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Is this possible?

S.W Wales
Level Contributor
249 posts
15 reviews
Is this possible?

Im hoping to visit vietnam over christmas for 13 or 14 days, arriving 22nd December and wondered if my initial thoughts on places to see where possible/adivisable?

Hanoi - 1day

Sapa over chrismas 2/3 days

Halong cruise 2 day

Hoi an 2 day

Fly to Siem reap 3 days

any advice or thoughts on this very initial plan? is it a good plan? any problems? any other places we should not miss close by to these?

thanks

Milan, Italy
Level Contributor
4,773 posts
13 reviews
1. Re: Is this possible?

It is winter there.

Bring winter clothes.

Llanbrynmair...
Level Contributor
14,940 posts
13 reviews
2. Re: Is this possible?

If possible, try to get an open-jaw plane ticket, flying into Hanoi and home from Siem Reap. That will not only give you a little more time to play with but also reduce costs: flights from Vietnam to Siem Reap are disproportionately expensive so flying only one way makes financial sense; and if you return to Vietnam after visiting Cambodia you will need a multiple entry visa, which is significantly more expensive than a single entry one.

As Maurizio says, you will need winter clothes in northern Vietnam. It will be cold in Hanoi, colder still on Halong Bay and very cold in Sapa. Summer clothes will definitely be needed in Siem Reap though.

You won't have time to visit any other destinations as your itinerary is already pretty rushed and you will lose the equivalent of a day to travelling when airport transfers, check-in times etc. are factored in. I personally would drop Hoi An and spend another couple of days in Hanoi as there's so much to see and do there. Also bear in mind that you will need three full days in Siem Reap, so four nights unless your flight to the UK leaves after 8 pm, or thereabouts.

Hanoi, Vietnam
Level Contributor
15,135 posts
74 reviews
3. Re: Is this possible?

A poor plan in my opinion - too rushed, 1 too many countries and weather. Xmas is great in Hanoi, but cool in Sapa, and perhaps too cool for a cruise. Siem Reap should be saved for a trip with more time. Half of a trip such as this would be spent in transit - do you really want to spend half of this time on trains, in airports or waiting to check into a new hotel?

Come back to Vietnam when you have more time to enjoy the trip without all this rushing around.

New York
Level Contributor
273 posts
27 reviews
4. Re: Is this possible?

CB - can you elaborate on the weather being cold in Hanoi in Dec? I had looked up the historical averages and they had said it was 15-21 H/L Celsius, which is about 60-70 Fahrenheit. Which for me means jeans and a long sleeve top and a light jacket. Are those averages not right? We did eliminate the Halong Bay cruise as we wanted 4 nights in Hanoi and I thought it would be chilly on the water, but I assumed Hanoi itself would be OK temperature-wise. Would you suggest bringing thicker coats/sweaters?

Houston, Texas
Level Contributor
8,636 posts
4 reviews
5. Re: Is this possible?

BB, they are just average temperatures.

The main difference between NY and most of VN is the humidity in the winter.

That and the insulation of buildings.

No matter, it should be jeans and a light jacket (on the average) for a New Yorker (unless you're one who stays inside most of the time.)

There are always exceptions from time to time, but nothing an average NYorker should be too concerned about.

Cheers,

John

Llanbrynmair...
Level Contributor
14,940 posts
13 reviews
6. Re: Is this possible?

Baby Bear, because of the humidity, 15-21 C in Hanoi feels about 5 C colder than the same temperatures in London, and presumably New York too.

Last year I was in Hanoi throughout December. From the second half of the month onwards, although it was gloriously sunny during the day it still felt decidedly chilly - certainly chilly enough for a jumper during the middle of the day, plus a warm jacket and scarf after about 4 pm and before 10-11 am the next day.

But there again, I did notice some people of Scandinavian appearance walking around in t-shirts and shorts, so for them it obviously wasn't cold in comparison with their home countries!

In any event, do make sure that your hotel has heating in the rooms (usually in the form of two-way aircon, with both cool and warm settings) because all buildings are poorly insulated and rooms can become icy during the night. You might also have to ask for a second duvet for the bed as just one of the standard thin ones will probably be insufficient.

A huge bonus of the cold weather is the joy of wrapping your hands round a glass of delicious hot chocolate, which is unthinkable during the summer months!

New York
Level Contributor
273 posts
27 reviews
7. Re: Is this possible?

Ha ha, I love it! Hot chocolate any time! Thanks so much for clarifying, I did not understand initially that the humidity would be a factor. We will def take along a couple of sweatshirts and a scarf with a light jacket, my Uggs can stay home. We are staying at the Intercon Westlake and I assume the insulation will be good.

I guess I had forgotten that Hanoi is in the northern region, whenever I've been in Asia over Christmas, its been in places like Mumbai, Singapore and Bangkok, all of which are pretty hot. I assume as we move south to Hue, Hoi An and Saigon, it will be progressively warmer.

Edited: 07 August 2014, 03:00
Hanoi, Vietnam
Level Contributor
15,135 posts
74 reviews
8. Re: Is this possible?

When it's 62F in Hanoi (cold by their standards) many start wearing down jackets, and the airport turns on the heat (very uncomfortable even without the heat). However, weather has been very unpredictable of late. It's not unheard of to see snow in late Dec/early Jan in the Highlands/Sapa. Any New Yorker would be quite comfortable because Hanoi is very festive at Xmas time (fly over to Laos or Thailand at the same time, and you need A/C). Yes, as you move south, the temp rises - you'll need A/C in Saigon.

9. Re: Is this possible?

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