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Feedback on 8-day Northern Vietnam Itinerary

Vancouver, Canada
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Feedback on 8-day Northern Vietnam Itinerary

Hubby and I are travelling to Vietnam and Cambodia for 20 days. We are allocating 8 days towards Northern Vietnam and are struggling piece together the optimal itinerary. Would like to receive feedback from TA travellers whether the itinerary below is too aggressive. Flights are already booked so the total number of days is inflexible. However, the order in which we visit these cities is still flexible since hotels, trains, tours, etc are not yet booked. Travelling from Oct 12 to Oct 20:

Day 1 - flight in from YVR via HKG to HAN. Recover from jet lag and sleep.

Day 2, 3, 4 - Hanoi

Day 5 - tour of Halong Bay, overnight on junk boat

Day 6 - Halong Bay morning, return to Hanoi, go straight to train station for Sapa overnight train

Day 7 - arrive in Sapa, visit terraces, town, mini trek

Day 8 - Bac Ha Market morning and early PM, travel back to Sapa, sleeper train to Hanoi

Day 9 - arrive in Hanoi early AM, go straight to Noi Ba airport for flight to Danang (11:20am)

We are more into culture and food so the city appeals to us. However, are we missing out on Sapa or Halong by not giving either places enough time? Should one day in Hanoi be reallocated to Sapa? Halong Bay?

What should we be doing with luggage? Lug everything with us onto the Halong junk boat and sleeper train or entrust our baggage with a Hanoi hotel reception desk? Thoughts?

All feedback welcomed.

Thanks!

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1. Re: Feedback on 8-day Northern Vietnam Itinerary

A lot of people do Halong and Sapa like you. I think you have too much time for Hanoi given the time you have for Halong and Sapa so you may consider to have a less day in Hanoi and add a day in either Halong or Sapa. From Bac Ha, you will go to Lao Cai for the night train back to Hanoi without going back to Sapa.

With your luggage your Hanoi hotel will certainly take care of it for you but with you when you are away.

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Llanbrynmair...
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2. Re: Feedback on 8-day Northern Vietnam Itinerary

Sorry, but I have to disagree with hoangnguyen. Three days is the very least I would allocate to Hanoi, especially given your particular interests. It's a fascinating and unique city with masses of things to see and do.

Re your luggage, take only what will be needed for Halong Bay and Sapa and leave the rest at your Hanoi hotel for collection when you return. Cabins on Halong Bay cruises tend to be compact and train compartments are even more so.

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Eindhoven, The...
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3. Re: Feedback on 8-day Northern Vietnam Itinerary

The Itinerary looks good. You can shift 1 or 2 days upfront. Go to Halong bay day 3 or 4.

when came back from Sapa, you can decice to stay longer or not in Hanoi.

I did Bac ha market from Lao cai on the first day and went to Sapa.

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4. Re: Feedback on 8-day Northern Vietnam Itinerary

With only 20 days, I would leave out Cambodia - more than enough in Vietnam for a short 3 weeks. Regarding luggage - just don't bring much in the first place - this is a very casual place, and no one dresses to the hilt. Bring a pack and you'll thank me. Rushing around in Indochina is usually counterproductive!

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Vancouver, Canada
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5. Re: Feedback on 8-day Northern Vietnam Itinerary

Thank you all for the great feedback. We'll look into shifting one of our Hanoi days to the back of the itinerary and leaving from Bac Ha back to Hanoi, thereby bypassing Sa Pa altogether, is a great tip. We will keep the number of days in Hanoi the same. Seems like there is a lot to do and experience there and we'll rather miss out on scenery then street buzz.

Regarding luggage, we were planning on bringing our 50L MEC backpacks anyway; just that these packs come with detachable smaller 10L day packs, so we're unsure if we should detach the day packs and leave our main packs with the hotel or lug the entire set with us everywhere we go. Seems like leaving luggage for Halong or Sa Pa is common practice so we'll make it a game day decision to leave our main packs at the reception or take them entirely with us.

Much appreciated folks!

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6. Re: Feedback on 8-day Northern Vietnam Itinerary

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