We have a break from teaching in April and are planning to spend at least a week in North Vietnam. Any suggestions?
We are teaching in Thailand and have a break in the month of April. We have friends coming in to visit from America and we are planning to spend at least one week in North Vietnam. We may go to Halong Bay, but we are not really interested in being in a crowded place like Hanoi or experiencing any sort of club scene. We just want to see some natural and beautiful scenery. Any recommendations or links to blogs with suggestions would be appreciated. Thank you!
Go to Sapa and the surrounding area. Beautiful. Rather than do a Halong Bay tour from Hanoi, go to Cat Ba island (go through Haiphong), stay in a hotel and explore in your own time. You could also go to Ninh Binh and visit Cuc Phuong national park.
In response to: Msg #152438
Thank you, I am going to start looking all of those up. I have not been so happy about what I have heard about Halong Bay. It sounds very expensive and touristy, which our friends may be up for, but we do not have those types of funds available now that we our living on more modest incomes here in Thailand. Cat Ba islands sounds like a good alternative. I have read some blogs about Sapa and was thinking the same thing - my fiance has also mentioned a rainforest trek up in that general vicinity. Cheers.
Sapa is amazing and a must see. Lots of people skip it on their North to South or reverse tour of Vietnam. We thoroughly enjoyed it. You can check out our blog about it under Pre Honeymoon Trip on our blog page.
Thank you, I plan to read about it today!
I have suggest to visit Sapa / Halong Bay & Cat Ba / Ninh Binh
1. Hanoi - Sapa: You buy train ticket from Hanoi, and depart to Lao Cai then Sapa, overnight 2 night on train and 1 night hotel in Sapa
Hotel in Sapa: Chau Long hotel from 62usd / Southern hotel fr 11usd (budget hotel) / Victoria resort / Topas eco logde fr 120usd
2. Halong Bay & Cat Ba Island: Book junk overnight in Halong Bay then ask junk drop you at Lan Ha, hire car pick up u to Cat Ba (book car in advance, you can ask hotel in Cat Ba arrange for you. From here you buy speed boat ticket back to Hai Phong then Hanoi
Or you can go to Cat Ba through Hai Phong using speed boat
Hotel suggestion: Sunrise Resort Cat Ba
3. Day trip to Ninh Binh / Overnight
Hotel in Ninh Binh: Ninh Binh Legend
I hope my suggestion will helpful for your vacation
Please do ask me for more info
Thank you very much, from what we have heard Sapa sounds like the place to go, and we are planning to go to Cat Ba island because we have heard it is a bit cheaper than Halong Bay. I have not read about Ninh Binh, but plan to look into it now. We were also thinking about visiting a old-growth rainforest which is present in North Vietnam. I don't know if you or anyone else have information on that. Thank you for the information - I will check your blog as well to see if you have anything on it. I appreciate all of the details. Cheers.
Cat Ba is in Halong Bay - it is one of the many islands that make it up. The two night cruise you can arrange from Hanoi usually spend one night on Cat Ba. However, you can just go by bus and boat via Haiphong from Hanoi's Luong Yen bus station and stay on Cat Ba. From there you can arrange to do a boat trip and/or visit the national park. It means you don't have to do what the arranged tour decides you should do, it's more flexible.
Cat Ba is really cheap. The Sunrise resort mentioned above is lovely, but probably out of your price range. Cat Ba town has a row of tall hotels with big windows that look over the bay for around $10 a night for a double with en suite, air con and a fridge. You can get some rooms cheaper than that too.
Thank you Kris and Kate, that definitely sounds like what we have been envisioning. I have never liked arranged tours, there is too much stress involved in having all of those plans hanging over your head. I am very, very relieved that there are rooms for as cheap as $10 - I was so worried we were going to get stuck paying the fairs that you see for staying on a boat in the bay. Thanks for all the help - I enjoy reading your blogs, they are very chillin. Cheers