Dear Vietnam Experts,
I'll be in HCMC for two nights, three days, travelling alone, on my first visit to Vietnam.
I'm interested in seeing a bit of Vietnam outside of HCMC, and the Mekong Delta seems to be a popular destination, set up for tourists to visit. Not overly interested in the Cu Chi tunnels.
1. Since this is my first visit to Vietnam, are there places closer to HCMC that could give me a flavor of rural life, without going to the Mekong Delta? Perhaps on such a short visit the MD should be left off the list, but I think I may run out of things I'd like to see in HCMC fairly quickly as I don't care for museums or shopping. Thoughts?
2. If I do a day trip away from HCMC, I'd prefer it to be a very long day, to fit in as much sightseeing as possible. Does anyone know of a group tour that crams a whole lot into one day? I'm not really interested in the tunnels, but if they're part of an action-packed tour, I wouldn't not go.
3. Generally I prefer long bus rides over river travel as I think bus rides usually reward one with much human visual interest. River trips I've taken in the past are usually feature unchanging river banks. Which mode of travel to MD gives more contact with Vietnamese; tour bus or tour boat?
4. I'm willing to pay more for a smaller tour group, but would not want to spend a premium to have my own tour guide and would rather have the company of other tourists. It seems as though the tours are either large bus loads for $20 (USD) or I could have a one-on-one tour for $100++. Is there something in between?
Thanks for all the guidance!