Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Destinations > Asia > Asia
Reload this Page >

Ask us about Vietnam

Ask us about Vietnam

Reply

Old Jul 30, 18, 11:13 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Hanoi/San Francisco
Posts: 1,769
Ask us about Vietnam

Hello Flyertalkers, I'm currently based in Hanoi and I have lived in Saigon (HCM City). I have traveled extensively throughout Vietnam, especially to popular tourist destinations such as Halong Bay, Sapa, Ninh Binh, Hue, Da Nang, Hoi An, Nha Trang, Da Lat, Mui Ne, Mekong Delta and Phu Quoc. I'll be happy to answer questions about Vietnam. There are lots of Vietnam experts in this forum, please join in. Safe travels everyone!
dorif and ducpham like this.
imm2b is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jul 31, 18, 9:11 am
  #2  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Omaha
Posts: 1,449
I plan to visit the Ninh Binh area, but hear some conflicting information. I plan to stay for a couple nights. What area should I stay in and why?

Some people say the Tam Coc boat tour / 3 grottoes are amazing, but it seems like they have not been to the Trang An boat tour. The people that have been to the Trang An tour mostly recommend to skip the Tam Coc boat tour. Which do you recommend, and why?
CrazyInteg is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jul 31, 18, 5:07 pm
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: SAN
Programs: AS MVPG, IHG Platinum, Choice Gold, National Exec
Posts: 80
It's quite early, but I am planning on spending December 2019 in Southeast Asia, dedicating a week to visiting Vietnam. I have never been and would appreciate if someone could point me in the right direction of where to spend my time.

I'm not much of a relax-on-the-beach type of traveler and enjoy something a little bit more active and/or culturally oriented. Hue, Hoi An, and My Son looked really attractive, but I've read that the weather isn't so great in December. I don't mind rain, but would I be better off visiting other parts of the country? Any tips would be greatly appreciated; thanks in advance!
wolfpacktrojan is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jul 31, 18, 5:27 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: ELP
Programs: AA EXP/LT GOLD, RC PLAT PREM
Posts: 3,788
Traveling to Hanoi with two of my friends from India and we are booked at the JW Hanoi. We will have 1.5 days to explore Hanoi before heading out of a bike tour of the countryside, then a day at Ha Long Bay and then bike back to Hanoi.

What should we do in Hanoi? I was looking at doing the street food tour and exploring the Old Quarter. Any other suggestions you can think of?
anaggie is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jul 31, 18, 8:30 pm
  #5  
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: Ben Tre Province
Posts: 47
Stay 1 night in Tam Coc and do a boat ride in Trang An next morning is a good option. Ninh Binh is worth a 1 or 2 night stay!
dinhoecotour is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Aug 2, 18, 2:37 am
  #6  
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Location: Manchester
Programs: Privilege Club, Krisflyer
Posts: 41
I am planning a Vietnam holiday in April 2019. Iím currently planning to stay in HCMC for 3 nights and then 6-7 nights in Nha Trang. We always like to combine a city with a week of relaxing, culture, exploring and good food! Normally stay in hotels towards the luxury end. Am I forgetting anywhere and are these two places a good combination?
MattHall is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Aug 2, 18, 8:02 am
  #7  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Omaha
Posts: 1,449
OP can we get some answers to our questions?
MattHall and wolfpacktrojan like this.
CrazyInteg is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Aug 2, 18, 11:09 am
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: SAN
Programs: AS MVPG, IHG Platinum, Choice Gold, National Exec
Posts: 80
Originally Posted by ducpham View Post
[B]


If you're looking for a cultural, historical journey in Vietnam, I think Hue, Hoi An and My Son are wonderful destinations, no doubt about that! Especially, there are many mausoleums of the last dynasty in Vietnamese feudatory era, so they're still preserved and restored quite well, beside the Hue citadel. Make sure you find out about these before (having a map or something) in order not to miss any historical monument.

If you have more time, visit Tay Nguyen to explore a lot of cultural features, characteristics of Vietnam ethnic minorities as well.
Bring along insect repellents during the trip to Vietnam, because of mosquitoes.

Have fun!
I hadn't heard of Tay Nguyen, so I'll check that out. Thanks!
wolfpacktrojan is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Aug 2, 18, 5:58 pm
  #9  
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: SJC
Programs: AA EXP 5.7MM, Hilton Diamond
Posts: 199
Originally Posted by CrazyInteg View Post
I plan to visit the Ninh Binh area, but hear some conflicting information. I plan to stay for a couple nights. What area should I stay in and why?

