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Mattias
Halmstad

Mattias from Halmstad asked

Best places to go in Vietnam during January?

Greetings fellow vagabonders,

We're a group of four people that will be in Vietnam for approximately 10 days during the beginning-middle of January. Our budget is under control and we want a taste of culture, adventure and beautiful landscapes - without rushing madly.


We intend to begin with one-two nights Hanoi before heading to the terraces in Sa Pa. I'm wondering; what's the smoothest way to get between these two places, and how much time is required to sufficiently experience Sa Pa?

Secondly, Da Lat is on our list. Is it worth the long journey up in the mountains (considering our travelling time) and if yes, for how long should one stay?

What other places would you recommend in Vietnam during January? Weather season taken into consideration. I have previously been to Hanoi, Halong Bay, Hoi An, Nha Trang and Ho Chi Minh City, but I'm open for revisits.

Any takes on Hue or Mui Ne?

All responds and ideas are welcomed.

Remain curious,

Mattias

Vietnam

12 Answers
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top answer by
Diep from Thuy Anh, Thái Bình, Vietnam

The coastal stretch from Hue down to Nha Trang is great in the first half of the year, from January through to July, while Saigon and the Mekong Delta Tours are best from November through to February or March.


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answered by
Teddy from New City, New York

I suggest you go to Da Lat and Phu Quoc island . Now. the weather of Vietnam is cold a bit . But the south of Vietnam is not . Temperature around 20 to 35 Celsius . It is suit for travel and explore or join some activities.I had been Phu Quoc island. And it was a memorable trip in Vietnam. All thing was so excellent .


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answered by
Tiến from Lạng Sơn

I want to add Da Nang and Phu Quoc to suggested destination for you when visit Vietnam. Now aday, these become a wonderful place for travel and see nature view. So much funny thing are waiting you here to explore and take adventure.


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answered by
Teddy from New City, New York

I think you should go to Hue. Hue is a cultural place in Vietnam . Hue is clustered around the Perfume River, which splits the capital of the Nguyễn Dynasty in two. There are endless must-see historic sites, especially those that are UNESCO World Heritage designated. Sightseeing can include the ornate Imperial Citadel, colorful Thanh Toan Bridge, royal tombs and the Forbidden Purple City. Spend a moment in quiet contemplation if you visit Hue Jungle Crevice, where thousands of citizens were pushed to their deaths.

One suggestion about Ninh Binh.It is a great place.

Thanks. 


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answered by
Duyen from Hội An

You only have 10 days so it's a little bit hectic if you spend time in Da Lat. As you are in Sa Pa, no need to go to Da Lat anymore. Instead, spend your time in Phu Quoc island or Hoi An. If you are a beach lover, you will definitely love Phu Quoc.

To me, Hoi Anis beautiful and you can come to Hoi An for 1 or 2 days, then make your way to Hue (The best food in Viet Nam). 

This is an itinerary in Hoi An and Hue, you can check them out!

Plan in Hoi An

1 day in Hue

At that time is the spring in Viet Nam so it's ideal to travel in Viet Nam. Hope you have a great trip.


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  1. Da Lat (city)
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  3. Phu Quoc (city)
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answered by
Alana from Hoi An

January is best time to go in Vietnam, it’s a bit cold in northern, temperatures may be drop below 5 degree, even lower in Sapa but it’s a beautiful place to go there. If you don’t have much time, should stay 1 night in Hanoi, and at least 2 days in Sapa.


From Hanoi, you have two options to go Sapa, the 1st one is take a night train to Lao Cai province first, and then take a bus/motor taxi to Sapa town, you can ask train ticket at your hotel in Hanoi. The 2nd one is faster, taking a direct sleeping bus from Hanoi to Sapa.


Don’t miss trekking to Fansipan peak, which is the highest mountain of Indochina. Joining a group tour, walking to majestic primeval forests and feeling fantastic shapes of beauty of nature. If you are keen on this place, I recommend you this interesting plan I followed when I was being there https://www.justgola.com/plan/a-wonderful-trip-to-sapa-16766


I love Sapa and spent my 4 days there, traveling through hills, meeting ethic minority people and deep feeling in wild beauty spots. That trip was brilliant and I’m plan to go back with my family next year.
Hope you have wonderful trip.

Here are some photos of SapaTaking on top of Fansipan


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answered by
Karl from Ho Chi Minh City

There is Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park which is known for limestone Karst Mountains, beautiful  rivers, and it's amazing cave systems. You may have read about the largest (and possibly third largest) caves being discovered in VN. A company Oxalis runs an over night camping expedition in Hang En cave. It's relatively expensive for Vietnam at 300 USD. Though there are other options such as staying at a farm stay/guest house and exploring smaller caves. I've heard good things about the Phong Nha Farm Stay and Phong Nha Lake House.

