Hi me and a friend are thinking of going to Vietnam, were going appox Oct-Dec.
We are unsure yet of if we want do do
North and middle
South and middle
North and south
North, Middle and South
1) How much time would you need appox to visit north and south only?
2) how much time would you need to travel from Halong bay to Saigon, back packing?
I know these are very general questions, but i'm just looking for rough indicators of time so I know what is possible in our time, we are going for appox 16-22 days depending where we want to go. Just want to know how much is do-abal in that time frame.
3) is there much to see in Central Nam? is it worth trekkin? how hard is it to travel from Halong bay to Saigon?
16-22 days sounds a good amount of time to travel from North to South Vietnam. I'm assuming by backpacking that you mean by train and/or bus? It's very easy to travel this route and there are hundreds and hundreds of people doing the same trip. The typical route from North to South would include Hanoi, Hue, Hoi An/Danang, Nha Trang, Dalat, Mui Ne and then Ho Chi Minh City. If you have 22 days you could include Sapa from Hanoi and the Mekong Delta from Ho Chi Minh. You could also look at the Central Highlands. For example, you could do a 3 day motorbike trip from Dalat through the Central highlands with the Easy Riders. Google them. There is plenty to see everywhere, it depends on what you want to do: beaches? Mountains? National parks? Cities?
If you have less time you could spend some time around Hanoi and see Halong Bay, and then fly South to Ho Chi Minh and see the Mekong and perhaps spend some time on the beach. That would be 10 days ish.
If you look at the Vietnam blogs
on here you will be able to read about many other people who are or have done a very similar trip to the one you are talking about.
2 weeks in Vietnam. Hanoi, Halong Cruise, Sapa, Hue, Hoi An, Nha Trang, Sai Gon, Mekong Delta
Two weeks is too short
If you want a beach holiday, Ha Noi, Ha Long, Hoi An, Nha Trang, Mui Ne, Saigon (from North to South)
If you want to go in the mountains, can go Ha Noi, Ha Giang, Sapa, Mu Cang Chai, Ba Be, Da Lat, Saigon (from North to South)
Last June went to Vietnam & Cambodia for 15 days, went to Ho Chi Minh, Mui Ne, Phom Penh and Siem Reap.<snip> Cheers
[Edited: 2012 Oct 16 03:38 - Rat on the Road:23681 - Link removed]
About 14 days up to North, Central & South
If just only 2 parts as your questions, it is about 10 days
Central Vietnam has many things to see: Hue, Hoi An, My Son, Caves in Quang Binh, beach in danang, national park, minority people in hochiminh trails...
From Hanoi to Saigon it is better you take plane to save time because train/bus takes 2 days/3nights
There is many place in Vietnam where you will visit
i have a advice for you: you should visit Nha Trang and Ha Long
Definetly try and get yourselves to Sapa in the north. You have plenty of time to get from north to south/south to north in my opinion if busing or training it.
In response to: Msg #130525
I MUCH PREFER the central part of Viet Nam. I was there as a Marine in 1970 and have returned 5 times beginning in 1997 with the last trip in 2006.
Central has beautiful beaches on the South China Sea. The people are more agrarian than urbanized which allows you to let your guard down. Most people aren't out to rip you off but anything more than 4 days in Saigon gives me a headache due to the poor quality of the air. Everyone looks at you as a customer. Central Vietnam has my favorite city, Hoi An. Never been to Hanoi. I would like to go back again. During the war, I lived everyday and night in a small village about 4 km from Hoi An and just 2 km from the sea so I really have a home to revisit. There are people who still remember me. We 10 were like the town posse. We were the law and people gave respect as they got it. The program was called CAP (combined Action Program).
From Hoi An, you can charter what looks like a small version of a Mississippi River boat the 2 miles out to sea and what are called the Cham Islands. There, on the leeward side is the most beautiful, unspoiled beach I've ever seen. Going north, hire a car or van through the Hai Van Pass north of Danang. On top are the remnants of the French War in bunkers and concrete. Most of the top is in the clouds but when it's clear, you won't find a better view of Viet Nam.
Anything else I can help with, just ask.
