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The North

Los Angeles...
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The North

For our next trip, we plan to travel and explore in and around Dong Hoi, Phong Nha, and Ninh Binh for several days. Having never been to any of these places, we are stuck in trying to determine what might be an appropriate number of days at each location.

I was thinking a couple days in Dong Hoi might be nice before spending four days in Phong Nha. It would also break up the train ride from Da Nang. After that, I'm contemplating three nights in Ninh Binh before moving on to Ha Noi. We have no time constraints, and language presents no problem. Thanks in advance of any responses. Regards,

Richard

Llanbrynmair...
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1. Re: The North

For Ninh Binh you could go with what I suggested in your other thread on the subject (post no. 7):

tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTopic-g293921-i8432-k7…

Four nights would give you three full days in the area (long enough to visit all the attractions), plus some leisure time on your arrival and departure days.

Los Angeles...
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2. Re: The North

Creaking,

Sorry for the redundancy. I know how we'll get there (by train mostly) and I have picked out the lodgings. With 10 days between the three places, I suppose one day more less or between Phong Nha and Ninh Binh will not make that much difference. Regards.

Richard

Sydney
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3. Re: The North

Richard

We have just returned from Ninh binh and it was an experience we will never forget. NB does not get many travelers and I don't get it. It is a beautiful small city , the locals are amazingly friendly and the local cuisine is to die for. We noticed that the majority of tourists at the main sites were day trippers from Hanoi. My travel buddies could not believe that the day trippers would not stay for at least a night in one of the best places that we have visited in Vn. Maybe 8 hours in a bus and a couple of hours visiting ticks their boxes.

Richard, the majestic scenery here should not be missed and I thank CB for her guidance.

We arrived in PQ today to finish our Vn trip and the conversation over a beer keeps returning to NB.

Good luck with your planning.

Oh , by the way we stayed st the Ngoc anh 2 hotel in NB after reading reviews and it was awesome. Location and room size were perfect and the manager Phuong was a wealth of knowledge.

Mark

Llanbrynmair...
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4. Re: The North

NB is a rather special innit Mark!

Is Phuong at the Ngoc Anh 2 Hotel the guy who used to be a ranger at Cuc Phuong National Park? If so, I met him a couple of years ago at the Ngoc Anh 1 and was struck by just how nice he was. Genuinely nice, rather than it's-my-job nice.

Sydney
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5. Re: The North

Hey CB

Yes it's the very same Phuong. Very efficient and great sense of humour. The new Ngoc anh hotel is amazing. Biggest and cleanest room that I have had in Vn, and for under $30, great value.

Mark

Sydney
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6. Re: The North

Richard

I would suggest at least 2 days to take in Hoa lu, Trang an, (or Tam coc) Kenh ga fishing village and Van long national park. Cuc phuong is a lot further and will need a whole day minimum I believe, but we did not have time to go there. Maybe next time :-)

Mark

Los Angeles...
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7. Re: The North

Creaking and Mark, Thanks for the excellent information! Sorry for the other sort of redundant thread. At my age, you can't remember what you posted five minutes ago! Anyway, I think I will be cutting my annual stay in Nha Trang by a few days so I can spend more time in and around Phong Nha and Ninh Binh. I've penciled in the Ngoc Anh 2 for contact and reservations later (many hotels say it's too early to book).

It looks like a beautiful area, and I hope the weather is good toward the end of March. Regards,

Richard

Llanbrynmair...
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8. Re: The North

Richard, be sure to include Bai Dinh Pagoda in your NB itinerary. The new temple complex is pleasing to the eye, while the interior of the main temple is wonderfully, gloriously, spectacularly over the top!

I'm not sure what the very tall, thin pagoda is all about because it wasn't completed when I was last there, but I wouldn't mind betting that bling and at least a modicum of kitsch will feature.

The best time to be there is late afternoon as the sun sinks towards the horizon, when the buildings and surroundings become bathed in gold. On a clear day that is.

Los Angeles...
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9. Re: The North

Creaking,

Bai Dinh Pagoda. Go it - thanks! Regards,

Richard

leicester
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10. Re: The North

Four days in Phong Nha sounds about right. One day to find your feet, one day to do the Paradise Cave tour, one day to get over it (!!!) and a last day to cycle out and meet the locals. We had 3 nights but would happily have stayed for longer. The Farmstay there is a great place for chilling out and meeting interesting people of all ages from all walks of life.