My friend and I are planning out our very first trip to SE Asia - excited
We are landing in Hanoi the 11th of July and are then going to visit the Halong bay before heading south visiting some smaller cities/villages, and then to HCMC. From there we are traveling through Cambodia for Thailand and Bangkok, where our plane will be leaving the 5th of August.
If anyone could give us a time frame on how long time we will be spending in the different places and traveling relays, just so we can get an overall picture, I would be very thankful.
A question on the side: How long would you guys consider is the maximum traveling time (with bus) from one place to another without without suffering a slow death of boredom?
I would allow 3-4 days for HaNoi, tour HaLong Bay 1-2 days. Decide once there. If the weather is good, 2 days, if raining 1. Use the overnight buses. Saves one day's accommodation and you arrive in the early am. Great time to find a room. I suggest you use the open tour system. It is cheap and allows great flexibility in scheduling your next stop. The train is safer, no question. But it is more expensive and much less flexible on moving on to your next stop. I liked Hue and would spend 2 days there. On the Hoi An. Plenty to see and great shopping for the ladies. 2-3 days. Overnight bus to Nha Trang. 3 days beach time then on the either Mui Ne if you want more beach time. Or on to DaLat if you like cooler weather, pine trees and lakes, waterfalls. 2-3 days, then down to HCMC. Allow 3-4 days for HCM and tours, both city, delta & tunnels. Bus over to Phnom Penh. 2-3 days in PP, then bus or boat up to Siem Reap. 3 days for touring Angkor, one long day back to BKK overland. Or fly this leg is you have more money than time.
My photos cover all of this trip. My blog from Nha Trang to Pattaya. Send me a PM if you have questions.
You don't want to miss the small town of Sapa in Vietnam's NW Highlands. It's probably one of the most breathtaking spots (along with Halong Bay) in the entire country - all the minorities there wear everyday colorful costume and the rice terraces are awesome. Take an overnight train from Hanoi to Lao Cai, and then a van on to Sapa. I think you need to add another 10 days if you want to see all of the places on your list. I would not rush and try to see it all - you'll get more out of it if you do less. I would spend the most time in North & Central Vietnam (you'll be running into heavy rain down south at that time).
[ Edit: Edited on 18-Jun-2010, at 23:19 by Daawgon ]
Johnny makes a valid point about SaPa, but I counted 25 days between landing and your flight home from BKK. Really 24 days since you need one day in BKK before flying home. SaPa is just too far out of the way to include if you want to see the rest of VN and allow enough time in Cambodia to hit Phnom Penh, tour Angkor and return to BKK. Your choice, but I can't see adding SaPa and shortchanging the rest of VN.
Thank you both for your advice. The time estimates are very useful!
We’ve been looking at the tour after Ha Long and Hanoi. Is the trip from Hanoi to Hue worth the time, or is it just as great to fly down, and use the spare time for maybe Da Lat after Nha Trang, and maybe a motorbike ride to HCMC as I read elsewhere on this forum?
We are not so keen on shopping and street life, what about skipping Hue and go straight to Hoi An. Could we spare time for the Phu Quoc Islands before entering Cambodia? To be honest the scenery and nature experience is much more appealing to us, and from what I read a kayak trip round the islands sounds perfect
Thank you guys!
Honestly, unless you are a history lover, chances are very good that you will find Hue boring. I've been there twice now, and I just don't see the attraction of the town. Hoi An is by far more interesting and alive!
At the present time, Vietnam is experiencing major power shortages and blackouts. I hear it's especially bad in Hanoi now - just saw pics of people buying generators to power their AC and TV. Hope you like warm beer?
[ Edit: Edited on 21-Jun-2010, at 17:56 by Daawgon ]
I would take the overnight bus from HAN to Hue. You get in early am, fine a room, then get over to Cafe, BF and get on a bike for your tour of Hue. Spend that day in Hue and move on the Hoi An the next day. 1-2 days there and another overnight bus to NT. That is why I suggest using the open tour and overnight buses. You do not waste a day travelling. Sleep on the bus and get ready to sightsee after getting a room. I did it, so can you.