We are planning on spending 3-4 days in Hoi An end of Oct/start of Nov but am a little worried about the weather ... All the sites say it often floods and has typhoons around that time of the year..
Without asking anyone to predict the weather through a crystal ball, does anyone have experience at this time of the year in Vietnam... would we be better skipping it and going elsewhere..??
We spent a week in Hoi An in November 07 - and boy did it rain! We missed the major floods that they had (altho saw the evidence on buildings etc), but the level of the river was so high the streets near to it were a little flooded.
Saying that, being British that did not dampen our spirits (see what i did there?) or enjoyment of the town, even spending a day on the beach ... well in a bar watching the rain on the beach!
Shorts, sandals and umbrella and off we went ... happy as larry - remember it will still be warm, and everything will be open ... so i would still recommend going as it's a lovely place, and even in the rain a definate must see in Vietnam.
We went there last month for 3 days and we all enjoy it very much. Good foods, nice looking acient town and many may art galleries. It was hot without rain. Perhaps, some more rain to cool down the temperature during the day can help.
#3 IsaacLam has been a member since 17/7/2009. Posts: 13
Reet - how is Tong? Have you heard from her?
#4 smash has been a member since 21/6/2009. Posts: 162
No no I was just wondering how she was :) - I'm AshRich from another message board ;o)
trying to decide if I can squeeze in some time for Bangkok (really don't feel the need to go back there!!!!) so I can spend a day with her again!
read through your blog - can't wait to do the Gibbon Ex!
#6 smash has been a member since 21/6/2009. Posts: 162
Oh hey how you going?! Yeah I checked in with Tong and she is ok but just getting out of hospital... had a fall and think she may have broken her wrist and bruising to her leg! BUT she is fine other than that...
I am trying to convince her to take a couple of days off in Nov and come to Vietnam to catch up... I love her so much!
When is your next trip Ash? Where to? The Gibbon Exp is sooo good. Don't expect any luxury... just enjoy it for what it is!
Oh wow. Hope she recovers quickly!
Next trip is Sydney in September for the Beyonce concert (woop woop lol) staying at Park Hyatt and Westin... Can't wait... Have on-stage VIP tickets to see her (don't ask, psycho major fan here...)
For Asia though we're going to go and live in the UK for a couple of years from next year so we're doing a big 'detour' en-route via China (3.5 weeks), Vietnam (3.5 weeks), Cambodia (1.5 weeks), Laos (2.5 weeks), Thailand (3.5 weeks) and Dubai (1 to 2 weeks). And yep - no luxury this time... We're going backpacking so should be an 'experience' trying to live off NZ$100 a day! Which apparently is quite a decent budget! I am booking our last two weeks at Indigo Pearl in Phuket though - was there last year for two weeks and was in heaven... Anyway, we're REALLY excited. Can't wait for the Full Moon Party in Thailand. LOL.
How long are you in Vietnam for? Just doing Vietnam this trip?
#8 smash has been a member since 21/6/2009. Posts: 162
Wow I am soooo jealous!!! Your plan sounds good!
I am doing Vietnam for 3 weeks and struggled to do everything I wanted.. in the end some sacrifices have been made and will have to head back another time to finish off some of the 'must dos'.. just dont have enough time!!
Just Vietnam this time - apart from the stopover overnight in KL on the way there/back... got my airticket $257 return in an Air Asia sale.. amazing value!!
Our Vietnam plan is finally coming together so stay tuned in October for my blogs!!
If you need any advice re accommodation in Cambodia/Laos let me know! xx
Cool - looking forward to reading your Vietnam journey! We culled Nha Trang and Dalat from our Vietnam trip. Spending 10 days doing the Hanoi/Sapa/Halong Bay trip, down to Hue/Hoi An for 6 days and then HCMC/Mekong for 5 days. So much to see so little time! What are you doing which you're there?
I love KL - it's my fav Asian city. The shopping along Bintang Walk was just awesome! Everything from Top Shop to my fav Hermes! Heaven I tell you!
I haven't even started looking at accommodation yet... Will try knuckle down what area of each city/location to stay in first... Probably want to stay in 'old/historic' areas in all places - these are my fav spots. Will definitely hit you up for some assistance though (bummer I can't private message you or something lol)
#10 smash has been a member since 21/6/2009. Posts: 162
Just email me through my blog and it will go to my private email address... this is our itinerary:
Day 1 21 Arrive in Hanoi
Day 2 22 Halong Bay (Columbus Cruise)
Day 3 23 Halong Bay (Colombus Cruise) (Overnight train to Sapa )
Day 4 24 Sapa
Day 5 25 Sapa (Sunday Markets)
Day 6 26 Sapa (Overnight train to Hanoi)
Day 7 27 Hanoi
Day 8 28 Hanoi (INTREPID DAY TOUR)
Day 9 29 Hanoi (overnight train to Hoi An)
Day 10 30 Hoi An
Day 11 31 Hoi An
Day 12 1 Hoi An
Day 13 2 Hoi An
Day 14 3 HCM City (half day)
Day 15 4 HCM City
Day 16 5 Phu Quoc (half day)
Day 17 6 Phu Quoc
Day 18 7 Phu Quoc
Day 19 8 Phu Quoc
Day 20 9 Phu Quoc – HCM City
Day 21 10 HCM City (either more HCM exploration or Mekong Delta tour)
Day 22 11 Fly home
We ended up cutting Dalat out which I really didnt want to but thats life... another time! I used a friends blog to find some accommodation.. she has some good tips.. have a look here:
We have used alot of their accommodation tips even though its over our original budget... Oh well! We have also just found a great place in Sapa to stay :
Anyway contact me thru the blog at www.travelblog.org/bloggers/reet and happy to chat via email.. if you have facebook let me know!
