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Prepare a trip

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My wife entrusted me to book a trip for 2 people during 3 weeks. We aim to visit two countries but we don’t know which ones (China-Vietnam, Vietnam-Laos), travel by ourselves (for bumming abound as our youth) and book something with a travel. Does anyone have some comments for my 2 ideas?

China-Vietnam
Shanghai – Kumming - Lao Cai – Sapa – Hanoi - Hoi An – Hue - Nha Trang - Saigon during 3 weeks, is it too much crammed?
Kumming – Lao Cai alone in train? I read old bad reports about this train. Is it better now? Is it easy to pass the boarder?

Vietnam-Laos
Why services in Laos are more expensive than Vietnam and others Indochina countries? http://www.kensingtontours.com/tours/asia/laos .
For example accommodations. Prices from local travel agencies are more competitive. It’s more flexible too, there are shorts trips like this: http://www.vietnamstay.travel/laos-tours/adventure-travel-laos.html .

To finish, there are some sea cruises in Vietnam? I mean a real sea cruise, not a local sampan?
Greeting,

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