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yestravel May 25th, 2011 05:29 AM

Suggestions for Vietnam Itin
We will be spending about 4 weeks in VN in February. This is part of a 2 month trip to SEAsia.

Please let me know what you think of the time allocation listed below. We are also looking to go one more place in VN for a couple days. Ideas for what to add would be appreciated.

Hanoi - 4 nights
Halong Bay 1 night
Rtn from Halong Bay & sleep in Hanoi
Sapa/ Hill country - 7 days traveling around
Hoi An - 3 days
Hue - 3 days
Saigon - 2 nights
Mekong Delta - 2 nights
Saigon 1 night

Thanks for your help!

rhkkmk May 25th, 2011 05:40 AM

i think it looks quite perfect... another day in hanoi might be worthwhile, especially if this is your arrival port and you are a bit tired

crellston May 25th, 2011 07:55 AM

Hi Yestravel. Looks pretty good to me. Dien Bien Phu loop from Hanoi Sapa is worth considering as is a stay in the Mai Chau valley along the way.

dgunbug May 25th, 2011 08:08 AM

I've copied below info regarding weather in February. Perhaps you should consider starting from the South and heading North. Also, it may be important to pre-book your reservations.

Vietnam weather in February

February is the in-between month of winter and spring in the North. Generally, Hanoi and Halong will be cool and sunny, except some chilly days brought to the whole region by enforced winter monsoon. It is still dry but little drizzle may make hiking and trekking in Sapa and Mai Chau rather difficult for some times. It is better to head to Sapa in later days of the month when it gets a bit warmer.

Hue and Hoian are stepping into the first month of dry season. Days are warmer and nights are still a bit cold. Da Lat, the year-round pleasant city of Vietnam, is experiencing the coolest time of year.

Ho Chi Minh city and Nha Trang are in the finest weather with crystal sunshine. This is the best month to visit the South of Vietnam, especially to take diving trips in Nha Trang.

note: this forcast for Vietnam weather in February was drawn from Feb previous years.


February is one of the finest months to tour around Vietnam. This is also the busiest holiday season of local people. They are traveling to visit pagodas for a lucky new year or just to entertain with spring festivals booming all over the country. Reservations are highly recommended for this month.

shelleyk May 25th, 2011 08:56 AM

I was in VN in late Feb. into mid March. When I asked Vietnamese travel agents about going to Sapa during this time frame I was told that the weather in Sapa would be cold, wet and misty and the hiking trails would probably be muddy. I guess trekking is possible under these conditions, but I just wanted to make sure you knew about the probability of cold and wet weather in Sapa. I don't know if the weather in Mai Chau would be much better than Sapa's, but it is a closer option to Hanoi than Sapa for trekking.

yestravel May 25th, 2011 11:38 AM

Thanks everyone!
crellston - "Dien Bien Phu loop from Hanoi Sapa is worth considering as is a stay in the Mai Chau valley along the way" plan on doing this

shelleyk & dgunbug -- weather could be a concern, but i'm not sure there is much we could do. The only ff tixs we could get have us returning from HCMC thus the start in Hanoi & end in HCMC. we'd be doing the trekking in mid Feb. Even if we flipped it, we would start the journey North at about the time we end it and go about 10 days or so later. Wonder how much a difference it would make?

crellston May 25th, 2011 11:23 PM

We did our trip to Sapa, Dien Bien Phu loop and Mai Chau in the first half of January. The weather was best described as "changeable". On arrival in Sapa we were huddled around a log fire at the Victoria looking out at the mist. Next day we were hiking in 75f and clear blue skies around the valley. They day after we were driving through the mountain passes in thick fog!. The rest of the trip, the weather was dry and reasonably clear with temperatures around 70f. All in all I think weatherwisew, this is a pretty good time to visit.

