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1. Posted by elderado (Budding Member 58 posts) 8y

hello,
I will be in Vietnam for a few weeks in November. I fly into Hanoi and will take a bus down to HCMC. Do you recommend I take the open tour bus ticket, or just take the local buses or trains? Also, should I try and take in Halong Bay and Sapa, or just pick one. I don't want to spend a fortune, but I want to experience the best. Thank you.

2. Posted by CanadaGuy (Respected Member 199 posts) 8y

If you have the time I would definitely recommend both Halong Bay and Sapa- in Nov you should have nice weather stilll for hiking in Sapa and staying in a hill tribe "village". I did a similar trip for 1 month last year .
The open bus works great- quite cheap, never a problem booking seats even 1 day in advance, and stops at all the places you likely want to see- Hue, Hoi An, Dalat, NhaTrang, Mui Ne,HCMC.
Have fun.

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

The open tour buses do somewhat reduce from the authentic backpacking experience though, in that you see just backpackers and foreigners while travelling instead of interacting with locals or sitting with someone's chickens which is the case on local buses/trains. Its a choice between comfort/convenience and experiencing local life i guess. Id pick the latter.

4. Posted by CanadaGuy (Respected Member 199 posts) 8y

Your point is well taken itinerant, but to be honest, if you are taking an overnight bus from Hanoi to Hue- you just want to get there- and the slight added comfort will be appreciated- Trust me. There are some "locals" on these buses as well- and you won't miss out anything not being around chickens in transport- You will also appreciate being dropped off right in the area that you will likely stay, as the open buses usually do. For the type of eperience you are refering to there are loads of other opportunities when you travel- I just think the convenience here is a no-brainer...

5. Posted by vegasmike6 (Travel Guru 3562 posts) 8y

I have been on the chicken bus once and a van from HCMC to DaLat. I was the only farang and bought 2 seats. A nightmare. We had over 30 Viets in a van with seats for 14. Stops everytime someones raises their arm along the road or needs to get off. Never again. Trying to get a bit of local color is way overrated. Stick with the open tour bus.

If you simply must rub shoulders with the locals, take the 'chicken bus' from Hue to Hoi An. That is a short enough segment to experience travel with the VN people w/o going into cultural overload. Good Luck.

6. Posted by aharrold45 (Travel Guru 1281 posts) 8y

Quoting itenerant

The open tour buses do somewhat reduce from the authentic backpacking experience though, in that you see just backpackers and foreigners while travelling instead of interacting with locals or sitting with someone's chickens which is the case on local buses/trains. Its a choice between comfort/convenience and experiencing local life i guess. Id pick the latter.

Wouldn't in these modern times where we've recently (and still got) cases of bird flew popping up killing thousands of people around the world transferred to humans by the close contact from chickens (in many cases), it be much more sensible to catch the open tour bus rather than risking getting the deadly bird flew? I bet your parents and friends would much rather you return home being able to speak to them rather than your parents having to board a plane to get you returned home in a coffin. I suppose if you don't care less if you return from your trip alive it be more of an experience, but I think most would prefer to return healthy than return in a coffin or in life threatening illness due to the lack of available vaccines.

[ Edit: Edited on Oct 27, 2007, at 6:53 PM by aharrold45 ]

7. Posted by stephen79 (First Time Poster 1 posts) 8y

Hi chaps,

I need some help

a young lady by the name of Phupharos Thararat I think has gone missing

she went to bangkok 5 days ago with a friend

how can i make sure she is OK could you please circulate

really out of character

8. Posted by michnrach (Budding Member 16 posts) 8y

I've just done the open tour bus from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh and it was brilliant, at $20 it was well worth it because as people have said they drop you (in most cases) exactly where you need to be. We actually paid $27 and had a sleeper bus from Hanoi to Hue that was well worth the extra money, we have since done 2 more overnight 12hr buses and the sleeper bus was by far the most comfortable. I know that sounds like i wasn't embracing the vietnamese ways and going for the comfortable option but believe me people get VERY grumpy after 12hrs on those buses and are so much friendlier when they've managed to sleep!!

9. Posted by Seany (Respected Member 268 posts) 8y

Take the sleeper coach for a couple more $. Head right to the back of the coach for the totaly flat beds. The others beds are angled up slightly. It feels like luxury in comparision to the normal coaches. But the constant beeping is annoying and the awful repeated love song videos makes you wana slit your wrists or smash the tv in, but its all part of the experience!

Seany

10. Posted by vegasmike6 (Travel Guru 3562 posts) 8y

Quoting seany

Take the sleeper coach for a couple more $. Head right to the back of the coach for the totaly flat beds. The others beds are angled up slightly. It feels like luxury in comparision to the normal coaches. But the constant beeping is annoying and the awful repeated love song videos makes you wana slit your wrists or smash the tv in, but its all part of the experience!

Seany

This is why I use my MP3 while awake and earplugs when trying to sleep!