Help me build a trip to Vietnam

Discussion in 'Asia' started by VIllage Idiot, Feb 7, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. I've spent a lot of time travelling in Asia, but never done any of the more 'developing' countries. My wife and I would like to spend a couple of days in Singapore (she's never been) then head into Vietnam for about a week. We'll fly into/out of Hanoi as it looks like we can get award flights on Thai, but I don't really know where to start in terms of creating an itinerary. We'd like a mix of cities and "countryside", although countryside could include villages, beach, jungle, whatever. Assume a budget (not including airfare) of about US$400 per day for two, which I suspect goes pretty far in Vietnam.

    Any suggestions?
     
  2. Unicorn
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    Unicorn Active Member

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    Depending time of the year, Hanoi is best from November to April, when it's cooler. Hanoi is a nice city with many lakes and good mix of culture places to see. I would also consider a couple days in Halong Bay and an overnight train ride to Sapa. You'll undoubtedly enjoy the food and the friendliness of the people in Vietnam.
     
  3. +1 on the trip to Sapa. Great place to go hiking and see the minority tribes in their colorful outfits. Bring candies for the children.
     
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  4. If you'd like to head south with either a train ride or a quick flight, Hue, the imperial capital in the 19th and first half of the 20th century and Hoi An, one of the few non-bombed villages during the war and UNESCO World Heritage Site are certainly worth seeing. Hoi An is a bit touristy, but very pleasant and there are a lot of neat historic buildings you can stay in. If it appeals to you, I very much enjoyed a tour of the DMZ as well. I'd certainly leave at least three days for Hanoi; it's my favorite Southeast Asian city.
     
  5. Mangy
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    Mangy Gold Member

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    I tend to prefer Vietnam from Hoi An and up. I love the colonial architecture and tree lined boulevards of Hanoi (and the Bia Hoi on the footpath), the history of Hue and the cool weather of Sapa. If in Sapa, it's always possible to bypass a travel agent and get taken trekking to a village by one of the local villagers.
     
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  6. savydog
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    I am going to HCM in May for a family visit. I might look into a Mekong cruise while I am there. Taking a few days to pop over the border to Siem Reap to look at Angkor Wat.
     
  7. Chimpy
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    Sounds like my kind of trip, have a great time and when you get back how about a trip report?
     
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  8. Mangy
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    I think a trip report is definitely in order. How are you getting from SGN to REP. have you picked out a hotel yet?

    Have fun crossing the street in SGN [​IMG]
     
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  9. savydog
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    I am flying with Vietnam Airlines so that could be an experience. Also on my ticket it says flight operated by Angkor Air which must be a subsidiary. I am staying at Raffles Grand Hotel D'Angkor I hear it is pretty good there.
     
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  10. Mangy
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    Mangy Gold Member

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    Angkor Air must at least be better than Air Koryo. I flew them in Sept '09 from PEK - FNJ. Better than expected, but still a North Korean airline.
     
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  11. TRAVELSIG
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    One suggestion- why not start your trip in Hanoi, and fly out at the end from SGN? TG will allow open jaw on rewards usually.
     
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  12. Angkor Air is Cambodia's newest incarnation of the national carrier. Vietnam Air has a 49% share in the company. In general, I've found Cambodian government operations dealing with REP and Angkor to be surprisingly efficient. They know that tourism is critical! While at Angkor, head out to Beng Mealea if you you have a chance- although there are many tourists to this unrestored jungle temple these days, it's still one of my favorite places on earth.
     
  13. TRAVELSIG
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    Vietnam Airlines is very good. Clean airplanes, lounges in even the smallest airport, on time flights, great service. Enjoy.
     
  14. savydog
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    Thanks for the info
     
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  15. Monkey Girl
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    The hilltribe ladies hang out by the market area. Some of them speak English. One approached me one day & asked if I'd like to come to her house for lunch. I wasn't in the mood to hang out with backpackers on a group tour, so I arranged to meet her the next day. We had a long, gorgeous walk to her hut in the hills and she cooked a delicious meal. I got to learn about her daily life and I felt that I got a more 'authentic' experience.
     
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  16. TRAVELSIG
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    That is the Vietnam I really like!
     
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  17. Monkey Girl
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    School supplies are preferable. [​IMG]
     
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  18. Mangy
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  19. The company may be excellent, but the website is among the worst I've ever seen. I can find a million pages telling me about all the fake Kangaroo Cafes and scams that I'm likely to encounter, but I'll be buggered if I can find anything explaining the services/tours on offer and the price list.
     
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  20. Mangy
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    Mangy Gold Member

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    It's run by an Australian - that may explain it (I am also Aust/NZL)[​IMG]
     
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  21. kwai
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    Please don't bring candy for the kiddies.
     
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  22. Mangy
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    Mangy Gold Member

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    I second that. It must have been the French that started that because they always seem to call out Bon Bon and Stilo. If you have gifts, it's not a bad idea to present them to an elder or a school teacher instead
     
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  23. kwai
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    I might be heading back to Siem Reap in May as well. Let me know when you'll be heading there.
     
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  24. Mangy
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    welcome back Kwai
     
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  25. kwai
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    Stayed in the Raffles each of the last two years. In Jan the service had slipped, but it was still quite nice.

    Cambodian Angkor Air is the newest incarnation and it's quite expensive for a flight blocked at 40minutes. But they have a captive audience.
     
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