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Photo by Igor Djokovic, camping above San Juan river, Arizona USA

I haven't been everywhere...
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Photo by Igor Djokovic,
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  #1  
Old 19 Jul 2019
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First trip in Vietnam

Hi
I am travelling to Vietnam at the end of Octorber this year with my partner, we are going for two weeks and I am very conscious of not trying to visit too many places.
So far all I have confirmed is flying into Hanoi and staying for 2 nights then flying to Ho Chi Minh and staying in there for 3 nights. Then I'll go to Hoian, I am however open to staying longer in Hoi An as the beach sounds lovely and I definitely want some beach time while I am there.
I wanted to visit one other place and fly out of either Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh depending which I am closer to. I’ve read mixed reviews about Halong Bay and Phu Quoc which were my original preferences. Would Dalat or Ninh Binh be better options? I am so stuck and would feel guilty not visiting more than 2 places!
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  #2  
Old 19 Jul 2019
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Hoi An town itself is a little bit inland. The beach is some distance away - note that roads in Vietnam are always slow, don't judge distances by Western travel times. Also, the really big beaches are in Da Nang (where the airport and train station are, 40-60 minutes away). But Hoi An town is very much worth visiting.

Ha Long Bay is a must. I'd recommend an overnight cruise there. I did it in a day trip myself (using a "VIP bus" that took the faster highway without stopping), but regretted it. There's definitely a lot of tourist-trap crap in Ha Long Bay, but it's popular for a reason.

Can't speak to Da Lat or Phu Quoc, but you should consider Hue as well. A train trip between Da Nang and Hue is a good way to experience some of the best Vietnamese scenery without committing to the full long, slow Reunification Express journey.

The Ha Giang loop in the north is wonderful for a bike trip, but I guess you're going there for a relaxing holiday with your partner, so it is probably not applicable.
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  #3  
Old 21 Jul 2019
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnTyx View Post
Hoi An town itself is a little bit inland. The beach is some distance away - note that roads in Vietnam are always slow, don't judge distances by Western travel times. Also, the really big beaches are in Da Nang (where the airport and train station are, 40-60 minutes away). But Hoi An town is very much worth visiting.

Ha Long Bay is a must. I'd recommend an overnight cruise there. I did it in a day trip myself (using a "VIP bus" that took the faster highway without stopping), but regretted it. There's definitely a lot of tourist-trap crap in Ha Long Bay, but it's popular for a reason.

Can't speak to Da Lat or Phu Quoc, but you should consider Hue as well. A train trip between Da Nang and Hue is a good way to experience some of the best Vietnamese scenery without committing to the full long, slow Reunification Express journey.

The Ha Giang loop in the north is wonderful for a bike trip, but I guess you're going there for a relaxing holiday with your partner, so it is probably not applicable.
Agree with so much in this comment. You shouldn't skip Ha Long Bay, the sceneries are breathtaking. Hoi An is a more laid back and peaceful little town, but don't expect you'll see the best beaches there--Da Nang is where you'll find them.
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  #4  
Old 23 Jul 2019
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Originally Posted by AnTyx View Post

Ha Long Bay is a must. I'd recommend an overnight cruise there. I did it in a day trip myself (using a "VIP bus" that took the faster highway without stopping), but regretted it. There's definitely a lot of tourist-trap crap in Ha Long Bay, but it's popular for a reason.
I hear much about Halong Bay but there are a lot of cruises tours in there, so can you recommend best one for me?
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  #5  
Old 23 Jul 2019
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@anglleababy, Ninh Binh sounds good. As I know, there are two ways for traveling to Ninh Binh including private bus or public bus. Furthermore, I am thinking about a package tour with any agency which will help me handle all things because I do not much travel experience. Should I book a package tour for traveling to Vietnam?
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  #6  
Old 23 Jul 2019
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Originally Posted by Robprrtt View Post
I hear much about Halong Bay but there are a lot of cruises tours in there, so can you recommend best one for me?
I went with these guys: Halong Luxury Day Tour- 4 Hour Cruise: 100$ - Vietnam Travel Company, Awesome Travel

I can recommend the company, although I had a day trip, not an overnight cruise. The boats on the bay are all more-or-less the same (there is a limited number of permissions, and they're mostly fishing boats with historic permissions that were converted for tourists). I expect this company will provide a good boat for an overnight cruise.
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  #7  
Old 23 Jul 2019
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The van looks luxurious, so maybe that's worth something. The rest looks much like my US$30 cruise, except much more hurried.

I did no advance research--just rode my 250 into town, found a friendly little hotel up a side street, and booked a full-day cruise through their desk. My $30 included a substantial commission for them, so there's certainly some slack in the pricing. We spent hours at a time walking thru caves, kayaking, hiking to hilltop views, ignoring pearl salespeople, and (in my case) napping between sights. The heavily-hyped attractions (some of which are listed in the linked description) were actually less appealing than expected due to the thick clots of boats or crowds of perambulating tourists at each one.

I've no intention of debating the relative merits--just pointing out that you might do better to base in Halong rather than Hanoi if you have time. There are bays to the north as well as more remote areas which are reportedly far less crowded and at least equally scenic.

I didn't find Hoi An particularly appealing, but then again I wasn't there for beaches or custom tailoring. The usual response has been "Yes but the surrounding area is very pretty," which is true, but applies almost everywhere throughout Vietnam. Tastes, like mileage, vary.

Hope that's helpful.

