My girlfirend and I are off to Vietnam in March and im trying to plan what to see and also how to get frpom place to place. Ive got just over 2 weeks and am arriving Hanoi and leaving Hi Chi Minh. So the route should be -
Hanoi --> Ha Long Bay ---> Hanoi --> Hue (by sleeper train) --> Hoi An (not sure how) --> Nha Trang (again - train/plane/bus - any suggestions) --> Mui Ne (train/bus/plane?) --> Ho Chi Minh
Can anyone suggest how easy it is to get from place to place, best modes transport. Also any places missed out and good day trips. Im so excited but also fretting about being able to get to HCM on time for the flight back!.
Also - any place that people thought were ridiculously romantic/beautiful.
2 weeks to see 7 places probably ont work for you as you'll only get 2 days in each - a fair amount of which will be traveling. I'd recommend cutting out a couple of places which aren't as important to you and enjoy the others more.
In regards to transport id say train has the best price-time efficiency. Nha Trang has a well placed train station. Hoi An doesn't really have a train station, so you need to get a train from Hue to Danang then a bus to Hoi An. The same with Mui Ne - you must get a train to Phan Thiet then a bus to Mui Ne (the bus ticket should be bought on the train because its cheaper!). I'm guessing you know it takes half a day to get to Hue (hence the sleeper) but the rest average out to around 4 hours to get to where you need to be; prices are quite good as with the train-bus combo trips come to around 110000 dong (£3.50).
Hope this helps.
Once in Hue, Hoi An is an easy bus ride away. All GHs and travel shops will book it for you. After Hoi An, you have either a sleeper train or sleeper bus to Nha Trang. There are day buses if you prefer to watch the beaches go by on the way to NT. Sit on the left side. Night bus/train saves 1 nights accomm. and you get a full day in Hoi An. Your choice. After NT, Mui Ne is an easy 4 hr bus away. My blog covers my ride over to MN and going to the sand dunes. I took the bus back to HCMC.
You might look at the open tour bus option. The cheapest, easiest way to get around VN. Some cities are not served by train plus the train option is more expensive. However, it is safer than the roads of VN. Look at the train option and decide what is best for you. You do have to plan ahead with the train, bus you just book the day before or even that day.
Good luck with your planning.
Thanks guys. Will be changing from 2 weeks to 3 so were not rushing around. Seems like the rule is to know what transport I need to get and then book a day before. Are the buses mainly booked at the stations or at travel agents?
The overnight trains are excellent and a great way to get around.
We took the day train (overnight was booked out) from Hanoi to Danang and then a taxi to Hoi An and then one of the most torturous bus rides to Nha Trang. We were falsely promised a large bus and got a mini-van instead with more people than seats plus their luggage and limited toilet stops and horrendous driving for 12 hours.
After that we took another bus from Nha Trang to Dalat and then another bus to Mui Ne and then another bus to Ho Chi Minh. These buses were quite reasonable.
We booked buses and trains through a nearby travel agent (after looking at a few and finding the cheapest) or through our hotel and we booked the day before. Sometimes this got us stuck however and we'd have to spend a few more days in one spot before we could get the transport we needed. We struggled most with trains being full but that was because it was during Chinese New Year - but just in case I'd book trains a few days ahead of time.
I would also suggest considering a 2 night Sapa tour departing from Hanoi. It's up in the mountains and we thought it was quite spectacular. I've also heard good things about Phu Quoc but our visas expired before we got the chance to go there ourselves. Also, we found the Mekong tour from Ho Chi Minh to be excellent as well. Again, we booked all our tours just one or two days in advance.
We did all of those places (plus Sapa and the Mekong) in a 3 week period and it didn't feel rushed but we wished we'd had more time in a number of places. It'll depend what you like. We found we didn't like one place so we'd change our plans and leave early, but then we'd love the next place and stay too long!
Sounds like it's going to be a great trip!
Plenty of info on the www re your questions as they are general in nature.
Majority of travellers recommend sinhtourist (original sinh cafe) for open tour bus travel. VN railway website or seat61 for train travel. Do this and you can easily work out your options and what best suits your needs. This is what I have done for my future VN itinerary.
Search info re train between Hue & Hoi An. Regarded as one of the most scenic train rides in the world. Many positive comments on the internet. I originally had this slated in but changed to intending to book an easyrider (rider with motorbike) also highly recommended by many on the internet.
Search 'day tours' for each of the places your intending to visit & read reviews on any tour that takes your interest. . Check out the 'travel blog' site to read what others have done.
Just some suggestions to help you with your research. Safe travels.
Your route very nice and 2 weeks is ok.
route Hue - Hoi an. You should stay at Da Nang, then you book tour Da nang - Hue, Da nang - Hoi An. Or you can rent motorbike and guide to discovery Hue, Hoi An. Then Da Nang - Nha Trang (fly).
Nha Trang - Mui Ne, by bus.
Mui Ne - HCM by bus
In Ho chi Minh, I suggest you should take tour Mekong Delta cruise 2day 1 night, it will be very attractive.