Skip Navigation

Vietnam: north, south or both?

Travel Forums Asia Vietnam: north, south or both?

1. Posted by diegoc70 (Budding Member 8 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

Apologies if this question has been asked before, I’ve had a look through the search function and couldn’t find anything, but if there is already a thread on this, please direct me to it!

I’ll be travelling on my own to Vietnam from Dec 26 –Jan 10 (2 Weeks), and my initial plan was to visit both North and South Vietnam. Now, after making plans with trains and reading throu books, I have a big dilemma: maybe better just to focus on one part – cause it’s going to be stressful?

I’d like to discover a new country after Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore, in particular a balanced mix of culture, food and yep, also beach.

What would you recommend?
Just HCMC, Mekong delta and then further up to the beach by land (Nha Trang)?

Or HCMC, Mekong delta, and hopping on a plane up to Hoi An and Danang (which I heard are beautiful beach spots) and finishing with Hanoi/Halong bay? In this case, how many days in each place?

Thanks in advance for all your help!

2. Posted by Degolasse (Travel Guru 823 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

For me personally, the North was the undisputed highlight of not only Vietnam, but the whole region. I found Hanoi to be one of Asia's most charming cities, Halong Bay to be beautiful, and Sapa to be one of the most interesting places in the region. You could easily spend 2 weeks in the North, but if you think you have time, head down to Hue and/or Hoi An.
The south is not without it's highlights, but for me, I can't compare to the North. The only reason I would choose the south over the North is if beaches were a priority. I cant' really tell from your wording - but are you also heading to Thailand and Malaysia in this trip? If so, save your beach time for there, and visit the north of Vietnam for a much different experience.
But whatever you choose, I don't think you have time to see both the north and south. Stick to one and enjoy it at a slower pace.

3. Posted by Daawgon (Travel Guru 2012 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

I agree - I preferred Hanoi, Hoi An and Sapa. Sapa could be rather chilly in Jan? With only 2 weeks, suggest you fly (Jetstar is just as cheap as the trains).

4. Posted by vegasmike6 (Travel Guru 3579 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

I have been to both north & south VN and am going to vote for staying south. I enjoyed HaNoi as well and HaLong Bay is spectacular, but the weather may make this less pleasant. I was there over Tet '06, end of Jan. first week of Feb. It was cool, rainy and certainly not beach weather.

If you choose SVN, you have HCMC, the delta, DaLat for mountains & waterfalls, plus Vung Tau, Mui Ne or Nha Trang (NT) for beach time. You could add Hoi An to your itinerary by taking the overnight bus from NT. It would only cost 2 of your days to see Hoi An, overnight bus back to NT. Another beach day, then take the overnight bus NT-HCMC, arrive in the am and depart HCMC the same day. This would maximize your time in VN. Using the open tour bus system makes for a cheap & efficient way to travel between cities in VN

I have many photos of VN in my gallery and have several blog entries covering HCMC, DaLat, NT & Mui Ne. Send me a PM if you have questions.

5. Posted by HolyWars (First Time Poster 1 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

Diegoc, I have a similar dilema to you. We arrive in Hanoi on Jan 6th, and Depart HCMC on the 19th, I am weighing up weather to spend half around the nth, and half south, or if I should spend more time in the north, and a couple of days south....or visa versa :)

6. Posted by diegoc70 (Budding Member 8 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

Thank you all for your input...I am more confused then before:)
I am going to check into transportation this week order to make up my mind.

7. Posted by vngreen (Full Member 71 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

You'd arrive North first, Hanoi 1day, Sapa 3nights/2days trip, Halong 2days/1nite. Then take a train or bus, fly to Hue 1day, from Hue to Hoi an very near(about 130km) Hoi An 1 day and continue Fly , train or bus to Sai Gon(south), take a trip to Mekong delta river 2days. I think with 2 weeks, you can go both of south, centre and North of Vietnam.
Have a good trip!

8. Posted by sales04 (Inactive 1 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

I think with 2 weeks, you can visit both North and South.
You can visit Halong,Sapa,Hanoi then Danang,Hoi An,Hue,Saigon with Cu Chi or Me Kong delta.If you want to relax on beach ,you can visit on Nha Trang,Phan Thiet beaches.

[ Edit: Sorry, no promos please. ]