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North Vietnam 10 night trip - mid June or wait for mid Sept?

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Broadbeach...
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North Vietnam 10 night trip - mid June or wait for mid Sept?

Hi - early planning stage - I have 10 nights:

Two ideas below:

Night 1 & 2: Hanoi

Night 3: Halong Bay (would like a 2 night cruise if time permits)

Night 4: o/n train to Sapa

Night 5: Sapa - would also consider an extra night here as well

Night 6: o/n train from Sapa

Night 7: Hanoi or out to Phong Nga homestay

Night 8: Hanoi

Extra night in each Sapa & Halong Bay would make up the 10 nights

Or do I keep the same until night 7 and fly to Da Nang & spend 2 or 3 nights in Hoi An fly back to Hanoi for 1 night and then out?

The other question is I am looking at travelling around the 10th of June or do I hold off until Sept - weather wise I don't want to travel to Sapa or Halong Bay and not see a thing!!

Plus we do want to spend some time shopping is Hanoi as good as Hoi An or vice a versa?

Thanks for any help you can give...

Kerrie

Pennsylvania, USA
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1. Re: North Vietnam 10 night trip - mid June or wait for mid Sept?

Hi Kerrie,

either of your possible dates are pretty similar. Its not ideal time of the year for a visit but its okay. For the north, I think April and October are ideal.

I strongly recommend you make the most of your time in Halong, Hanoi and Sapa and not try to rush to fit in an additional destination. A 3day/2 night cruise to Halong will give you a chance to see more remote and more beautiful parts of the bay. Plus the 2nd full day gives you a chance for a nice set of activities like cycling on Cat Ba island or kayaking through lagoons. Either June or September is good swimming weather, so you'll want to make sure you have plenty of time to enjoy the bay.

For Sapa, if you go in May you will see lush green terraced rice paddies. In September it will be more golden as it gets closer to harvest season.

Hoi An is known for getting clothes and shoes made. There are not a lot of fashions available, its more of getting things copied or made to your specifications. Hanoi has much more varied shopping opportunities. There are also lots of stores with designers that made their own very creative clothes. I prefer Hanoi shopping because of the variety, quality and prices.

Here are some Hanoi recommendations, including shopping recommendations:

www.personal.psu.edu/rxj9/Hanoi/Welcome.html

Broadbeach...
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2. Re: North Vietnam 10 night trip - mid June or wait for mid Sept?

Thanks so much I was hoping to get your feedback. I was trying to swing going in April but as my mum has to babysit the "grandkids" (dog, cat, fish & budgies) I only have a small window of opportunity -(5th to 16 April including flight times from Oz) I am also able to go late Oct so maybe I should wait until then.

They suggested I go to Hoi An or Hue but I felt it would be too rushed so happy to drop that.

So if I add an extra night cruising should I also add an extra night in Sapa or spend the extra night in Hanoi or head off to somewhere else near Hanoi Both my partner and I love local markets, crafty shopping & people watching and are happy to see more of less :-)

PS I have already read your article in full - its great. I also love the handbags so have already added to my must visit shops.

Edited: 26 February 2012, 20:53
Pennsylvania, USA
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3. Re: North Vietnam 10 night trip - mid June or wait for mid Sept?

You are very lucky to have a babysitter available. Our vacations revolve completely around the availability of our dog/koi/chicken sitters availability.

If you can swing late October or late April it will be great. The weather in the north is just ideal then!

So with 10 days:

Day1. Arrive

Day2. Hanoi ( shop, so there is enough time to get something made)

Day3 Depart for Halong

Day4 Halong Bay

Day5 return from Halong; night train to Sapa

Day6 arrive Lao Cai, arrange local market visit, to Sapa

Day7 Sapa, night train back to Hanoi

Day8 arrive Hanoi, recover, around Hanoi

Day9 Hanoi

Day10 depart

If you enjoy hiking and outdoors, then add another day to Sapa. Or add another day to Sapa if you'd like to visit another local ethnic minority market. Otherwise, give yourself plenty of time to enjoy Hanoi by not doing anything. Just sitting in a cafe and watching Hanoi life go by is a really nice way to spend time.

One of my favorite people watching places is the little outdoor balcony on the second floor of the Paris Deli on Nha Tho street around 3pm when the school around the corner lets out. This small street fills with parents on motorbikes waiting to pick up their kids and its really sweet chaos.

Hanoi, Vietnam
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4. Re: North Vietnam 10 night trip - mid June or wait for mid Sept?

From recommendation of Tecalli, I would suggest to stay 1 day more in Sapa and stay less 1 day in Ha Noi. You will spend 1 night in Sapa town and 1 night homestay in village of ethnic minority people. By this way, you will fully experience the trip in Sapa with market visit, trekking and homestay. Meanwhile, you still have enough time in Ha Noi.

Vancouver
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5. Re: North Vietnam 10 night trip - mid June or wait for mid Sept?

Feel free to check out this weather forcast link regarding North Vietnam.

www.vietnamtravelguide.com/weather.html

Seems like both June and Sept are in the midst of rainy season with June being hotter.Late October will see the rains clear up quite a bit, so I'm thinking it's the best option.

Cheers!

Edited: 26 February 2012, 23:27
Hanoi
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6. Re: North Vietnam 10 night trip - mid June or wait for mid Sept?

It is very hot in June as it is summer. September seems to be good for travel Hanoi, Halong and especially Sapa because visiting in this month you can do a trekking tour through terraced rice field in the harvest with turning from green to yellow of rice. It is so beautiful. From my side, I recommend you to stay in Sapa for 1 more night instead of staying in Hanoi. Maybe staying at homestay and hotel in there to explore Sapa.

Broadbeach...
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7. Re: North Vietnam 10 night trip - mid June or wait for mid Sept?

Thankyou to everyone for all your advice - just waiting to see if the babysitters can squeeze in the dates for April otherwise it will be Sept or Oct - after looking at the weather link provided by KevandJho I am curious that Sapa Sunshine you still suggest that Sept is a good time to travel. If it is harvesting time in Sapa in Sept will it be as scenic in Oct? Plus it does appear to still be quite rainy?

If the heat doesn't worry us we live in Qld after all should we still consider June as having lots of rain definately would?

I will definately add an extra night in Sapa and one less in Hanoi.

Thanks again all - looking forward to your help.

Edited: 26 February 2012, 23:50
leicester
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8. Re: North Vietnam 10 night trip - mid June or wait for mid Sept?

Weve been twice in September both to Hanoi and Sapa and both times can't say we had any problems. It was very humid, it rained occasionally but not for long and the fields were still green is Sapa mid September. Having never been at any other time Im not sure how it differs but going again this September . Last time there had been some flooding in the central parts but we still visited Hoi An and Hue without problem. One year we will go at a different time just to see the difference but in my opinion September is fine, just very hot and sticky.

Nha Trang, Vietnam
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9. Re: North Vietnam 10 night trip - mid June or wait for mid Sept?

Weather should be fine. September is a slower tourist period so you might want to take that into consideration. Here is a link to statistical rain and temperature weather charts that you can examine

owee58.com/2011/…

Owee

www.owee58.com

Broadbeach...
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10. Re: North Vietnam 10 night trip - mid June or wait for mid Sept?

Thanks all - it is now down to Sept or Oct - will it still be warm enough to swim at Halong in Oct? The weather graphs owee sent look like it is getting chilly.