My wife and I will be travelling from Australia to Vietnam first half of October. We have travelled often to SE Asia but this is our first Vietnam trip. Over 17 days, we will definitely do HCMC, Hanoi, Halong Bay and Hoi Ann. We are also keen to include Dalat and Mui Ne.
We are balancing the convenience and certainty of booking flights/transport and accom before departure; versus the flexibility of booking those things once we're in Vietnam. Some reports in guides and forums suggest it is cheaper once there.
Are there any Aussie (or Aussie based) travellers out there who can say whether it is better to pre-book or wait till we're inside Vietnam?????
I travelled through most of the places you mentioned over a month or so last year
Would really recommend just booking over there, it will be cheaper. Maybe book your first night hotel for when you arrive in HCMC or Hanoi and just go from there. We followed our nose and found ~US$15 hotels travelled on Vietnam Airlines down to Nha Trang to get into Hoi An and Hue, then did travlled sout on the train
Some friends of ours travelled and booked in advance and spent more, for sure.
The only places I would book in advance for are Hanoi and HCMC. We had an awful time finding accommodation in these cities, particularly HCMC. So if you know your dates for these two cities then book ahead, the other places we just walked into places and got a really nice room with private bathroom and air con for usually under US$12.
I would wait until you are there to book anything except perhaps your first night. I suggest you use the open tour bus sysytem. It gives you great flexibility when travelling between cities. I would use either Sinh Cafe or Hahn Cafe open tour. You can shop around when you arrive in either HCM or HAN. Each one will stop at an affiliate hotel in each city on the open tour. Sinh Cafe stops at $20 and up hotels, Hanh Cafe stops at hotels around the $10 range. Your choice.
My blog covers from Nha Trang south, my photos cover most of VN from HAN to HCM. Good luck with your planning.
Hi, welcome to Vietnam in October.
I agree that you should book the hotel for your first night in Vietnam. This is the first time you here and you have had a long flight, surely you will feel tired and strange. the nights after you might walk into places and book directly by yourself. To save your budget and have more local experiences, you should travel privately without tour guide or package tour. You bring with your guide book and take the Open Tour Bus that stop at many famous tourist sites from the North to the South. This is the way to travel very interesting and experienced especially saving.
Good luck to you and see you in Vietnam.