Some people say the Tam Coc boat tour / 3 grottoes are amazing, but it seems like they have not been to the Trang An boat tour. The people that have been to the Trang An tour mostly recommend to skip the Tam Coc boat tour. Which do you recommend, and why?
For a first visit to the Ninh Binh area, IMHO both boat tour routes are fine because they offer different sightseeing.
The Tam Coc tour will take you close to the old citadel of Hoa Lu and the temples of the Kings of the Dinh and the Le dynasty from the 10th century.
The Trang An route, beside going through more caves (not necessary more or less beautiful), will take you close to the Bai Dinh pagoda complex, and the location of the filming of the movie Kong - Skull Island. Bai Dinh is an incredible architecture achievement. It is especially beautiful when visit at night with all the lighting. In a contradictionary fashion (at least for me), it is one of the reason why I view Bai Dinh as more of a tourist attraction rather than a true place of faith. For this spiritual feeling, I can only find in century-old pagodas elsewhere in Vietnam.
hxhbk is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Aug 2, 18, 6:12 pm
  #10  
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: SJC
Programs: AA EXP 5.7MM, Hilton Diamond
Posts: 199
Originally Posted by anaggie View Post
Traveling to Hanoi with two of my friends from India and we are booked at the JW Hanoi. We will have 1.5 days to explore Hanoi before heading out of a bike tour of the countryside, then a day at Ha Long Bay and then bike back to Hanoi.

What should we do in Hanoi? I was looking at doing the street food tour and exploring the Old Quarter. Any other suggestions you can think of?
With what you have in mind currently for 1.5 days in Hanoi (which I agree), you can squeeze in a visit to the West Lake and the 2 religious spots by the lake side: the Tran Quoc Pagoda and the Quan Thanh temple.
The Quan Thanh temple is one of the four temples built originally to guard the 4 gates to the Hanoi Citadel. Quan Thanh temple is at the North gate. When you visit the Old Quarter, try to see the White Horse temple (76 Hang Buom street), this is the temple guarding the East gate.
You probably know already but the JW Marriott is a bit outside of town, aiming toward the business travelers and the people attending events/expos at the National Conference Center nearby. But it is a top notch hotel, one of the best in Ha Noi.
hxhbk is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Aug 2, 18, 7:58 pm
  #11  
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Northumbria
Programs: BA
Posts: 226
Travelling to Danang in the last week of April for two weeks, would like to visit Nha Trang also but wondered which area would usually have the best weather at this time of year.
heronb is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Aug 2, 18, 11:26 pm
  #12  
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: EWR, SLC, SGN
Posts: 1,016
This thread is already a magnet for the tour operators that have been visiting the Vietnam threads on FT in the past few months. They're not always wrong, but be careful who you listen to.
maverick17 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Aug 3, 18, 12:16 am
  #13  
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: EWR, SLC, SGN
Posts: 1,016
I am not the OP obviously, but will add a little from a SGN perspective.
Originally Posted by CrazyInteg View Post
I plan to visit the Ninh Binh area, but hear some conflicting information. I plan to stay for a couple nights. What area should I stay in and why?
Some people say the Tam Coc boat tour / 3 grottoes are amazing, but it seems like they have not been to the Trang An boat tour. The people that have been to the Trang An tour mostly recommend to skip the Tam Coc boat tour. Which do you recommend, and why?
I stayed in Ninh Binh. It was convenient with the hotel offering pickup from the train station, although it's a small town so less than 100k to most any hotel IIRC. There wasn't much to do or see in town, but it was a good place to rent a motorbike and explore from. It was nothing special though, just convenient.

I did not take the Trang An tour, and so am one of those you describe. But from the videos I've seen of it, and my own experience on the Tam Coc tour, I agree with hxhbk's post and find his/her comments accurate. I did enjoy Tam Coc a lot, it was beautiful and I was glad we chose it especially after seeing more videos of Trang An. The rice fields along the river really add such a vibrant green and made it more beautiful than just jungle type foliage for me. And fwiw there were some Vietnamese tourists on the Tam Coc tour, although I also hear they prefer the Trang An one. For Tam Coc, you do get pressure to buy some water or drinks at the turnaround, including one for your rower who then does not consume but gives back to the salesperson to sell again, but I didn't find any real scam more than the price of a water bottle.

What I really enjoyed around there was driving through the small roads. If you're an Asian level motorbike rider, it is very pleasant to get out and in the hills and on the small trails and roads among the villages. Maps.me works great and has pretty accurate road markings. The hiking can be very nice too if you like that.

