My hubbie and I are going to Vietnam for 3 weeks in November. We fly into Hanoi and out of HMC and are trying to put together a rough itinerary for what to do in between. One option is;
-Hanoi for a few days
-Sapa (4 days inc train there and back)
-Fly from Hanoi to HMC
-Mui Ne (this is a must as we're kiteboarders!)
-Back to HMC for a day or two
Our questions are;
1. We have left out Halong Bay as we feared it would be too touristy (we hate feeling like sheep amongst hoards of tourists)-is this a mistake?
2. We love walking/trekking and seeing different cultures but again worry that Sapa is going to be overly touristy-what do you reckon?
3. Another option we are considering is flying from Hanoi to Luang Prabang in Laos and spending some time in LP and trekking around Luang Namtha. We would then try and fly back to HMC (I think we have to go via Vientiane which is a pain?). If we did this I don't think we would have time to do Sapa, Mekong or Phu Quoc. Anyone got any advice-should we go to Laos?
4. If we don't do Laos and stay in Vietnam is Hoi An worth doing despite the fact it will be raining in Nov?
5. Is Phu Quoc worth it? We have traveled to some wonderful beach destinations i.e. Perhentian islands (a long time ago) and Andaman Islands and were thus wondering whether we would be disappointed with Phu Quoc? We also love diving but again not sure how good Phu Quoc in November is for this?
6. Are there any places you think we really should go that I haven't mentioned?
A lot of question I know but any advice would be greatly appreciated!
I cannot speak for Vietnam, but will say that Luang Prabang is quite worth the visit, even if you only have a couple days to spend there. It is quiet, beautiful, and retains its culture and history (UNESCO deemed it a World Heritage Site in 1995).
My day at HaLong Bay was mixed. Photos in gallery. Picture dozens of buses arriving at the same time. Your bus guide herd you onto a boat. I don't know how they decide what boat, but I felt like it was a cattle drive. Dozens of boats now take roughly the same route that will end up at a cave tour. Now hundreds of tourists try to walk through the cave w/o bumping into the next person. Your guide will take you back to your boat out of the dozen that are at the cave. Lunch was OK, some decent photo ops. Read the blogs and then vote.
SaPa. It was cool and wet when I was in HAN. Talked to others that went to SaPa and decided to pass. It takes up too many days to trudge around in the mud IMO. Read some blogs about trekking SaPa and decide. If it is raining, I would pass.
I am gong to vote you forget flying down to HCMC. Take the overnight bus: HAN-Hue. You get a full day sightseeing in HaNoi, try to sleep on the bus, arrive Hue the next morning. Get a room, have BF and then take a tour of either the Citadel or a motorbike/boat tour around Hue. I went with this moto tour, my review starts: "Riding with Thus...." Hue is worth 2-3 days IMO. Short hop over to Hoi An. Most visitors enjoy Hoi An, Historic, Cham ruins, river, beaches. Best place to buy custom clothes in VN. Another overnight bus to Nha Trang. Probably the best place to go diving in VN. Great beach, bay tour. Short hop over to Mui Ne. Sand dunes in Mui Ne are worth a look. DaLat is an option from MN. Or bus to HCMC.
That is one option instead of you planned itinerary. PM me if you have questions.
i think Halong bay trip will be worth to see, otherwise it is full tourist all year round. you can do trip to Ninh binh connecting to Halong bay.
Sapa will not be best choice on winter time, not much thing to see and it will usually become covered with mist. i suggest you can do the road trip, mixed trekking to Hagiang, it is really non-touristic area with diversity of hill-tribes.
Because you must be Mui ne, so i think you should skip Phu Quoc, and thinking about Hoi An which will be worth to see.
Lastly, because you will travel on plane, so 3weeks it will be definitely enough time to do both Vietnam and Laos.
Hope that you will get smart itinerary, fell free to pm me when you need further infors