I am looking at traveling through Vietnam for 10 days from mid to late February. The basic plan is;
Enter HCMC via Cambodia Mekong River Route.
Visit Cu Cu Tunnels
Fly to Hanoi
Trip to Sapa
Trip to Ha Long
Can anyone please tell me if I would be able to add any extra trips to the above plan, and how many days are recommended at each of the above.
And importantly, what is the weather like in the Ha Long region at this time? Will it be pleasant to stay aboard the boats?
Thanks a million to anyway who can help!!!
I wouldn't plan to see any more than that.
Sapa needs 3 days. Halong Bay need 2 days at least if not 3. Hanoi is a great city and worth of 2 or 3 days, especially if you add some sidetrips to the Perfume Pagoda etc. HCMC is also woth a couple days roaming. So I would say you already have a pretty full trip on your hands.
You do have enough on your plate for 10 days. I was in HaLong Bay early Feb of 06. Very overcast, light rain, cool. Nobody got in the water for swimming, thats for sure. The weather plays a part on how long to stay on HaLong Bay, IMO. 2 days are plenty if you cannot swim. After seeing a few dozen small islands in the rain/overcast, the next dozen or so are pretty much the same. Check on what it is like when you hit HaNoi. If overcast or rain, then go for the 1 or 2 day tour. If sunny, then 2-3 days.
Look at my Feb 06 photos of HaLong and see if you would want extra days in those conditions. Have a great trip and I hope the weather turns sunny for you while in the north.
Hey! Yes, 10 days is good for what you have planned.
I was in Halong Bay / Hanoi mid December. It was pretty cold - you need long trousers and jumper in the day in Hanoi / Halong Bay and a coat and scarf at night in Halong Bay. It is fine to stay on the boats - we did and it wasn't too cold for that. They provide blankets etc. Just make sure you have something warm to put on I guess incase you do get chilly. I didn't go to Sapa, but I met people who said it is very cold there too, so be prepared with good shoes etc..
For me, two nights in Hanoi were more than enough. It's very busy and one day around the sights was enough for me. The water puppet show was a highlight, so try to get that one in (book ahead)! I would recommend to join a tour group for Halong Bay for 2 nights/3 days and include a trek and kayaking - the kayaking was amazing. We got a cheapie at 40 USD and it was a bit unorganised, so I would say maybe spend a bit more if you can and get a better quality trip. The best thing to do is ask other travellers for recommendations as soon as you get to Hanoi.
Saigon - 3 nights should be fine - 1 day for chi chi tunnels and one day for the city sights - the reunification palace was pretty interesting if you like that kind of thing.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy Vietnam. It is an amazing country.
If you come to VN in middle Feb this year, it's new year time. A good chance for you to taste Vietnamese new year atmosphere, traditional food, and customs...Visiting Sapa this time is wonderful. You can enjoy some traditional customs of minority group people in Sa Pa. But that time is still cold to take a swim in Ha Long bay. If you just view the scenery on the boat, it's great! But you may need a warm coat with you (check the weather forecash before your sea trip). On the way to Hanoi, why don't you stop at Hue? It's worth visiting.
Enjoy your time in Vietnam!
Just a short message to say super thanks to all your replies!