We visited Vietnam a few years ago as part of an organised tour. As part of that we visited Halong bay and Hanoi before we moved further south. We are now planning a trip back (not until next November) but because we plan to travel independently this time I'm planning well in advance! For me, a lot of the pleasure is planning the trip too so I like to start nice and early! We will be travelling about a month in total and plan to take in Southern China and northern Vietnam although we are not set on which way round we do it (China first, Vietnam second or vice versa).
We particularly want to go back to Hanoi as we were only there for a couple of days last time and then want to concentrate on the very Northern part of Vietnam (Sapa, the mountains etc). We are particularly interested in natural beauty, mountains, the local people etc and not really touristy things. With this in mind I wonder if anyone could suggest an itinerary? We are not tied to a set number of days at present so can be guided by your suggestions. It would be nice to be based in fewer places and not have to pack up every day and move on so if we could visit areas whilst being based somewhere that might be better although I'm open to any suggestions.
I know there are lots of different itineraries already mentioned on this forum but I have to confess I have ended up more confused by trying to go through them all!
If anyone has any suggestions about joining Northern Vietnam with Southern China I'd also be interested on suggested itineraries
All suggestions welcome and many thanks in advance!