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Thread: Visit to Hanoi, Vietnam in Nov or Dec - Advise needed

  1. #1

    Smile Visit to Hanoi, Vietnam in Nov or Dec - Advise needed

    Hi all,

    Would like to ask advise of all you experienced guys here. Looking to go to Hanoi either in November or December for a 6day 5 night trip with my wife. Would like advise on what would be good places to go to for interesting street and nature shots?

    Was in Hanoi a few years back for a family reunion, remember the great shots just walking around, but have no idea where else to go. Made a few searches on vietnam and came up with some places like Sapa and Halong bay. What is a good length of stay for various places? Very much appreciate any suggestions.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Visit to Hanoi, Vietnam in Nov or Dec - Advise needed

    Anyone? Is Sapa ok to visit still in December?

  3. #3

    Default Re: Visit to Hanoi, Vietnam in Nov or Dec - Advise needed

    i had a short trip to hanoi last july. went old quarters and halong bay. spent only one night at halong bay but got some of the best pictures taken frm there(nature shots). the place is phenomenal. personally i wish we stayed for 2 nights on the cruise at halong bay instead of one(partly because of the awesome food served on the cruise), but if youre not up for just lazing around, writing and drinking coke on the sundeck or swimming in the sea, i guess one night would be sufficient enough. since i went during summer(i was there during the hottest day of the year, 40degcelcius), i doubt i can give u any constructive advice regarding the climate and weather. but if im not wrong, near the end of the year hanoi gets freezing(i seem to rmbr being told that by a local there), up to the point where people dont go out of their houses for long.

    about streetshots, i got some great looking ones too, at old quarter. there is a wellknown coffeeplace quite near the hoan kiem lake, called Highlands Coffee, and if you stand on the balcony, you can see a stretch of road that never stops being busy with traffic. you can tryout your photopgraphy skills there, im sure u can get some incredible shots. i find Old Quarter teeming with culture so i tend to take pictures of everything i find not common to singapore. (eg. lady selling loads and loads of knives in a basket on a bicycle on a street, or loaves of bread stacked up on a wooden stool, to be sold by the street)

    i havent been to sapa, but im told that, its like halong bay, in a sense. its not worth it to go there for a day's trip. if you're planning to go sapa town, do consider spending a night there, too. i think the travelling time to and fro sapa is about 3 hours each, and if u dont stay there, thats half a day spent on just travelling. for the record, im quite bummed we didnt pay sapa a visit, for the place looks so mystical in pictures. but then again its in a colder region(hills) and if youre going in nov/dec, im not too sure how tts going to work out.

    i hope this reply hasnt been a whole load of nonsense. and that u have a great time there.

  4. #4
    Moderator Octarine's Avatar
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    Jan 2008
    Pasir Ris

    Default Re: Visit to Hanoi, Vietnam in Nov or Dec - Advise needed

    Check the climate reports and descriptions of Vietnam. In Nov and Dec the harvest season is over in Sapa. All what you can see around Sapa is empty Padi fields. Weather can be sunny or cloudy during day, temperatures about 25C (when sunny) or barely 20C (cloudy). Night temperatures can drop to 10C and in home-stays (what most people do there) they don't have heating, only a think comforter. So it depends on how resilient you and your wife are. But on sunny days you will have breathtaking light in the valley! Take the night train from Hanoi (350km, 8h), book a 3day home-stay mountain walking trip. But it's backpacking, be prepared for carrying your luggage and be prepared for paths that are mostly used by buffaloes. We booked from SG, paid in Hanoi and all was well taken care of.
    Halong Bay also needs sunny days, otherwise you can watch the scenery covered in haze. Book at least 2D1N with overnight stay on the boat. A day trip alone is wasted time, the minibus takes 3-4h from Hanoi to reach the ferry terminal.
    Hanoi is the same climate as Sapa, just a few degrees warmer. I was there in Dec 2 years ago, always had an overcast sky and the city had a greyish - brownish colour cast. My last trip in Sep this year was much nicer, sunny sky, temperatures roughly like Singapore but less humid. Get a hotel in the Old Quarters (USD30 per night) and just walk around. It's paradise for streetshooters. But also have a look at the usual spots: Ho Chi Minh mausoleum, his home, the pagodas and temples etc. Many hotels can book you a 1 day city tour to get a start, later you can find your own way with map and book. The traffic can be a bit shocking initially. Just watch the locals. Golden rule: watch out for cars and everything bigger, motorcycles will float around you.
    In general, get a Lonely Planet guide for Vietnam for really extensive coverage of the country.
    Last edited by Octarine; 13th October 2011 at 11:43 AM.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Visit to Hanoi, Vietnam in Nov or Dec - Advise needed

    Quote Originally Posted by Psychosis View Post
    Anyone? Is Sapa ok to visit still in December?
    MC: It's DAMNED COLD in December. It's also at 2,000meters elevation.
    Watch out for foggy days too, as one can sometimes not see byond your hotel door (if you are extremely unlucky)
    Or else, plan for a much longer trip to wait-it-out.
    It does clear. Also, rent a motorcycle, and do the trails yourself. Remeber to pay the Military Uniformed guys at the gate.

    I've spent over 2 weeks in that area, and loved every minute of it. Rain, sleet, frost-bite and all....
    "The climate of Sapa is unique to Vietnam. It is highly seasonal, with a subtropical climate in summer and a temperate climate during the winter. The hottest months are May and June when temperature may goes up to 29C and the coldest months are December and January when temperature may drop down to 1C."

    Weather taken from here:
    Sapa Vietnam - Sapa Weather Information

    Bon Voyage
    Sharpen You Skill, and NOT your Lens....


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