Vietnam in February for 8 nights

Old Aug 3rd, 2016, 05:11 AM
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Vietnam in February for 8 nights

Hello Fodorites!

I am planning an 8 night trip to Vietnam in mid February and need some help. I would like to see a couple of cities but I do not intend on jumping city to city for only 8 nights. I am also getting mixed reviews with the weather at this time. According to websites, it seems a little brisk but not toooo cold, however forums have stated it's very cold. I have two potential itineraries and need help with which one is more logical:

Day 1 - Arrive in Hanoi early am
Day 2- Hanoi
Day 3- cruise around Ha Long
Day 4- cruise around Ha Long
Day 5 - Hanoi
Day 6 - full day trip out of Hanoi
Day 7 - full day trip out of Hanoi
Day 8 - Hanoi
Day 9 - fly out of Hanoi
Or...
Day 1 - Arrive in Hanoi early am
Day 2- Hanoi
Day 3- cruise around Ha Long
Day 4- cruise around Ha Long
Day 5 - Hanoi
Day 6 - Hanoi day time/mid day fly out to HCM
Day 7 - HCM
Day 8 - HCM
Day 9 - fly out of HCM

I am also completely open to not going to HCM and going to another city instead!

Many thanks forum!
SMfeldman is offline  
Old Aug 3rd, 2016, 06:59 AM
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Use a weather site to tell you abut the temperatures. I use weatherbase.com

The problem with people's posts online about weather is that you don't know the person's frame of reference. For someone from the tropics, i expect the average high temp in Hanoi in February of 66 F might feel very cold. For me, that sounds like a perfect temp! And there is very little rain at that time of the year.

For this first trip, I think it makes sense to skip HCMC. But you have two full days designated for Halong Bay (and don't forget it's a long drive, perhaps 6 hours each way). If you leave for Halong Bay on Day 3 and return on Day 5, you've only had one full day in Hanoi. Then you plan to do a day trip outside of Hanoi for the next two days, so you would have a total of only two full days in Hanoi - Day 2 and Day 8. Personally, I don't think that is enough time in Hanoi. My first trip there I spent a week in the Hanoi area, with just one day trip outside the city, so I had 5 full days in Hanoi. That was the right amount of time for me.

I wouldn't spend that much time in Halong Bay, though some people love it. It is likely to be cool and misty there - you won't want to swim in the bay even if there isn't too much garbage (which has been a chronic component for at least a decade or two).

Hanoi is a fascinating city. Do give it enough time.
Kathie is offline  
Old Aug 3rd, 2016, 08:19 AM
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A good tour company website for Vietnam is http://www.selectiveasia.com/vietnam...ather/february

Like Kathie, I am not a great fan of Halong Bay and in February it is likely to be a little cold and damp. It is undoubtedly one of Vietnams most iconic sights but only you can decide whether the 5 hour drive each way is worth it in the time you have.

I agree that it doesn't make a lot of sense to include HCMC in the time you have (unless you exclude Halong) although it is one of my favourite cities in Asia.

Hue could be a nice alternative, two full days would allow you to explore the citadel and the Imperial Tombs etc. but, if you want to include Halong Bay, I would just stay in Hanoi.

We spent several months in Vietnam last year. Some photos etc. on our blog of that trip. Haven't yet got around to the Halong Bay entry!
https://accidentalnomads.com/category/vietnam/


Not sure what day trips you have planned from Hanoi ( Perfumed Pagoda and Mai Chau maybe?) but there is a huge amount to see actually within the city and you could easily fill your time without leaving the city.

Of the two itineraries, I think the first is the most viable. If you did want to forego Halong Bay, Ninh Binh makes a nice alternative - sometimes described as Halong on land.
crellston is offline  
Old Aug 3rd, 2016, 11:56 AM
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I visited Vietnam in Feb 2015, the weather is fine at the time of the year, not cold at all.

