I will only be in northern Vietnam for about a week and a half this coming January, but would really like to get up to Sapa for a couple of days. Is it worth it for that amount of time? I am thinking of taking the overnight train from Hanoi, spending the next day/night and following day there, then taking the overnight train back to Hanoi. Any suggestions? Is it possible to get any sleep on the train? Are there safety concerns?
#1 lesleyvr has been a member since 7/10/2006. Posts: 16
Further input on my post above- in my week and a half in Vietnam, I'm planning on only being in Hanoi-area, halong Bay, and Sapa
What is the weather likely to be like in Northern Vietnam in January? Am I likely to hit cold, foggy, rainy weather in Sapa that time of year?
Any comments or suggestions are greatly appreciated.....
#2 lesleyvr has been a member since 7/10/2006. Posts: 16
Is it worth it for that amount of time?
Yes. many people only visit for a couple of days
Overnight train each way is popular, safe and reliable. I can sleepanywhere, so I'm not the best one to ask, but I've heard very few complaints of people not being able to sleep.
Will be cold, take something warm for Sapa (or buy a fleece in Hanoi). You'll get some rain and mist, but don't let that discourage you.
We've got a researcher in Ha Long Bay at the moment who has just finished doing his third Ha Long Bay tour -- keep an eye for updates on the site as we'll be running a story soon on how to pick the right tour.
Hope that helps!
#3 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,770
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Very helpful! Thanks!
#4 lesleyvr has been a member since 7/10/2006. Posts: 16
Concur that Sapa can be done in a couple of days. We were there in July with the weather (and the A/C train) stinking hot. A family member was there in March two years ago and enjoyed the visit, however did not know to buy heat for her room nor did bring enough woolly clothes. In January make sure to bring some boots good for hiking on slippery ground and warm clothes!
For trekking around, we took a Handspan tour and were impressed with our guide for the 2 days of hiking, but not with the other Handspan arrangements (highest prices and not well organized). My advice for Sapa would be to make it there on your own, then hire a guide in town for a day or two of hiking. It's easy to find a ride from the train in Lao Cai up to Sapa town - lots of minivans going in the am when the train arrives.
We also visited Halong Bay with Handspan - again, would be better to just book a bay cruise on your own. We went with Dragon's Pearl Junks and were happy with the food and accommodations on the boat. Not sure what the weather would be like out there in winter, but probably not steamy.
#5 ryanssmith has been a member since 15/10/2006. Posts: 5