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1. Posted by Purdy (Travel Guru 3546 posts) 9y

It has just dawned on me- lm going to Vietnam in under 4 weeks - and apart from having the international flights booked, my visa sorted and the first 5 days hostel stay in HCMC pre booked l still have another 20 days to fill up! Need to go see my doc this week and get the malaria pills sorted too l suppose!

So what should l do - l want to spend a few days at the beach just chilling, before heading further north - any suggestions on a resort?

Anyone suggest an itinerary? As l said HCMC for 5 days then a further 20 days to explore - l have to be back in HCMC for 25th Nov to catch my flight home! So after HCMC l would like a few beach days, reading books, swimming and drinking beer! (somewhere lm more likely to get great weather during early Nov!) then heading north toward Hanoi where l would hope to catch a flight back down to HCMC.

I think the open tour bus is the best way forward from what l have read? Whats the story with them anyway? Simply book a "tour" and then when your ready to travel book your seat?

A rough itinerary would be great - just to give me an idea! God - its totally not like me to be this dis-organised!

Cheers

Heather

2. Posted by Mark3287 (Budding Member 8 posts) 9y

Hi if you want a quite time with beautiful beaches then i would go to Mui Ne it's situated near to Phan Thiet City which is about a 3hr drive from Saigon. I'm not sure if i can post the place where i stayed at as it may be classed as advertising, but you will not be disapointed.

3. Posted by daveh (Travel Guru 1027 posts) 9y

Mui Ne is a nice, quiet place to chill out. Nha Trang is much livelier at night than Mui Ne, but i don't think it's as nice as Mui Ne. You should definitely take in Hue, Halong Bay, Hanoi and Sapa, before flying back to HCMC. Apart from the obvious things in HCMC, try to get a trip down to the mekong delta.

4. Posted by Purdy (Travel Guru 3546 posts) 9y

Hey Mark - You're right you cant really post details on the forum but you can send me a personal message with details! I would be enternally grateful!

Thanks Dave, for the detail those were the major areas l had intended on visiting!

So can anyone tell me the way open tour buses work, do they have set journeys trains or even flights in VN? How would l get from HCMC to Mui Ne for example (3.5 weeks isn't a huge time period and l dont fancy spending a lot of time on lenghty bus journeys if l can avoid it!).

At this time of year (well Nov) which area should give me better weather - Mui Ne or Nha Trang?

Cheers for the detail - keep it coming!

Heather

5. Posted by bex76 (Moderator 3720 posts) 9y

hi heather

further to the above, I would also recommend Hoi An - it's a lovely place to spend a couple of days, and it's the place to go if you want to get some clothes tailored. Let me know if you plan to do this as I can recommend the place that we went to get our suits done.
We used a mixture of open tours buses, a train and an internal flight (from Danang to Nha Trang- Danang is the nearest airport to Hoi An). The best way to get between hue and Hanoi is the sleeper train - it's a good way to do this stretch as there isn't much to see in between and they are clean and comfy. book a 'soft' sleeper' and you'll get a cabin with 2 bunks in. basic (instant!) noodle breakfast is provided.
Leave a few days for Hanoi as its a gorgeous city and there is loads to do. In the old quarter there are loads of budget hotels for around $10 for a double room.
i might have already told you this when you were planning your trip a while back, but don't miss the cu chi tunnels near HCMC, an amazing insight into the american/vietnam war.

6. Posted by Purdy (Travel Guru 3546 posts) 9y

Cheers Bex!

Are the open tour buses, trains & internal flights easy enough to book? Any place in particular - or should my hotel/hostel etc be able to sort me out?

Let me know about the Hoi An tailors - what sort of clothes did you get made up - suits for work etc l was definately thinking of getting some made.

How claustraphobic are the tunnels - l dont think l could go through them if the were tight and airless! But l definately intend taking in that tour - l have 5 days in HCMC hopefully enought to take in the tunnels and maybe a trip to the Mekong Delta!

7. Posted by bex76 (Moderator 3720 posts) 9y

yes its all really easy to book - I'm fairly sure we booked everything at the hotels. otherwise, there are travellers cafes/travel agents everywhere that will book travel for you too.

we got work suits made up, but you can get pretty much anything you want done. I will send you a message when I get home tonight as I can't remember the name of the tailors but it's in my journal!

I am claustrophobic and don't even like lifts, but I thought the tunnels were ok because you are only in the smallest bits for seconds at a time. there are some tiny holes in the ground which some people squeezed down but that's optional. I didn't do the mekong delta tour - we didn't have time but my friend had said to me previously not to bother with it as she thought it was overrated. it seems to get some good reports though.

8. Posted by Budai (Respected Member 506 posts) 9y

Heard good reviews about Phu Quoc Island, so that might be the beach you are looking for to just kick back and watch the tide.

Im also planning a trip to Vietnam at the moment, was thinking of focusing on the Northern highlands, Sapa and possibly going up Fansipan.... Thought it might be an interesting itinery and am racking my brains trying to fit it in cos i only have around the same time as Heather to cover HCMC to Hanoi without the domestic flight. Sorry to jack your thread Heather, but could anyone provide some advise on this as well?

What i hear from travellers about the open tour buses was not really favourable, mainly because its catered for tourists and you dont see any locals on those buses and that it feels a bit gimmicky and artificial, but i guess it is a rather convenient way to travel down/up Vietnam.

9. Posted by cybervlad (Full Member 78 posts) 9y

Purdy,
I recommend to do a stopover in Hue (for 1 day) in your route to Hanoi. You can see city's citadel and imperiors tombs.

10. Posted by daveh (Travel Guru 1027 posts) 9y

You can book your bus trip anywhere in HCMC. There are lots of places around Pham Ngo Lao/De Tham to book. My bus left from De Tham at around 7.30 in the morning, and i seem to recall being in Mui Ne by lunch time. My memory is a bit hazy now, but i don't think them open bus tickets costs much more than 20 dollars US.

I agree, Hoi An is worth a stop. I had a suspicion that i had left somewhere out in my earlier post.