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Old 10-10-2012, 02:11 PM   #1
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Vietnam in December

Hi all,

Going to Vietnam in December. The central focus of the trip is tourism and sightseeing, not motorcycle riding, but I do hope to rent a bike while in Saigon...Anyone want to chime in on things to see and do while in VN? I'll only be there a week, and plan on visiting Saigon and Hue.

TIA,
Steve
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Old 10-10-2012, 03:58 PM   #2
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Hill 55
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Old 10-10-2012, 04:03 PM   #3
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Hill 55
More info, please.....

Thanks,
Steve
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Old 10-12-2012, 06:50 PM   #4
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Turns out we may be up to Hanoi as well, but right now we're pretty much thinking the southern portion of the country. My girlfriend is Chinese, but grew up in Vietnam, so there is some interest in visiting Da Nang as well as Hue and Vung Tau, if my spelling is correct!

This is going to be a "check out the country" kind of trip with some moto riding thrown in. If all goes well, we'd like to come back and do a longer moto tour.

And and all tips, places to see, or other information will be greatly appreciated!
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Old 10-13-2012, 11:46 PM   #5
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I'd head for Da Lat - it's a scenic and pleasant place to visit. Of the others:

Hue: the main attractions are temples and the imperial palace. What remains of the palace isn't impressive; my imagination wasn't sufficient to make anything of the empty plots with signs that advert to buildings that once were there.

Vung Tau: a dirty strip of beach, garish hotels, a lurid and surreal theme park that only a formerly-communist nation in the developing world could conceive, prostitution.

Da Nang: a semi-industrial city where perhaps the most interesting feature are the remnants of the air force base and kilometres of semi-completed or empty hotels that have been designed to satisfy the vulgar tastes of Chinese tourists.
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Old 10-14-2012, 08:33 AM   #6
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I'd head for Da Lat - it's a scenic and pleasant place to visit. Of the others:

Hue: the main attractions are temples and the imperial palace. What remains of the palace isn't impressive; my imagination wasn't sufficient to make anything of the empty plots with signs that advert to buildings that once were there.

Vung Tau: a dirty strip of beach, garish hotels, a lurid and surreal theme park that only a formerly-communist nation in the developing world could conceive, prostitution.

Da Nang: a semi-industrial city where perhaps the most interesting feature are the remnants of the air force base and kilometres of semi-completed or empty hotels that have been designed to satisfy the vulgar tastes of Chinese tourists.
Hi and thanks for the input. When were you there last? Any other recommendations within driving distance of Saigon?

Best,
Steve
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Old 10-14-2012, 09:31 AM   #7
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some of the highlights from my last trip...

nha trang: nice little beach town, short air hop or train ride east of Saigon, scuba diving, fishing, good seafood, nicer hotels w/air, excellent hot springs / mud baths, tourism, motorcycle rentals, etc

cu chi tunnels: northern district of Saigon, huge network of complex tunnels used by viet cong back in the day, shooting range where you can handle/shoot many of the weapons used during the war (full-auto, semi-auto)

mekong delta (cuu long): not too far west of Saigon, take a boat tour, very different world from the city, locals making their livelhood from boat (aquaculture), long history, big time rice and fish producing area, very cool...

Ben Thanh market: old school shopping area in Saigon's district 1, get lost while shopping, lots of action but practice saying no and don't get pulled into a corner, hire a shopping helper (cheap) that speaks english
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Old 10-14-2012, 01:57 PM   #8
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Hi and thanks for the input. When were you there last? Any other recommendations within driving distance of Saigon?

Best,
Steve
January 2012.

I went HCMC - Vung Tau - Phan Thiet - Mui Ne - Da Lat.

Mui Ne is fairly horrid: it really is nothing more than a strip of guesthouses and restaurants on either side of a road that follows a dirty strip of beach, and most of the tourists are the worst kind of boorish Australians and Russians. That said, there is a strip of beach-side BBQs with seafood that is straight from the water - the kind of place that sends travellers who ferret out good street food into paroxysms of delight - so if that's your thing ... There are also some natural attractions, like sand dunes, kite-surfing, etc.

Otherwise, I didn't see anything in the area around HCMC. My guess is that, like all of Vietnam, the cultural attractions wouldn't be worth the trip, and the low-lands of the delta are not likely to be all that scenic.

One thing that might be worth a trip is Phu Quoc, though I vaguely recall it being the subject of a concerted effort by the government to develop it for tourism, so it might be more tourists-and-over-sized-hotels than secluded-island-paradise.

I suppose that it depends on how much time you've spent travelling / travelling in the developing world. If not much, all of the things in guide books probably will be entertaining enough. If done it anywhere else in the world before, then you already know most of Vietnam: there isn't actually very much to see or do - dirty, developing world cities with a few, scrappy cultural attractions; 'authentic market experiences' where the only shoppers in sight are foreign; beach towns that are filled with white trash from all around the globe; towns where any hint of anything local disappeared when the tourists started arriving; etc - so head for the scenic places like Da Lat or Sa Pa.

katalyst screwed with this post 10-14-2012 at 02:05 PM
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Old 10-14-2012, 04:36 PM   #9
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@dvwalker and katalyst,

Many thanks for the pics and opinions. I appreciate you guys taking the time to give me some honest opinions as opposed to the one word replies that apparently mean something only to the guy who wrote them

After seeing your words and pics I wish I could spend more time in country than a week....but I will take enough pictures to bore even my most stout-hearted friends....

