Vietnam and Singapore OR Vietnam only?

Sep 24th, 2019, 06:20 AM
  #21  
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Join Date: Jun 2014
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Crellston - can you recommend group tours? Ninh Binh looks interesting but Mai Chau seems like a really small village so maybe for a day trip only.

CounterClifton - do you have your itinerary for Hanoi? And trips you did?

I was also thinking of Sapa but looks like November is not the time for it so ti won't be worth it to go all the way there.
Rana25 is offline  
Sep 24th, 2019, 07:15 AM
  #22  
 
Join Date: May 2004
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I would take a look at About Ethnic Travel | Ethnic Travel: insight into Vietnam we used them for some trekking from Mai Chau to Ninh Binh via Pu Long NP and the black river valley and they were very good. Some info and photos on our time in those places on our blog @ https://accidentalnomads.com/category/vietnam/ you need to scroll down to the end for entries re Ninh Binh and “Mountain Trekking “ you should be able to find something that appeals there, maybe even combining something with Ha Long or Bai Tu Long bay.

There is also some stuff on Hanoi in our blog

Ba Be Lakes are a bit further out and more remote. it was a long time ago but I think it took us around 7 hours to get there. very pretty though.

Mai Chau is a large valley area not just the small town of the same name. the town itself is unappealing but the main reason to visit the area is to get out into the minority white Thai villages. there are several very nice lodges out in the valley where I would be happy to spend a couple of days, so no need to rough it (unless you want to!)
crellston is offline  
Sep 24th, 2019, 08:21 AM
  #23  
 
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I traveled to Vietnam several years ago. For all of the details you can click on my username and read my full trip report, but here are some of my impressions of each city:

HCMC: We only stayed here overnight so I can't really comment too much. I didn't find anything I loved here, but we also didn't take much time to explore. We did take a tour out to the Cu Chi Tunnels, which was an interesting experience, but since you don't like war-related activities I wouldn't recommend this for you.

Hoi An: This was my favorite town in Vietnam. Yes it's touristy, but touristy places are often that way for a reason. I was there in November and we had one day of pouring rain - luckily the day we had scheduled for our cooking class - and one day of beautiful weather in which we took a bike tour and explored the shops and markets. I know there are beaches near by, but we didn't plan any beach time because we knew we would be visiting during the rainy season. I think three full days here would be perfect.

Hanoi: I really liked Hanoi. There are lots of different types of neighborhoods - from old neighborhoods with narrow winding streets to the upscale neighborhood that houses all of the embassies laid out among wide boulevards. There are lots of sites in Hanoi; you could easily fill several days here.

Bai Tu Long Bay cruise: We did a 2 day/1 night cruise. The weather, unfortunately, was cloudy so we didn't see the sparkling green water you see in all of the pictures, but the cruise was relaxing and the food was plentiful and very good.

Sapa: We had planned on doing an overnight home stay, but our plans changed, so we ended up just doing a day hike. It was worth it though! I loved being out in a more rural area. It was fairly chilly in November.

I had also read about Ninh Binh and would liked to have gone there, but we didn't have time in our itinerary.

With the amount of time you have, I've recommend Hanoi, Ning Binh, and Hoi An.
memejs is offline  
Sep 25th, 2019, 11:55 PM
  #24  
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Crellston - thank you for sharing your blog. I like how you've classified your trips, makes it easy to sort through. I've looked at Ninh Binh and will definitely use that. I might do Mai Chau as a day trip, but I definitely don't want to rough it lol

memjs - I fell in love with Hoi An from the pictures but it will be risky in November so I might wait until the last minute and if the weather is good I can go there. But like you suggested, Ninh Binh and Hanoi would be good.

Any recommendations for hotels in Ninh Binh? It seems like there are very few ones and mostly outside the city center. I don't bike and will probably not rent a car so I want something close to the attractions/transportation.

Thanks!

Last edited by Rana25; Sep 26th, 2019 at 12:40 AM.
Rana25 is offline  
Sep 29th, 2019, 10:22 PM
  #25  
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
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Vietnam is amazingly beautiful, with zillions of things to do and see. NO Hoi An in October, rainy season and, anyway, 1 day is far from enough. Hoi Chi Minh City is no big deal. I would do Hanoi, 2 days fabulous Halong Bay and go up to the northern mountains (Sapa - highest peak over the city 3100 m !) or Mai Chau, closer to Hanoi
Larsay is offline  
Sep 29th, 2019, 10:44 PM
  #26  
 
Join Date: May 2004
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Originally Posted by Rana25 View Post
Crellston - thank you for sharing your blog. I like how you've classified your trips, makes it easy to sort through. I've looked at Ninh Binh and will definitely use that. I might do Mai Chau as a day trip, but I definitely don't want to rough it lol

memjs - I fell in love with Hoi An from the pictures but it will be risky in November so I might wait until the last minute and if the weather is good I can go there. But like you suggested, Ninh Binh and Hanoi would be good.

Any recommendations for hotels in Ninh Binh? It seems like there are very few ones and mostly outside the city center. I don't bike and will probably not rent a car so I want something close to the attractions/transportation.

Thanks!
I would love to be able to recommend a hotel in Ninh Binh but sadly our hotel, in Tam Coc, whilst perfectly adequate was a bit of a concrete block and not one I would recommend! If I had my time there again, I would probably look at a nice homestay, maybe Nguyen Shack or similar.
Renting a car in Vietnam is a big no no anyway and, as you are only there for a short time, I would look at maybe a private tour. Many of the accommodations will be able to organise this for you. Alternatively you could arrange a tour in Hanoi. We used Ethnic Travel but there are many others. We rarely use tours and only really consider them when the travel logistics are too complicated or we are short on time. This tour could meet your needs: 4 days Halong Bay, Bai Tu Long Bay and Ninh Binh
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