GOING TO VIETNAM FOR 3 WEEKS IN OCTOBER, STARTING IN HCMC WORKING UP TO HANOI. HAVE A ROUGH SCHEDULE, HCMC, NHA TRANG , HUE, HANOI, HALONG BAY, SAPA ETC. QUESTIONS ARE: AM I LEAVING ANYTHING/PLACE OUT AND ARE ANY OF THE LOCATIONS ON MY LIST NOT WORTH IT/OR TOO SIMILAR TO ANOTHER PLACE. ALSO HEARD GOOD THINGS ABOUT HOI AN. I'VE BEEN TOLD I SHOULD FLY BETWEEN A FEW SPOTS TO SAVE TIME. BUT THE VIETNAM AIRLINES SITE IS POOR TO SAY THE LEAST. WILL BUYING MY TICKETS THERE SAME DAY OR DAY BEFORE BE A PROBLEM? ALSO ANY SUGGESTIONS ABOUT INTINERARIES/TOUR GROUPS IS APRRECIATED.
Hoi An absolutley cannot be missed. It's one of the highlights of the country for sure.
Another highlight that should not be missed is the Mekong Delta. You can do really nice backpacker 3 day tours from HCMC.
I really liked Dalat because it was very different and very quiet compared to the rest of the country, though with only three weeks, it would be the first place I would cut out. All the rest of the places you mentioned are fantastic and I recomend them all.
I would say that if you are stoping at all those places, then flying isnt' really nessecary. Your longest journey will be Hue - Hanoi which can be done overnight by train. It all can be done overland in 3 weeks as long as you don't linger for more than a day or two in each place.
I'd second Hoi An. Riverfront life with a Vietnamese twist. Excellent local food and fresh beer so cheap it'll make you cry! They also do good suits
As your plan, You can use flight for save your time from HCMC to Nha Trang
from Nha trang to Da nang, the take a bus to Hoi An, Back to Da Nang, and train or bus to Hue
flight from Hue to Hanoi
train to Sapa and bus to Halong bay.
With the domestic flight, you can book before 1 or 2 day is ok!
Have a good time in Vietnam!
I did this in reverse in Feb. HaNoi to HCMC taking 30 days. You will need 3-4 days in HCMC for delta, Cu Cui tunnels, city tour. 'Open tour' bus is your cheapest, most flexible option for HCMC to HAN. Some companies charge as little as $20 all the way to HAN.
Bus to DaLat. Don't miss DaLat. Cool, trees, waterfalls, ethnic hilltribes. 2-3 days, bus to Nha Trang, couple days for beach, islands off shore. Overnight bus to Hoi An. 2-3 days. Morning bus to Hue, 3 days. Overnight bus to HaNoi. 3 days in HAN, still have 7 days left for HaLong & Sapa.
The only flight that makes sense is Hue-HAN. But, you really don't save any time. Take the overnight bus your final day in Hue. You arrive in HaNoi in the early am and have all day to sightsee.
I have photos of most of this. PM me if you have additional questions.