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First time in Vietnam. Where to start planning?

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First time in Vietnam. Where to start planning?

Hello, friends, some piece of advice would be appreciated for our first trip to Vietnam. We fly in Bangkok and after spending few days there we have 9 full days to spend in Vietnam. From what I have already seen it would be unwise to try to sprend them travelling all around the country so which part of the country would you recommend to explore taking into consideration weather - we arrive in mid-June?


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1. Re: First time in Vietnam. Where to start planning?

I flew into Hanoi from Bangkok in 2005 and spent about 2 weeks in Hanoi. Done some trips from there including Halong Bay which was good probably better if the tour company we used was better. Where are you flying home from??

Ben Tre, Vietnam
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2. Re: First time in Vietnam. Where to start planning?

I would suggest to fly in Danang and spend 4 nights in Hoi An to enjoy the ancient town, peaceful country side and sunny beach then the rest for the North including 2 nights Hanoi , 1 night Ha long Bay and 1 night Ninh Binh.



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3. Re: First time in Vietnam. Where to start planning?

Thanks guys for your input. we are flying out of Bangkok as well. I am thinking North Vietnam to start from. Is it worth to spend time doing Central as well?

Can you comment on this first itinerary draft?

1 day Morning flight to Hanoi from BKK. Some days will be already spent in BKK and islands so acclimatisation should be more or less over.

2 day Explore Hanoi, night train to Sapa

3 day Sapa

4 day Sapa, night train to Hanoi

5 day Hanoi

6 day trip to Halong Bay, night at the ship

7 day Back to Hanoi

So I still have two-three days to add? What do you recommend best:

- add one more day in Hanoi?

- add one more day in Sapa?

- add one more day in Halong?

- add one day trip to Ninh Bin/2 day trip?

- still fly to Hue or Hoi An?

- something else?

we are travellers who like diversity but prefer nature and history to bustling big cities and beaches.

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4. Re: First time in Vietnam. Where to start planning?

With your spare days I'd go to Ninh Binh, hire moped taxis and get out into the beautiful countryside. A full day there allows you to see a few of the main attractions ( Bai Dinh Pagoda, Trang An, Hoa Lu, Mua Grotto) though it will be tiring but worth it. It you go by train its about two hours from Hanoi and a short taxi ride to the centre. I can fully recommend the Ngoc Ahn hotel if you do decide to go.

Thr north is wonderful and offers so much to see. You can save the south and central area for next time!

The only thing I would change if I was you would be to have one night in Sapa only and add the extra night onto Halong Bay. When you do HB on a one night trip you only really get half a day and a night on the boat and it is so beautiful to relax in the peace and quiet. Sapa is also lovely but unless you want to do a long trek or go to Bac Ha markets, one day there is enough to see what you need to as you arrive early morning and leave the following day early in the evening so you get two days really.

Edited: 05 February 2013, 20:04
Mandurah, Australia
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5. Re: First time in Vietnam. Where to start planning?

Also our first time visiting Vietnam for 17 nights

We land in Hanoi on the 13th of May from Kuala Lumpur and fly from Hochi Min City onthe 30th May to Singapore for two nights before our flight back to Perth, Australia

Suggestions and input for a suitable itineray would be much appreciated.

We are 46 and 49, enjoy the beach and quite natural areas rather than the hustle and Bustle of big cities.

Halong Bay Cruise vs Cat Ba Island

Also transport in order to see as much of vietnam do you suggest, train internal flights or bus/ private car.

thanks Kaylene

Ho Chi Minh City...
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6. Re: First time in Vietnam. Where to start planning?

May is a good month to visit Vietnam, especially north; the south is hot and steamy. With 17 nights you should not miss Hanoi, Halong, Sapa, Hue, Hoi An, Da Nang or Phu Quoc (for the lazy beach) and Mekong Delta. I would vote for Halong rather than Cat Ba. Flights would help you see much more, Sapa has train only. For natural places, you will love the Thuy Bieu village in Hue and Cam Thanh village in Hoi An, countryside is lush, relaxing and offers true local experience. The rice terraces in Sapa is spectacular.

7. Re: First time in Vietnam. Where to start planning?

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