Cheers,
Steve
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Old 10-15-2012, 11:24 AM   #10
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Eh? December is monsooon season in the north

You are going to do all of VN in a week? Hanoi to Saigon with stops in Ha Long Bay, Hue, Phu Bai, Khe Sanh, Danang, Chu Lai, Nha Trang, etc., it and it took us a month. You could spend 2 days walking around Hanoi, a day in Saigon and a day at Ha Long Bay alone. DO NOT skip Hoi Anh - it's great at night and very nice in the day.

In December, expect monsoons from Qui Nhon north to Hanoi - many times you may find the roads closed and airlines diverted. Last NOV-DEC we were going to drive from Hanoi to the DMZ and down to Danang, but the roads were washed out and the airlines couldn't make it to Hue because of bad weather. We had to fly to Danang and resume the driving part of the trip from there. We ended up driving in heavy rain north from Danang to visit Hue, Phu Bai, Khe Sanh, DMZ, etc.

After heading south out of Danang for Saigon, we finally got out of the rains just north of Nha Trang. That's the same weather pattern I experienced when I was flying there in '69, so I wasn't too surprised, but it was also the only time I could get away for VN last year.

Why ride in all that Saigon traffic? That's kind of nuts - you won't see anything but 3 million scooters and lots of cars and trucks. Get a hotel near a massage parlor (hard to avoid the massages) and walk the city, use buses or pedi-cabs or taxis and treat yourself to a foot massage (or more) every night for about $10-12.
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Old 10-15-2012, 12:54 PM   #11
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Hi Ken,

Thanks for your input! Never the plan to do all of VN in one week....We are flying to Saigon with two options for the week. It looks now that we are going up to Da Nang and do some sightseeing in the area. We have a free house to stay in Da Nang.

The plan would be to do some local sightseeing trips around the Da Nang area before flying back to Saigon for the trip home...The NEXT trip would be the one to do it detail...so much to see, so little time.

Cheers,
Steve
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Old 10-16-2012, 12:40 AM   #12
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Hi,

South of Vietnam has never been a paradise for rider. However, for foreigners they will find different felling there in culture, foods, etc.
For Da nang which is in center of Vietnam, is wondeful to relax and you can visit some attractions there such as Bana hill with best view and cool climate (20km from Da nang center), Hoian with ancient streets ((40km from Da nang center)), My Son holy city (70km from Da nang center) or take a boat to Cu lao cham island (two hours from Hoian) or relax in Lang co beach which located in foot of Hai van mountain pass (30km from Da nang center, 70km from Hue city - old capital).

If you have chance to visit North of Vietnam another time, let me know to receive tips or just to hang out for coffee.

Welcome to Vietnam
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Old 10-16-2012, 08:38 AM   #13
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Thanks, Lastwalkman! I appreciate your tips! I wish I could spend more time, but as they say, "it is what it is." If I enjoy it as much as I think I will, I'll have to schedule a second trip. This time around, photography and sight seeing around Da Nang will be the main focus.

Best,
Steve
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Old 01-30-2013, 08:30 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by katalyst View Post
January 2012.

I went HCMC - Vung Tau - Phan Thiet - Mui Ne - Da Lat.

Mui Ne is fairly horrid: it really is nothing more than a strip of guesthouses and restaurants on either side of a road that follows a dirty strip of beach, and most of the tourists are the worst kind of boorish Australians and Russians. That said, there is a strip of beach-side BBQs with seafood that is straight from the water - the kind of place that sends travellers who ferret out good street food into paroxysms of delight - so if that's your thing ... There are also some natural attractions, like sand dunes, kite-surfing, etc.

Otherwise, I didn't see anything in the area around HCMC. My guess is that, like all of Vietnam, the cultural attractions wouldn't be worth the trip, and the low-lands of the delta are not likely to be all that scenic.

One thing that might be worth a trip is Phu Quoc, though I vaguely recall it being the subject of a concerted effort by the government to develop it for tourism, so it might be more tourists-and-over-sized-hotels than secluded-island-paradise.

I suppose that it depends on how much time you've spent travelling / travelling in the developing world. If not much, all of the things in guide books probably will be entertaining enough. If done it anywhere else in the world before, then you already know most of Vietnam: there isn't actually very much to see or do - dirty, developing world cities with a few, scrappy cultural attractions; 'authentic market experiences' where the only shoppers in sight are foreign; beach towns that are filled with white trash from all around the globe; towns where any hint of anything local disappeared when the tourists started arriving; etc - so head for the scenic places like Da Lat or Sa Pa.
.
Pretty spot on.
Na Thrang, was OK, Ca Na was OK, Mui Ni was OK, Phan Thiet was OK,

Now when I say "OK", I mean, it wasn't as bad as Hue, which to be honest, cant find any thing nice to say about?
.
If we went again, which we may well do, then I wouldn't bother with the north.
So just keep to places south of Nha Trang.

The Hai Van Pass was good,

vette
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