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How long in vietnam

I am travelling in Southeast Asia in January and February. I am doing tours in Cambodia and Laos but have decided to do Vietnam on my own with a few different small tours (I.e Halong Bay). I am thinking three weeks in Vietnam. Is that too much or not enough time. I am not looking to rush want to see as much as possible.

As well as anyone travelled in this area over Vietnamese New Year, how busy and crazy is it in terms of travel and sites. New Years in on Feb 8 and I can either leave for Cambodia on the 7 or take a different tour in Cambodia and leave Vietnam on Jan 30

Thanks
Wendy

Posted by
285 posts

Wendy, we have been to Vietnam and I would suggest the 3 weeks is just barely enough time to cover north and south. A wonderful country and we totally loved our trip there and hope to go back. However, you will find this is predominately a forum for Europe. Very little SE Asia activity, if any at all. I would suggest you try other forums, ie- Trip advisor or Frommers, etc.

Posted by
283 posts

Judy
Did you travel on your own on on a tour. If on your own how easy was it? Any special places or must sees that are outside the main areas? I am planning on following the outline on most tours North to south

Posted by
1401 posts

Vietnam is actually quite easy to do on your own - the infrastructure is quite good, and easy to set things up on your own and cheap if you do it on your own. I only got to spend about 10 days about 5 years ago and hit some of the highlights - Ho Chi Minh city, Hue, Hoi An, Hanoi including Halong Bay. The flights inside the country were very cheap (<$50 a flight) and saved on long bus/train rides.

With 3 weeks you should be able to travel at a much slower pace and see a lot more. Even with two weeks you would be able to see quite a bit.

Overall, if you have traveled a bit before, you should have no issues doing any of these countries on your own. I especially enjoyed Laos and the laid back lifestyle - almost stepping back in time.

Enjoy each of these places. Sorry - no experience with traveling around the Chinese and or Vietnamese NY - though from what I have read, I would have the major components of my itinerary laid out and the hotels/flights booked since there may be lots of folks traveling around the celebration.

Posted by
1 posts

Vietnam is nice but I think that you are going to have a much better time if you go to Cambodia. As you can see at http://discovercambodia.today/ Cambodia is a really nice place with lots of things to see and lots of people to meet. Give it a try, you won't regret it.

Posted by
1678 posts

I took a tour of Bangkok, Angkor Wat, and Vietnam (about 17 days total). I think it's easy to get around on your own, but I wanted to have the logistics taken care of for me. I'd definitely recommend going to Hoi An. Halong is beautiful but be prepared for a trek to get out there (it's a long ride from Hanoi) - I wished I had been able to do the two night boat trip (I only did a day trip on a rainy day in April). It is not as warm in the winter months - average temp is 65 or so. You may have trouble booking a tour boat for Tet time period.

My friend lives in Hanoi and has traveled during Tet. It is very busy travel wise and some things are shut down. The holiday is for people to go home and visit family, so there are fewer restaurants and market stalls open, fewer taxi drivers, etc. Also prices go up and if you don't make reservations for hotel and trains way ahead you will be hard pressed to find something upon arrival (you're competing with all those people traveling home to visit). Do a quick search on Trip Advisor or Lonely Planet - there were plenty of questions asked and answered on this topic when I was researching my trip.

Posted by
285 posts

Wendy, we did our own trip, planning, etc. found it quite easy although, this was 7 years ago and at that time the infrastructure was not very good for booking flights, etc. internally. You will find it much easier now and should have no problem. As posted, 10 days will get you highlights, 3 weeks just enough to see more than the usual spots, HCM, Hue, Hoi-ann ( we spent 5 days there and that was hardly enough). we also spent a week relaxing on a beautiful island off the coast of Vietnam called Phu quoc. Took a ferry but manage to get a flight back off of it after the week was over. Was a wonderful experience and we would do that again in a heartbeat. So, time is yours to decide how to spend it. I should add that we spent our 30th wedding anniversary backpacking around then, so you will be good!

Posted by
121 posts

Wendy,
Just for Reference to see timing, here is my itinerary in Vietnam

Aug 22, arrive 10 pm local time Saigon/HCM city
Aug 23, 24, 25: See HCM city with friends; trip to Cu Chi tunnels; museums, etc. (I'm staying with friends in HCM city)
Aug 26: 8:20 am flight from HCM to Siem Reap. Arrive about 10 am. Afternoon and evening tour Angkor Wat
Aug27: Tour Angkor Thom; other areas around Siem Reap, boat trip on Tonle Sap
Aug 28: Tour Siem Reap; Flight at 7 pm to Danang. Arrive Danang about 11 pm; meet with hired driver and go to Hoian. Check into hotel in Hoian.
Aug 29: Tour Hoian/ancient city/Hoian Museum
Aug 30: Meet with hired Driver early am to drive to Hue. Stops at Cham's museum, Thien Mu pagoda. Check into hotel in Hue. Wander around city.
Aug. 31: Imperial city. Royal tomb of emperor and tiger arena in Hue.
Sept. 1: 11 am flight from Danang to Hanoi. Arrive noon. Walk old quarter; possible museum stop; shop.
Sept. 2: Continue looking around Hanoi/museum/French architecture. Night Train to Lao Cai.
Sept. 3: Arrive early am in Lao Cai. Meet with guide and hike into Hmong villages in Sapa area.
Sept. 4: Continued hiking in Sapa.

Sept. 5: Hike back to Lao Cai and catch night train to Hanoi.

Sept. 6: Arrive early am in Hanoi. Shopping/looking around city. Midnight flight to Tokyo.
Sept 7, 8, 9: Tokyo then back to US on the 9th.

As you can see; it is pretty packed for two weeks. Yet I have down time built in too. And it is not going to cover everything I'd want to see in Vietnam (HaLong Bay, the floating markets, Nha Trang, etc.) You could pack a lot in 3 weeks, but you will need to look at travel times, etc.

Posted by
283 posts

Thank you for the information. Despite the great advice I am leaning towards a tour. I found one I like and it is 20 days. It hits the spots I want to see.

As you are planning to visit Vietnam by our own...I hope you know that you need Visa on Arrival is required during your visit to Vietnam.

Posted by
1 posts

Wendy- I am wondering how your trip went to Vietnam. We are planning on spending quite a bit of time there and having Vietnam as our home base while we travel since you have to leave and get a new visa after 90 days. Just wondering how your visit was and where you decided to go. We have a few connections which will help but will be on our own mostly. Anyway would love to hear about your trip and any advice as what to do or not do or wish you had done and also if you don;t know the language how that went. I know just a few words. Thanks for any advice
Wendy-yes same name :)

Posted by
3 posts

3 weeks in Vietnam, you can travel around Vietnam from Northern to Southen Vietnam with itinerary: Hanoi-Halong-Hanoi-Sapa-HCMC-Hue-Hoian-Nha Trang-Phu Quoc-HCMC.

Posted by
283 posts

I did three weeks in Vietnam. I was there a few weeks ago and loved it. I ended up doing a tour but it would have been fine on my own. I like traveling with people if I was with friends I would have done it on my own.
Arrived in Hanoi. Did two nights on a boat in halong bay. Train from Hanoi to Hue was great.
Hope you enjoy Vietnam. I was there just before Vietnamese new year and it was great to see the celebrations

Posted by
3 posts

Wendy,
I'm glad to hear that. You had a perfect trip to our country. Previously, sometimes I have found somewhere to complain about Vietnam tourism, but recently we have made significant improvements.
Thank you!