Great to hear from you xx
Cool thanks Reet! Will email your blog later today from home. Are you organising Sapa before you go or are you going to wing it? This is the bit that is confusing me at the moment... To pre-book or not to pre-book... We're doing the Pinta Gold two night cruise with Columbus - looks very nice! Would have loved to include Phu Quoc but we're going to learn to dive in Koh Tao, be at Koh Phangan and have some time in Phuket so saving the beaches for there. Our plan is...
11-Apr Sun 2:55 p.m. Depart Hong Kong: Cathay Pacific CX1791 (operated by Vietnam Airlines)
3:55 p.m. Arrive Hanoi
12-Apr Mon Day in Hanoi
13-Apr Tue Day in Hanoi
14-Apr Wed Day in Hanoi
15-Apr Thu Overnight cruise on Halong Bay (Columbus Cruises Pinta Gold)
16-Apr Fri Overnight cruise on Halong Bay
17-Apr Sat Overnight train to Lao Cai
18-Apr Sun Day in Sapa
19-Apr Mon Day in Sapa
20-Apr Tue Overnight train to Hanoi
21-Apr Wed Depart Hanoi (Vietnam Airlines?)
22-Apr Thu Day in Hue
23-Apr Fri Day in Hoi An
24-Apr Sat Day in Hoi An
25-Apr Sun Day in Hoi An
26-Apr Mon Day in Hoi An
27-Apr Tue Depart Da Nang (Vietnam Airlines?)
Arrive Ho Chi Minh City
28-Apr Wed Day in Ho Chi Minh city
29-Apr Thu Day in Ho Chi Minh city
30-Apr Fri Day in Can Tho (Mekong)
1-May Sat Day in Rach Gia (Mekong)
2-May Sun Cross border into Cambodia and head to Kep
#12 smash has been a member since 21/6/2009. Posts: 162
Your itinerary looks great... we were originally going to do a package tour of Sapa but decided to do it ourselves.. we are going to book the hotel from here.. and they seem to offer some good treks so looks like we will just do it all from there ...
Day 1 arrive off overnight train.. settle in... cat cat trek in afternoon (small trek)
Day 2 bus to Bac Ha Sunday Markets
Day 3 longer trek (6hrs) havent decided which one yet.. they have a couple of good ones on their website.. overnight train back to hanoi
Their prices on the train seem more expensive than they should be but could include transfer to hotel from Lao Cai and back... still waiting to hear back on that one... we may just organise the train once there...
Cool. We're wanting to do Bac Ha straight off the train as we arrive in Lao Cai on a Sunday morning.
With accommodation at the Bamboo Sapa , the Columbus Cruise peeps offered us the below at US$225pp with a soft sleeper on Livitran Train. Seems pricey I know but not having much luck... Don't know if I want to be bothered trying to organise this once I get to Hanoi - seems like a waste of time putting together an itinerary in a travel agent when we could be exploring the city!
Sapa 4 nights 3 days itinerary:
Day 1: at about 7.30 pm - Depart from Columbus's Sales Office, 36 Hang Bac Street by private coach to Ha Noi Railway Station and catch the night train to Lao Cai (soft sleeper with airconditioning).
Day 2: Arriving Lao Cai in the morning, having breakfast then our driver is ready to pick you and our tour guide up and our jeep will drive you straight to Bac Ha to join Bac Ha market – the biggest and the most colorful market in Laocai. Here you can see most of Flower H'mong people as well as many other ethnic groups like Tay, Nung & Xapho differentiated by their clothes.After lunch you will trek to another village -Banpho village to see more. Overnight home stay.
Day 3: After having breakfast, you will trek to Maquaiho village. On the way you will visit school, local people of Dzao, Dzay & Xapho ethnic minorities. Here you have chance to lodge or herd the buffalo, watching the pictureques scenery and terrace where few tourist there. Until you get tired, our jeep will drive back to Sapa. You will have an afternoon to stroll around the town to see the Sapa market and relax.
Stay over night in your hotel.
Day 4: Breakfast at your hotel then our jeep will drive you to Cat Cat village of Black H'Mong trible, from here you can have chance to see many natural beautiful sites. You will back to Sapa town at about 2 -3 pm and have leisure time to take a rest before getting to Laocai station, have break dinner here and back on train to Hanoi.
