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Another Request for Itinerary Help

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Hi - We are starting to plan a 6-week, post-retirement trip to SE Asia for next November and I would love some feedback on my initial ideas. I know that there are so, so many wonderful places to go there. But, this is our first (though, hopefully not our last) trip to that part of the world. We are most interested in hiking, photography and great food. We are not too interested in spending lots of times in cities. With those caveats, please comment on the following:

Arrive in Hanoi - spend 3 nights there
Halong Bay - 3 days/2nights cruise
Arrange transport from Halong directly to Ninh Binh and spend 3 nights there
Back in Hanoi for 1 night, then a 5 day/4night tour of NE Vietnam (Ha Giang area)
Return for 1 night in Hanoi, then fly to Siem Reap
5 nights in Siem Reap
Fly to Luang Prabang and spend 4 nights there
Take a mini-bus to Nong Kiaow, spend 3 nights there, then return by boat to Luang Prabang for one night.
Take the Shompoo Cruise to Huay Xai (2 days/1 night) then take private transport to Chiang Saen
Spend 5 nights in Northern Thailand (I've heard wonderful things about the Viang Yonek Hotel), then spend an additional 4 nights in Chiang Mai.
Finally, we would fly home from Chiang Mai.

This comes out to a 42 night trip. I've tried to limit the number of places so that we can spend more time doing, rather than traveling. Am I cutting out too much? Do you have any suggestions on how to add/subtract or generally re-arrange this?

Thanks so much.

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