I suggest you should not skip HCMC. You can spare 2-3 days for this city, get a hotel near Ben Thanh market and get two day tours (Cu Chi Tunnels and Floating market - both of these cost me just $32).
wesshere is offline  
Old Aug 3rd, 2016, 10:49 PM
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Visiting in February 2017. We're not bothered with following the masses, so Sapa and Halong Bay are off the menu. Other interesting places in the north might be a bit weather dependent, so we're keeping it fairly simple

Flying in to Hanoi from Bangkok with NOK Air. Will have spent 4 nights in Bangkok [New Siam Palace View], and 3 nights in Kanchanaburi [Sky Resort].

- 5 nights in Hanoi [Hanoi 3B Homestay]. Our first time in Hanoi, so want to enjoy the experience at a leisurely pace.

- 5 nights in Quy Nhon. Fly there and back with Vietjet. Quy Nhon is south of Hoi An, and as yet isn't overun by tourism.

- 4 nights Hanoi. Then fly back to Bangkok.

We had a month in south and central Vietnam last September [Saigon, Dalat, Danang, Hue, Hoi An, Saigon].

Can't see much point in rushing around. Keep it simple, and soak the place up.
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Old Aug 4th, 2016, 09:30 AM
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Thank you for the feedback! We are very interested in seeing Halong Bay. I was thinking of taking the tour with Indochina Junk. Which has received excellent ratings. They also have a 3 day, 2 night instead of a 2 day, 1 night. Would this make more sense since the drive each way from Hanoi is 5 hours. Has anyone heard if the extra day is worth it? If we do a 3 day it will make more sense to only stay around Hanoi and not go to HCM.

Regarding HCM, it seems like there are mainly war memorial sites. Since this is our first time there, we are more interested in culture, history, religion, Vietnamese historical places, the arts, etc. It seems as Hanoi/potential day trips out of Hanoi have more to offer in this sense then HCM. Am I mistaken?
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Old Aug 4th, 2016, 09:37 AM
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People feel as differently about the 2 nights vs. the one night on the junk in Halong Bay as they do about Halong Bay. Some people felt it was a waste of time - you see the same things both days (some companies just run you on the same tour two days in a row). Others feel it is great to have two nights on the junk.

Even if you don't go to HCMC, you don't have enough time to explore Hanoi. I would not say that HCMC has only war memorial sites. Not at all. Both cities have plenty to offer in terms of culture and history. Your task is to decide what you would enjoy the most and cut other things out of your itinerary. Expect that you will be back in the part of the world again.

Personally, I'd choose just one day trip out of Hanoi.
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Old Aug 6th, 2016, 08:53 AM
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I suggest to stay only in Hanoi, not because Hochiminh city is only about war stories (Mekong Delta is so peaceful with amazing floating market) but because your time in Vietnam is just few days after Vietnam New Year, and festivals in villages around Hanoi are alot, and just staying around there and you will enjoy the atmosphere and see the real life of Vietmamese.

A bit change I suggest is to do some touring around first before jumping on Halong 3days, so it is like a reward for your "hard-working" discovery days around
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Old Aug 8th, 2016, 05:08 AM
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Thank you all! So I will stay in Hanoi and do Ha Long Bay! I intend on coming back to Vietnam and will do the other cities in a deserving way, rather then rush it. So my plan is:

5 days in Hanoi
3 days, 2 nights in Ha Long Bay.

Should I do a day trip out of Hanoi for a day? Or should we just stick to Hanoi the whole time?
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Old Aug 8th, 2016, 07:12 AM
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Wait until you are in Hanoi to decide. There is plenty to see and do to keep you occupied for the time you have designated for Hanoi. And there is no need to book a day trip before you leave for your trip. Besides, it is much less expensive to book "on the ground" rather than booking ahead of time on the internet.
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Old Aug 8th, 2016, 02:38 PM
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5 days is a decent amount of time for Hanoi and you could easily spend all that time in the city. Some nice trips out include the Perfume Pagoda and the Mai Chau valley. Both quite long days.

Most museums are closed on Mondays so that may make a good day for a trip out of the city. They also seem to close for lunch so organise your sightseeing with that in mind. The Monday closing may change so do check nearer the time.

Totally agree with Kathie re booking whilst there. You hotel is a good place to start. They will almost certainly get a commission for arranging trips but have a vested interested in keeping their guests happy. They expect you to negotiate so don't necessarily accept the first price offered.
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