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