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Old Aug 20th 2016, 1:33 pm   #1
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Default Vietnam holiday October - where to go?

Hello,

I am planning a weeks break in Vietnam in October (I believe it is rainy season!)

I am looking at staying in Ho Chi Min City throughout the break.

1) Can anybody recommend a good hotel - we are in our 50's so not a 'backpacker' hotel - something clean and comfortable and close to local facilities and tourist places.
2) What kinds of things would you recommend doing whilst there?
3) Anything/anywhere we should avoid?

If not HCM city, is there anywhere else anyone would recommend? 0r any other advice?

Thanks
Victor
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Old Aug 20th 2016, 9:55 pm   #2
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Default Re: Vietnam holiday October - where to go?

Hello Victor!

We went to see the Cu Chi Tunnels in HCMC, which was great. I can also recommend going to see Halong Bay, which is in the complete opposite direction of HCMC towards the top of Vietnam! There are numerous types of trips you can do in Halong Bay, but the one thing I would recommend is spend money and have more luxury. The cheaper boats have come under fire in the past due to safety concerns and I think one sunk a few years ago killing a bunch of tourists (not meaning to put you off or anything!) That can all be avoided of course by not going for the cheap as chips tours.

I can't help with any specific accommodation as we were backpacking at the time. But even the standard of our 2 star guest house was pretty good so I'm sure you'll find something to suit you needs. Booking.com or hotels.com usually have good deals. We also used Asiarooms.com but it's now joined with Late Rooms.

We went in Sep/Oct and the rain only bothered us in Nha Trang, which was a beach/surfer type town. We only made it to the beach once due to the rain. I don't remember storms or flooding being an issue any where else. It would usually absolutely hammer it down for an hour or two and we would seek refuge in a bar until it passed and the sun came out again for the rest of the day. Cambodia was a different story, however!

We loved Vietnam, would go back in a heartbeat for a holiday. We missed off Sapa, which I regret as it looks lovely

Last edited by Pom_Chch; Aug 20th 2016 at 9:58 pm.
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Old Aug 22nd 2016, 10:00 am   #3
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Default Re: Vietnam holiday October - where to go?

We were in HCMC for 6 nights in March.
We stayed at the GK Central for around £ 50 per night. Stay in the Signature room 701 or 708. They also arrange pick up from the airport at a reasonable price.

But while there we went to the Rex Hotel for a meal, it's where all the newshounds stayed during the war, and it was very nice so we looked up the hotel online and they were doing The President's Suite for about £80 per night (they were doing a deal at the time ) which we wished we'd booked but didn't know about. Go to the hotel site not the online booking sites.

Both hotels are handy for everything.

We stopped off on our way back to UK from Singapore doing a recce before booking a longer trip in Vietnam.
To be honest we didn't think too much of the place and now wonder about going back to say Hanoi, Hoi An etc etc.

If you look at the Money Saving Expert's forum there is a thread there on Vietnam iirc with loads of info and one or two guys who have written details of their holidays all over Vietnam which we found very informative.
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Old Aug 22nd 2016, 11:45 am   #4
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Default Re: Vietnam holiday October - where to go?

We didn't take to Ho Chi Minh at all. Found it way too frantic and pickpockets following and the torture of trying to cross the road with a zillion bikes approaching...or maybe I am just getting old. ,I dunno.

A friend has spoken highly of Hanoi so maybe worth a try?
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Old Aug 22nd 2016, 4:15 pm   #5
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Default Re: Vietnam holiday October - where to go?

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Originally Posted by bakedbean View Post
We didn't take to Ho Chi Minh at all. Found it way too frantic and pickpockets following and the torture of trying to cross the road with a zillion bikes approaching...or maybe I am just getting old. ,I dunno.

A friend has spoken highly of Hanoi so maybe worth a try?
The intention was to stop off in Hanoi on our return to Singapore in September, we fly Vietnam Air now so no problem. But luckily I told the missus to delay it for a while while we consider the options in detail and take on board how we felt after HCMC.
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Old Aug 22nd 2016, 4:23 pm   #6
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Default Re: Vietnam holiday October - where to go?

Thanks everyone for your replies - most helpful
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Old Aug 22nd 2016, 4:54 pm   #7
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Default Re: Vietnam holiday October - where to go?

What would you say are the main differences between Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi?
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Old Aug 23rd 2016, 2:23 am   #8
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Default Re: Vietnam holiday October - where to go?

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Originally Posted by Victor Meldrew View Post
What would you say are the main differences between Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi?
The people in Hanoi are much nicer, happier, friendlier (and the girls are more beautiful too). The food is better, you can get around on foot much easier and there is plenty of beautiful countryside within a couple of hours drive.

But beware it is monsoon season now in the north, so Halong Bay trips are often cancelled at short notice.

Try and stay in the old town as that is where you will spend much of your time. If you enjoy massages, these are excellent too.
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Old Aug 23rd 2016, 11:14 am   #9
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Default Re: Vietnam holiday October - where to go?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Victor Meldrew View Post
What would you say are the main differences between Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi?
Hanoi is small, compact and traditional.

