8D7N Hanoi, Sapa and Fansipan trip with full-fledge flight at >$1,500 for 2

If you are looking for a budget destination, how about heading to Hanoi, and adding in Sapa, Fansipan for an extra spice to your tour?
The husband and I were there for a 8D7N trip (disclaimer - not my honeymoon. I haven't plan one yet hehe)
Most people exclaimed - so long!? What's there to do?
It is indeed long if we were to stay in just Hanoi alone. After all, Hanoi was pretty boring as we could cover Old and French Quarter in a day. Our days in Hanoi were spent on food, facial and massages 😛If you are planning to tour Hanoi only, a 4D3N tour would suffice.
But we inserted a 3D2N trip to Sapa and Fansipan which was notably the highlight of the trip!
And, I'm proud to share that our expenses were around $1,400 for two which includes a full fledge flight via Vietnam Airlines instead of a budget flight ðŸ˜Š and our anyhow spend also can expenses at ~$250 (we ate whatever we like, and also had pampering facial and massage sessions!)
Here's a rough guide of our itinerary: …

Couple Talk: EC or Resale

I've dated my partner for close to 5 years. I always joke that I gave him my youth (that's true).

5 years is a long time. I also joked about how if we're fortunate enough, we would already have a baby (好命的话,我的baby可能1岁咯). Unfortunately, we have been sorely unsuccessful in getting a flat. I probably am more anxious than him because I feel like I've an expiry date, and my biological clock is ticking. I know there are some stories of mummies at 40s and 50s, but I'd rather meet my goal of having kids before 30.

I used to think I'd get married and have kids at 23. Then it postponed to 25. And then to 26, and then to 28. It got delayed all because we have not secured our own home.

I want to start a family soon. But, without a flat to call our own. It's tough. We are not comfortable staying in each others' houses too. In-laws relations, proximity to workplaces and "it's never the same staying in someone else's home, cause it's never as comfortable as yours" thoughts are some of our own reasons.

We faced a few dilemmas deciding on a flat. Years ago when we were young(er), BTO was the most obvious choice. We have the time to wait. I even thought getting a flat was easy! Just apply only ma! I won't be so unlucky to end up with nothing one la. But after rounds of unsuccessful balloting (and these took years), I'm getting frustrated. Even if I were to be successful in getting a BTO for this round, the TOP in 2021/2022 would mean I'd wait till my 30s and him in mid 30s to get hitched. And don't get me started on the probability of having a kid immediately after we wed.

With BTO being less of an option for us because we are not very huat, both of us have different opinions on our next option.

He prefers an EC, while I prefer a resale.

I prefer a resale for the following reasons:

  • I want one with close proximity to the MRT
  • I could get one near my parents to receive the housing grant 
  • We can get married soon after settling the house reno
  • Bigger size than BTOs
He disagrees. He said that resale flats has high reno costs given that you'd need to hack a lot of things if you're not satisfied with the current fittings. Next, the resale grant will need to be returned back if we sell it. Most importantly, because he sees his first property as an investment tool, a resale flat would not give us much profit if we sell.

His preference is for an EC because:
  • Don't need to wait as long as BTO
  • As an investment tool
  • Interior mostly done
  • Also because his cousin and friends kept telling him "EC is the way to go"

*rolls eyes*

I disagreed. Mainly with his point that the first home is for investment purposes. To me a house is for long term stay, not to sell and profit. He said that I'd need to consider that we would want to upgrade and upsize our flats, but I wasn't convinced. Also, I don't think we should purchase an EC at this stage. 

Assuming our EC costs around $1m for a 3 bedder and a loan amount of around $800k, we'd have to fork out $3200+ per month. This excludes monthly maintenance fees (googled and it's around $180-$250/mth). 

Based on our current take home pay, it's not that we totally cannot afford an EC, but we would probably have to live with sandwiches most of the days. What for right? And, I still have not factored in furniture costs (though it's a one off purchase), utilities and what about our milk powder money?!

On the other hand, the resales I'm looking at are not cheap either. A flat in my block could cost $800k as well......there are even some who are selling for $1m nearby. My partner is also slightly uncomfortable to stay near my parents although he understands how convenient this estate is. Everyone prefers to stay where they grew up in which I understand.

I used to think the average housing amount I need to fork out would be around $300k. That was in 2009. However, after looking at the recent BTOs at mature estate (and even Bidadari), I had to set my budget to a minimum of $550k or else, it's Punggol or Seng Kang. Even then, there are people selling their Punggol or Seng Kang flats at $500k! It's insane thinking about how the average housing prices are now. I even lamented to my partner that we should have balloted for a flat when we first met so as to lock in cheaper prices hahaha!

My partner has already locked in some dates for viewing at ECs. I'm still keeping my options open, but as his Finance Minister, I'd be sure disapprove if it gets way out of...our budget.

I don't want to end up like this, but I know the majority of us has no escape.


  1. There's 3 bedroom ec priced around 800k plus around sengkang, punggol, choa chu kang area.. But it may not be as ideal a location as ur husband wants?

    Likewise there's 5 room unit near mrt at buangkok around 500k plus.. 4 room will be cheaper..

    End of day is trade off..

    Personally I feel a so called central location doesn't warrant 200 or 300k kore sengkang/punggol/bkt panjang.. So long as near mrt w amenities nearby, good enough.

  2. If you upgrade your flat in future, let say you sell your EC for a 20% gain (keeping things simple). You upgrade to another higher end flat, the flat will also be 20% more than today's value as well. There is no gain in any case if its as an investment

  3. I suspect many of the Singaporeans are perhaps facing this issue as what you have described on above. Like myself, we are pretty stranded without getting any luck on BTO queue. While exploring resale may be a choice, but that is still significantly more than getting a BTO. Needless to say, EC. Well, in my opinion, I think it makes some sense to consider EC if the resale price is comparable. That's just my thoughts...

  4. Buy a house that is near to a good school that you plan to send your kids to. Start with four rooms as the expenses are more manageable. trust me-parent shift house because of kids to cut down time on travelling. If you have money, buy condo instead of EC because for EC needs to wait 8 years before you can sell.

  5. It really depends on the location of the Resale or EC that you are buying in. At times, they can be comparable in price if you look at the former in a mature estate and the latter in a non-mature estate. The key thing to note is that both of you are most likely staying in the apartment for 5 years. That's a long time. Discuss this issue at length with your partner because you don't want the place you are staying in to be a source of tension in your relationship.


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