? Any ideas on how to experience it the best way?
Thanks a lot for any help!
Sep 9, 2012 5:35 AM
Sep 9, 2012 11:11 AM
2Try this site
I have used it in the past without problems though you can get rail tickets easily in advance at the railway station.
Re: buses in Vn. Personally, I much prefer the train. The Hue/Da Nang part is one of the beat train rides in SE Asia.
Sep 10, 2012 1:08 AM
Bassalegboy the site seems very usefull! According to it, I'd be in Da Nang at 14:30h or in Hue at 17:00h, so I'm kinda thinking to go for Da Nang first and still be left with a good half of the day to see something. Have you tried the sleeper though? Is it OK?
How about flying? I just checked skyscanner and there are two airlines, Jetstar and Vietjet, flying HCMC - Da Nang for as low as 25$ several times a day. Any experience with these two?
I am a big fan of train rides though, I wonder if the experience on this ride would be worth the time it costs. Looking forward for any extra info :)
Sep 10, 2012 5:15 AM
Sep 11, 2012 3:41 PM
5Bus to Mui Ne from HCMC are easy enough to get either via your hotel or one of agencies can book you ticket for next day when you get there. Havnt done windsurfing at Mui Ne - we just chilled ont he beach, but it is the place to go i think. Think you can get the train from somewhere about 30 min from Mui Ne, up to Hue - or even to Dan Nang if you wanted to stop at Hoi An - which i think is definately worth a visit - it may be touristy but there is a reason it is a world heritage site
Mekong Delta... get a bus bus from HCMC to Can Tho and then speak to the guest house owner - they will sort you out with a boat trip on the delta that would cover floating markets, and a generally chilled day on the river.
Man in seat 61 - <http://www.seat61.com/> is good site for checking train travel times and fares in any country and information about booking.
Sep 24, 2012 8:37 AM
Sep 25, 2012 4:15 AM
Sep 26, 2012 11:59 PM
8Thanks, will do!
Right now I'm wondering about one more thing though - which money to take with me. My home currency is euro. Any idea on whether it is possible to get good exchange rates in Vietnam, at least in the big cities? Or is it better to exchange to dollars first before leaving and then to dongs?
Nov 10, 2012 9:44 AM
9A brief feedback of my trip:
My itinerary ended to be the following
- HCMC 1 night
- Da Nang 1.5 days
- Hue 2 days
- Hoi An 2 days
- Nha Trang 1 day
- Da Lat 1.5 days
- Can Tho 1.5 days
- Rach Gia 1 day
- HCMC 4 days
Finally I completely skipped Mui Ne and didn't do any windsurfing. I just decided to use my time in Vietnam discovering this beautiful land and try windsurfing on another occasion.
I took only one train ride, namely Da Nang - Hue. The scenery was really impressive and the ride very comfortable. For all other transportation I always used buses. It's just so easy and cheap to travel by bus in Vietnam. Maybe not the most comfortable of rides, especially the longer trips on sleeper buses which are designed for Asian body proportions (you have approx. 175x60 cm of sleeping space), but for backpacking purposes it was OK.
As for the money, I was simply withdrawing it from ATMs along the way. The rates with the Vietcom Bank and the Vietin Bank were very good and you pay about 1€ fee every time you withdraw. There are many other ATMs from other banks as well, but they usually don't support Maestro cards, which I use.
On quite a surprise, the temperature in Da Lat went as low as 10 C one night, which in combination with rain, wind and me wearing summer shorts made it a very cold night. Other then that, the temperatures were mostly around 25 C, great for travelling. There was also some raining but I guess only about 2 days of heavy rain during the day.
All in all it was amazing two weeks and I was enjoying myself very much. The people are really very friendly and you get approached all the time when travelling alone. I will go back to Vietnam again one day, at least to see the northern part as well!
Nov 11, 2012 11:25 AM
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