Vietnam Planning 07/2009



August 2008

This trip has been in the works for a very long time. Really, as far back as our Around the World trip in 1998. But then, when we were considering going to Vietnam, the country was beseiged by massive floods and we ended up in Nepal instead. Which wasn't so bad, considering.
Years later, I planned a trip but was shocked at the sky high prices for airfare from the US during the summer months. While July and August may be low season in Vietnam, it is high season for the airlines. At that point we decided to use frequent flier miles for our tickets. The problem is, FF tickets go fast and they have to be booked 11 months in advance, as soon as they become available. I was too late by the time I started checking for a summer '08 trip. But I got smart and set an alert in my Outlook to let me know when to call for the next summer.

Dutifully, I called on the appropriate day and there were no tickets to be had for my dates. What???? How is that possible? Diligently, I called back and after a few days, I was able to secure two Business class tickets on Japan Airlines (in conjunction with American Airlines) for July 2009, LAX-Tokyo-Hanoi and for the way home, Bangkok-Tokyo-SFO-LAX. That was the best I could get.

Shortly after, I booked a day with Tong, a wonderful tour guide in Bangkok. My mother and I had so much fun with her in 2007, I wanted David to meet her.

October-December 2008

No planning done.
A week in Paris and the Dordogne in October.

January 2009

The months have flown by and apart from some reading and a bit of research, I have done nothing to plan for this trip. I guess it's time to start.

I've booked our hotel in Hanoi, the brand new, highly rated Hotel Hanoi Elegance 4 for four nights at the start of our trip.
I've booked the Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit in Bankok using Starwood points plus cash to for the last 3 nights of the trip. Everything else is still unknown including our final itinerary.

Initially, I had planned on us spending all our time in North and Central Vietnam. But then the weather factored in. Summer months are very, very wet in North vietnam and as much as I wanted to see the area around Sapa, I had no inclination to do it while slogging through the mud. In addition, in looking for flights from DaNang to Bangkok, it apeared they were infrequent and expensive. Finally, I read some traveler's accounts of HCMC (Saigon) and it suddenly became more appealing. Great food too aparantly. So, as of now, it looks like we are going to get the grand overview of the country, North, Cental and South in our 12 days in Vietnam.

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