My husband and I will be traveling in Vietnam for 12 days in April. We're flying into Hanoi and out of Ho Chi Minh. This is what we're thinking for an itinerary:
1 night in Hanoi
1 night in Halong Bay
3 nights Sapa (includes 2 overnight trains)
4 nights in Hoi An
3 nights in Ho Chi Minh
A couple of questions:
We decided to skip Hue to allow more time to relax in Hoi An. Is Hue a must-see?
What's best in Ho Chi Minh?
For those who visited Sapa recently - did you take malaria meds or just use deet?
Any recommendations for trains to Sapa?
#1 gogofowad has been a member since 1/1/2013. Posts: 1
If you plan that out allowing for travel time I think you have a pretty tight fit. Lets say you arrive in morning Hanoi & depart Saigon in evening, then you're looking at something like this:
Day 1 morning arrive Hanoi
Day 2 morning depart for Ha Long Bay, begin cruise & overnight on bay
Day 3 finish cruise return to Hanoi, arriving most likely late afternoon, straight onto night train to Sapa
Day 4 Sapa
Day 5 day in Sapa, night train back to Hanoi
Day 6 fly to Da Nang on morning flight, then minivan transfer to Hoi An
Day 7 Hoi An
Day 8 Hoi An
Day 9 Hoi An
Day 10 morning backtrack to Da Nang for flight to Ho Chi Minh City
Day 11 Ho Chi Minh City
Day 12 Ho Chi Minh City & evening depart
If you're not planning on flying Hanoi -> Da Nang and Da Nang -> Ho Chi Minh City then I don't think the above is feasible as the overland transport (train or bus) is slow and you'll spend the majority of your time in transit.
My advice would be, take a day off Hoi An and give it to Hanoi. There is no way you could fit Hue into the above as well
For Saigon attractions, take a look at the sights section on the Saigon Blog -- lots there, Hoi An blog here.
More questions, ask away!