My friend and I are travelling to Vietnam on early morning 20th December 2008 and our return tickets are booked for Monday 5th January.We also plan to go to China, Zhengzhou to be precise, from there. I need information on the best possible way to spend some time in Ho Chi Minh/Hanoi as well make space for about 3 or 4 days in China. I learnt that there are 2 trains from Hanoi that leave every Tuesday and Fri to Beijing at this blog -
It has a stop at Zhengzhou. Apparently the schedule given in this site -
is not correct. If there is anyone who has tried this train option please tell me a few details about it especially the time it takes, the ticket availability and the schedule.
Secondly, I would like to know what you think of my mad plan. Is it feasible to try and fit in China too? Will this train plan work out? I have two options here - The first option is to get tickets for the train on Friday the 26th December so I will reach Zhengzhou by Sunday 28th, so that I can take the Thursday train on the 1st back and arrive on Saturday the 3rd in Hanoi well in time to catch the flight back home on Monday 5th. The second option, in case I don't get tickets for Friday, is to aim for Tuesday the 23rd wherein I will reach on 25th Thursday. Depart from Zhengzhou on Sunday 28th and reach Hanoi back on Tuesday 30th. Here the train timetable -
I would prefer the first option since I would already have seen whats there to see in Vietnam (hopefully) before going to a place I have already been to.
Also if there are good bus options please suggest. I know that there are regular buses to Kunming and a couple of other places but is it possible for us to go from there to Zhengzhou easily enough?
Thirdly, I read that the Chinese government has made the visa process very strict in accordance with the Olympics. "Applicants were required to apply from their home country or country of protracted residence." -
So even if I am going for just about 4 days will I still have to apply for the visa from India, my resident country? Or is it possible for me to get a visa in Hanoi? In which case it will reduce my gamble a little bit since I need not take the visa from here and go all the way to find that there are no train tickets available.
I would really love to go to China and visit my friends there since am so close and at the same time not miss out on the best sights in Vietnam. I have 2 weeks in hand and I feel its possible. I am beginning to sound like a participant in the Amazing Race, I know, but a woman's gotta do what a woman's gotta do! Thanks for your suggestions in advance! :)