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Old Aug 27, 18, 8:38 am
  #31  
 
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Back to Vietnam. Could you tell what would be the best time to visit Sapa, how many days one should allocate it, transportation included and are there any better, little known secret alternatives for it?

On a separate question - where would you recommend to go for someone who prefers off the beaten path?
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Old Aug 27, 18, 10:57 am
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Originally Posted by invisible View Post
Sapa <snip> transportation <snip> ?

On a separate question - where would you recommend to go for someone who prefers off the beaten path?
Do you have a transportation method in mind for Sapa? There are several ways that tourists go there. You can read about them here : https://wikitravel.org/en/Sapa

I know you've been to SE Asia a bunch, and "off the beaten path" is getting harder and harder as the years go by. For me personally, if time is not an issue, I have thought about taking a train ride from bottom to top and just getting off at random stations. Obviously, don't go anywhere that any tourist bus goes to.
Qui Nhơn is a place on my list, but recent research indicates it's getting busier with expats looking for "off the beaten path". It used to be said that Qui Nhon is like what Nha Trang used to be like.
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Old Aug 28, 18, 1:31 am
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Originally Posted by CrazyInteg View Post
Do you have a transportation method in mind for Sapa?
Is the question for me or to the thread starter? If for me, I asked locals what is the preferred method of transport in and out there and one thing pretty much everyone said - avoid local buses as much as possible, especially night buses.

Originally Posted by CrazyInteg View Post
For me personally, if time is not an issue, I have thought about taking a train ride from bottom to top and just getting off at random stations. Obviously, don't go anywhere that any tourist bus goes to.
Lucky you but won't work for me - I and my wife have just 2 weeks in a year and we need do sync our calendars/do planning 6-9 month before departure. So no unplanned so called 'spontaneous escapes' for us.

Originally Posted by CrazyInteg View Post
Qui Nhơn is a place on my list, but recent research indicates it's getting busier with expats looking for "off the beaten path". It used to be said that Qui Nhon is like what Nha Trang used to be like.
Nha Trang is the 'do not go close to it' place for me - it is primary destination for packaged/chartered tours from Russia and China and I do not want to be near any place where such tourists end up in mass numbers. Nothing personal, just business.
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Old Aug 28, 18, 10:09 am
  #34  
 
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Originally Posted by invisible View Post
Is the question for me or to the thread starter? If for me, I asked locals what is the preferred method of transport in and out there and one thing pretty much everyone said - avoid local buses as much as possible, especially night buses.
So don't take a bus then. Take the train, take a private car, or rent a motorcycle. Read the link I sent you.


Originally Posted by invisible View Post
Nha Trang is the 'do not go close to it' place for me - it is primary destination for packaged/chartered tours from Russia and China and I do not want to be near any place where such tourists end up in mass numbers. Nothing personal, just business.
I never suggested Nha Trang. Good Lord.


Also, Sapa is definitely on the beaten path.
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Old Aug 28, 18, 11:42 am
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I will be in Vietnam next month and I really would like to bring back Plumeria (Frangipani) cuttings to grow in my yard. You can buy them in Hawaii at local stores already certified for transport, do they sell any that you know of in Vietnam? I have already contacted both dept. of Ag here in the states and an office in Hanoi but no response. Thanks for any input you might have on this.
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Old Aug 29, 18, 9:20 pm
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Originally Posted by CrazyInteg View Post
So don't take a bus then. Take the train, take a private car, or rent a motorcycle. Read the link I sent you.Also, Sapa is definitely on the beaten path.
I've seen it. I usually read both wikivoyage and wikitravel. While both have about 70% duplicate content due to spin off of wikivoyage several years ago, it is the info which is in one but not in another worth to read.
Also for train reservations the best authoritative source is seat61. I did buy tickets from www.baolau.com for Hue to Danag and had no problems.

Originally Posted by CrazyInteg View Post
I never suggested Nha Trang. Good Lord.
I did not say that you did. I just expressed my opinion about places where I would not go.
On a separate note - I wish to know where in Vietnam one should go to see nature/parks (excluding Halong Bay cruises). All my travel there were in cities/towns so far.
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Old Sep 3, 18, 6:57 am
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Coming to Vietnam for 12 days in about 2 weeks from now:

Current Plan:
2 Days Hanoi
1 night, 2 day Halong Bay Cruise
Fly to Danang - taxi to Hoi An
3 days Hoi An
Fly to Saigon
Taxi to Cai Be - 2 days 1 night there
3 days Saigon
Wife wants to add Sapa because a friend told her to but I don't think we have time. Any suggestions? is 3 days in Hoi An too much?

Seems like Sapa is at least 2 days given the travel time.
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Old Sep 3, 18, 7:18 am
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You don't have enough time to add Sapa.

How many nights are you staying in Hoi An?
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Old Sep 3, 18, 8:02 am
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Originally Posted by CrazyInteg View Post
You don't have enough time to add Sapa.

