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Sidetrips from Hanoi in January?

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Sydney, Australia
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Sidetrips from Hanoi in January?

Hi, we'll be in Hanoi for 10 days in January, and plan to spend at least 5 days in Hanoi itself, but are also interested in exploring the area around Hanoi. We had planned a 3 day trip on Howlong Bay, but are having second thoughts. The craft villages sound great, and we are most interested in nature and seeing the people and culture of the area. I had thought perhaps of a personalised tour for several days, staying in a few places outside the city, getting off the tourist track if possible (the latter was what has put me off Howlong Bay, as well as the extended travel time just to get there). Any and all suggestions greatly appreciated!!

Sydney, Australia
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1. Re: Sidetrips from Hanoi in January?

Sorry - typo - Halong Bay!!

Hanoi, Vietnam
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2. Re: Sidetrips from Hanoi in January?

Hi,

There are hundreds of craft villages around Hanoi and neighboring provinces.

- Rattan and bamboo crafts for exports: Phu Xuyen district, Hanoi

- Horn Handicraft villages in Binh Luc district, Ha Nam province

- Incense making in Bac Ninh province, etc

You can take a day trip there and get back. Or have a homestay there. All these provinces are within short distance from Hanoi.

Definitely you can still enjoy some days in Hanoi, and some days in Bai Tu Long bay (off the beaten path) too.

Good luck

Matthew Duong

Sydney, Australia
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3. Re: Sidetrips from Hanoi in January?

Thanks Matthew-Duong - I have heard some fearful comments about January weather in Hanoi, but I gather that in general the temps are about 16c in the daytime, and that it's not a very rainy time of year. If I wanted to avoid the crush of tourism would it be best to avoid Halong Bay, or is it so lovely that it really should be seen despite the hordes?

Hanoi, Vietnam
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4. Re: Sidetrips from Hanoi in January?

Hi there !

It will be very cold in January in the North of Vietnam so keep in your mind about this for trip to Ha Long.

If you are interested in culture, custom and daily life of local people in the countryside of Vietnam, you should definitely take Duong Lam tour . Also you could visit some traditional craft villages around there such as Son Dong traditional sculpture village, Van Phuc Silk village and handmade embroidery products .... And not so many tourist know about some these villages when they visit Hanoi. All this places are outside Hanoi center, getting off the tourist track, indeed .

Good luck !

Janeee!

Hanoi, Vietnam
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5. Re: Sidetrips from Hanoi in January?

Hi,

If you wanna get off the tourist track, you can still do Bai Tu Long bay for 3 days, 2 nights. Bai Tu Long bay is the extention of Halong bay with quite the same scenery. Not many cruises are allowed to go to this area, so there are not many tourists there. Atmosphere is quieter and water is cleaner.

Sapa is the best place for sight seeing and blending with the locals. You will trekk through mountainous tribal villages in Sapa and can visit local colorful markets of many minor ethnic groups.

I would recommend to spend 6 days in Hanoi, one for city tour including Bat Trang pottery village, 3 days for Bai Tu Long bay and 2 days for Sapa.

Hope this helps and have a nice day!

Halong Bay Legends Travel!

Hanoi, Vietnam
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6. Re: Sidetrips from Hanoi in January?

Hi,

It seems you are a first time traveler to Halong bay, then I suggest you visit it despite the peak season. However take a cruise to Lan Ha Bay which is the further to the east of Halong bay, as the area is less visited by tourists. You MUST see it to like it, although it is cold and no chance for kayaking/swimming.

Matthew Duong

Sydney, Australia
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7. Re: Sidetrips from Hanoi in January?

Thanks very much all of you!! I will research all your advice and post again if (when!) I have more questions. It was very kind of you to help.

Ho Chi Minh City...
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8. Re: Sidetrips from Hanoi in January?

There are so many tours that you can do of the surrounding areas of Hanoi - I find that some of the best are actually bicycle tours that take you around the local countryside. It's really easy to just book these when you arrive in Hanoi from a local tour operator.

However, I wouldn't dismiss HaLong Bay completely - it really is worth seeing! The last time I experienced it was through a private day trip organised by the 'Ruby Elegance' Hotel (Old Quarter). Many people dismiss the day trips, thinking it is too far to travel, but this private tour offered everything I could've wanted - a perfect insight into the natural beauty of the bay, without taking up a chunk of my holiday time. I really would recommend going to see HaLong Bay at some point.

Hope this helps!

http://cokerri.wordpress.com

Pennsylvania, USA
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9. Re: Sidetrips from Hanoi in January?

Regardless of weather Halong Bay is beautiful. Actually, I really like it with a light rain/mist. The only issue is some activities cant be done in Jan (swimming/kayaking). Therefore, look into a company that offers other options that you can do in January, like cycling on Cat Ba island for example. The inside of any of the better junks will be well heated and really, you cant beat just sitting and looking at the scenery.

Here's my list of things to do inside and outside Hanoi: …psu.edu/faculty/…Sightseeing.html

London, Canada
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10. Re: Sidetrips from Hanoi in January?

Halong Bay and Sapa would be my recommendations if you are looking to do a 2-3 day trip outside of Hanoi. They are both very different experiences in the winter compared to the summer, but the cold and fogginess can add a great sense of mystery to the ancient stories and history of these areas. The Van Phuc silk village is great for a half-day, and you can pick up tons of gifts to bring home for people at great prices here.

Do be prepared that cold in North Vietnam is not like the cold in other countries. It is a damp cold and buildings are not made for central heating, and so do be prepared with several layers and warm clothes.