I can tell you that the monsoon comes to Central Vietnam in the late fall/early winter followed by some of the most pleasant weather in the early part of the year. The heat returns by the end of March.
So, I guess that means the monsoon would affect the south in late summer.
Plan accordingly. The rains are going to impact your trip more than any one thing.
In response to: Msg #130525
We spent 30 days in Vietnam and went from Hanoi to Sapa, then all the way down to HCMC. From our personal experience we loved Sapa and would recommend at least 4 days if you are going to bother with the trip. Hanoi was also great and you could explore it for months, but 3 or 4 days could do the trick. We did not go to Halong Bay because we heard about so many scams and we had seen a lot of similar things in Thailand, but many people enjoy this. Our next stop was Ninh Binh, and while not many people stop here the views from the boat trips through mountainous valleys and then climbing the mountains should not be missed, and there isn't as much tourism as what you would likely have seen. After that we went to Paradise Cave which was amazing and is in the middle of a gorgeous park, but in hindsight we would have cut this out if we had to (the city is Dong Hoi). Next we passed through Hue but did not spend too much time there (we had several friends who didn't really love it, but I know there is a lot of history there). Hoi An has a beautiful beach, stunning archetecture and great food, as well as a lively night scene. It is amazing but expect a ton of tourists. Next we went to Da Lat in the highlands and loved it - it is very laid back and the people are super friendly, before heading to the beach in Mui Ne. Mui Ne has a lot of nice things (the size, relatively relaxed, beautiful sand dunes) but some annoying things too (a lot of it is overrun by Russian owned restaurants, clubs and lots of crappy souveneir shops) - although they didn't seem to get much business. Finally we went to HCMC and I didn't really care for it, but some of my younger friends (22-24, I'm 28) loved the night scene there. They also like Na Trang a lot for the nightlife, we skipped there as well. If you want to do North - South I would recommend a Sinh Tourist open ticket bus, about $65 and you can get on and off at all the destinations I named (except Dong Hoi - you can get off there, but you have to take a mini-van or separate bus to Hue). Be careful, 95% of the Sinh Tourist cafes in Hanoi are not the real thing. If you need help finding the real one send me a message. They even go so far as to put up fake street number signs to make you think they are the genuine article - be careful! Hanoi is scam central, we even met Vietnamese from the south who had been scammed on Halong Bay trips. You can see pictures and read my blogs of most of these places if you choose. Good luck!
If you fo to Viet Nam here is some advises for you:
- Places: Hue: Occupying a large, bounded area on the north side of Perfume River; four citadels were comprised to create the Capital City: Hoang Thanh (Imperial City) for royal palaces and shrines, Tu Cam Thanh (Forbidden Purple City) for royal residences, Dai Noi (Inner city) and Tran Binh Dai, which exclusively ancient architecture. Tourists are expected to spend at least one day to visit the whole complex. They can also catch a taxi, hire a bicycle, rent a “xich lo”- Vietnamese cycle if do not feel like walking around the site.Phong Nha- Quang Binh:This gigantic cave is very close to Hang Son Doong, and featured in the same National Geographic photographic spread in 2011. Getting here involves a trek through dense jungle, valleys and the Ban Doong minority village, a very remote tribal settlement (with no electricity or roads). You stay overnight in the cave or minority village.
- Visa: can get at vietnamsvisa*com-Foods: pho: What list of Vietnamese cuisine would be complete without pho? It’s almost impossible to walk a block in Vietnam’s major cities without bumping into a crowd of hungry patrons slurping noodles at a makeshift pho stand.This simple staple consisting of a salty broth, fresh rice noodles, a sprinkling of herbs and chicken or beef, features predominately in the local diet -- and understandably so. It’s cheap, tasty, and widely available at all hours.egg coffee: Vietnamese “egg coffee” is technically a drink but we prefer to put it in the dessert category. The creamy soft, meringue-like egg white foam perched on the dense Vietnamese coffee will have even those who don’t normally crave a cup of joe licking their spoons with delight.
In Hanoi, follow the tiny alley between the kitschy souvenir shops at 11 Hang Gai into the clearing, and up several flights of increasingly dicey stairs to pair your ca phe trung with an unbeatable view of Hoan Kiem Lake.