Dalat is nice but compared to Sapa, Hoi An, and Halong bay it may be a bit underwhelming and at a roughly 5 hour drive may not make it worthwhile.

That being said I like Dalat, you can hit up Cát Tiên National Park on the way to  and stay at the Ta Lai Longhouse a community based tourism project that operates in the park.

While in Dalat, if you choose to go, I'd recommend getting in touch with the guys at Kho Coffee who have set up a socially responsible coffee collective and run some hiking trips guided by locals in the surrounding mountains. 

If you're in HCMC and have an extra day there's a neat place called Sunny Farm Vietnam ran by a really cool local VN guy who's also friends with the guys at Kho Coffee.


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Mattias
You have made me really curious about Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park. It looks amazing from the photos that I've seen. We will definitely consider it. Thanks for the time and effort that you put in to your reply, Karl. It's highly appreciated!
 
 
 

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answered by
Laura from Buenos Aires

I went on january and visited what I believe are the most famous places and I loved them all. I also loved the food.

Ho Chi Minh City, a vibrant and chaotic city, Hoi An, a charming ancient village, Hanoi, even more hectic and chaotic than Ho Chi Minh but also fun, Halong Bay Vietnam, a true wonder of nature, and Sa Pa District, a wonderful spot among the mountains with beautiful people. 

We did all that in 9 days.

To go to Sa Pa District you have to take a night train from Hanoi that will take you to Lao Cai where you can take a car to Sa Pa. You can arrange that with your hotel. The train departures at night from Hanoi and arrives at 5 or 6 in the mornig to Lao Cai and from there you have 2 hours aprox to Sa Pa, so you can make a tour that same day. There are many train companies to choose from, we traveled by Sapali Express. I recomend you stay at least 2 days, 1 night in Sa Pa, it is beautiful. 


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Mattias
Thank you for your informative answer regarding Sa Pa, Laura! That's really helpful! So much to explore in Vietnam. What was your favorite dish?
 

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Laura
In Sa Pa I didn't eat vietnamese food (I was in need of some western food) but in Vietnam I loved the coffee, Cold ir Hot with condensed milk, the stir frieds with meat and fluir, and the vietnamese Sprint rolls which are simply wonderful. But really everything is great
 
 
 

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answered by
Julian from Australia

I've been to Sa Patwice, beautiful & lovely. You'd better spend about 3 days there. How about Hoi An ? January is a great time to be there. Da Lat is nice, but not special to me


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Mattias
Hey Julian, thank you for your reply! Twice sounds promising! Did you do something differently on your second visit? We'll definitely head to Hoi An, what's your must-do while there?
 

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Julian
Well, I try to revisit some places I love and stop by new places as well. For Hội An: walk around the ancient town, đồ shopping, enjoy local food (esp, street food), visit ancient houses....rent a bike to get Cam Thanh water coconut village, travel to Cham island and do snorkeling/ scuba diving, visit Thanh Ha pottery village, Kim Bong capenter village, Tra Que vegetable village, My Son sanctuary...
 
 
 

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answered first by
Justin from Phoenix

Your best method to get from Hanoi to Sa Pa is to book locally to take the Fanxipan Express train to Lao Cai, and then a van/shuttle to Sa Pa (don't book online unless you want to pay way more). I spent about four days in the highlands hiking from Sa Pa through some villages and back. Sa Pa is pretty small, so I recommend getting out a bit. The homestay treks are pretty popular, and very enlightening. I published a story about it.


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Mattias
Justin from Phoenix, I love Arizona! I just finished reading your story and I could really imagine myself in Sa Pa. I especially like how you describe the people and the scenary. It reminds me a bit of a book called Shantaram. Thank you for the insights!
 
 
 
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answered by
Son from Hanoi, Vietnam

From Hanoi to Sa Pa, the best and safest way is moving by train. You can spend about 3 days in Sapa and try homestay service here. Da Lat is also an ideal place for travelling in January. Besides, you can take a trip to Mộc (Son La) with many poetic landcape.


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  1. Hanoi (city)
  2. Sa Pa (city)
  3. Da Lat (city)
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answered by
Son from Hanoi, Vietnam

From Hanoi to Hiệu Vải Sapa, the best and safest way is moving by train. You can spend about 3 days in Sapa and try homestay service here. Da Lat is also an ideal place for travelling in January. Besides, you can take a trip to Mộc Châu District (Son La) with many poetic landcape.


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Mentioned in this answer:

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  1. Hanoi (city)
  2. Hiệu Vải Sapa (attraction)
  3. Da Lat (city)
  4. Mộc Châu District (attraction)


   
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