I'm going to vietnam for 2 weeks in february, for the first time -
I'm planning on arriving in Hanoi and travel down to Saigon, and was wandering what was the best way to do this.
Should I travel by train/bus?
Do i need to pre-book guesthouses/hostels/hotels, or can i just turn up?
And, I'm travelling alone, and it dawned on me that it might get really lonely?!?
Would love to have any pearls of wisdom!!
Yes, relly lonely to travel alone but also interesting. Two week is enough for your trip. Please read the followings:
Day 1: arrival HN - free
Day 2: city tour - Sapa (by train)
Day 3: Arrival Lao Cai in the early morning - bus to Sapa (30km). Get around Sapa town (Feb is cold)
Day 4: Trekking some villages around - Back Lao Cai - Hanoi.
Day 5: Hanoi - Halong (200km) by bus, stay in Halong
Day 6: Halong - Hanoi by bus - Hue by flight (evening flight)
Day 7: Hue city
Day 8: Hue - Hoi an (by bus) city Hoi An
Day 9: Hoi an city
Day 10: Hoi an - Danang (by bus 30km)- Nha Trang by flight
Day 11: Nha Trang
Day 12: Nha trang - Ho Chi Minh (by train)
Day 13: Ho Chi Minh city
Day 14: Ho Chi Minh - Mekong delta by bus
Day 15: Ho Chi Minh - Departure
I think you should book hotel/hostel in Hanoi for the first day then do afterwards...
Hoping you have a good trip!
Hi Caroline, i've been planning a trip to Vietnam too and i would like to share with you my research:
15 days on the Reunification Express is the best way to see the country. It's considered to be one of the most dramatic and most beautiful railway journeys in the world.
You have to book at least 4 days in advance for an air conditioned soft-sleeper as the train can get fully booked.
You'll travel Vietnam by train and It's 30 hours from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City if you never leave the train so the 15-day itinerary le hanoi gave you should be perfect. However, my advice is to do everything by train. It's cheaper and it's a perfect way to meet locals and other backpackers as well so it wouldn't be so lonely.
Le Hanoi is right on booking a hostel in Hanoi in advance too. You can do walk-in reservations with the cities in between stops.
For more information on the Reunification Express, google "Vietnam Railways."
Hope this helps.
That is really great, thanks for the advice!! i've been looking into sapa highlands, it looks breathtaking and i'm extending my trip to be able to visit them.
Thanks so much and good luck on your trips.
Note that on Feb 7, the Vietnamese will celebrate their lunar new year. Lots of people will travel S to N before that day (go home) and travel N to S after the holiday (back to work). If you visit VN in the last 2 weeks of Feb, then you will be alright. For 2 weeks, my suggestion would be Hanoi, Ha Long bay, Hue, Hoi An, Sai Gon and the Mekong Delta. The weather may not be good in Sapa at that time.
I wouldn't worry too much about getting lonely. Traveling alone will make it much easier to get new contacts, and often brings you much more experiences. Your backpack, or you being western, is usually reason enough to start talking with other travelers. My experience is that you are never alone for more than 1 day, and you'll find yourself traveling together with lots of different people.
Don't travel by bus - it is really dangerous. Definitely go by train. make sure you stop in Hoi An - the food is DIVINE & it's the best place to get clothes made - provided this will not be during Tet! I will be back in Hoi An in time for Tet (my choice!) & hope to be there 3 months - depending how long I can make the money last! Happy to meet up for a (cheap) meal & show you where to shop if you want. Go to my blog at www.mybp/Mai1 ( think that's the address!)
Travel in Vietnam is SUPER EASY! There are soooooo many agencies in the old quarter of hanoi that can help you. I didn't have anything planned either time I went there and it worked out like clockwork. Vietnam was the easiest country for me to travel in. Sapa was my favorite, as one person said above the weather could be bad. In Hanoi i stayed at Hanoi Backpackers and to this day is one of my favorite hostels ever. Very social, if that's what you are in for. The guys that own it and the other travelers there can give you loads of info.
I just completed a long journey solo and part of it was in vietnam. Nooooo worries about being lonely if you are open to new people. Lots of solo travelers in Vietnam. Hanoi Backpackers' rooftop bbq is a great place to meet people! :-).
according to others youare going during Tet which I think would be awesome, but make things crowded.
happy travels, I LOVE Vietnam! (working on my trip blogs now!)
Ha Long Bay
Ho Chi Minh city
That's what my plan is so far. I want to go and see the dunes and go surfing on them! and do the mud baths! Definitely want to get some tailoring done in Hoi An!
I have 22 days in vietnam, I'm going to try and fit it all in, although i'm sure i'll be going back another year.
Also, i'm going to go and get some malaria tablets from my doctor because i heard it can be a problem(although unlikely), but i was wondering what other illnesses i should prepare for if any?
I will be travelling from hong-kong (going to go there on the 1st till the 10th for the new year!) then i'm going to take a train through china down into vietnam. i don't think i'll be there during tet - i think i'm just missing it (something to do next year!)
Casey Lary: thats good to know your trip went according to plan! and i'll definitely be looking into the Backpackers rooftop bbq!
All the informations is nice for you. I don't travel so much but I met and helped some traceler like you when they were in my hometown (kien Giang province). That is my favorite because I like practicing English with them.
You should follow Le Hanoi. That is good for you
Anybody could give me info about the name and address of a clean, nice and cheap hotel in Hanoi?
I would like to know the area similar like Kao San road in Bangkok, Thailand. Thanks all.
Hi Le Hanoi,
Will you give me more info about taxi in Hanoi? Many thanks for all info.