Booking car and driver in Vietnam

Old May 24th, 2011, 06:01 AM
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Booking car and driver in Vietnam

Hi,

Does it make more sense to book any required car and driver at individual hotels/locales as opposed to having them arranged in advance as part of an overall tour? We will be going to Vietnam for about four weeks in February, starting in Hanoi and slowly winding our way south. At various points we will need a car + driver. For example, between Hue and Hoi Ann. Also for airport pickups and drop-offs at various points. The itemized charges included in the over-all proposal from Tonkin Tours seem high for this stuff - $78 and $19 (one way), respectively. Would we better off engaging these locally and dropping these costs out of the overall tour package?

Thanks for your help!
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Old May 24th, 2011, 07:37 AM
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Ttt
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Old May 24th, 2011, 07:58 AM
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In my opinion, you are better off hiring these locally, as needed. You don't ned a car and driver for airport pick ups and drop offs, for instance, a taxi works just fine and is both cheap and easy.
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Old May 24th, 2011, 09:22 AM
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We used a variety of pre-booked cars, locally-booked cars, and taxis. Here's what we found:

1) Hanoi - we booked a car through our hotel and were glad we did. For $16 each way, they picked us up from the airport and took us back to the airport. I don't know how much a taxi would have cost, but given all the taxi scams for which Hanoi is [in]famous, we were glad we did this.

2) Hue - we took a taxi to our hotel, it cost exactly what the books told us it would cost (about $10 from airport to La Residence Hue).

3) Hue to HoiAn - we booked a car through La Residence. It was WAY overpriced, at $100. We thought it should have cost about $70.

4) HoiAn to Danang airport - we took a metered taxi. It cost more than we thought it would, at $25.00. Probably should have taken a car booked by the hotel.

5) HCMC - we were so worried about taxi meter scams than we bought a taxi voucher for $9.00 (just before exiting the airport). Turns out it would have only been $5.00 on the meter (airport to Liberty Central Hotel). The return trip by taxi was $7.00, I think.

6) Siem Reap - we did everything through our hotel. Car to and from airport was $17 each way. Might have been cheaper to take a taxi, but it was great to get picked up in an air-conditioned Lexus SUV!
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Old May 25th, 2011, 01:27 AM
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I think you should pick up the bus.
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Old May 26th, 2011, 02:23 AM
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Hi there
four week is long enough to for visiting many places cross country, regarding about travel style is depend on your budget. most of suggestion above are seem very interesting and self exploration, it is likely backpacking travelers. this way is pretty much suitable for young people. it dose not mean not worthwhile taking that. what ever travel style is you guys still need to have plan before heading off , right? within one month, i would like to suggest following schudle
Hanoi - Sapa (trekk & homestay) - Halong bay ( overnight on cruise ) - Hue - Hoian ( good stay for 3 days ) - Nha Trang - Da Lat - Saigon - Cu chi tunnel - Mekong delta.

Night train to Sapa and night train from Hanoi to Hue, flight from Danang to Nha Trang - bus ride from Nha Trang to Da Lat, you can book open bus ticket from Ha cafe , TM brother cafe to Da Lat (highland) and down to Saigon city as well

take care and have good time
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Old May 26th, 2011, 06:06 AM
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Thanks for your responses. I think we'll probably be doing these locally in most cases.
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Old May 26th, 2011, 12:42 PM
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@vietvisiontravel - thanks! - the itinerary you laid out is very similar to the one we have planned.
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Old May 26th, 2011, 11:00 PM
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For airport transfer, i suggest you use taxi or pre-booked service. For instance, it costs around $14 to go from Noi Bai airport by taxi. To save the budget, you can use public bus (less than $1). To transfer from a destination to another one, you may use the high-quality bus (such as Hoang Long bus-quite famous brand name). There are a lot of taxi scams in Vietnam so you should take care. When moving around Hanoi, you should take Mai Linh taxi only.
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Old May 27th, 2011, 09:21 AM
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>>

Mai Linh does have a good reputation. We took very few taxis in Hanoi, because we walk everywhere (even back from the Museum of Ethnology, which is quite far from the Old Quarter), but when we did, our hotel would call one for us. We were never "scammed" by the taxis called by our hotel.
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Old Jun 6th, 2011, 07:25 AM
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Just remember to check out how much it cost for any type of transportation from the airport to the bus station, and make sure that drivers understand where you want to go to, just to avoid the misunderstanding.
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Old Jun 6th, 2011, 08:35 AM
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Actually for the transfer that Tonkin Tour offered to you is rather ok price. Taking a private transfer is more expensive than a seat in coach one or joining an open bus.
From any airport in Vietnam if you have an idea of taking a taxi, it is better to get a taxi voucher from the airport or looking for MAILINH TAXI. In Hanoi you can hop on one of these aiport buses: KUMHO BUS or JETSTAR BUS, ticket is 2us/each person/ one way transfer.
For the transfer from Hue to Hoi An if you prefer a seat in coach one I would like to recommend Sinh Cafe bus.
In Saigon you will have more choices besides Mailinh taxi such as VINASUN TAXI, FUTURE TAXI.
Have a nice trip!
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Old Jun 8th, 2011, 12:11 PM
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All - Thanks for all the information!
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