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Hanoi vs Ho Chi Minh City

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Thinking of doing long weekend holiday in Viet Nam.....just 3 or 4 days.

 

From those that have been, whick city recommended?

 

Hanoi? Ho Chi Minh City?

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Although both cities have their merits I would recommend Hanoi; it has more charm and more of a feel of being somewhere different rather than just another big city. We stayed at a small boutique hotel called Elegance 3 which is centrally located and where the staff were extremely friendly.

 

http://www.hanoielegancehotel.com/

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I've never been to Saigon but I can join lvdkeyes in recommending Hanoi. A charming city (I stayed in the old city, not too far from the lake, and near the old cathedral). But be aware that the traffic is bad, trying to cross the street in many places is an exciting moment (as in scares the hell out of you), and the air pollution almost makes Bangkok look good.

 

While you're there, be sure to try what I call beef noodle soup (pronounced something like "pho")as it's a local favorite and very good (and, in case you're wondering, not excessively spicy). You'll see these vendors up and down many streets (they have a little cooking area set up with some chairs) and just go to the one that has the most Vietnamese eating there (they know where the best pho is!).

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I found hanoi a bit boring on for the gay scene. As for HCMC, it's not bad at all, a few late night bars and a couple of good saunas. The traffic though is pretty awful with millions of motorbikes/scooters. Have a look at My linkfor the places to go.

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Never been to HCM but spent a week-end in Hanoi and really enjoyed it. Some lovely colonial architecture and people were friendly. Am told there is a small gay scene which comes alive at week-ends. Traffic much easier on Saturday and Sunday.

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I've only been to one of the cities but I've heard HCM is more lively and has more foreigners than Hanoi - don't know if this is true.

 

If you're in Hanoi, be sure to have a coffee overlooking the main lake. It's a really nice spot. Lots of nice markets around there too.

 

GoGo Club is a gay sauna where many locals go in Hanoi. Worth a visit. Vietnamese boys are really cute and not shy.

 

WATCH the taxis carefully. At least a third of them will try to rip you off with overclocked meters and such. They are very brazen about this.

 

Short rides across town should be no more than 10,000-30,000 dong. If you see the meter jumping up to 100,000 or 200,000+ dong, tell them their meter is faulty. Pay whatever amount you think is right. Get out and leave. Some will be very insistent and put on a show of being angry, but I don't think they ever chase after you if they have tried to scam you.

 

Check all restaurant bills carefully too... They will often add stuff to it. Common practice is to add on a fee to charge you for the moist towel, even if you haven't used it. Tell them to take it off.

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So which places are good to stay at in both cities?

 

I can rely on the guidebook for the day time sight seeing, however what's the night life like?

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In Hanoi, I really enjoyed staying at the Elegance 3 Boutique Hotel. It is centrally located in the old section of the city with an easy walk to the lake.

 

For the life of me I can't remember the name of the hotel in HCMC.

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Sorry, I can't remember the name of the hotel in the old quarter that I stayed at either. It was on the little street that tees into St. Joseph's Cathedral (yep, a high spired Catholic cathedral right in the middle of Hanoi's old quarter). I'd highly recommend that you stay near Hoan Kiem (spelling?) Lake if you like to walk around a bit.....nice areas, shops, and restaurants around the Lake and a nice temple to see that juts out into the Lake.

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In Hanoi, I really enjoyed staying at the Elegance 3 Boutique Hotel. It is centrally located in the old section of the city with an easy walk to the lake.

Looks like a good hotel...

 

I'd highly recommend that you stay near Hoan Kiem (spelling?) Lake if you like to walk around a bit.....nice areas, shops, and restaurants around the Lake and a nice temple to see that juts out into the Lake.

I agree... That lake's a really nice place to just sit back and enjoy a nice coffee too. It does get a bit crowded. There's a great ice cream place nearby... Can't remember the name.

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I have lived in both cities for several months and my first choice would be Hanoi. My favourite place there is the Highland Coffee Shop on the 4th floor of a building at the Hoan Kiem lake. I like the view, watch the buzzling traffic below and see the beautiful lake. When you sit on a bench at the lake you soon will be approached by young men. It might be nice students who just want to practice their English or hustlers who will invite you to a restaurant "of a friend" or a karaoke place. NEVER accept this offer ,your chances of getting robbed would be pretty high. When in Hanoi don t miss a day trip to Ha Long Bay. If you need a taxi ALWAYS watch out for MAI LINH or VINA SUN, both companies are reliable. They operate in Hanoi and Saigon. I ve just come back from Hanoi and was warned about pick pockets, 2 customers of my hotel became victims and even my Vietnamese friends told me that they are on alert. There is not much to see in Saigon, so if you just have 3 days stick to Hanoi!!! BTW There is a weird law in Vietnam that does not allow Vietnamese to spend the night together with a foreigner in the same room. Some hotels care about it , some don t. Have fun and enjoy the good food and.....

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Hanoi. My favourite place there is the Highland Coffee Shop on the 4th floor of a building at the Hoan Kiem lake. I like the view, watch the buzzling traffic below and see the beautiful lake.

Hey, I spent some time at that cafe! It was my office for about three days. Always useful to find a nice spot to work like that cafe. Most of the cafes around that lake are fairly expensive though, comparable to Western prices, I remember.

 

If you need a taxi ALWAYS watch out for MAI LINH or VINA SUN, both companies are reliable.

This is very useful to know...

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Thank you all for the information...a great help. I am planning my trip in early 2011 and I promise to follow up with a report and observations.

 

Again, thank you everyone.

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Thank you all for the information...a great help. I am planning my trip in early 2011 and I promise to follow up with a report and observations.

 

Again, thank you everyone.

 

You might consider using Purple Dragon, a gay travel service. Their fees seem reasonable, they provide hotel and hotel transfers, and someone meets you at the airport and provides guide service. If you go to Saigon, be sure to take a side trip to the Mekong Delta and see the tunnels from the Vietnam war.

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You might consider using Purple Dragon, a gay travel service. Their fees seem reasonable, they provide hotel and hotel transfers, and someone meets you at the airport and provides guide service. If you go to Saigon, be sure to take a side trip to the Mekong Delta and see the tunnels from the Vietnam war.

 

 

GaySacGuy...thank you.

 

I have just been checking out their website (www.purpledrag.com) and looks like a great resource.

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For people who might be influenced by such things, it seems there are a lot more guys on Gay Romeo in Saigon.

 

Naturally, this doesn't affect my travel plans. I shall visit both cities. :ninja:

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I've heard the boys are cuter in the North (Hanoi) than South (Saigon) but I've only been to one so can't compare. Anyone care to confirm or disagree? Boys in the North were certainly cute. But my only intimate experience with them was in a gay sauna.

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IMHO, the boys in BKK are just as cute as those in Pattaya, on average. That's probably because a high proportion of them are from Issan anyway.

However, Pattaya has more gogo bars, so the customer has a wider range of choice & may be more likely to find what he seeks (if he's looking for it in a gogo).

 

I believe Saigon is slightly larger than Hanoi, but Saigon has a lot more guys on Gay Romeo. Maybe finding good looking guys in Saigon should be easier because of this.

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Well, I might head over the South Vietnam to check it out soon so I will report back...

 

I think there are more gay venues in HCM City than in Hanoi though. Anyone know if there's any gay life in Hoi Anh, Danang or Trang? (spelling)

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