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Travel questions - independent vs. group - please help

london uk
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Travel questions - independent vs. group - please help

Hello,

My partner and I want to plan a trip to Vietnam however, we are unsure if we should book a group tour or create our own independent trip.

We have travelled around Asia independently and not had any issues. From reading a few books on Vietnam, we have found the travel advise to be contradictory and are now doubtful as to what we should do. Nether of us have ever travelled via a group tour and are not sure what to expect.

We enjoy culture, walking, sight seeing and history (and shopping).

We would like to visit the following places over a two week period:-

Hanoi

(Hue/Hoi an) - maybe if time permits.

Nha Trang

Ho Chi minh city

Please can you assist and help with the following questions:-

1. How easy is it to take a train between the locations? Some books state that your luggage may be tampered with in transit if you fall asleep/leave it unattended.

2. Have any of you used or know someone that has taken the intrepid traveller tour to Vietnam and have some feedback?

3. How difficult is it to get round if you are not taking a tour e.g. taxi

4. Can you hire a scooter?

5. What flight companies operate between Hanoi to Hue/Hoi An and then to Nha Trang? What's the cost of internal flights.

6. Hue or Hoi An if you have to choose between the two due to time constrains?

7. where should we spend the longest duration? Ho Chi Minh city?

Your help is much appreciated

Thanks

vietnam
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1. Re: Travel questions - independent vs. group - please help

If you have travelled in Asia before you will have no problem finding your own way around in Vietnam.Nothing wrong with Intrepid tours,but you can do it by yourselfs for half the price.

Easy to travel to your destinations and internal flights are not expensive.Vietnam airlines and jetstar are airlines that fly your routes,check out there websites.

Easy to hire a scooter/bicycle.Taxi's are everywhere.

Get a copy of lonely planet,2010 Vietnam.That should help you make up your minds,

If your young I would not even consider a group tour.So easy ,more independant,cheaper and fun to do it by yourselfs.You will meet many other people doing the same thing and can always join up with them for a day or two.

london uk
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2. Re: Travel questions - independent vs. group - please help

Great thanks. We are in aout 20's.

I'll get the book too.

Do you think 4 night or so at each location is enough?

Christchurch, New...
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3. Re: Travel questions - independent vs. group - please help

Devineellee,

If you've traveled independently around Asia, I would doubt if you run into any problems in Vietnam.

Below is my personal answers to your questions:

1. It's pretty easy and comfy traveling by trains in Vietnam but I would recommend you to take trains for short lenghts only, for instance, between Hanoi - Sapa or Hanoi-Hue. Just bring whatever you consider necessary on the train, not all, and leave the rest at your hotel.

2. Not personally.

3. Incredibly easy to visit places of interest in Vietnam on your own, walking makes good excercise. Use cabs whenever you're tired but stick to reputable cab companies only, Mai Linh or Hanoi for example.

4. Yes you can drive on your own provided that you've a valid driving license and don't forget your helmet. It's the law.

5. Check out the website of Vietnam Air for price info.

6. I would vote for Hoi An if you're to choose either of the two.

7. It totally depends on your interest. Read up more on each city and find out which interests you most.

Happy planning

Adelaide, Australia
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4. Re: Travel questions - independent vs. group - please help

You don`t need to take a tour. Once you get to Vietnam you`ll find it really easy and cheap to book things yourself. You`ll be amazed at prices and standards in Vietnam. My daughter has just returned from a gapadventure tour which was reasonably economical but very rushed. We had a better holiday planned by ourselves.

vietnam
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5. Re: Travel questions - independent vs. group - please help

Yeah,3/4 nights would be fine.But if your having a good time stay longer.Also if the weather is bad and looks like it's not going to get better move on to the next place.Great place to move on or stay,don't plan to much,play it by ear.

Am sure you will have a great time.

Melbourne, Australia
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6. Re: Travel questions - independent vs. group - please help

As the others have said do it yourself. You will find the hotels are a great help and are able to organise any trips you may want, get you a taxi with an agreed price and arrange all your ongoing travel. You only have to see tour groups being herded from one sight to another to appreciate the freedom of doing it on your own.

We took the sleeper bus from Hanoi to Hue. Not for everyone but an experience we are glad we did. Plus it is cheap and gets you there first thing in the morning. Do a search for other people's opinions.

I also would opt for Hoi An over Hue but if you have 5 days then one in Hue, one to travel and three in Hoi An would be good.

We prefered Hanoi to HCMC. A lot more character. If you have travelled around Asia HCMC is another large city.

Vietnam Airlines and Jetstar are the internal airlines. Flights are $40 -60

New Plymouth, New...
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7. Re: Travel questions - independent vs. group - please help

Have just spent 5 weeks Vietnam/Cambodia. Every Hotel can book day tours for you, but you will often end up in a mini van with others. Alternatively you can book an independent tour where there is just you, your own guide and a driver with a car. Feels very luxurious and is very cheap to arrange through someone like Ha from Vietland travel. I suggest you flick her an email with your thoughts of what you want to see, what sort of traveller you are and where you want to stay and see what she comes up with as an itinerary. No obligation.

Hoi An is definitely a great place to spend a few nights, we spent 4 there and loved it, Hue is worth a look also. Consider going off the beaten track a bit, there is much to see outside the main centres. Would happily give you detailed answers - private message me.

london uk
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8. Re: Travel questions - independent vs. group - please help

Thank you ALL soooo sooo much. This is great. Defo going to do it our selves.

Just looking at what I can put together now.

New York
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9. Re: Travel questions - independent vs. group - please help

My wife and I will launch into a 53 day journey in Cambodia and Vietnam in three weeks. Flying from the States in and out of Pnomh Penh, then doing a giant clockwise circuit. We will travel independtly also, having done Japan and Indonesia that way. We are both 66, and have decided to do this one wihout malaria medication as we have had bad reactions in the past. Lots of cover up and Deet, especially in Cambodia. Flying as much as possible. Now have frequent flyer status on Vietnam Airlines. Ruled out Mui Ne because of the long bus runs (for us anyway). Will keep the bus and train trips very short as we both have joints that inform us from time to time that they have been well used. Let you know how all this goes. Best wishes to you. Our plan:

Cambodia:

Pnomh Penh 4 nights (two to get our heads screwed back after 31 hr series of flights)

Kep 5 nights

Siem Reap 8 nights

Vietnam:

Hanoi 6 nights (including one night on Hai Phong Bay)

Hue 5 nights

Hoi An 5 nights

Quang Ngai 2-3 nights

DaNang China Beach 6-7 nights (double back from Quang Ngai)

Ho Chi Minh City 5 nights

Mekong Delta 4 nights (only guided tour; take boat after back to Pnomh Penh)

Cambodia:

Pnomh Penh 2 nights (then home)

Lincoln, United...
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10. Re: Travel questions - independent vs. group - please help

william2000 - creaking bones syndrome....I know it well!

I see you are down to spend 5 nts in HCMC. I think after a couple you'll have done it to death.

I wouldn't dismiss a jouney to Mui Ne just on account of the time to get there (about 4hrs). I know when I went to stay at Mui Ne for a couple of days, the trip included a couple of stops along the way (to get out and exercise!) - including a cable car ride up to see Vietnam's largest reclining Buddha. I seem to remember there being a fair number of Vietnamese 'old timers' on that trip who seem to cope quite well - even with the walking bits.

english.vietnamnet.vn/travel/2006/06/581079/ sort of tells all.

I didn't take a couple of bricks up either!

The view from the top was well worth it as was the buddha. Even though it was a bit cloudy and misty at times I'd rather have done the trip than stay in HCMC.

Have a great trip.