Mark
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  #8  
Old 24 Jul 2019
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Originally Posted by markharf View Post
The van looks luxurious, so maybe that's worth something.
That was one aspect; the other was that it takes the southern highway, a traffic-free toll road (privately operated, expensive even by Western standards, ridiculous by Vietnamese standards), and cuts a lot of time off the journey. To me it was worth paying extra to spend 2,5 hours one way in a luxury van, not 4 hours in a Chinese bus with no legroom. I probably overpaid $30-40 compared to the same tour with a regular bus from Hanoi, and for me it was a reasonable premium.

I agree that if you have your own means of transport, then rocking up to the departure harbor in Ha Long Bay and picking the boat that catches your fancy is the way to go.
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  #9  
Old 28 Jul 2019
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Ha Long Bay

If you want a extremely cheap but extremely good trip through Ha Long bay i have a tip for you! There is a ferry from from Ha Long at the marina I think it cost me and the wife + our hire moto about £3.50 GBP oneway to Cat ba island. Fabulous trip and the island is worth a visit too.



copy/paste this in google it will show you where the ferry starts>
WX8Q+QR Hạ Long, Thành phố Hạ Long, Quảng Ninh, Vietnam


same here for where it lands>
VX5J+FX Gia Luận, Cát Hải, Hai Phong, Vietnam


same here for area where to stay on the island>
P3C2+X8 Cat Ba, Cát Hải, Hai Phong, Vietnam


edit: Also if you go to the marina you can get a trip to Thien Cung cave wich is fab. Google that too.>

W278+3V Cát Hải, Hai Phong



First trip in Vietnam-ferry-terminal.jpgFirst trip in Vietnam-fromterminal.jpgFirst trip in Vietnam-other-side.jpgFirst trip in Vietnam-ferry-sign.jpg
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Last edited by g6snl; 29 Jul 2019 at 00:03. Reason: additional info
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  #10  
Old 29 Jul 2019
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Thanks, I've done with Vietnam Group Tours after referring to a lot of tour agencies. I got 10% off for booking La Pinta cruise which will take us to travel from Lan Ha island to Halong Bay island.
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  #11  
Old 28 Jun 2020
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robprrtt View Post
Hi
I am travelling to Vietnam at the end of Octorber this year with my partner, we are going for two weeks and I am very conscious of not trying to visit too many places.
So far all I have confirmed is flying into Hanoi and staying for 2 nights then flying to Ho Chi Minh and staying in there for 3 nights. Then I'll go to Hoian, I am however open to staying longer in Hoi An as the beach sounds lovely and I definitely want some beach time while I am there.
I wanted to visit one other place and fly out of either Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh depending which I am closer to. I’ve read mixed reviews about Halong Bay and Phu Quoc which were my original preferences. Would Dalat or Ninh Binh be better options? I am so stuck and would feel guilty not visiting more than 2 places!
.
Myself and my wife rode Honda 110cc bikes from Hanoio to Saigon.
For beaches, you can't get better than Mui Ne, just by Phan Thiet.
We stopped at diferent places almost every night, and this one really sticks out as super.
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  #12  
Old 28 Jun 2020
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Quote:
Originally Posted by g6snl View Post
If you want a extremely cheap but extremely good trip through Ha Long bay i have a tip for you! There is a ferry from from Ha Long at the marina I think it cost me and the wife + our hire moto about £3.50 GBP oneway to Cat ba island. Fabulous trip and the island is worth a visit too.



copy/paste this in google it will show you where the ferry starts>
WX8Q+QR Hạ Long, Thành phố Hạ Long, Quảng Ninh, Vietnam


same here for where it lands>
VX5J+FX Gia Luận, Cát Hải, Hai Phong, Vietnam


same here for area where to stay on the island>
P3C2+X8 Cat Ba, Cát Hải, Hai Phong, Vietnam


edit: Also if you go to the marina you can get a trip to Thien Cung cave wich is fab. Google that too.>

W278+3V Cát Hải, Hai Phong



Attachment 22975Attachment 22976Attachment 22977Attachment 22978
The ferry also leaves from Hai Phong, to Cat Ba.
We used it with our 2 Honda 100cc motorbikes.
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  #13  
Old 27 Aug 2020
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mui ne police check point

The MUI NE police check point is famous around the world . They only stop tourist ,on rental scooters or moto bike packers . Million Dong [60$ CA] fine for what ever they can think of. Just a corrupt money grab. Don,t give them your keys or take your bike in to the compound .
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  #14  
Old 27 Aug 2020
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Ha Long Bay - I suggest renting a small boat privately - it's not that expensive and you get outstanding service and a very enjoyable time in the further areas of the Bay, away from the more crowded tour boats. Have a look at https://alanymarcemoreexploration.bl...-northern.html .

The other suggestion is the Northern Hills - Sa Pa and thereabouts. Also in the past above.
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  #15  
Old 26 May 2021
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How was youyr first trip in Vietnam

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robprrtt View Post
Hi
I am travelling to Vietnam at the end of Octorber this year with my partner, we are going for two weeks and I am very conscious of not trying to visit too many places.
So far all I have confirmed is flying into Hanoi and staying for 2 nights then flying to Ho Chi Minh and staying in there for 3 nights. Then I'll go to Hoian, I am however open to staying longer in Hoi An as the beach sounds lovely and I definitely want some beach time while I am there.
I wanted to visit one other place and fly out of either Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh depending which I am closer to. I’ve read mixed reviews about Halong Bay and Phu Quoc which were my original preferences. Would Dalat or Ninh Binh be better options? I am so stuck and would feel guilty not visiting more than 2 places!
I'm curious to know how was about your first Trip in Vietnam?
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