Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Itinerary: HCMC & Hanoi, Vietnam

Route: Manila to Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) to Hanoi back to HCMC to Manila

Just take note that Cebu Pacific launched Manila-Hanoi last March 2012.

Itinerary (Travel Date - February 2011): Places to go, Things to see, What to do in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh?

Day 01: Saturday
Flight: Manila (MNL) to Ho Chi Minh (SGN)
Arrival at Tan Son Nhat International Airport Terminal 2
Cebu Pacific Flight No.: Flight 5J -7511 - http://www.cebupacificair.com


Day 02: Sunday
Flight: Vietnam Airlines, VN 0900  - http://www.vietnam-airline.com/
To: Hanoi, Vietnam (HAN) Arrival: 08:00

To & From Noi Bai International Airport (Hanoi)
- located in the Soc Son District, about 40-45 kms from the city center.
- cost of transport to a city center hotel running about 200,000VND (US$14 = 630php) for the 45 minute trip

Accommodation/Hotel: Where to stay in Hanoi?

Thaison Hotel II, HanoiLocation: No 7- 9  Hang Mam Str, Hoan Kiem Dist, Hanoi, Vietnam
Website: www.thaisonhotel.com
Email: infothaison2@thaisonhotel.com / booking2@thaisonhotel.com



Taxi Warning (from http://www.tripadvisor.com/)
  1. Mai Linh - Taxi is generally more honest
  2. Hanoi Tourist - Taxis are fine, ask the hotel how much is the fare.  Check that the meter is not that fast.
  3. Vinasun (in HCMC) is good.

Spots:
Read: http://ruffeecola.blogspot.com/2011/02/2011-vietnam-hanoi-flight-hotel-and-old.html

Hoan Kiem Lake (Hồ Hoàn Kiếm)
"Lake of the Returned Sword" or "Lake of the Restored Sword"
Location: At city center, bordered by Tran Nhat Duat and Phung Hung sts, Hoan Kiem District
Hours: Temples daily 8am-5pm         
Prices Entrance fee: 12,000 VND == 40php

St. Joseph’s Cathedral (NHA THO LON) 
Nhà thờ Lớn Hà Nội, Nhà thờ Chính tòa Thánh Giuse
Location: 40 Nha Chung St., Hoan Kiem District;
Mass:  Weekday: Daily 5.30am, Wednesday & Friday 6.00pm
Sunday: 5.30pm (vigil), 6.00pm (vigil), 5.00am, 7.00am, 10.00am, 6.00pm

TOLIA, Hanoi Towers
Location: 49 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem
-Also known as the “Russian shop”, Tolia retails overstock (slightly defective factory rejects) outdoor wear made for exportlike The North Face, Nautica, and Columbia

Trang Tien Plaza
Location: 24 Hai Ba Trung St, Hoan Kiem

Thang Long Water Puppet Theater
Nhà hát múa rối Thăng Long
Location: 57B Dinh Tien Hoang Hanoi (thanglongwpt@fpt.vn)
Performances take place all days of week
Time: 15:30 PM - 17:00 PM - 18:30 PM - 20:00 PM - 21:15 PM
Price: Hang 1 (First Class):  60,000vnd, Hang 2 (Second Class): 40,000vnd,
Extra Charge for Video and Photo: 12000 == 50php


Day 03: Monday
Read: http://ruffeecola.blogspot.com/2011/02/2011-vietnam-halong-bay.html

Halong Bay - Full Day Tour: (2 hrs away from Hanoi & 4 hrs cruising)
Price For Group Tour
Deluxe Tour: USD45/Person- % discount= 39 USD/Person (with Kayaking)
SuperiorTour: USD35/Person- % discount= 29USD/Person



Day 04: Tuesday
Read: http://ruffeecola.blogspot.com/2011/02/2011-vietnam-arrival-at-ho-chi-minh.html

Go to back to Ho Chi Minh
Flight: BL795, JetFlex JetStar at Noi Bai Airport - http://www.jetstar.com/vn/en/home
Arriving: Tan Son Nhat Airport - Domestic Terminal

To & From Tan Son Nhat International Airport
- 7km from Ho Chi Minh City (downtown)

Accommodation/Hotel: Where to stay in Ho Chi Minh?
Blue Diamond Hotelhttp://www.bluediamondhotel.com.vn/ Location: 48 - 50 Thu Khoa Huan Street, District 1, HCM City, VN