How many nights are you staying in Hoi An?
4 nights, 3 days (we get there late at night the first night and leave first thing in the morning the next day)
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Old Sep 3, 18, 8:05 am
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One more question - in booking the cruises in Ha Long it seems like there's two ways to book - on booking.com that doesn't include transfers or from the operator that does (and is more expensive). Would we be better off just booking on Booking.com and arranging our own transport (especially since they want to charge us extra to return to the airport vs. returning to our hotel in Hanoi), or should we go for the "all inclusive" option? Are there better/cheaper ways to book than through booking.com or others?
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Old Sep 3, 18, 9:08 am
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Originally Posted by NYTA View Post
Coming to Vietnam for 12 days in about 2 weeks from now:

Current Plan:
2 Days Hanoi
1 night, 2 day Halong Bay Cruise
Fly to Danang - taxi to Hoi An
3 days Hoi An
Fly to Saigon
Taxi to Cai Be - 2 days 1 night there
3 days Saigon
Wife wants to add Sapa because a friend told her to but I don't think we have time. Any suggestions? is 3 days in Hoi An too much?

Seems like Sapa is at least 2 days given the travel time.
You can fly from Cat Bi airport (Hai Phong) to Danang (Hoian) => Save time other than get back Hanoi for a flight.
3 full days in Hoian is ok.
IMO, you should head to Can Tho (Overnight stay for doing a floating market tour next early morning) instead of Cai Be. Did you check out a flight from Danang to Can Tho already?
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Old Sep 3, 18, 9:15 am
  #42  
 
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Originally Posted by MattHall View Post
I am planning a Vietnam holiday in April 2019. Iím currently planning to stay in HCMC for 3 nights and then 6-7 nights in Nha Trang. We always like to combine a city with a week of relaxing, culture, exploring and good food! Normally stay in hotels towards the luxury end. Am I forgetting anywhere and are these two places a good combination?
3 nights in HCMC
2 nights in Dalat
The remaining time in Nha Trang
IMO, 6-7 nights in Nha Trang is too much.
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Old Sep 3, 18, 9:21 am
  #43  
 
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Originally Posted by imm2b View Post
April time frame in Danang and Nha Trang are pretty much the same. Personally, I would stick with Danang & Hoi An.
Agree with you - An Bang beach in Hoian or My Khe beach in Danang.
Besides that, you can check out Con Dao island or Phu Quoc island.
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Old Sep 3, 18, 9:21 am
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Originally Posted by dinhoecotour View Post
You can fly from Cat Bi airport (Hai Phong) to Danang (Hoian) => Save time other than get back Hanoi for a flight.
3 full days in Hoian is ok.
IMO, you should head to Can Tho (Overnight stay for doing a floating market tour next early morning) instead of Cai Be. Did you check out a flight from Danang to Can Tho already?
HPH airport flight schedule didn't work out - only flights were in the morning and we wanted to fly in the evening.

Also looked at both Can Tho and Saigon from DAD but isn't the floating market in Cai Be? Would you recommend staying in Can Tho instead of Cai Be? Haven't booked that flight yet but thought Saigon was better given the number of daily flights vs. the one flight we could take to Can Tho.
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Old Sep 3, 18, 10:34 am
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Originally Posted by NYTA View Post
One more question - in booking the cruises in Ha Long it seems like there's two ways to book - on booking.com that doesn't include transfers or from the operator that does (and is more expensive). Would we be better off just booking on Booking.com and arranging our own transport (especially since they want to charge us extra to return to the airport vs. returning to our hotel in Hanoi), or should we go for the "all inclusive" option? Are there better/cheaper ways to book than through booking.com or others?
Figuring out Ha Long was a bit tough for me. There are so many agents for the cruises. Finally I asked some other expats here and they recommended a site called halongbaytours. It was very smooth, they confirmed right away and asked about food allergies and for more details. They take a down payment at booking, then arranged to meet at the hotel in Hanoi to collect the remainder. Transportation to/from the boat was included. Since the airport is a good deal outside town, I think it is reasonable to quote a higher price for that, tbh, but if it's a very large amount you could just hire a car from Ha Long to the airport. (Also, fyi, they just opened a new highway up there, I'm not yet sure if it cuts down on the transportation time for all these tours or not.)

FWIW, I really really enjoyed the 2d 1n cruise we did in 2017, after not expecting to. I did a day tour there about 15 years ago and did not enjoy it much, so my expectations were low. I thought the food was good, the boat was clean and met expectations, and the bay was very pleasant and beautiful, staff was friendly and helpful with my elderly mother.

Originally Posted by NYTA View Post
Coming to Vietnam for 12 days in about 2 weeks from now:

Current Plan:
2 Days Hanoi
1 night, 2 day Halong Bay Cruise
Fly to Danang - taxi to Hoi An
3 days Hoi An
Fly to Saigon
Taxi to Cai Be - 2 days 1 night there
3 days Saigon
Wife wants to add Sapa because a friend told her to but I don't think we have time. Any suggestions? is 3 days in Hoi An too much?

Seems like Sapa is at least 2 days given the travel time.
I'm not a Sapa expert. But I can say you can cut a day out of Hoi An and a day out of Saigon pretty easy. Or take a day trip to the Mekong and cut a day from the floating market excursion as well. Sapa would make things rushed, but if it was a "must-see" for the wife, you could do it.
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