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

Posted by Doggins on 15/4/2009 at 18:53

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 Doggins has been a member since 15/4/2009. Posts: 5

Posted by daawgon on 16/4/2009 at 13:01

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 daawgon has been a member since 17/4/2007. Posts: 1,114


Posted by daawgon on 16/4/2009 at 13:03

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 daawgon has been a member since 17/4/2007. Posts: 1,114

Posted by kerouac2 on 22/4/2009 at 03:54

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 kerouac2 has been a member since 3/4/2009. Posts: 5

Posted by minhnguyen16051986 on 22/4/2009 at 13:45

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 minhnguyen16051986 has been a member since 21/4/2009. Posts: 13

Posted by tingers on 5/5/2009 at 13:04

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 tingers has been a member since 9/4/2009. Posts: 36

Posted by brucemoon on 5/5/2009 at 13:20

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..

https://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 brucemoon has been a member since 27/12/2008. Location: Australia. Posts: 1,941

Posted by Doggins on 11/5/2009 at 08:44

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 Doggins has been a member since 15/4/2009. Posts: 5

Posted by luvmedic on 16/5/2009 at 17:04

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 luvmedic has been a member since 20/4/2009. Location: Malaysia. Posts: 12

Posted by Archmichael on 17/5/2009 at 10:01

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 Archmichael has been a member since 23/7/2008. Location: Global Village. Posts: 396

Posted by Archmichael on 17/5/2009 at 10:02

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 Archmichael has been a member since 23/7/2008. Location: Global Village. Posts: 396

Posted by anhluc on 18/5/2009 at 12:33

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 anhluc has been a member since 15/5/2009. Posts: 32

Posted by susanhaokhan on 9/6/2009 at 21:02

Hi kerouac2,

Which Singcafe did you use them?

May i have website to reffer.

Thanks

#13 susanhaokhan has been a member since 9/6/2009. Posts: 3

Posted by BruceMoon on 10/6/2009 at 04:59

susanhaokhan

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

https://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 BruceMoon has been a member since 27/12/2008. Location: Australia. Posts: 1,941


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