North Vietnam in a week

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Hi guys!
I am a student who’s planning a trip over Vietnam for 13 days from the 2nd of May to the 15th of May more or less. Basically we splitted the trip in two parts:
– a week in the North (Hanoi, Halong, Mai Chau and Sapa)
– a week in Ho Chi Minh (flying from hanoi where we’d stay a couple days in the city and then take a tour in the Mekong Delta that then takes us to Phu Quoc island).

Do you agree on our plan?
For the first part we were thinking about staying the 3rd of May in Hanoi then the 4th we could go to Halong where we could spend the night on a boat and the the 5th again Hanoi.

Then we’d have from the 6th to the 11th dedicated to the North West and I’ve read that Mai Chau and Sapa are the “to do” things (we are not trekking lovers but we’d like to see around and go to villages and immerge in the nature).
What’s your suggestion? How could we move from Mai Chau to Sapa?

Do you think that a week in Ho Chi Minh and Mekong Delta is too much (is Phu Quoc worth it?)

I’m being sorry for the great amount of information but I’m planning the trip during my exam week!


gabrielemarino 19/04/14    Where to goAsia Link Report

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Hi there,

Sounds like a great trip you have there! I spent a month travelling in Vietnam a couple of years ago and have been to some of these places so thought I might be able to help you out a bit. The timings generally look ok to me, although it obviously depends how much you want to do in each place and what pace you are happy with! here are my suggestions:

1. Ho Chi Minh area – a week is probably about right for this (depending on if you do go to Phu Quoc and how you travel there/back, I went there via the Mekong Delta and a boat, then flew back to Ho Chi Minh to save time).
You will probably want about two days in Ho Chi Minh itself, there’s some great nightlife and places to eat as well as some good sights (I enjoyed War Remnants museum and the Cu Chi tunnels).
For the Mekong Delta I organized this part myself rather than doing a tour (to save time) – I just booked buses and a guide for the floating markets in Can Tho. I would definitely recommend the floating markets (at Can Tho or there are some similar ones at other Mekong Delta villages), they are worth the 4.30am start!
Phu Quoc – I really liked this, beautiful beaches and very laidback.

2. Hanoi area. Halong Bay is a must (I did a kayaking trip and overnight on a boat). My one concern is your timing for this section, I’m not sure if you will be able to fit in Hanoi, Halong Bay, Sapa and Mai Chau – it depends how long you want in each place – the train to Hanoi to Sapa itself takes 8 hours, followed by a 90 minute bus ride (you can chose an overnight train to save time). Mai Chau is a bit closer and takes about 3 1/2 hours by bus from Hanoi. Up to you but maybe it would be worth choosing to visit either Sapa or Mai Chau?

Two final tips:
1. In terms of tours, when I was in Hanoi there were a number of rumours about fake agencies so be careful if a tour seems too good to be true! This is especially the case with Halong bay as tours can be cancelled due to weather conditions so it’s worth going with a good company. There are lots to choose between, if you get stuck, I would recommend Handspan who I did Halong Bay and Sapa trekking trip with.

2. If you have time, I would recommend Hoi An. If you are travelling by bus between the south and north then this is a good midway point. It’s a lovely, laidback town of winding alleys set around a river. If you’re lucky enough to be there over the full moon they have a lantern festival, which was stunning!

Hope this helps a bit with your planning and hope you have a fantastic trip!

Olivia Rawes 29/04/14    Link Report

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I’m a Vietnamese. i’m living in Hochiminh city now. I like to make friends and practice my english. If you travel to Vietnam and need some guide when you are in Hochiminh city, do not hesitate to contact me

may 13/05/14    Link Report

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