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Vietnam Itinerary recommendation/opinion


May 2nd, 2012, 10:42 AM
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Vietnam Itinerary recommendation/opinion

I have posted before that I am taking my 10 year old adopted daughter back to Vietnam and appreciate the great responses. My plan was to not have to fly again once we landed. My proposed itinerary is:
Hanoi - about a week
Mai chau (home stay and biking)
Ninh Binh (boat ride and biking)
Halong (on boat) kayaking
Cat Ba Island.
Sapa - few days with home stay
Back to Hanoi

I have also been recommended to see Hue and/or Nha Trang/Dalat and they sound great too.
My questions are:
1. Is this itinerary too redundant in terms of types of places?
2. Are either Hue or Nha Trang/Dalat so wonderful that they are worth flying to? If so, which place is preferred/recommended? Which parts of the proposed itinerary would be eliminated to see them.

Thank you experienced travelers for your insights.
juliasmom is offline  
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May 2nd, 2012, 11:41 AM
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Hue is nice - a great place for biking around teh Imperial Tombs/City - (more intersting than it sounds!). Nha Trang is a very busy seaside resort but apart from the diving nor really worth a special trip.

Mai chau is a great palce and we had a wondeful time in a homestay there. Exceedingly hospitable people and great countryside scenery.

Dalat is a hill resort and v.poular with the Vietnamese tourists in si=ummer as it is a lot cooler than the coast.

Sapa and its evirons are great particualrly as you are looking at a homestay but the Sunday market is best avoided. You could arrnge to travel back to Hanoi via Dien Bien Phu Son La etc which is renowned in Vietnamese history as the place where teh Vietnamese finally rid themselves of French colonialism. It is quite a long trip but takes you through some great scenery and is a good way of getting to Mai Chau.

Personally, I didn't care for halong or Cat Ba but I know others really like the place.

No Saigon??
crellston is online now  
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May 2nd, 2012, 12:05 PM
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I rather like you approach of all of your time in the north. There is plenty to do and see to keep you occupied and interested. The north will also be cooler - HCMC will be HOT in the summer.

While you can always argue for adding more locations, my experience is that less is more. With your idea of not flying again until you leave VN, this is an excellent itinerary.

As crellston says, people feel differently about Halong Bay/Cat Ba Read as much as you can and see whetehr you think you and your daughter will enjoy it.
Kathie is offline  
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May 2nd, 2012, 09:46 PM
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I think that you should skip Cat Ba island. It is over crowded, tourist that is just suitable for Vietnamese.
If you have much time, you can experience all destinations as in your proposal. But should try to visit Van Phuc silk village on the way come back from Mai Chau? it is about 10km far from the centre of Hanoi where you can observe how locals make silk by hand and machine and can buy many nice silks in cheap price.

And for Sapa, donot miss Bac Ha market that is opened on every Sundays, the biggest ethnic market in the North. Even you can take a boat trip in Chay river there. really nice landscape. I did it and really like it.

I am not interested in Nha Trang or Dalat as Crellston said. Why u donot try Hue or Danang?

How about the South of Vietnam? if you loves beach, can fly from Hanoi to Con Dao island or experience Mekong cruise.

Hope you and ur daughter have a nice trip,

vuhaiha is offline  
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May 3rd, 2012, 06:25 AM
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I think your plan is excellent. The only place on your list I haven't been to is Cat Ba so I can't comment on that. Mai Chau, Halong Bay, Ninh Binh, Sapa, and Hanoi will be full of interest and adventure for you both. Kayaking in Halong Bay is special.

I really enjoyed Dalat--a different feeling up there in the hills among the coffee and tea farms, and quite lovely--and Nha Trang was fun for the beach (big waves!) and boating to islands in the bay, but I don't think they are musts for you if you don't want to make internal flights. You'll have a great time concentrating on your chosen itinerary.
aprillilacs is offline  
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May 3rd, 2012, 07:02 AM
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I like your plan and focusing on the North is good. We did the route that crellston mentions going from Mai Chau, which is wonderful, to Sapa. It is a beautiful and very interesting drive. We took 4 days for the drive and it was a long drive each day albeit with much stopping and not sure how that would work with a 10 year old.

I enjoyed Halong Bay, but others are underwhelmed with it. Its a 4 hour, boring drive, but worth it to me to c the karst formations. The kayaking would be fun for your daughter.

Hue is a very interesting town and worth a visit. Hoi An is a charming little town and lots of people enjoy the beach there. Other than the Cham museum in Danang, I didn't see much to Danang.

Have a great trip!
yestravel is offline  
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May 4th, 2012, 08:11 AM
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Thanks to everyone for your great ideas and feedback.
Julia's Mom
juliasmom is offline  
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May 6th, 2012, 02:44 PM
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I like the idea that you are taking it slowly, but I think you might want to consider shaving off some time in Hanoi. While it was one of my favorite cities, I think that five-6 days would be more than enough. I would not miss the Sunday market in bac ha. It was one of our favorite experiences. I agree that the ride to Halong bay was excruciatingly long, but I was happy to have gone there. I'm not sure I would do cat ba island, but I can't speak from experience as I did not go there. I do recommend a combination of hue and hoi an, both very different but equally interesting. The imperial tombs fascinated us and hoi an is just a charming town. The flight to danang was easy and reasonably priced. Hoi an is only 1/2 hr away. You can either drive or take a train to hue and then fly back from hue to hanoi for your return flight home.
dgunbug is offline  
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May 17th, 2012, 09:40 AM
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I am Vietnamese, i live in Saigon, but i like Hoian, it's a great place!
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