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1 week in Hanoi - can I fit in Sapa and Halong?

  • Doggins

    Joined Travelfish
    15th April, 2009
    Posts: 5

    Hi guys
    will be arriving in Hanoi in the afternoon of Tuesday 2nd of June

    will be leaving around the 9th

    Halong Bay is a definate, but will we fit in a trip to Sapa as well?

    Is this too much?:

    Tuesday, 2 June 2009 Kuala Lumpur - Hanoi
    Wednesday, 3 June 2009 Hanoi - Halong Bay
    Thursday, 4 June 2009 Halong Bay
    Friday, 5 June 2009 Halong Bay - Hanoi
    Saturday, 6 June 2009 Hanoi (dep)
    Sunday, 7 June 2009 Sapa (arr)
    Monday, 8 June 2009 Sapa (dep)
    Monday, 9 June 2008 Hanoi (arr)


    Or should we forget about Sapa and just chill out in Hanoi for a few days instead

    #1 Posted: 15/4/2009 - 18:53

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  • daawgon

    Joined Travelfish
    17th April, 2007
    Posts: 954
    Total reviews: 2

    Hanoi is so interesting that I would skip Sapa - just too time consuming for such a short trip. A friend of mine went to Halong Bay for just a day recently - he said it was great. I recently spent 8 days in Hanoi (only broken up by 24 hours in Mai Chau - sort of a flat Sapa - very beautiful there.)

    #2 Posted: 16/4/2009 - 13:01

  • daawgon

    Joined Travelfish
    17th April, 2007
    Posts: 954
    Total reviews: 2

    Be sure to book the free tours of Hanoikids when you're there - students who give tours in exchange for English practice. I've done the tours twice now. www.hanoikidsclub.org

    #3 Posted: 16/4/2009 - 13:03

  • kerouac2

    Joined Travelfish
    3rd April, 2009
    Posts: 5

    I see nothing wrong with going to both Sapa and Halong. I did both (but not on the same trip) through the Sinh Café tours and was completely satisfied with their service and rates.

    In my opinion, however, Sapa is only worth it if you want to do some of the trekking. The city itself is not fascinating, but the environs are definitely worth it, even though I was not in shape and some of the Vietnamese laughed in my face to see me huffing and puffing through certain areas. They are an unkind but honest people.

    #4 Posted: 22/4/2009 - 03:54

  • minhnguyen1-
    6051986

    Joined Travelfish
    21st April, 2009
    Posts: 13

    Posted from within Vietnam.

    Hi Doggins!
    Great to go to both Halong and Sapa. I have some information for your trip. It takes about 3hours from Hanoi to Halong( or Halong to Hanoi) by car or the same one.It takes about 8hours from Hanoi station to Laocai station by train and then, you must travel by car or motorbike in 2hours and ahalf from Laocai station to Sapa. everybody usually takes night train for Hanoi-laoca for saving time trip.

    #5 Posted: 22/4/2009 - 13:45

  • tingers

    Joined Travelfish
    9th April, 2009
    Posts: 36

    Posted from within Vietnam.

    It's possible. And a nice time of year to be visiting.

    Day 1 & 2 Ha Long Bay (stay overnight on the boat, it's a long drive for a day trip)

    Day 3 & 4 Hanoi (Night 4 take the overnight train to Lao Cai)

    Day 5 & 6 Sapa (Night 6 take the overnight train back to Hanoi

    Day 7 Hanoi.

    #6 Posted: 5/5/2009 - 13:04

  • brucemoon

    Click here to learn more about brucemoon
    Joined Travelfish
    27th December, 2008
    Location Australia
    Posts: 1941
    Total reviews: 6

    Doggins

    I'm also against rushing up to SaPa, just because it's there!

    If you're not that into cities, you could always try adding another day or 2 to the Halong Bay excursion and go beyond the concrete jungle of Ca Ba. On this, check out Travelfish's..

    http://www.travelfish.org/location/vietnam/hanoi_and_surrounds/quang_ninh/cat_ba_island

    - - - -

    An alternative is as 'daawgon' suggests, go stay in a white Tai stilt house at Mau Chai. From there, you can go walkabout around the villages, and across the rice paddies.

    Cheers

    #7 Posted: 5/5/2009 - 13:20

  • Doggins

    Joined Travelfish
    15th April, 2009
    Posts: 5

    Thanks everyone for your suggestions

    I think we'll not rush it and leave Sapa for another time

    Instead we'll do the day trip to Chua Huong

    #8 Posted: 11/5/2009 - 08:44

  • luvmedic

    Joined Travelfish
    20th April, 2009
    Location Malaysia
    Posts: 12
    Total reviews: 5

    Hi Doggins, I recommend

    Tuesday, 2 June 2009 Kuala Lumpur - Hanoi (takes 4 hours so if you arrive in the afternoon, you can enjoy a stroll around the old quarter and if you had not done so already, you can book your tour for Halong Bay and buy your train tickets to Lao Cai for Sapa .)

