Hey all! Well, plans for Japan have been scuppered by recent events so instead we're off to Vietnam. I've starting working on a rough itinerary - don't want to be too prescriptive but also want to make sure we plan our time well enough to see the coastal highlights. We have 17 nights to play with and there will be four of us travelling together. My preference for travel is to go by train but we're also up for bus/whatever too. What do you think of the below? Any places we should leave out or add in? We'd like a mixture of beach bumming and culture, and not travelling on a massively tight budget (although we're meeting a couple out there who have been travelling for a while and therefore will be after cheap options, I think!)
Ho Chi Minh
Ha Long Bay
Hanoi (flying home from here)
My only suggestion is to add DaLat. I have plenty of photos from DaLat in my gallery and a few blog entries as well. DaLat is cool, green and pretty. It is worth a few days IMO. Mui Ne beach is average at best. Nha Trang, Hoi An is where to get in your beach time. The reason to go to Mui Ne is the sand dunes. You might take one day off MN to add DaLat if you can.
I think the open tour will be a better option than the VN train system. The open tour buses are cheaper and more flexible with scheduling. Get off/on with just 1 days notice. You cannot do this with the train. The train is certainly safer than a bus however. Your choice. I would use the overnight bus or train between Nha Trang and Hoi An. It gives you an extra day in NT and you save one night's accommodation. You get into Hoi An in the early am. Perfect time to find a room. Same between Hue and HAN. Use the overnight train or bus. You maximize your time in VN this way.
I have been to VN 5 times and have used the open tour each time. If you have any questions, send me a PM. Good luck with your planning.
[ Edit: Edited on 18-Apr-2011, at 11:26 by vegasmike6 ]
Thanks, Mike. I hadn't considered De Lat so that's been really useful. Will speak to my travel buddies and may well PM you
I would agree with Dalat. The bus ride from there to Nah Trang goes through amazing scenery.
That is a lot to fit in in 17 days. you dont want to be too rushed as you mihgt miss out on something great. Hoi An is absolutely gorgeous by the way. For the big cities i would only allow a day and spend as much time as possible in the smaller places.
the open bus tickets are great also.
8 places to visit in 17 nights is certainly a tight schedule. I would agree with dropping off Mui Ne. I hope to visit VN in 2012 and Mui Ne is not on my itinerary. Overnighting by bus/train where possible will certainly reduce costs and increase your day time for activities.