The company Explorer Tours Vietnam offered us the below at US$135 per person...
Bac Ha Market and Sapa Trekking
Saturday overnight train from Hanoi :
Please, be ready at your hotel lobby at 20.30 for a short transfer to Hanoi railways station for taking the overnight train which arrive at Lao Cai city, near the Chinese border next morning.
· Overnight on sleeping train, in 4 bed shared cabin with A/C, tourist class.
Day 1: Bac Ha Market
Early arrival at Lao Cai Station, our guide will meet you upon arrival and having Breakfast in a local restaurant. Pick up at about 7.00Am for transferring overland for a bout 2.5 hours uphill to Bac Ha. As you get close to The market, you will see lot of Flower H’mong with their horses loading with selling’s along the way. Arriving at the most crowded time of the market you will join some thousands local tribal peoples such as Flower H’mong, Tay, Zao and Phu La who are in their colorful traditional dresses shopping, talking, enjoying food…The most colorful part is clothes section while the most interesting ones probably the food stalls and animal market. Be noted that the small animals such as chicken, piggy… are sold in narrow ground at the main market place but buffaloes, horses market lies about 3 hundred meters away near the main motor way.
Some hours getting excited with the market activities and festive atmosphere, Lunch will be served in a local restaurant with set menu and you may try H’mong home made corn wine.
Afternoon will be highlighted with a short walk around Ban Pho Village of the Flower H’mong and Tay peoples which includes some small hamlets set amongst lush plump gardens, terraced paddies and mountain back drops for a local breath.
Leaving Bac Ha in mid afternoon for transferring downhill to Lao Cai and then uphill again to Sapa. Check in hotel and relax.
Lunch included, Breakfast and Dinner on your own.
Hotel: Standard hotel in Sapa
Day 2: Lao Cai – Sapa – Y Linh Ho – Lao Chai – Ta Van
After Breafast, you will visit Sapa Town and market on your own for several hours. Back to our Sapa office at about 10.30 and begin your exploration trip to Muong Hoa valley. You will follow the main road heading south for about an hour before turning right to a foot path down hill to Muong Hoa Valley . This part offers spectacular scenery of the highest part of Hoang Lien Son mountain range and in a nice day, Fansipan Peak can be seen. Crossing the river by a suspension bridge you will challenge your feet uphill to Y Linh Ho village. Here you will pay visiting to some H’mong families, watching them doing their daily works. After picnic Lunch, the trail continues up and down hill for about 2 hours as you reach to Lao Chai, a large village of the H’mong and then following the river bank to Ta Van of the Zay people. Paying visiting to local homes, village schools… you will enjoy much your cultural discovery of local ethnic peoples as well as breathtaking scenery of the Muong Hoa Valley . Settle down in Ta Van village for an overnight home stay.
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner included
Accommodation: Home stay
Day 2: Ta Van – Giang Ta Chai – Hau Thao – Sapa – Overnight train
Leaving Ta Van village after Breakfast, you will take the trail uphill, passing fascinating terraced rice field and some small hamlets of the H’mong before getting through a bamboo forest to a waterfall, enjoy a break for magnificent scenery and then continue walking for half an hour to Giang Ta Chai village of the Red Zao peoples which sits on the top of a hill and looks down Muong Hoa river. After spending time visiting the village, making friend with the Zao and experiencing the hospitality you will cross the river by another suspension bridge and then uphill again to Hau Thao village where you will pay visiting to a local handicraft center where H’mong and Zao women gather for exchanging experience and skill of making handicrafts. A late Lunch will be prepare here nearby this center and then you have time relaxing as well as getting acquaintance with local school boys, girls and their teachers as well.
Later a short drive will take you back to Sapa, taking a shower before transferring down hill to Lao Cai for taking the night train back to Hanoi which arrive the next morning and you are free with your plan. Trip ends.
· Breakfast and Lunch included, Dinner on your own
· Overnight in first class 4 bed cabin with A/C on the train.
Tour price per person in US dollar
US$.135 per person for joining group
1 - Tour price includes
· Transfer with shared mini bus.
· Return train tickets basing on 4 bed shared cabin with A/C, tourist class.
· Accommodation: 2 nights hotel room in Sa Pa.
· All meals as listed in day by day itinerary.
· Visiting fee and English speaking guide.
2 - Tour price excludes
· Meals not indicated in day by day itinerary.
· Drinks of any kind.
· Personal expenses and insurance.
3 – Hotel used in the trip
Standard hotels: Gold-Sea hotel; Fansipan-View hotel; Hoang Ha hotel; Pumpkin hotel.
4 – Things to bring
· Good trekking shoes
· Sun Block and wide brim hat
· Rain gear and warm clothes
· Insect repellent
· Original Passport
#14 smash has been a member since 21/6/2009. Posts: 162
Nah do it yourself mate... have a look at the hotel we are considering... just organise your tickets for the train ($14usd should be).. and then a hotel... the rest will sort itself out.. keep trying.. Vietnam is hard and frustrating to plan but you will get there with some patience and creativity!