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In December/January 2013 - Laos or North Vietnam ?

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Munich, Germany
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In December/January 2013 - Laos or North Vietnam ?

Our family will be for 17 days in Hong Kong, a place which we know pretty well. My husband and I love nature and would like to travel with our both kids for a maximum of 9 days in SE Asia. Have been struggling between Vietnam and Laos. We will be flying in from Hong Kong. How is the weather at the time when we travel ? Is the climate in Laos better than Northern/middle Vietnam ?

Am grateful for advice !

Munich, Germany
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1. Re: In December/January 2013 - Laos or North Vietnam ?

Correction: the time is December 2013/January 2014, practically during the school holidays.

Llanbrynmair...
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2. Re: In December/January 2013 - Laos or North Vietnam ?

Well, in both northern/central Vietnam and Laos it will be winter, so certainly not hot. The rest will be down to sheer luck as the weather really is unpredictable at that time of year.

Both countries have a lot to offer and nine days is a very short time, so really it's a question of pinpointing your priorities in terms of what you want from a visit to either place.

Munich, Germany
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3. Re: In December/January 2013 - Laos or North Vietnam ?

For Laos, my target will be only Luang Prabang and perhaps day trips from LP. Everybody on TA says that December is good weather. Whereas I heard that December/January will be quite cold (due to the high humidity) in North Vietnam, though it may have more to offer. I do not intend to go to many places, just a few points to see the nature, which my be quite different from where we are living.

Wanaka, New Zealand
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4. Re: In December/January 2013 - Laos or North Vietnam ?

We are doing both in Dec/Jan 2013/14 also. I think it would depend what you are intererested in doing and seeing. We are visiting Halong Bay and Hanoi in North Vietnam (flying in from Hong Kong) and in Laos will visit Luang Prabang and Luang Namtha - doing some trekking in the latter. I would look at both areas and make lists of what interests you and see which appeals more. I imagine that the weather will be much the same and like someone said, it depends on the luck of the draw at the time.

Los Angeles...
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5. Re: In December/January 2013 - Laos or North Vietnam ?

I presume family means children? Depending on their age or ages, they may find LP boring compared to Hanoi. Weather should be good in both locations in January but yes cool maybe in December. Perhaps bring sweaters or light jackets. Probably more to do and see in Hanoi or better yet Danang or Nha Trang if you afford the time of diversion and cost.

Richard

Ho Chi Minh City...
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6. Re: In December/January 2013 - Laos or North Vietnam ?

South Vietnam is warm year round. With 9 days, you should stick with one region only and this region is ideal given the weather conditions.

Sydney, Australia
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7. Re: In December/January 2013 - Laos or North Vietnam ?

Same idea with Richard G, it is winter in both of Vietnam and Laos but Hanoi is more interesting than LP, moreover, from Hanoi , transfer to Halong bay, amazing landscape and sure that your children like this very much. if you prefer, it is enough time to visit Laos for 3-4 days.

Munich, Germany
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8. Re: In December/January 2013 - Laos or North Vietnam ?

Thank you Francesco and Richard. I previously abandoned the idea of North Vietnam in December as I read some reviews on TA that it will be humid and cold. Then I was recommended to check Luang Prabang. At the end, it seems that both North Vietnam and Luang Prabang are more or less at the same altitude. My thought is that go to Laos for 7 days in December, and go to Vietnam during 2014's Easter Holidays, then I can have maximum 2 weeks for Vietnam from North, middle to south. This way, I also maximise the value of the visa to Vietnam.

On the other hand, you are right. I also found North Vietnam more interesting than Laos. Can't decide. Any advice ?

Oswestry, United...
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9. Re: In December/January 2013 - Laos or North Vietnam ?

I've been to HaNoi 3 times in Dec/Jan and the weather has always been good. About 20oC in the daytime and no rain (not when we were there anyway), much more pleasant than in the far south of VietNam which is always very hot (32oC) all year. The only problem is in the higher mountain areas in North Vietnam where it can be very cold (snow even!) and very foggy in winter. I once visited Laos for 10 days in Dec and it was also pleasant and dry everywhere.

Oswestry, United...
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10. Re: In December/January 2013 - Laos or North Vietnam ?

I've been to HaNoi 3 times in Dec/Jan and the weather has always been good. About 20oC in the daytime and no rain (not when we were there anyway), much more pleasant than in the far south of VietNam which is always very hot (32oC) all year. The only problem is in the higher mountain areas in North Vietnam where it can be very cold (snow even!) and very foggy in winter. I once visited Laos for 10 days in Dec and it was also pleasant and dry everywhere.