We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

7 days packed tour Hanoi/Halong Bay/Nihn Binh & Sapa

Which Hanoi hotels are on sale?
dd/mm/yyyy dd/mm/yyyy
See hotels
Singapore
Level Contributor
38 posts
4 reviews
Save Topic
7 days packed tour Hanoi/Halong Bay/Nihn Binh & Sapa

I am planning a trip of around 7 - 8 days to Hanoi in this Nov for 5 pax. We want a pack schedule to cover as much activities as possible. I will book flght and hotels on my own. Other than that, I will either book through my hotel or book via a Hanoi travel agent.

Is my scheule too pack ?

Day 1 Arrive Hanoi late afternoon. Stay around Old Quarter, visit Old Quarter, the Cathedral District & Hoan Kiem Lake

Day 2 Join a tour to visit Ho Chi Minh Museum, Opera House (Nha Hat Lon), Hoa Lo Prison, Cha Ca La Vong, Vietnamese Women's Museum & Ethnology, visit Silk and Pottery, shopping (not interested in puppet show & temples). Is it too pack ?

Day 3 Hanoi - Halong Bay - overnight at cruise

(looking for above avg cruise, not luxury cruise but cheap deck, any recommendation>)

Day 4 Halong Bay - kayaing and visit caves.

Day 5 Nihn Binh 1 day tour (Hoa Lu - Tam Coc tour) - Hanoi - overnight train to Sapa

(Can we go straight from Nihn Binh to Sapa ?)

I want an above average overnight train but not luxury kind, any recommendation ?

Day 6 Sapa - Homestay - trekking, visit market - overnight train to Hanoi

(Any other interesting things to do at Sapa ?)

Day 7 West lake in the morning (stay around West Lake) - fly home

Hanoi, Vietnam
Level Contributor
1,548 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: 7 days packed tour Hanoi/Halong Bay/Nihn Binh & Sapa

For Halong cruises, Paloma cruise or Gray Line cruise might fit your preferences.

Train to Sapa: Orient Express train, Livitrans train are nice.

Happy travels!

2. Re: 7 days packed tour Hanoi/Halong Bay/Nihn Binh & Sapa

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This post was determined to be inappropriate by the TripAdvisor community and has been removed.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

Our staff may also remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason. Thanks for being a part of the TripAdvisor travel community!

Removed on: 07 August 2014, 09:07
Sapa
Level Contributor
471 posts
Save Reply
3. Re: 7 days packed tour Hanoi/Halong Bay/Nihn Binh & Sapa

The itinerary seems to be good for all places. For the trip to Sapa, you still have to start from Hanoi if you take a night train unless you hire a private car taking from Ninh Binh to Lao Cai. But it is not recommmeded as it is less safe with sitting in a car for 7-8 hrs. The trek which is combined with a visit to the local market such as Bac Ha is very interesting and you will start the tour right after the train arrives in Lao Cai on Sunday morning.

Sapa Sunshine travel

Hanoi, Vietnam
5 posts
Save Reply
4. Re: 7 days packed tour Hanoi/Halong Bay/Nihn Binh & Sapa

The itinerary seems to be good, there are quite many choices of cruises depending on your budget, as some one mentioned above, Paloma can be taken into consideration if your budget falls from category of mid-range cruises.

You still need to return Hanoi from Ninh Binh for catching train to Sapa. King Express may be a good choice for booking.

Hanoi, Vietnam
Level Contributor
65 posts
Save Reply
5. Re: 7 days packed tour Hanoi/Halong Bay/Nihn Binh & Sapa

- Your itinerary in Hanoi is too pack. With 1 day, you can't visit all of them. Alone 2 village Silk and Pottery, you need least 1 day. so with 1 day, you can only visit inner city. Ho Chi Minh Museum, Opera House (Nha Hat Lon), Hoa Lo Prison, Cha Ca La Vong, Vietnamese Women's Museum & Ethnology.

- 2 days in Halong is ok. And there're many cruise for overnight, from 3-star to 5-star ship. Price for 3-star ship (the average cruise) is from $75 to $110.

- I haven't go straight Ninh Binh to Sapa but i think's there is no bus or train, you have to back Hanoi.

And 1 day in Sapa is too little, with that time, you can only visit few attractions. I usually spend least 2 days. but if you only want to trek villages, it's fine.

i have an itinerary for 1 day in Sapa

morning: go to Ta Van village and visit the ethic houses (if they allow)

noon: back to the town for lunch in Sapa market (in town center and close to Stone Church)

afternoon: there are 2 choices, you may climb Ham Rong mountain or go to Cat Cat village and watch dances of H'mong. but you have to back Sapa at about 5pm to catch a bus to Lao Cai city, and return Hanoi

Llanbrynmair...
Level Contributor
14,699 posts
13 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: 7 days packed tour Hanoi/Halong Bay/Nihn Binh & Sapa

"Your itinerary in Hanoi is too pack. With 1 day, you can't visit all of them. Alone 2 village Silk and Pottery, you need least 1 day. so with 1 day, you can only visit inner city. Ho Chi Minh Museum, Opera House (Nha Hat Lon), Hoa Lo Prison, Cha Ca La Vong, Vietnamese Women's Museum & Ethnology."

