Help with planning please
Replies: 7 - Last Post: Nov 4, 2012 8:23 PM Last Post By: Jo124
Oct 21, 2012 12:30 PM
Help with planning pleaseHi, we are flying from UK to Hanoi on the 30th Nov for 1 month and back from Ho Chi Minh city, we think we would like to pop to Sapa for trekking after staying in Hanoi for 2 nights then maybe to Halong Bay before making our way down on the train, thinking we may take train in the day to take in the views and stop on the way. These are our questions? we have been travelling previously to india twice, sri lanka and thailand. We are travelling with our 12 year old son.
1. Is it a good idea to travel by train to Sapa or better with a bus or taxi, is it very scenic or ok to miss? The train trip is pretty long according to lonely planet which is fine if scenic if not maybe better overnight, should we book in advance, last time in India we did not book trips as 10 years previously no need, all full and no seats! this is why we are wondering about vietnam.
2. We like the views, seeing the country but is Halong Bay just completely taken over, are we better off going somewhere equally as beautiful but loads less aggro, we hate aggro and will go to lengths for a quiet life off the tourist trail!
3. Reading suggests at this time of year the weather as we travel down, hopefully on the train (do we need to book?) will be awful and reading the guide not at all sure where is worthwhile to stop, should mention whilst travelling previously found ourselves stopping by accident in places not mentioned in the guides and it was fabulous, v cheap but also very friendly and completely tout free!
4. Hoping to get to mekong delta too, but will prob be around xmas, is there really a worry with booking in advance? We are not that fussy, just clean and friendly thats it.
Any advice greatly appreciated, we want to make the most of the 4 weeks we have in Vietnam
Dave Jo and Jesse
Oct 21, 2012 10:29 PM
Oct 22, 2012 12:07 AM
Train. Very scenic.
Halong is beautiful, but it's kind of a zoo. Consider Tam Cốc instead.
You might want to book a day or two in advance.
And awful? Weather in Vietnam is often hot, but it won't be that hot in December. It will still be raining in Huế, but it's always raining in Huế. Danang and the beaches further south should be dry, but even if they're not, it's the tropics.
Haven't been to Mekong around Christmas, but I've never had trouble making reservations in Vietnam with even 24 hours notice. Remember, it's twice the size of Thailand and gets a tenth the tourists.
Then Vietnam will perfect for you. Vietnam and the Vietnamese are usually clean and always, always friendly, but sometimes a little... scruffy. From what I hear about India, Vietnam is a step up in terms of convenience and no-aggro, but nobody's going to mistake it for Copenhagen.
Oct 22, 2012 2:27 AM
31. Travel by train to Sapa seems to be the most popular and best way. You can book an overnight train with soft berth from Hara Express, Pumpkin, Tulico, King Express, higher standard trains are Livitrans and Victoria Express. You should book the tickets in advance.
2. Bai Tu Long Bay is a part of Halong Bay but it is less touristy and cleaner than Halong Bay. You can join the trip from Indochina Junk, which offer you more privacy and go to the quiet places as only the boats under their company go. Otherwise, you can visit Trang An in Ninh Binh.
3. The weather in November in the North seems to be cool at night, in the South it's still warm.
4. You should book the service and accommodation in advance as Christmas time is a busy time for tourism. Mekong Delta is nice.
Oct 22, 2012 7:17 AM
4Jodave, we've been trying to decide about the center too. The guidebooks make it sound like its terribly rainy in Hue and Hoi An through December with possibility of floods. Some charts i saw depicted an average rainfal in Hue in December as nearly 40 cm! That is quite a lot. Danang/Hoi An was a bit less. We don't mind a bit of rain but don't want to get stuck, not be able to do anything, and be a drain on resources. It is tough to decide!
Oct 22, 2012 7:26 AM
5''Halong is beautiful, but it's kind of a zoo. Consider Tam Cốc instead.''
I couldn't agree more. Not just Tam Coc, but the whole of the Ninh Binh area is very attractive with a much smaller number of tourists. I stayed in Ninh Binh town, very little there but a great base for An Trang, Hoa Lu and Bai Dinh temple.
Other places you could consider on your trip include the area around Dong Hoi for the caves.
The Central Highlands. Da Lat is a good base and there is some lovely countryside.
Trains and booking. Some trains are worth booking in advance. I purchased a whole lot of tickets in advance at Ha Noi station.
Oct 22, 2012 10:18 AM
Nov 4, 2012 8:23 PM
I've been in Sapa few time so i can give you some advice for this place. The night train is best way to go to Sapa like you don't loose i day in your trip. Its easy to book a train directly in Hanoi train station, there is only on friday night it can be busy. Its also much better to book a tour in Sapa, there is many serious agency in that you can help you; its also cheaper that to book from Hanoi.
In my case i have book a tour with SapaTravelmate and i was very happy about them, they find me a no-tourist trek who is much better that normal trek.
Hope it can help you
Have a good trip
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