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30 days in Vietnam....advice please

Travel Forums Asia 30 days in Vietnam....advice please

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1. Posted by shefftommo (Budding Member 36 posts) 7y Star this if you like it!

Hi there I'm planning on spending 30 days travelling around Vietnam in Feb 2011. Not sure whether to get a return flight from UK to either Hanoi or HCMC, or fly into one and out of the other. I plan to see Hanoi, Ha Long, Hue, Hoi An, Nha Trang, Dalat and Saigon with possible trips to mekong delta and Sapa in the north. Is it best to book hotels/hostels in advance or when I get there? And how much do I need to budget for each week? I want to eat and sleep cheaply but see alot! Any advice would be great. long should I stay in the two big cities? Thanks

2. Posted by birdmccabe (Budding Member 22 posts) 7y Star this if you like it!

i was there for 3 weeks last summer! absolutely amazing country. i went from south to north. I would highly recommend going to Sapa, its beautiful! We had absolutely no problems, but i did hear people complaining about being ripped off in Hanoi. The cities aren't particularly great, i wouldnt stay any more than 2 or 3 days in each, possibly just use them as a base for seeing Halong Bay and the Mekong Delta. Hanoi was my least favourite place;it was the only place we ran into rude people!
We booked a sleeping bus ticket from Saigon to Hanoi and it was cheap....though there can be some dodgy buses, it is worth having a good look around at different companies.
We didnt book hostels in advance as there is always an abundance of options when you get to places. Though we did book when we were arriving late.
Have a great time! It is a very cool country!

3. Posted by shefftommo (Budding Member 36 posts) 7y Star this if you like it!

Great advice birdmccabe thanks! I'll maybe just use hanoi and saigon as bases then! Planning on travelling alone (I usually travel with mates but fancy doing my own thing) so want to meet people and see where it takes me.any advice on budget?

4. Posted by lynn259 (Budding Member 13 posts) 7y Star this if you like it!

I was in Hanoi last July. Strongly recommend you to stay in the old quarter area which is the center of the city. No need to book room in advance I think. Last time, accomodation cost me 12-15$/night. However, you may need to walk around the place and bargain a little bit. My Indonesian friends found some hostel which are cheaper than that grrrr. Pho (noodle soup) is best served in Hanoi, have to try it, okie? ;)

2-3 days in Hanoi is enough. In the Old quarter area, you can find some short trip at any travel agents. I spent <300$ for the trip from HAN to Sapa and Halong (1 night on boat + 1 night on Cat Ba Island), the services were great though.
Food is cheap here depends on where do you want to at. A bowl of Pho on the pavement food shop cost <1.5$ but 2.5-4$ at a more luxury restaurant.

I am living in Saigon (HCMC); hence I may know more about it to share. Let me know if you would like to have any more comments from me hehe.

Ah, I am not sure if this is your concern. Our lunar new year 2011 (Tet) falls in the 1st week of Feb. Few weeks before that time is great. However, during Tet might be little uncomfortable for visitors (e.g shop closed, quiet streets, hard to find tickets for transportation, price rise, etc)

5. Posted by shefftommo (Budding Member 36 posts) 7y Star this if you like it!

hi lynn thanks for the reply. My plans have changed now. I am going January 2012 instead with two friends. We plan to do trans-siberian railway and visit harbin ice festival in china, then onto beijing for a few days.after that we plan to get the 2 day sleeper train to Hanoi and spend around two weeks in vietnam, finally flying back to UK from HCMC. We want to do it all in a month as we all have work committments. However, we planned to arrive in Hanoi Jan 22nd 2012, this is new years eve i believe? Then we plan to go on to ha long bay for a couple of nights after tet, will everything be quiet? When does it start to go back to normal again after tet? Thanks. Tom

[ Edit: Edited on 09-Dec-2010, at 07:58 by shefftommo ]

6. Posted by lynn259 (Budding Member 13 posts) 7y Star this if you like it!

Hi Tom,

Changed quite quick ha. 2 weeks in Vietnam is a quite rush though hehe.

Lunar new year is from 3 - 7 Feb 2011. We are going to be on leave from 2-7 Feb 2011 then. Likely it's impossible if you want to find a cheap train/flight ticket from HCMC to HN 1 week before Tet and from Hanoi - SG after Tet. As you might know, most of people living in big cities are from small towns and they all coming back home for Tet.

Normally the first 3 days of the year is quite quiet. Everybody will go out from the 3/4th day :)

I have never spent a new year eve in Hanoi. Think they will celebrate big as we do in HCMC hehe.

Halong Bay is never quiet. Many foreigners visit that place through out the year. And you are going to spend few days on a boat with a group of people :)

In general, just don't stay in big cities (like my city) during first 3 days of Tet ;)


7. Posted by shefftommo (Budding Member 36 posts) 7y Star this if you like it!

ok great advice thankyou. I will have to try and work around it! Yes 2 weeks is abit of a rush but still time to see your beautiful country.will have to miss out sapa and mekong delta but I can always come back! So do you thing its a good idea to arrive in hanoi new years eve, watch the celebrations.chill out and explore the city new years day whilst its quiet,then leave for ha long bay the day after? Will there still be tours? If for example tet falls on jan23 2012, what date will things be normal again? How long does it last? Thanks

8. Posted by lynn259 (Budding Member 13 posts) 7y Star this if you like it!


If you have to consider b/w Halong and Sapa, I think Halong is better :)

So do you really want to come at 2 Feb (New year eve) and start to go to Halong the day after? Yeah, I would say it's not a bad idea. Check the tour and book from now maybe better ha. May heading to the central of Vietnam on the 4th day? Maybe it's still possible to find a ticket then.

I said Tet falls in 3 Feb 2011 aleady. In general, Tet will last when we back to work (i.e 8 Feb). Shops/supermarket will open from the 3rd day (5 Feb). However, for some lazy people, it will actual last after a month lol. Joking. Don't worry too much, likely you are going to stay in tourist area, everything is expected to be in operation during Tet as normal.

However, anything may be charged at a little bit higher cost since it's holiday. Can not avoid this because it's your decision to come here during Tet :)


9. Posted by shefftommo (Budding Member 36 posts) 7y Star this if you like it!

thanks again lynn, great to get advice from a local! I am going jan 2012 so cant really book much yet but will have to do it in advance. How much does the price go up during tet?

[ Edit: Edited on 09-Dec-2010, at 08:52 by shefftommo ]

10. Posted by lynn259 (Budding Member 13 posts) 7y Star this if you like it!

Ah, got it now, one year delayed :)

You are right, 23/1/2012 is the first day of the year.

Price rise from 5-10% for essential goods during 1 months before Tet (demand increased because everybody buy more for their family to consume during Tet holiday). Others may rise up to 20-50% during Tet. For sure food & drinks would be more expensive than normal days :)

So far, there is no travelling plan this Jan for you?