HCMC Shopping Places:
Ben Than Market
Saigon Square: 77 – 89, Nam Ky Khoi Nghia Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City The authentic (export over-run) TNF backpacks at Saigon Square (1st floor Shop27A & 28A) – 350,000VD each. 
Saigon Center: 65 Le Loi Boulevard, HCMC (Shopping Centers & Arcades)Mon to Sun from 09:00 AM to 09:00 PM (High End, wear properly!)
Eden Mall: 106 Nguyen Hue, 183 Dong Khoi, 2-4 Le Loi - District 1
Vincom Center: 72 Le Thanh Ton, 47 Ly Tu Trong District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam
Open: Mon - Sun: 9:00AM - 10:00PM http://www.vincomcenter.com/en-US/Home/default.aspx 


Day 05: Wednesday
Read: http://ruffeecola.blogspot.com/2011/02/2011-february-vietnam-dai-nam-park.html

Dai Nam Park
Location: Hiep An, Thu Dau Mot, Binh Duong Province, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
North of HCMC, far north than the Airport, near Cambodia border
http://www.laccanhdainamvanhien.vn/home.htm

How to get there: Bus 616 from Ben Thanh Market to make the 90-minute journey to Dai Nam
Bus Fare: VND 15,000 (35php)
Entrance: 50000 (120php)
Ticket Booth: Ticket sales from 7h00 - 16h00  (m-f) ; 7h30 - 17h00 (weekends)



Day 06: Thursday
Read: http://ruffeecola.blogspot.com/2011/02/2011-february-vietnam-cu-chi-tunnels.html

Cao Dai Temple
Location: Tay Ninh where daily Mass is done by the Caodaism followers at noon.

Ben Duoc or Ben Dinh tunnels in Cu Chi province

Possible Price of Day Tour:
(http://www.sinhcafetravel.com) only 53$ = 2400php


Day 07: Friday
Read: http://ruffeecola.blogspot.com/2011/02/2011-february-vietnam-hoo-chi-minh-city.html

HCMC City Walking Adventure

Reunification Palace (Hội trường Thống Nhất)
Former names: Independence Palace, Norodom Palace
Type: Historical Palace, Presidential Palace
Location: 135 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Hours Daily: 7:30-11am and 1-4pm    
Price Admission: 15,000vnd = 45php
http://www.dinhdoclap.gov.vn/defaulte.aspx?tabid=243&Itemid=659


Tourists will be guided by a body of the Unification Meeting Hall guides who explain about the architecture, decoration and historical contents concerning 15 rooms of 3 storeys, the all direction storey, the underground floor and the kitchen in Vietnamese, or English, French, Chinese, Japanese (visiting time is approx. 45 minutes). After the sight seeing program tourists may watch a documentary film of “Historical Witness” in the air conditioned movie room for approx. 35 minutes. [wiki]


War Remnants Museum (Bảo tàng chứng tích chiến tranh)
Location: 28 Ð Vo Van Tan District 3
Hours: 07:30-12:00 & 13:30-17:00
Prices Admission: 15,000vnd = 45php


War Atrocities Museum details the horrors inflicted on the Vietnamese people during what they call the “American War”. It was very hard looking at the pictures of Vietnamese who were born with extreme physical handicaps. There were hundreds of pictures of babies and young children who were born without hands, arms, or legs or whose bodies are covered with black spots or enormous face-disfiguring tumors caused by being exposed to Agent Orange. The most disturbing fact is that there are 2nd and 3rd generations of Vietnamese who are being effected – some of the pictures of these deformed children were dated as late as 2007. [wiki]


Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica
Vương cung thánh đường Đức Bà Sài Gòn or Nhà thờ Đức Bà Sài Gòn
Dong Khoi and Han Thuyen Streets, Ho Chi Minh City
Open: Daily, Sunday Mass 9:30am; Close at around 12:00nn - 3:00pm


Saigon Central Post Office
Bưu điện Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh

The building was constructed when Vietnam was part of French Indochina in the early 20th century. It has a Gothic architectural style. It was designed and constructed by the famous architect Gustave Eiffel (designed Eiffel Tower) in harmony with the surrounding area. [wiki]


Saigon Opera House [Optional]
Nhà hát lớn Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh


Day 08: Saturday
Flight: Cebu Pacific Flight 5J – 752
Departure: Saturday,0100 H
Arrival: Saturday 0430 H in Manila