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3 week itinerary critique: Sapa?

  • praeludium

    Joined Travelfish
    8th November, 2010
    Posts: 2

    Hello! First of all, thanks to all the informative posts on this forum. It has been very helpful with planning our honeymoon trip. My wife and I, both 30, are doing a 3 week trip in Vietnam. We've been to SEA twice before, and heard great things about Vietnam. Any suggestions to our itinerary? We'll be there Nov 22-Dec9.

    N21 - Arrive at SGN @ 19h25. Will try to get to Hanoi the same night.
    N22-23 - Hanoi x 3days, 3 nights
    N24-25 - Halong Bay x2 days, 1 night (probably Columbus tours)
    N26 - Getting back to Hanoi, will hop on O/N train to Sapa
    N27-28 - Sapa trek, 2 days, on night
    N28 - Train back to Hanoi
    N29 - In Hanoi, fly to Hue . Stay in Hue vs Hoi An , 3d 3n total, will probably spend more time in Hoi An from what I've read
    N3 - Nha Trang 1d 1n
    N4 - Get to HCMC. Stay until N7 (3 whole days), maybe one day Mekong tour?
    N7-N8 Phu Quoc, two days, one night
    N9 - back to HCMC for flight out.

    I guess my main concern is do you think Sapa is worth doing given the amount of time I have? Especially in late November where the weather might be cold? Should we take it out all together, and if so, where should we put that time? Maybe another night on the Halong and Phu Quoc?

    Thanks for the help!


    #1 Posted: 8/11/2010 - 10:39

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  • Nokka

    Joined Travelfish
    6th April, 2009
    Location United Kingdom
    Posts: 259

    Just over 2 weeks for north and south isn't really enough time to do either justice. My view would be to leave Sapa in there, but would make other changes. Firstly, Phu Quoc for one night ? I'd leave that out and spend more time in Hoi An, where you also have access to the beach. Also skip Nha Trang. So, that part - 1 night Hue, 4 nights Hoi An, then on to Saigon for a couple of nights at the end.

    #2 Posted: 8/11/2010 - 15:38

  • violets

    Joined Travelfish
    6th July, 2009
    Posts: 151
    Total reviews: 28

    I agree you need to cut places. Sapa would benefit from another night too. You are better off spending more time in fewer places.

    Also be flexible because of the weather. Probably flooding in Hoi An will be over by the end of November but weather is unpredictable. It is likely to be cold by the end of November in all places except the south. I read somewhere that November was the clearest time for Halong Bay and it was certainly good when I was there at that time though I found it too cold for swimming.

    Have a great trip.

    #3 Posted: 9/11/2010 - 06:23

  • daawgon

    Joined Travelfish
    17th April, 2007
    Posts: 1065
    Total reviews: 2

    I agree with the others - just too many stops for 3 weeks, but I would go to Sapa . There is no equal to Sapa in Vietnam, and since it's your honeymoon, you will thoroughly enjoy that cozy little town. When I was last there, there was a power failure, and at night it was 100% candlelight. Many rooms come with fireplaces, but the days are very comfortable. Give most of your time to Hanoi, Sapa and Hoi An.

    #4 Posted: 9/11/2010 - 10:10

  • praeludium

    Joined Travelfish
    8th November, 2010
    Posts: 2

    Thanks for the suggestions. I wanted to keep Phu Quoc on there because my wife really wanted some beach R&R. Do you think it'd be warm enough to enjoy the beaches at HoiAn at this time of year? How does this look? I took out Nha Trang, and will skip Hue. Will spend more time in Hoi An and added another night to Phu Quoc.

    What do you think about taking a day out of either Hanoi, Hoi An, or HCMC in exchange for another day in Sapa?

    I think we'll take your advice about keeping flexible. If things are going great, then we'll just stay in one place rather than push our itinerary. As well, we'll definitely take weather into consideration.

    N21 - Arrive at Hanoi at night.
    N22-23 - Hanoi x 3days, 3 nights
    N24-25 - Halong Bay x2 days, 1 night
    N26 - Getting back to Hanoi, will hop on O/N train to Sapa
    N27-28 - Sapa trek, 2 days, 1 night
    N28 - Train back to Hanoi
    N29 -D2 In Hanoi, fly to Hue . Stay in Hoi An , 3d 3n total.
    N3 - Get to HCMC. Stay until N6 (3days)
    N6-N8 Phu Quoc, three days, two nights
    N9 - back to HCMC for flight out.

    #5 Posted: 9/11/2010 - 13:14

  • pcoffman

    Joined Travelfish
    8th November, 2010
    Posts: 6

    Posted from within Vietnam.

    I am currently in Hoi An and cannot comment on Hue, Hanoi, Ha long Bay or Sapa, but can tell you what I think based on my travels thus far.

    If you are looking for minority access and hill tribes, I really recommend hitting the Central Highlands of Vietnam, especially if you do so with a guide (I recommend easy riders-- book Hong and Rocky and email at hongtour50@yahoo.com or ilovevietnamtour@yahoo.com; they will pick you up in Hoi An). You get an excellent introduction to the minority peoples there and you are off the tourist trail (somewhat at least). People will literally come out of their house just to see you and yell out "hello" as you drive by.

    If I had 3 weeks on a honeymoon in Vietnam, I would probably do this:

    Hanoi, Ha Long Bay, fly to Hue, go to Hoi An, arrange an easy rider tour from Hoi An to Dalat (6 days, 5 nights), bus from Dalat to HCMC, end with Phu Quoc.

    #6 Posted: 9/11/2010 - 14:51

  • Nokka

    Joined Travelfish
    6th April, 2009
    Location United Kingdom
    Posts: 259

    praeludium - if you're not going to bother with Hue, you'd be better off flying to Danang from Hanoi. Much closer to Hoi An .

    Not sure about weather in Hoi An in November - we were there last January when it was perfect. It would appear that temperatures are around mid 20s at the moment (?). I guess it depends whether that's warm enough for you - sounds nice to me, but where I am its rained for 2 days non stop and is 5 degrees.

    #7 Posted: 9/11/2010 - 17:54

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