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HELP - can anyone please give me advice on travel.

Edinburgh
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HELP - can anyone please give me advice on travel.

Hi

I am hoping someone out there can help me with the best way of going to the places below i.e. best travel options and where to go frist from HCMC. Here goes.....

Arrive HCMC. Want to visit the following places -

Mui Ne

Dalat

Nha Trang

Hoi An

Hue

Quy Nhon

Halong Bay Trip

Finishing up in Hanoi as that's where we fly home from.

If I have missed out anywhere you think we should be taking in then please feel free to suggest as I am starting to get myself confused with all the fab places there are in this country to visit.

Also, do they accept UK sterling money as payment for hotels? Is UK currency easy to change over there as I don't want to take $US dollars unless absolutely necessary.

Look forward to hearing from someone.

Cheers

Julie

New Orleans, LA
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1. Re: HELP - can anyone please give me advice on travel.

The mode of transportation really depends on your budget. But I'd probably take this route:

HCMC - Mui Ne - Dalat - Nha Trang - Quy Nhon - Hoi An - Hue - Hanoi (with Halong Bay trip)

Other than Quy Nhon, these are all very well traveled destinations. An alternative to going up the coast (Nha Trang to Quy Nhon to Hoi An) is going from Dalat to Hoi An via the Central Highlands, skipping Nha Trang and Quy Nhon. OR, you could cut into the Central Highlands from Nha Trang, only skipping Quy Nhon.

The Central Highlands are less traveled, but very interesting, and provide a look into tribal areas of Vietnam, whereas you'll be mostly seeing the ethnic Vietnamese side.

If you can afford to hire a driver, then you'll be able to stop anywhere you want. Otherwise your best bet is probably to take buses/mini vans until you get to Hue, and then you can take an overnight train from Hue to Hanoi.

Edinburgh
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2. Re: HELP - can anyone please give me advice on travel.

Hi

Thanks for the quick and interesting response. Certainly given me some food for thought. We don't intend to hire a driver too much as we really want to experience buses and trains. Have you any advice on these modes of transport i.e. any experiences I should know about as I have read some very mixed reviews about how scary some of the drivers can be.

Look forward to any more pointers you have.

Thanks and Cheers

Julie

vietnam
Destination Expert
for Nha Trang
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5,988 posts
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3. Re: HELP - can anyone please give me advice on travel.

Nha Trang to Quy Nhon you will have to take the smaller 16 seater bus on all the other trips you will have a choice of a sleeper bus or sitting.The sleeper being a bit more expensive.It's a bit scary at first but you get used to it,best not to look at the road in front.Quy Nhon is a great city.It's of the tourist route and you will see few tourists there.

A lot of the hotels will not take sterling,or if they do you will get a bad exchange rate.However all the banks take them and you get a better rate at the gold shops.It's better to get your hotel rate in VND and pay in VND.There are plenty of atm's around.

Ho Chi Minh City...
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4. Re: HELP - can anyone please give me advice on travel.

HCMC >6H> Mui Ne; Mui Ne >4-5H> Da Lat; Da Lat >1.5H> Nha Trang; Hoi An >4H> Hue are all covered by Mei Linh Express (the bus company that has new buses, full insurance and trained drivers). They have buses leaving several times each day.

The MLE office in HCMC is at 400A Le Hong Phong Street, Phuong 1, District 10. Tel 08-3832-3888 (our local numbers are now going to 8 digits). The buses from HCMC to Mui Ne leave on the hour and half hour from 06.00H through 19.00H.

Sleeper train is best between Nha Trang and Da Nang (for Hoi An) and Hue through Ha Noi.

Are you really wanting to visit Quy Nhon? If so you can use either the MLE or the train.

Remember that the HCMC/Ha Noi line is busy and booking 2 days ahead is recommended.

You can easily exchange GBP in the major cities - HSBC now has a string of branches in VietNam. Make sure your Sterling notes are in pristine condition as VN exchange people are fussy and will decline anything that is torn, old or written upon.

If you use the ATM on a UK card the GBP are converted in USD$ and then VN Dong - a double money losing conversion.

Bring your UK cell phone; GSM is popular over here and if your phone is locked, they can fix that, too!

co. donegal
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5. Re: HELP - can anyone please give me advice on travel.

i did that trip in reverse last year and my advice is dont believe bus times it took me 5 or 6 hours to get from nha trang to dalat which incidently was great for different from the rest of vietnam,

you get better value if you have dong to pay with,

i did that in 11 days and it was stretched i think to really relax and enjoy it you would need at least 2 if not 3 weeks

Ho Chi Minh City...
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6. Re: HELP - can anyone please give me advice on travel.

stuartyoneknobi:

There are now two routes from Nha Trang to Da Lat.

The old one, which I suspect you took, goes south along the coast to Thap Cham and then up the hill, with the S-bend turns, to Da Lat.

The new route is an inland highway that is much quicker, it only takes me 2-2.5 hours pulling a trailer with my motorcycle

Llanbrynmair...
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7. Re: HELP - can anyone please give me advice on travel.

Hi Jules,

So much depends on how much time you have. It is a heck of a long journey from Scotland to Vietnam and if you only have a couple of weeks to spare, sticking to your itinerary will mean charging round like a headless chicken and you will get very little out of your time there. To resort to a cliche, less is more.

Taking account of your available time and with the help of the forum search box above, plus whatever printed or internet resources you have, work out exactly what places are likely to please you most and concentrate on them.

This is pure bias because I love the place, but I would give at least four days to Hanoi - much, much more if you have enough time. Given sufficient time, a detour through the Central Highlands is well definitely worthwhile

Re currency, I only took a handful of pounds, plus sufficient dollars to pay for my visa on arrival. Unless you stay in expensive hotels and eat at overpriced restaurants everything is payable in dong, and even at the former the US$ rate is always converted to dong. There are ATMs all over the place, but in order to keep the commission you pay as low as possible always take out the maximum amount, which varies from 2-4 million dong, depending on the bank.

Edinburgh
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8. Re: HELP - can anyone please give me advice on travel.

Hi Creaking Bones

Thanks for the information, especially about the money.

We are leaving sunny Edinburgh on 8th September and leave Vietname for our journey home on 2nd October so we do have over 3 weeks to play with which is good.

I hear what you are saying about Hanoi, at the moment we are scheduled for 4 days but may need an extra one as we will be doing Halong Bay. We also want to have some chill out time but having said that we want to try and pack in as much as possible without being knackered at the end of it all. I like the idea of not following someone elses itinerary so we can come and go as we please. Alot of planning but all worth it I'm sure. After reading lots of reports on Vietnam and reading the books it all sounds wonderful.

I need to win the lottery and travel for 6 months!!

If you can think of anything else then gratful for the info.

Cheers

Julie

vietnam
Destination Expert
for Nha Trang
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30 reviews
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9. Re: HELP - can anyone please give me advice on travel.

Try and do at least 2nights Halong bay.If you like the lochs then you will love this place.May even find nessie on his hols!

Edinburgh
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10. Re: HELP - can anyone please give me advice on travel.

Hi Folks

I've been reading some good things about Quy Nhon which appeal to me. Think it could be a place where tourists take over sooner rather than later so would be good to see before that happens.

So what advice would you give for travel then if QN is still on the itinerary bearing in mind we will be travelling from Nha Trang and then going to Hoi An. How long would the journey take approximately as I am aware that some journeys can go well over the specified time.

Thanks and cheers

Julie

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