Just stumbled upon this great site. I want to get your guy's opinion on my trip that I'm taking a trip with 2 of my friends to Korea, Vietnam and Thailand. The plan is that my 2 friends (Korean) will show me around Korea for a week, then go to Vietnam where I'll show them around (I'm Vietnamese and have been there 3 times but they haven't), and the last week was to be spent in Thailand, hopefully hit up some of those islands (dont know which, suggestions?).
I think for Korea we wanted to fly into Seoul from JFK. After a week we would fly into Hanoi because we wanted to check out Ha Long Bay, Sapa, and Hanoi. We could then fly/train/bus to Ho Chi Minh City and to Dalat, maybe check out Mui Ne or Nha Trang. For the last week, we would fly from Ho Chi Minh City to Thailand (Bangkok maybe?). Then finally we would fly from Thailand back to the USA.
Can you guys think of a better route? Do you think this is too ambitious for 3 weeks? I know I can do Vietnam and those places in a week because I've been there before. What is the best way for airline tickets. It seems the flight is expensive between Seoul and Hanoi. Any airlines your recommend etc?
Thanks ahead of time for your help guys!
How can you possibly see Hanoi, Sapa, Halong Bay, HCMC, Dalat, and Nha Trang in a single week? I'm willing to say that this is absolutly impossible. This is about all the places that I visited in Vietnam in a whole month. With the very quickest route that I can think of, without any time to actually enjoy the places you go to, it would look something like:
Hanoi for one day, night train to Sapa, one day in Sapa, night train back to Hanoi, same day head out on a tour to Halong Bay, come back to Hanoi the next day, fly to HCMC the next day, one day in HCMC, bus to Dalat for day, one day in Dalat, bus to Nha Trang for a day, a day in Nha Trang. That equals 10 day, leaving you in Nha Trang on the 10th day. This trip would leave you absolutly exhausted and you would do nothing more than take a picture of your destination and then hope back on the bus. Sorry, I can't imagine your friends will want to visit Vietnam like this. If you are only going to giive yourself a week, then I woud say stick just to Hanoi, Sapa, and Halong Bay. I think even that requires more like 10 day to see right. You need at least 2-3 days in Hanoi itself to enjoy it, Halong bay needs 3 day to do a proper boat trip, and Sapa is worthy of more than just a day in Sapa itself. The highlight of Sapa is taking a hike into the hill villages, which takes 3 days to do properly.
I have never been to Korea, so I have no idea how long it takes to see it, but I'm sure in a week you can see Soeul with a few day trips around it. In a week in Thailand you can spend a couple days in Bangkok and then fly down to an Island like Samui for 5 days. But don't plan on seeing anything more.
So overall, yes, you are being far far to ambitious trying to fit all this into 3 weeks. I would say limit your trip to only 2 countries, and spend more time in each. Maybe spend a week in Korea and 2 weeks in Vietnam. In two weeks you will actually be able to enjoy the Hanoi and the surrounding places. I still wouldn't bother going down south because you still don't have time. But if you really need beach time, head to Nha Trang, since you'll be skipping Thailand.
Thanks for the reply,
I started to go over the plans more and I did realize my ideas were grandiose (whose isn't when they want to show their friends where their family grew up). I think I'm going to cut dalat, and nha trang. HCMC is definitely one of my favorite places in Vietnam so I have to make it down there, and I really think its a place my friends should see. I know of some smaller secluded beaches that we can take day trips to near HCMC so I think I will just do that. Thanks for your suggestions.