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Vietnam has entirely too much to do. The usual quandary.

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And how/where did you spend your time?

We're patching together a rough itinerary for 19 days in Northern Vietnam in April. Myself, wife and our (soon to be) 8 year old daughter.

We're tentatively thinking three nights in Hanoi before a five day trip to Ha Giang. Then two more nights (maybe 3) in Hanoi, with one of those days being a long day out to Halong Bay and a foodie type side trip in the Red River Delta. Both outings probably will be with Ethnic Travel, though not looking to them for managing the whole trip. They seem to "get" how we like to do things even if we don't normally like having anyone do things for us.

Where we're up in the air is that we are expecting to take the train (etc) down to Hoi An where we'll unwind and eventually from whence we'll depart. We'd like to take in a couple stops on the way, probably nothing earthshatteringly unique. But it's a first and perhaps only trip to the area, so we'd like to take in a few things. Hue in particular seems to have a lot to offer but Ninh Binh area as well has a couple of those "feel you can't skip" things. The primate rescue center in Cuc Phuong seems very interesting and Tam Coc just looks... gorgeous, even if sort of touristy(?) . (I'm really up in the air about Tam Coc)

If it helps - I think we've got a fairly low tolerance for museums and monuments.(a few, of course). All of us are more food and atmosphere and a temple here and there types. Wanderers of interesting looking side streets. Sometimes chatterers with friendly strangers (We had a sit on the wall along the quay in Phnom Penh because we started feeling uncomfortably colonial sitting up above it all at the FCC bar... and ended up with a dozen plus people around us all in one big conversation. Much more fun.) So anyway, not as much proper sightseers as misplaced slackers.

So finally, to the point. Knowing we could always use time, I'm wondering what is a typical length of visit for Fodorite visitors to Hanoi. (and if you'd have any good advice for families with kids or if you saw anything else in the above that indicates basic wrongheadedness)

Thanks,
Cliff

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