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North Vietnam and Laos Itinerary

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It has been ages since I posted on Fodors, and I owe a number of trip reports, but in the meantime, I'm hoping I can get some advice on a 10-day North Vietnam/Laos itinerary. I am traveling with a friend in late October/early November, and we're using Tonkin Travel to assist. Here's what we have:

4 nights Hanoi
2 nights Halong Bay
4 nights Luang Prabang

We decided to stick with North Vietnam/Laos due to concerns re the weather in Hoi An and Hue during that time of year, and I also have a strong interest in visiting Luang Prabang.

My friend is set on a 2-night Halong Bay cruise rather than just one, so that's non-negotiable. Tonkin has suggested a day trip to Ninh Binh during our time in Hanoi, which looks lovely. So my question is whether we should alter anything to spend 1 night in Mai Chau. Also, anything else you would change given our limited time and the time of year we are traveling?

Thanks in advance for your input. I have received a lot of great advice here over the years.

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