Vietnam in November 3 - Nov 16
Replies: 13 - Last Post: Oct 10, 2012 7:40 AM Last Post By: battambang
Sep 18, 2012 1:30 PM
Vietnam in November 3 - Nov 16Hi Everyone, I'm visiting a friend in Vietnam in Ho Chi Minh City- doing my own thing in the north and meeting with him in Hanoi for a few days. I'd like some feedback on my itinerary to see if it's realistic. I know it's not a lot of time, but the trip is worth it to me for the days that I have. I would really appreciate all input. Thank you!
Arrive: HoChi Minh City- | Nov 3, Saturday evening
(Stay at friend's house)
Depart: HoChi Minh City- | Nov 4, Sunday afternoon
Arrive: Hanoi early | Sunday evening
Depart: Hanoi via overnight train to Lao Cai | Sunday night
Arrive: Lao Cai | Nov 5, Monday AM
Depart: Lao Cai| Monday AM
Arrive: Sapa | Monday all day (stay at hotel or homestay both nights?)
Sapa | Nov 6, Tuesday all day
Sapa | Nov 7, Wednesday
Depart: Sapa | Wednesday PM
Arrive: Hanoi | Nov 8, Thurs AM (Hotel all nights)
Hanoi | Nov 9, Friday
Hanoi | Nov 10, Saturday
Hanoi | Nov 11, Sunday
Depart: Hanoi | Nov 12, Monday AM
Arrive : Halong Bay | Monday (Boat cruise 1 night)
Halong Bay | Nov 13, Tuesday
Depart: Halong Bay | Tuesday evening
Arrive: Hanoi | Tuesday PM
Depart: Hanoi | Nov 14, Wednesday AM
Arrive: HoChi Minh City | Wednesday (stay at friend's house)
HoChi Minh City | Nov 15, Thursday
Depart: HoChi Minh City | Nov 16, Friday 8pm
Sep 18, 2012 5:44 PM
Sep 19, 2012 11:48 PM
Sep 20, 2012 8:04 AM
Sep 20, 2012 2:29 PM
You think it's too much time in Hanoi? I am also interested in checking out Ninh Binh (Tam Coc etc) and/or Hoa Binh (Mai Chau). You think it's worth doing an overnight to either of them? Which would you recommend? Is SaPa worth the journey? I really want to go, I just ask as I've read some mixed reviews and some dated so I'm not sure what the most recent view is.
I edited out Hoi An as I read in November it might be vulnerable to rain and flooding.
Also, I would love suggestions on:
What train is recommended to Sapa? Is this something I should book in advance?
What hotel/homestay is recommended in Sapa?
What Junk boat is recommended in Halong Bay?
I'm becoming very excited yet a bit overwhelmed by info in regards to booking trains/hotels/junk boat so I would truly appreciate any advice.
Thanks for your help!
Sep 21, 2012 8:29 AM
5Both of those trips can be done from Hanoi, ie pay $20 (or whatever the cost, but I think it's not expensive) for the bus there ,tour guide etc, and come back around dinner time. You could definately do a day each at Ninh Binh & Tam Coc, and Mai Chau maybe an overnight.
I think Sapa is worth the journey its beautiful. Unless its going to be raining like mad during that time then you may give it a miss.
Train you sapa is standard, you can purchase tickets (soft sleeper) from the train station directly which is best, but alternatively you could have a tour agency get it for you. Make sure you get there early and into your cabin early to make sure you get the bunk you paid for. Bring your own drinks (anything goes) and snacks. There's also the super expensive Victoria express if you want to treat yourself, but I've never taken it.
You can probably check through the forums for recommendations, it may have been Auberge Dang Trung I stayed in.
Junk boats are mostly the same if you're getting the cheap ones (something like $40 for 2 days 1 night), but if you are paying 100+ there are some nice ones, haven't been on them before
Have a browse through vietnam section here on thorntree you should be able to find many recommendations
Sep 22, 2012 6:10 AM
So excited to hear I can actually make it to Ninh Binh and Tam Coc and perhaps Mai Chau. I don't want to overdo it and have more traveling than leisure/exploration time, but I do want to make the most of the trip. I would be trying to get on the overnight to SaPa the same day and I arrive at Hanoi. Perhaps I should arrive early afternoon- is it realistic to buy the train ticket the day of and still get a good soft sleeper cabin? I just don't want to wait until the last minute to purchase tickets for boats/trains/busses and then realizing I should have planned that ahead of time.
Thanks for all your help. If you think of any tips/tricks, please let me know!
Sep 24, 2012 12:01 PM
Oct 3, 2012 9:30 AM
Oct 3, 2012 12:01 PM
9Its been awhile since I was there, I can't remember the name of the hotel I was in but it may have been Hoang Ha Sapa.
For the trains it may be worthwhile doing a search on this forum.
A couple of posts I saw mentioned success with waytovietnam.com, and Handspan travel, but handspan travel might charge alot for this service though they are reliable.
I ripped this from another thread about the higher end trains:
"Some of them are recommeded to you such as Orient Express, Sapaly and Fanxipan. Basically, a 4 sleeper cabin is the same with size, and they have soft mattress, pillow, sheet and blanket and some of free welcome drinks. "
Oct 7, 2012 4:05 PM
10I've almost decided on just booking a hotel in Hanoi and planning/reserving everything once I get there. How risky do you think this is? It just seems so much more complicated to make all these reservations online whereas many people have recommended to simply do things directly at train station or via hotels. We might end up not doing Sapa, and instead Mai Chau and Tam Coc. All depends if we are up to the journey all the way there.
Oct 9, 2012 7:26 AM
11That should be fine. You can book your train ticket right when you get to Hanoi (the train station is walking distance or just a few minutes on a xe om from the old quarter), it will probably be enough time since presumably you'll do your halong bay trip first anyway. I think the soft sleeper tickets are only $20 each so even if you decide not to go in the end it's no biggie.
Oct 9, 2012 4:38 PM
12I'm planning on flying from Saigon to Hanoi and back. Checking flights out at Vietnam Airlines. Any other recommendations as far as airlines go? Which to fly and which to stay away from? I'm a bit confused in categories of price listings for flights like Saver, Saver Flex, Eco Flex, Business Flex.? The prices range from 1,579,000 VDN Saver up to 4,004,000 VDN Business Flex. Does this mean anything in particular? How worried should I be about flight cancellations etc?
Oct 10, 2012 7:40 AM
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