    Wednesday, 3 June 2009 Hanoi - Halong Bay 1 night on boat
    Thursday, 4 June 2009 Halong Bay 1 night on Cat Ba

    Friday, 5 June 2009 Halong Bay - Hanoi (dep) - Lao Cai (you should be back from your Halong Bay tour by 4-5 PM. Immediately board a night train to save on hotel)

    Saturday, 6 June 2009 Sapa - Do a long trek to Ta Phin or Ta Van on your own

    Sunday, 7 June 2009 Sapa - You can do Tram Ton Pass by tour/motorbike rental or if you are
    too tired, do Cat Cat village

    Monday, 8 June 2009 Sapa - Lao Cai - Hanoi - wake up real early to trek to Cat Cat village or just chill. There are plenty of excellent eats. Board the night train back to Hanoi

    Monday, 9 June 2008 Hanoi (arr) You will arrive real early. While I would recommend a visit to Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, I reckon it will be too much of a hassle with luggage. So book an early flight home. 9:30 am onwards flights should be safe.


    I've did this on this timetable and trust me, it's no rush. Visit both Sapa and Halong Bay, and next time, you can go to Saigon instead of Hanoi.

    #9 Posted: 16/5/2009 - 17:04

  • Archmichael

    Joined Travelfish
    23rd July, 2008
    Location Global Village
    Posts: 396
    Total reviews: 2

    Hi Doggins:
    The only change I would suggest is to drop SaPa and stay in Ha Noi. Fascinating city, and worth the time.

    Happy Trails!

    #10 Posted: 17/5/2009 - 10:01

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  • Archmichael

    Joined Travelfish
    23rd July, 2008
    Location Global Village
    Posts: 396
    Total reviews: 2

    Hi Doggins:
    The only change I would suggest is to drop SaPa and stay in Ha Noi. Fascinating city, and worth the time.

    Happy Trails!

    #11 Posted: 17/5/2009 - 10:02

  • anhluc

    Joined Travelfish
    15th May, 2009
    Posts: 32

    Do not sacrifice the Ha Long Bay trip and with the time investment to get there and back you definately want to stay 2 nights and 3 days - I don't care what anyone else says. I would highly recommend looking into Indochina Sails as they are the first and I think only one of two companies that go to Bai Tu Long Bay. Ha Long Bay is so crowded, that you will really want to go the other direction, 'off the beaten track', as they say.

    Sa Pa, I would go for sure if I were you. Reasons are many but let me just tell you a couple. Sa Pa is getting to be a tourist trap really quick and the local officials realize it and are trying to curb the growth, but it is almost a loosing battle. Get there while you can before everything gets out of control - the sooner the better.

    The trick with Sa Pa is that everyone arrives in Lao Cai at various times in the morning, drives to Sa Pa, which is not 2.5 hours by the way, closer to an hour actually, and then they spend the day in the valley 'treking'. The next day is normally spent driving to a particular village for 'market day' and seeing some other sights before heading back to Lao Cai for the train. The key is to know which ethnic minority is having it's market day on what day. Conveniently they are on different days - but by knowing this information you can better plan what days you want to be in Sa Pa.

    #12 Posted: 18/5/2009 - 12:33

  • susanhaokhan

    Joined Travelfish
    9th June, 2009
    Posts: 3

    Hi kerouac2,

    Which Singcafe did you use them?

    May i have website to reffer.

    Thanks

    #13 Posted: 9/6/2009 - 21:02

  • BruceMoon

    Click here to learn more about BruceMoon
    Joined Travelfish
    27th December, 2008
    Location Australia
    Posts: 1941
    Total reviews: 6

    susanhaokhan

    There are several 'copy' Sinh Cafe tourist agencies. To find the real one, go here:

    http://www.travelfish.org/board/post/vietnam/6417_real-sinh-cafe-website----

    PLEASE be very careful before you book a Halong Bay tour with any travel agent who is not in charge of their own boats.

    I think Sinh Cafe is a good travel agent. But, Sinh Cafe does not have its own boats, it merely sells trips on someone else's boats.

    If you want a good experience for Halong Bay, go ONLY to any of the many boat operator websites.

    I have used, and enjoyed, Columbus Tours - they have their own boats, that's all they do. Go look at:

    http://www.columbuscruise.com

    Cheers

    #14 Posted: 10/6/2009 - 04:59

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