We drove 8 hours to get to New Mexico from Dallas, near Santa Fe. There is a nice huge canyon where you can climb. Single pitch, muli-pitch everything is there. From 5c to 7c+, you will find something.
We rented an Air BnB close to Santa Fe for the weekend. The rock is Basalt so it’s not sharp and quite nice to climb on.
No particular season is best, but it can be very cold during winter. We went there in March and it was freezing cold once the sun disappeared. Take a warm jacket.
Also, do not forget to bring and wear an helmet because rocks are falling !
Visit of Sapa and the villages, first village we did was Ta Van, we also did Ta Phin, Thac Bac water fall. Beautiful villages where you need to get lost and just walk though the streets.
End of the day 7, we took a bus to go back to the train station and then take the night train back to Hanoi.
Arriving early morning to Hanoi, we took a cab to go the Hanoi Airport direction Hue. After 1h flight, at Hue our private driver is waiting for us. Direction Da Nang and Hoi An through the traditional road and the “COL DES NUAGES – ĐEO HảI VAN”. It takes around 4hours but its definitely worth it.
After 4 hours drive and amazing views we reached Hoi An. We booked a very nice hotel for this part of the trip : Hoi An Beach resort.
1 Cửa Đại, Tp. Hội An, Quảng Nam, Vietnam
Visit of Hoi An old town. The best way to visit Hoi An is to walk in the different streets. You can at the entrance of the old town buy a ticket that give you 5 visits of old houses and museums. One house to visit is enough has they have always the same spirit and construction. The bridge is worth to visit.
One day trip to My Son Sanctuary. Very nice temples, they are being restored. We booked our tour at the tourist information center of Hoi An, with a french speaker guide. The whole day was visit of my son and then visit of a fisher man village and back to Hoi An though the river.
We took a flight the day before in the evening to go to Ho Chi Minh. We only spend 1 day at Ho Chi Minh before taking our last flight to Singapore. We did the walking tour written in the lonely planet. We stopped for lunch at “la propaganda” very nice restaurant ! A must to do !
Duration : 10 days Budget : ~1300 sgd / pers (flights/hotel/activities and food included)
10 days in vietnam is a good duration to be able to visit a bit and enjoy the country from north to south. We most of the time stayed 2 days is each cities.
Overall trip : Hanoi –> Halong Bay –> Hanoi –> Sapa –>Hanoi –> Hue –> Hoi An –> Da Nang –> Ho Chi Minh
Day 1 – Hanoi
Arriving to Hanoi from Singapore after 3 hours flight we took a cab to reach the city center (~40 min drive, it should cost around 400,000) and our hotel Rosa Bella Hotel. Nice and welcoming people took us to our rooms. Very clean hotel, maybe the breakfast is a bit small but still okay.
Hotel bella Rosa : 21 Cầu Gỗ, Hàng Bạc, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam
To start our visit, we looked for a nice place to grab something for lunch. We ate at the Artisan Buon Dua Le Cafe. Very nice place, nothing fancy but just great.
Buon Dua Cafe : 20 Hàng Hành Hàng Trống Hoàn Kiếm Hàng Trống Hoàn Kiếm Hà Nội Vietnam
Day 2 – Hanoi
We did the lonely planet walking tour which is just perfect to enjoy Hanoi and all the small streets.
Highlights : Ngoc Son temple, The Huc, The monument of the martyrs, Pho Hang Be and the market on Pho Gia Ngu, Pho Ma May, to discover, at n ° 87, the delightful commemorative house, Pho Ta Hien, to the famous bars, the Bach Ma Temple, Cua O Quan Chuong Pho Thanh Ha, where a street market, the Dong Xuan Market, Pho Hang Ma, where the fake notes are sold during the Buddhist ceremonies, the tinsmiths and the mirror makers, Buddhist altars, St. Joseph’s Cathedral, Ho Lo Jail.
For our afternoon, we took a cab to go at the west lake and enjoy a nice walk next to it with the visit of a temple.
For dinner, we ate at la Porte d’annam. Absolutely amazing. Careful, there might be lots of people, it’s better to book.
Porte d'Annam : 22 Nha Tho street, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi 00000001, Vietnam
Day 3 – HON GAI HARBOUR – BAI TU LONG BAY – THIEN CANH SON CAVE
Direction : halong bay. 4 hours drive to reach the area.
7.30 – 8.00: Pick up at your hotel in Hanoi’s Old Quarter area. We booked through indochina junk a small boat for max 8 people. It’s more expensive than the big boats but worth it as the trip is not the same and they are going through smaller path where you’re getting more privacy.
12.00 – 12.30: Embark at Hon Gai International harbor.
12.30 – 13.00: Check-in, we enjoyed a welcome drink and add a cruise briefing.
13.30 – 15.00: Have lunch while cruising to magnificent Bai Tu Long bay; admire the fascinating formations on the way.
15.15 – 15.40: Explore the well- hidden Thien Canh Son cave.
15.45 – 18:00: Enjoy relaxing on a white sandy beach at Hon Co island, swimming or kayaking.
18:00 – 19.00: Back to junk for refreshing before having dinner on board.
20.00 – 21.00: Relax, enjoy fresh air & overnight on board.
Day 4 – VUNG VIENG FISHING VILLAGE – HON GAI HARBOUR
07.30 – 08.00: Morning view of Bay’s landscape with a cup of tea or coffee. Have breakfast in the fresh air.
08.30 – 09.30: Visit Vung Vieng fishing village by a rustic row-boat.
10.00: Check out of the cabin. Start cruising towards the harbor while an A la carte lunch is served.
11.45 – 12.00: Disembark. Drive to Yen Duc village in Dong Trieu province.
14.00 – 14.30: Enjoy water puppet show performed by local artists which is good for kids not really interesting for adult.
14.45 – 17.30: Arrive in Hanoi.
Once in Hanoi, we moved to the railway station to get our train to Sapa. We booked one bedroom with 4 beds with the Orient Express. Small but clean, let’s go for 6 hours night train to Lao Cai.
Day 5 – Sapa
6am, we arrived at Lao Cai station. We took a taxi (you can have cheaper if your take the local bus which is correct, but we were too tired !). 1hour later we finally reached Sapa. Next objective, find 4 scooters. We found some in the street next to the bus stop, for 60 $ 4 scooters for 3 days.
Sapa is changing a lot currently with constructions everywhere. They are also lots of ethni that try to sell you many handmade braclette, neckless… They also try to sell you hotel rooms, or visits of small villages. Be strong ! you can say no sometimes.
With our scooter, we drove to our guesthouse (1h by scooter). Beautiful road for the view, but not great for the road itself with lots of hole.
Ta Van Ecologic Homestay --> super nice homestay with a magnificient view on the rice field.