Originally Posted by wolfpacktrojan View Post
It's quite early, but I am planning on spending December 2019 in Southeast Asia, dedicating a week to visiting Vietnam. I have never been and would appreciate if someone could point me in the right direction of where to spend my time. I'm not much of a relax-on-the-beach type of traveler and enjoy something a little bit more active and/or culturally oriented. Hue, Hoi An, and My Son looked really attractive, but I've read that the weather isn't so great in December. I don't mind rain, but would I be better off visiting other parts of the country? Any tips would be greatly appreciated; thanks in advance!
You might get some rain then. The beaches and waves will be a little less inviting. But it is not the daily rains of August and September, if it looks attractive to you, I would not think December weather will ruin your trip. The Mekong would be pleasant at that time of year, and has a lot of culture including homestays. Sapa is active and culture but you end up with more weather issues - doable but fog limits views and it can be muddy. Duc mentions the highlands, and Da Lat is real nice and plenty of culture, and you don't see nearly as many western tourists there, so you might like it. I liked the waterfall hikes and touring the various coffee shops and restaurants and flower garden. There are lots of small places to visit, but not really any one awesome site there IMO. But it's just relaxed and nice temps. I do not know much about the weather there, but I would think it's far enough south you get cool temps but rain tapering off by Dec. I am sure you can find more info on that somewhere.

But I would note: The last two years we've had unusual weather in SGN. Usually mid- Nov to June should be no rain at all. Last year it rained almost every week or two, and this year it was about once every 2 or 3 weeks. So weather questions might be a bit hard to answer.

Originally Posted by MattHall View Post
I am planning a Vietnam holiday in April 2019. Iím currently planning to stay in HCMC for 3 nights and then 6-7 nights in Nha Trang. We always like to combine a city with a week of relaxing, culture, exploring and good food! Normally stay in hotels towards the luxury end. Am I forgetting anywhere and are these two places a good combination?
Nha Trang is ok, but I would rank Da Nang/Hoi An above it in general. But depends on which hotels and if you want beaches. The Amanoi is obviously top notch, so Nha Trang can be great. But Da Nang has more culture with Hoi An, Hue, all within easy reach, IMO. The areas between the two have some nice small beaches but not many luxury options that I'm aware of. Phu Quoc is getting more and better hotels, for better or for worse, and April would be ok there for weather. Note there is a public holiday in April next year.

Originally Posted by heronb View Post
Travelling to Danang in the last week of April for two weeks, would like to visit Nha Trang also but wondered which area would usually have the best weather at this time of year.
Both should be hot and dry in April. You do get the storms coming in May, so if they are early at all, you could get some. Hard to plan for that though. Note the holiday comment above for April.
wxman22 likes this.
maverick17 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Aug 3, 18, 2:28 am
  #14  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Hanoi/San Francisco
Posts: 1,769
Originally Posted by CrazyInteg View Post
I plan to visit the Ninh Binh area, but hear some conflicting information. I plan to stay for a couple nights. What area should I stay in and why?

Some people say the Tam Coc boat tour / 3 grottoes are amazing, but it seems like they have not been to the Trang An boat tour. The people that have been to the Trang An tour mostly recommend to skip the Tam Coc boat tour. Which do you recommend, and why?
Sorry, It has been a bit crazy at work.

I have not stayed overnight in Ninh Binh, I have only taken day trip from Hanoi. If you want a little quite time out of the city, Ninh Binh is ideal. From what I heard the Emerald Resort is a nice place to stay. I have only done Trang An boat tour, and really enjoyed it. The boat operators (all women) work on tips, about $10USD or 200K VND per boat at the end of the tour should be enough. Enjoy Ninh Binh, one of my favorite spots in northern Vietnam.
imm2b is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Aug 3, 18, 2:35 am
  #15  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Hanoi/San Francisco
Posts: 1,769
Originally Posted by wolfpacktrojan View Post

I'm not much of a relax-on-the-beach type of traveler and enjoy something a little bit more active and/or culturally oriented. Hue, Hoi An, and My Son looked really attractive, but I've read that the weather isn't so great in December. I don't mind rain, but would I be better off visiting other parts of the country? Any tips would be greatly appreciated; thanks in advance!
December is rainy season in central Vietnam. I would recommend northern Vietnam for December because the weather is cooler. For culture experiences, Hanoi, Ha Long, Sapa and Ninh Binh are great for December. The weather ranges from cool to chilly, so bring light jackets and/or sweaters.
imm2b is offline  
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
  • Ask a Question
    Get answers from community experts
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: