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Thread: Vietnam Nov 2012

  1. #1

    Cool Vietnam Nov 2012

    Dear fellow Clubsnappers,

    I'am planning a holiday to Vietnam this November and was wondering if I can get some advice from any bros or sis here (:
    A little BG before stating my itinerary. Just me and my gf planning a budget holiday. We are trying to avoid the touristy spots if possible and are thinking of hiring a guide to help us experience the lesser-known parts of Vietnam.

    Heres what we thought of doing, although we've no idea if the days we've decided to spend at a particular place is enough or too little.

    Our Itinerary is as follows (might be changed by one or two days or extended if needed)

    15 Nov - Land in Hanoi & Train overnight to Sapa
    15-17 Nov - Sapa region preferably with homestays (Train down to Central Highlands on the last night)
    18- 20 Nov - Central Highlands region (We've honestly no idea where is good here. Da Nang?)
    21-23 Nov- Beaches around Nha Trang & Surrounding Islands
    23 Nov- Fly back to Singapore

    Some of the areas people recommended us to see:
    Bach Ma National Park
    Ba Na Hill Station
    Marble Mountains
    Phu Quoc Island(Long Beach, Ong Lan Beach, Bai Sao)
    Doc Let Coast
    Con Dao Islands

    Sorry if some of these have been asked about here on the forum before. Just a few questions
    1) Does this itinerary look about right in terms of duration of stay? Any suggestions on where else is good to go?
    2) Is electricity or sanitation a problem in rural villages in the Sapa region?
    3) Has anyone ever hired a private guide which can be recommended and dosen't cost a bomb? Heard the ave is around $50-70 a day. (One Bro here recommended Sapa Sisters).

    A big THANK YOU in advance for reading this post and helping out! =D appreciate it!

  2. #2

    Default Re: Vietnam Nov 2012

    In central Vietnam, Hoi An is a delightful town to chill in, and a World Heritage SIte.
    However, looking at ur schedule, like no time to chill
    Your 17th night train from Sapa..... schedule aside, from Sapa to Hanoi is already 9-10 hrs... Hanoi down to central vietnam (Danang/Hue etc) is I think at least 13-14 hours. Assuming there is a seamless or direct train, most of your 18th is on the train........
    and in fact, even from there to Nha Trang etc, need to factor in the transport times....

    given a 1week timeframe, I would suggest just covering Sapa, Hanoi and Halong Bay

    Quote Originally Posted by st0pandst4re View Post
    Dear fellow Clubsnappers,

    I'am planning a holiday to Vietnam this November and was wondering if I can get some advice from any bros or sis here (:
    A little BG before stating my itinerary. Just me and my gf planning a budget holiday. We are trying to avoid the touristy spots if possible and are thinking of hiring a guide to help us experience the lesser-known parts of Vietnam.

    Heres what we thought of doing, although we've no idea if the days we've decided to spend at a particular place is enough or too little.

    Our Itinerary is as follows (might be changed by one or two days or extended if needed)

    15 Nov - Land in Hanoi & Train overnight to Sapa
    15-17 Nov - Sapa region preferably with homestays (Train down to Central Highlands on the last night)
    18- 20 Nov - Central Highlands region (We've honestly no idea where is good here. Da Nang?)
    21-23 Nov- Beaches around Nha Trang & Surrounding Islands
    23 Nov- Fly back to Singapore

    Some of the areas people recommended us to see:
    Bach Ma National Park
    Ba Na Hill Station
    Marble Mountains
    Phu Quoc Island(Long Beach, Ong Lan Beach, Bai Sao)
    Doc Let Coast
    Con Dao Islands

    Sorry if some of these have been asked about here on the forum before. Just a few questions
    1) Does this itinerary look about right in terms of duration of stay? Any suggestions on where else is good to go?
    2) Is electricity or sanitation a problem in rural villages in the Sapa region?
    3) Has anyone ever hired a private guide which can be recommended and dosen't cost a bomb? Heard the ave is around $50-70 a day. (One Bro here recommended Sapa Sisters).

    A big THANK YOU in advance for reading this post and helping out! =D appreciate it!

  3. #3

    Default Re: Vietnam Nov 2012

    I have been to Vietnam more than 10 times, never had enough of Vietnam

    your itinerary looks very rush. Do note that Vietnam is a huge country and you will spend a lot of time travelling.

    15th reach Hanoi, night train to Sapa
    16th reach Sapa, hiking to nearby villages takes time unless you skip the hike and take jeep/van to cut down travel time
    17th night train to Hanoi, as far as I know there are no direct train from Sapa to central VN. All trains coming from Sapa stops at Hanoi. Trains that travel south from Hanoi leaves at certain intervals, I know there is a south-bound train to HCMC everyday 6am+ and another at 1pm+.

    Personally I strongly recommend to have an easy trip instead of rushing here and there. I actually spent a whole week at Ninh Binh, then 4 days at Halong Bay, 5 days at Hanoi, 6 days at HCMC. I'm going Hanoi again end of Oct for 10 days... 7 days at Sapa, 3 days in Hanoi.

    For a week I do agree with forumer "nuts"... stick with Hanoi + Sapa + Halong Bay.
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  4. #4

    Default Re: Vietnam Nov 2012

    Thanks yrh0413 and nuts for your input.

    I probably would want to skip Halong Bay as I feel that its become too touristy and lots of boat/barge operators are out to chop tourists. However which would you guys recommend for more nature and interaction with the locals?
    Sapa or Danang region. Heard both are beautiful. =D Also did u all travel yourselves or with a guide? =)

  5. #5

    Default Re: Vietnam Nov 2012

    If you want to have more interaction with the locals and see nature at the same time, I suggest you stick to Sapa. I spend 11 days in Sapa alone the last time I was there. If you want to avoid the touristy stuff, then spend your time in the many little villages around Sapa town and not stay the whole day in Sapa town itself.

    Avoid the touristy markets like Bac Ha. Instead, head for the lesser known ones which occur during the weekdays. If you want to do a Sunday market, try Muong Hom. You can hire a car to bring you there. It is a 3 hours drive there and another 3 hours back. But the market has much lesser tourists and has many more minority tribes, whereas you will only see the Flowers Hmongs in Bac Ha. You do not need a guide to bring you to the markets. You can just walk around on your own. You also do not need a guide if you are doing Cat Cat village. This village is jus down the valley from Sapa town, but is very very touristy.

    You can check out the many travel agencies around Sapa town and organise your own walks to the lesser touristy villages. I did a walk to Sa Seng and Hau Thao with my own guide, which cost only $40, including a picnic lunch. We only met one otr group of tourists the whole day. The rest of the time, it was just me and the guide saying hello to the minority tribes that we meet. You get to walk through paddy fields and cross little streams. Definitely something to consider if you want a more authentic feel of the place.

    As for homestays, if you want something authentic, then do not do it with the travel agencies. Most travel agencies will bring you to touristy homestays, with houses built just for tourists, locals putting up performances purely for the tourists. I hooked up with a few other foreign tourists and managed to arrange a homestay with some of the locals who were always sitting around the square. Since there were 5 of us, we got split into 2 homes. The one I went to, require us to drop off at a small rest place away from Ta Phin, then a walk of one and half hour deep into the mountains. There was only one wooden hut around us. You see nothing but the moutains, stars and fireflies at night. We had veg fresh from our host's garden, though food was the same for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The best part was being treated to a hot herbal bath courtesy of a huge vat. The two other tourists who went off with another family didn't get the hot tub, but got a whole cow slaughtered in their honor and loads of local wine. These are definitely experiences you won't be able to get if you go through the travel agencies. It is up to you how much you want to pay the locals, but for sure, 100% of your money goes to the family you stay with.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Vietnam Nov 2012

    Thanks for the suggestion! Have sent u a PM =)

    Quote Originally Posted by roamfree View Post
    If you want to have more interaction with the locals and see nature at the same time, I suggest you stick to Sapa. I spend 11 days in Sapa alone the last time I was there. If you want to avoid the touristy stuff, then spend your time in the many little villages around Sapa town and not stay the whole day in Sapa town itself.

    Avoid the touristy markets like Bac Ha. Instead, head for the lesser known one.....
    ......
    .............These are definitely experiences you won't be able to get if you go through the travel agencies. It is up to you how much you want to pay the locals, but for sure, 100% of your money goes to the family you stay with.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Vietnam Nov 2012

    well actually all those places you mentioned are exactly the usual touristic places you mentioned you want to avoid.

    My suggestion of places you can try if you really really want to avoid touristic places

    1)Lake Ba Be (Vietnam's largest Lake).

    Ba Be Lake is Vietnam's largest and highest, natural freshwater lake, situated at about 150m above sea level. Ba Be actually means "three lakes" ('Slam Pe') in the local Tay language, the 'lakes' being Pe Leng, Pe lu and Pe Lam. This is an ancient name that refers to the way that the lake comprises three relatively wider sections. Ba Be is however a continuous body of water with numerous small inlets and islets, stretching for nearly 8 kilometers north to south. Due to this rugged splendor Ba Be is sometimes referred to as the 'Ha Long Bay of the mountains'. The depth of the lake is between 17 and 23m on average, with the deepest point about 35m deep. The surface area of the lake fluctuates between 300 and 500 ha depending upon the season and unlike most lakes in karst limestone landscapes.

    Like Sapa, you will also be able to see minority tribes people here

    2)Caobang

    Caobang is another very beautiful place in vietnam with very nice landscape. Here you can find places like the famous Ban Gioc waterfall. This waterfall span two countries right in the middle between China and Vietnam. Caobang is also a historically important places as this is where Ho Chi Minh started his revolutionary movement after he came back from exile in China, you can for example go to pac bo cave, the place where Ho Chi Minh stayed in when he was planning his movement.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Vietnam Nov 2012

    whooops! my bad. what I mean like what I said Sapa is the region and not the town itself or the more touristy places like cat cat village =) . But I've no idea where all the nice quiet places are so need to rely on advice from all the bros and sis here . Thanks so much for your suggestion! Those 2 places that you mentioned, are the accessible alone or is there a need for a guide to translate especially with the minority tribes?


    Quote Originally Posted by Fireemblem View Post
    well actually all those places you mentioned are exactly the usual touristic places you mentioned you want to avoid.

    My suggestion of places you can try if you really really want to avoid touristic places

    1)Lake Ba Be (Vietnam's largest Lake).

    Ba Be Lake is Vietnam's largest and highest, natural freshwater lake, situated at about 150m above sea level. Ba Be actually means "three lakes" ('Slam Pe') in the local Tay language, the 'lakes' being Pe Leng, Pe lu and Pe Lam. This is an ancient name that refers to the way that the lake comprises three relatively wider sections. Ba Be is however a continuous body of water with numerous small inlets and islets, stretching for nearly 8 kilometers north to south. Due to this rugged splendor Ba Be is sometimes referred to as the 'Ha Long Bay of the mountains'. The depth of the lake is between 17 and 23m on average, with the deepest point about 35m deep. The surface area of the lake fluctuates between 300 and 500 ha depending upon the season and unlike most lakes in karst limestone landscapes.

    Like Sapa, you will also be able to see minority tribes people here

    2)Caobang

    Caobang is another very beautiful place in vietnam with very nice landscape. Here you can find places like the famous Ban Gioc waterfall. This waterfall span two countries right in the middle between China and Vietnam. Caobang is also a historically important places as this is where Ho Chi Minh started his revolutionary movement after he came back from exile in China, you can for example go to pac bo cave, the place where Ho Chi Minh stayed in when he was planning his movement.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Vietnam Nov 2012

    Bro...

    You message storage is full...

  10. #10

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan
    Bro...

    You message storage is full...
    Cleared it already! Sorry =p

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Vietnam Nov 2012

    Check out a little known beach + sand dune resort town call Mui Ne which is 4.5 hours bus ride from Ho Chin Minh city.

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