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Vietnam - Questions

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We have flights booked for Vietnam. Into Hanoi and out of Saigon. We arrive on the 19th of March (around noon) and leave late (almost midnight) on the 28th. We are hoping for thoughts as to how to spend the time. Yes, we would like more time too, but this is the trip for now and our first trip to Vietnam. We don't want to see the entire country, but would like to get some feel for it.

- How much time do we spend in Hanoi? When you look at guidebook itineraries, it seems like an afterthought. Is it truly just a stopover?

- Halong Bay... Is this truly a must? Everything seems to suggest it is, but how many nights should we devote to it?

- Beaches... We do want some beach time. We have zeroed in on the Banyan Tree Lang Co. Thoughts? Our idea is that it allows us to see both Hoi An and Hue while still giving us some beach time. If someone tells me Amanoi, Six Senses Ninh Van Bay or Six Sense Con Dao is materially better, I'd listen.

-Saigon. The Park Hyatt is booked, so there goes our first and second and third choice. Any other suggestions?

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