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Central and North Vietnam questions - weather, logistics

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We're in the very early consideration of a trip but big picture at this point. When and how. Likely to commence arriving at the Danang airport to starting the visit focused on Hoi An, Hue, etc. From there, we'd either fly or take a train to Hanoi and spend the remainder somewhere close to there. Probably Halong Bay for an overnight.

What would be the best time of year for these areas, weather wise, so as to be the most temperate without living under umbrellas all day? Any caveats for choosing the best weather period? (such as, will also everything will be chock-a-block queues, lots of shops closed ala Europe, etc?) LP is rather unclear (at least their website is... curses, my travel library including LP Vietnam is boxed and buried at the moment)

And for travel between central and north - fly and get on with it? Or is the train a fairly pleasant/scenic way to go? Possible stops along the way or better just take an overnight?

Finally, if we have 3 weeks rather than two, would any weather advice change if we were to include a round trip deviation to Luang Phrabang? Another tangent we've been on is whether to revisit Hong Kong on the tail end.

Additional thought, though we're not yet at the "what to do, where to sleep phase", I never mind early thoughts to process. If anyone is so inclined to stray into those areas, be aware that we're a family of 3 with our six year old daughter among us. She's pretty patient and switched on to what's going on but she has her limits... especially at looking at old things behind glass. Interaction is good. Knowing what would suit her and give her something to look forward to is one of my upcoming projects. The name escapes me as to the cave where you're paddled upriver to get to it? She'd dig on that.

TMI above probably, but hate to have people spin their wheels due to too little info.

Any and all advice gratefully accepted.


ps, we have been to parts of SE Asia before - Thailand, Cambodia, Bali... but not Vietnam. So we kind of know what to expect, culture and tone of the trip wise.

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