HCMC is a big, sprawling Asian city.

Love them both but prefer Hanoi for it is more authentic.

Have been to Vietnam several times and most memorably travelled from North to South.

First place I would recommend to visit in the whole country is Hoi An - just charming.

Loved Dalat - the garden of Vietnam and worthy of a day or twos visit.

Nha Trang - didn't enjoy when we first arrived but within a day I was a convert. Mud baths & Vin Pearl hi-lights.

Very much enjoyed Mui Ne and would like to return one day.

Sapa - very picturesque. Did a Pandaw cruise down the Red River last year. Expect lots of rain but spectacular scenery.

Spent a few days on Phu Quoc - nice beaches but very expensive (compared to mainland Vietnam).

Internal flights with Vietnam Airlines easy and relatively cheap.

Great food everywhere. I'm with Anthony Bourdain - tis one of the world's best cuisines and a great country to visit.

HTH
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Old Aug 23rd 2016, 2:14 pm   #10
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Default Re: Vietnam holiday October - where to go?

Thanks again for all the additional info - very useful. I think we will go with Hanoi!

Looking at booking Hanoi La Selva Hotel as it seems to have great reviews

Lots of great ideas
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Old Aug 26th 2016, 8:27 am   #11
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Default Re: Vietnam holiday October - where to go?

Just watched this

OK it's not very long but reminds me of HCMC, maybe worse.

Beginning to think we might give Hanoi a miss.
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Old Aug 27th 2016, 12:17 am   #12
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Default Re: Vietnam holiday October - where to go?

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Originally Posted by ex reg View Post
Just watched this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FFAj8BLDZd4

OK it's not very long but reminds me of HCMC, maybe worse.

Beginning to think we might give Hanoi a miss.
Not at all the Hanoi I visited!

If I'd seen this video I would have given it a miss, for sure.
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Old Aug 27th 2016, 6:38 am   #13
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Default Re: Vietnam holiday October - where to go?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Victor Meldrew View Post
Thanks again for all the additional info - very useful. I think we will go with Hanoi!

Looking at booking Hanoi La Selva Hotel as it seems to have great reviews

Lots of great ideas
Great choice, I think you'll get more out of Hanoi than HCMC.

We missed off Ho Chi Min Mausoleum as it was closed at the only time we could go. I've heard it's interesting. We ventured into the Old Quarter, which was great to explore - walking around narrow streets looking at the architecture and eating fruit from street traders! Plenty to do there to suit most interests
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Old Aug 27th 2016, 7:06 am   #14
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Default Re: Vietnam holiday October - where to go?

When I went to book La Selva, all rooms were booked apart from a family suite which was too big for our needs and more expensive

We eventually booked the Hanoi Pearl Hotel:

https://www.expedia.com/Hanoi-Hotels...GE4aAorf8P8HAQ

It is very near Hoan Kiem lake and we fancied evening walks around there (romantic huh?)

Most hotels offer bookings for various tours. Is it best to book through these or do Hotels add a premium? if not, where is the best option to book tours?

Money wise we were thinking of taking US$ and exchanging in Vietnam - is that the best approach, or is it better to exchange prior to travel?

We are transferring in Dubai airport which I know has money exchanges but think this will also have a premium/lower rate.

Thank You

Last edited by Victor Meldrew; Aug 27th 2016 at 7:07 am. Reason: Added information
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Old Aug 27th 2016, 9:23 am   #15
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Default Re: Vietnam holiday October - where to go?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Victor Meldrew View Post
When I went to book La Selva, all rooms were booked apart from a family suite which was too big for our needs and more expensive

We eventually booked the Hanoi Pearl Hotel:

https://www.expedia.com/Hanoi-Hotels...GE4aAorf8P8HAQ

It is very near Hoan Kiem lake and we fancied evening walks around there (romantic huh?)

Most hotels offer bookings for various tours. Is it best to book through these or do Hotels add a premium? if not, where is the best option to book tours?

Money wise we were thinking of taking US$ and exchanging in Vietnam - is that the best approach, or is it better to exchange prior to travel?

We are transferring in Dubai airport which I know has money exchanges but think this will also have a premium/lower rate.

Thank You
For a free sightseeing walking tour highly recommend:
https://www.tripadvisor.com.au/Attra...our-Hanoi.html

You can either let them plan your itinerary or tell them what you want to see and they will accommodate your wishes where they can. At the end we bought our guide lunch as well as giving her a generous tip (although this is in no way expected).

If you're foodies, try bun cha (Northern dish; mainly lunchtime).

For the famous egg coffee - try Giang Cafe.

For great people watching with a view over the lake grab a coffee and sit on the terrace at Highlands Coffee:
https://www.tripadvisor.com.au/Resta...fee-Hanoi.html

In the same building there is a very good restaurant with nice views of the lake at night:
Cau Go

We have in the past booked tours through our hotels and have never felt we've paid over the odds.

Moneywise we just take an Australian debit card and withdraw money at ATMs, inc the airport on arrival.

HTH
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