Well actually Dat_Hoang, what you suggest is unfeasible too.

Jasmine, to give you a better idea of how much you can fit into a day in Hanoi, the following are the approximate times required for each attraction. Additional time has to be added to get between them. There is absolutely no point in going to most of them if your intention is merely to race around and learn nothing.

1. Ho Chi Minh Museum: 1-2 hours, more if you examine some of the hundreds of documents on display. If you wish to look at the rest of the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum complex, including the exterior of the mausoleum itself, add another hour or so.

2. Hanoi Opera House: unless you are attending a performance you cannot enter the Opera House. Looking at the outside will take only a few minutes unless you are a serious architecture buff.

3. Hoa Lo Prison: 1.5 to 2 hours.

4. Cha Ca La Vong: do you mean the restaurant of that name in Cha Ca Street? If so and you plan to have lunch or dinner there, be warned that the service is surly, the portions are tiny and the price is far too high. It used to be good once, but now it's merely capitalising on the good reputation it once had. There are far better places to eat Cha Ca La Vong, but if you do go there to eat, allow an hour.

5. Vietnamese Women's Museum: 2-3 hours, although it deserves longer.

6. Museum of Ethnology: at least 3 hours.

7. Van Phuc silk village: this "village" is no longer a separate entity but has been swallowed up by urban Hanoi. Most of the goods sold there are imported from China and can be bought more cheaply in the Old Quarter, but there are still a few premises where Vietnamese silk is hand woven and can be purchased by the meter. It takes less than half an hour to walk round Van Phuc, but if you want to shop you will need more time.

8. Bat Trang pottery village: this lies outside Hanoi and requires 4-5 hours, including browsing and shopping time.

As you can see, the places you've listed would require a minimum of 2 days so you will have to settle for just a few of them.

Also, as far as Day 1 is concerned, because you don't arrive until late afternoon you will only be able to see a fraction of the Old Quarter, which (together with Hoan Kiem Lake and the Cathedral District) deserves a full day in it's own right, although 2 days would be better.

Singapore
Level Contributor
38 posts
4 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: 7 days packed tour Hanoi/Halong Bay/Nihn Binh & Sapa

Thanks all for your advice. I will reschedule and increase to 8 days. I wonder whether it is worth to take a day trip to Nihn Binn. Is it quite the same as Halong Bay scenery ? For Halong cruises, Paloma cruise or Gray Line cruise - how many stars are these two cruises ? I am looking for a decent cruise of around 3 stars.

For Train to Sapa: Orient Express train, Livitrans train and King Express I also have recommendation of Fanxipang express train. Which of these are of 3 stars quality and price ? Anyone know of more economical package travel agency in Hanoi ? I am not keen to do a private tour as it is expensive. I want to join a big group to get economical of scale price.

Cannes, France
Level Contributor
400 posts
282 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: 7 days packed tour Hanoi/Halong Bay/Nihn Binh & Sapa

Creaking Bones has given a very realistic view. You can trim some of the times but depending on your own interests in the setting, up to you. The trains to Sapa are all similar and similar prices, the issue is whether you want a private compartment or share or not a sleeping compartment, so only you know what works for you. The websites are pretty detailed on this for all the trains mentioned. I would add that using your Hanoi hotel is a very good idea for these plans. It doesn't mean more costs as they get some kind of commission that is not going to effect you. That way they have an interest in being sure you have a good time. That includes Halong Bay, etc. We have never been let down by our hotel there. Cruises vary so check sites and compare prices. There is usually pictures of rooms. TA has many reviews to start with. Check them out. We have never done any kind of tour group as it was never necessary and usually adds cost. Last but certainly not least, Hanoi is a great city to simply walk around (Old Quarter, Lake, etc) and enjoy the sites and sounds and even the insane traffic.

9. Re: 7 days packed tour Hanoi/Halong Bay/Nihn Binh & Sapa

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This post was determined to be inappropriate by the TripAdvisor community and has been removed.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

Our staff may also remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason. Thanks for being a part of the TripAdvisor travel community!

Removed on: 13 August 2014, 11:35
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
343 posts
85 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: 7 days packed tour Hanoi/Halong Bay/Nihn Binh & Sapa

I did pretty much what you have described but over 12 days (extra nights in Hanoi to break it up) and still found it too rushed and tiring.

What I noticed about tours in Vietnam is that they like to pack as much as possible in (I think to give as much value as possible) so I felt there wasn't enough time to just relax and take everything in, even with 2 nights at Halong.

Add to it the often long commuting times due to road conditions. There is going to be enough commotion to get used to just being in the old quarter of Hanoi.

Everyone is different, just know what it is you want to get out of your vacation and if you will be OK coming out of it tired or rested. Have a great time!