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Vietnam: 3 weeks Dec-Jan travel itinerary?

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1 review
Vietnam: 3 weeks Dec-Jan travel itinerary?

Travelling to Vietnam 22nd December 2018 - 14th January 2019

Thinking of doing North to South as weather at this time of year will be nicer in the South and we'd like to end on a high note!

Places we want to include if possible:

HANOI (flying to here) - 4 nights including:

Sa Pa (8hr overnight train, spend 1 night here)

Ha Long Bay (1 night here?)

DA NANG - 3 nights including:

Ba Na Hills

Hoi An

Nha Trang - 1 night

Da Lat - 2 nights

Mui Né - 2 nights (we'd like to do a sunrise sand dunes tour)

Mekong Delta - 1 night?

Ho Chi Minh City - 2 nights?

Phu Quoc - 3 nights? (ideally spend our last 3 days exploring this island before heading home - should we get direct flights from here or fly to mainland and then book our flights back to the UK)?

If anyone could answer any of these questions, it would really help us out:

A. Is this a good route to take?

B. Would appreciate suggestions for how long to spend in each too!

C. Where is good to spend Xmas and New Year?

D. If you know of any other places we should include, please let me know! Alternatively, if you think there are any on our list that aren't worth the bisit let us know as we are probably going to have to remove some as we are only there for 3 weeks!

E. Also, what is the best way to travel around Vietnam (we are four girls and we are all drivers but not sure whether driving in Vietnam is safe?)

Thank you in advance! :-)

5 replies to this topic
Melbourne, Australia
Destination Expert
for Vietnam
Level Contributor
10,140 posts
1. Re: Vietnam: 3 weeks Dec-Jan travel itinerary?


"HANOI (flying to here) - 4 nights including:

Sa Pa (8hr overnight train, spend 1 night here)

Ha Long Bay (1 night here?)"

Is that four nights in Hanoi, plus a trip to Sapa, which incidentally is two x overnight train and one in Sapa, and then one night Halong Bay?

Or is it four nights in total up North? Which won't really work, anyway.

To your questions -

A. Well, it's heading in a southerly direction, which is fine.

B. How long in each place? More than you're currently planning.

One night stays aren't worth the travel time involved to get there, and two night ones aren't much better. travel is slow and very time consuming in Vietnam. Less is most certainly more.

C. Probably depends how your re-jigged itinerary looks. Otherwise, you can work out where you'll be from your current one.

D. That's really for you to decide. https://www.travelfish.org/country/vietnam might help.

E. No, give up on the thought of self-driving. Fly or train the long distances, walk and taxi the short ones.


Level Contributor
6 posts
7 reviews
2. Re: Vietnam: 3 weeks Dec-Jan travel itinerary?

I think you need to research what you want to do and then determine how long you should stay in each city. It sounds like a lot of quick luggage moving and very rushed tbh. There is so much to do and see in Vietnam that you'll never get bored if you accidentally stay in one place too long.

And forget about driving - way too dangerous. Taxi's are so cheap, just make sure you use a metered one.

Mackay, Australia
Level Contributor
171 posts
43 reviews
3. Re: Vietnam: 3 weeks Dec-Jan travel itinerary?

'Re Xmas - can only speak of our own experience, but we ended up in Sapa for Xmas Eve. We are generally somewhere in Asia on Xmas Eve. Sapa by far has been our best experience. The church looked stunning all lit up. There was also food stalls, a Santa, where if you took your own photo it was free. Not sure if it is always like this, but it was in 2016. Coming from Australia and now living in North QLD where we can't swim in the ocean during summer, spending Xmas in the cool without having to travel to Europe was great.

Manchester, United...
Level Contributor
1,473 posts
229 reviews
4. Re: Vietnam: 3 weeks Dec-Jan travel itinerary?

Looks like a lot of moving around that but it depends what you want from your visit. Some people like to pack as much into their trip as they can and tick boxes. We have a 5 week trip planned for January/ February and the minimum stay in any one location is 4 nights, that’s too long for some people but we like to have rest days doing very little, maybe pottering around or lounging near the swimming pool etc, it’s also a holiday/rest. We also like to leave things unexplored which means we can look forward to re-visiting the Country again. We are missing Hanoi out on this trip because we want to return when the weather will probably be better, we are visiting Con Dao Island instead. It’s pretty obvious when you look at the map of Vietnam that a 5 week trip only scratches the surface and it requires a return visit, similar to Thailand in that respect. Enjoy your trip.

Edited: 26 September 2018, 07:52
Ben Tre, Vietnam
Level Contributor
2,444 posts
1 review
5. Re: Vietnam: 3 weeks Dec-Jan travel itinerary?

If you choose Mui Ne beach for beach time, you should not do Nha Trang and Phu Quoc island any more.

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