One important factor to consider is the Tet celebrations which in 2012 is on 23 Jan and thye celebrations will go on well into Feb.Wwe were there in 2008 over Tet and a lot of Hanoi was closed for business and travel was somewhat difficult for us throughout the month around Tet as the Vietnamese travel back to there home villages from the cities etc. Do make sure you get your travel arrangements booked well in advance.

yestravel May 26th, 2011 06:05 AM

Thanks, crellston -- appreciate the info. We are working now to figure out our itn and get our bookings

WillJame May 26th, 2011 06:23 AM

We spent four weeks in Vietnam this March--and were by no means prepared for the cold, wet weather in the north. (BTW, we're Canadians!) My advice is to do careful research and rethink your plans. Maybe it was an unusually bad year but we met a lot of disappointed travellers. Locals seemed to have the 'what did you expect?' attitude.
E.g., we had already decided against Sapa when we realized what the temps could be, but then our trip to Halong Bay was cancelled due to fog, while Hanoi was teeming with rain at 10 degrees celsius for several days (=miserable). We began and ended the trip in HCMC, and found that the only other spots that were comfortable were Nha Trang, Hoi An and Hue.
Unless our experience was really atypical, I'd recommend cutting down the time at Sapa and adding it to Saigon.
We had 3 nts Saigon, 8 nts Nha Trang, 7 nts Hanoi, 3 nts Hue, 4 nts Hoi An, and 1 nt Saigon. And, if you've seen the Mekong in say Cambodia (Tonle Sap) or Laos, or the Floating Market near Bangkok, then maybe a day trip there would be enough. It was for us.

sf7307 May 26th, 2011 10:02 AM

<<<Unless our experience was really atypical, I'd recommend cutting down the time at Sapa and adding it to Saigon.>>>

We also decided against Sapa because it would likely be too cold, however, I can't say I agree with adding more time to Saigon. Saigon doesn't have enough to see to warrant staying longer than a couple of days (IMHO of course). We were also in Vietnam March as you know, and it was definitely cooler in Hanoi/Halong Bay than we expected (our opinion of Halong Bay is "colored" by the cold), but not rainy and not uncomfortably cool in Hanoi - we carried light windbreakers with us instead of not needing jackets at all. I think it was an unusually cold year (we heard from someone else that they were on the Great Wall around the same time and near froze to death), so be prepared.

yestravel May 26th, 2011 11:00 AM

Duly noted...we will prepare ourselves for chilly or even cold & drizzly weather as a likely possibility. We really are interested in seeing that part of the country and don't know if we'll ever get back to that part of the world, so I think we want to visit it despite potential for lousy weather. Thanks for all the accounts of real life experiences...they are always better than reading the books and looking at averages.

morewierd May 26th, 2011 12:32 PM

You will LOVE Vietnam! We were there March 2005. Even in March, the temps were on the cool side in Hanoi....but still pleasant. My brother was there in Jan.2010 and part of Feb. & seemed to have OK weather, also starting north to south. He left the country before TET.

Definitely do a junk package in Halong Bay. A highlight of our trip....Could be 2 nights. We adored Saigon....and 4 nights would not be too long. IF you are in Saigon on a Sunday, a trip to the amusement park was another highlight of our Vietnam exploring.

glover May 26th, 2011 06:28 PM

We were prepared for worse weather in Vietnam in February than we had this year. In the last 3 weeks of Feb 2011 we had
mostly sweater or less weather (though often overcast) in Hanoi
(we were in and out of there several times - we loved Hanoi). We had 3 days of gray misty weather in Hue (not unusual we understood). We had 3 days of cool rainy weather in Sapa, and we had 3 perfectly beautiful sunny warm days in Hoi An (the last part of Feb.).

anhhh May 26th, 2011 09:27 PM

Good schedule. However, i may warn you that if you visit Vietnam in February, it's still winter in the north, leading to the terrible coldness that may affect your trip. Halong is said to be the most beautiful in the sunlight of summer, but i think it has different mysterious beauty in the fog. If you're a beach lover, i suggest you to visit Vietnam again in another summer to see Halong bay, Lang Co, Nha Trang, Mui Ne beach, etc. They are awesome and breath-taking.A very promising destination for many trips.

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