Halong Bay and Hue - are they worht it?

Old Apr 23rd, 2004, 06:58 AM
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Halong Bay and Hue - are they worht it?

Hello - I am planning a trip to Vietnam with my mother. We are staying in Hanoi for 4 days (one of which we were thinking of allocating to Halong). but is it worth it? I think I would rather add the day we would have spent in Halong to Saigon. Also, we are debating whether to spend a night in Hue? People say it is an adorable town with great seamstresses who can make clothing at very low prices. Any thoughts on this?

For sure, we want to hit Hanoi, Hoi An and Saigon - does that seem correct?

All thoughts welcomed - I want my mother to have an amazing trip! We have 10 days total in vietnam.
asykes1 is offline  
Old Apr 23rd, 2004, 08:38 AM
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Hanoi is a charming city. There is more than enough to do to fill 4 days (I spent a week and could have used more time.). Halong Bay is supposed to be wonderful, but no one I know ever recommends it as a day trip; everyone says you should spend the night. Otherwise you spend a whole day riding on boad roads, with perhaps two hours to experience Halong Bay.
Kathie is offline  
Old Apr 23rd, 2004, 12:27 PM
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I think covering Hanoi, Saigon, and Hue in 4 days is too much. I think you should just pick one and spend all four days there. My vote would be for Hanoi, which has many historical sights and is less hectic than Saigon. But Hue and Saigon have better tailors. I also agree that Halong Bay should not be done in one day. I did the one-day trip and it was rough.
kathyl is offline  
Old Apr 23rd, 2004, 07:36 PM
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we spent a day on halong bay, which was pelnty for us....we did however stay the nite before and the nite after in a hotel in hyphong....i think it was a couple hours drive from hanoi to hyphong...i can't think you would enjoy the day given all of that...if you went down late in the afternoon, stayed overnite in hyphong, went to halong, stayed overnite again and left in the early AM...it would work ok...can you stretch your time to do this?? if not, i would skip it...

rhkkmk is online now  
Old Apr 24th, 2004, 04:46 PM
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asykes - I'm sure Halong Bay would be lovely in clear weather - I was there the other day - it was very cloudy and overcast and to me wasn't worth the long bus trip from Hanoi. Preferred both Hue and Ho Ann - had some clothes made in Ho Ann from a really lightweight silk/cotton fabric. Be careful though, the lighting in a lot of shops is very dim (power cuts are common) and I did see some rather nasty looking polyester masquerading as silk. Tailors not bad at copying simple styles but not too good for anything innovative.
pat_woolford is offline  
Old May 1st, 2004, 01:47 PM
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Hanoi is great, but I also love Saigon. I have not visited Halong Bay or Hue, so you need to reply on other posts in making your decision about those two spots. I would add a few observations. Either 3 or 4 nights should be sufficient in Hanoi. Keep in mind that you can cover a lot of ground in Hanoi in a relatively short period of time. I stayed at the Metropole Hotel, Hanoi's best hotel, and, booking through the hotel (not the cheapest way to do it), on my last day in Hanoi I hired an English-speaking driver (hotel employee; hotel car) for $25 for a half day (4 hours). It's a great way to see things that are too far to walk and also a great way to shop, since you can toss purchases into the car, rather than making repeated trips back to your hotel to drop things off. As to your desire to have garments made, Hanoi has lots to offer. I had three sports jackets made at Kenly Silk (one of the high-end shops on Hang Gai Street). I took an old Boss linen jacket that I love and had it copied--two in linen and one in silk. The workmanship was superb and the jackets were finished in under 72 hours. (I don't think that they let the poor tailor go to sleep!) The jackets were all of $70 each! There are numerous other places in Hanoi that will do quality work; just check references through websites, guides, hotel concierges, etc.

A number of folks on this site don't seem to care for Saigon, but I love it. It's alive, energetic and offers plenty to do. Keep in mind that you'll probably want to take life at a slower pace in Saigon because of the heat. There are also opportunities to have clothes made in Saigon. One place of note: Thuy Nga next door to Qucina (the restaurant in the opera house that is affiliated with QBar, a happening spot); all 3 are in the Opera House opposite the Caravelle Hotel, a landmark.

Good luck!
WSL is offline  
Old May 1st, 2004, 06:07 PM
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I liked Saigon too - stayed at the Caravelle and Continental - both near Opera House. Asian Reflections restaurant in Caravelle is fantastic and the Saigon Bar on the roof has a great night-time view of the city.
pat_woolford is offline  
Old May 1st, 2004, 07:26 PM
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In my opinion, Halong Bay should not be missed. Although it is a long day, I would do it from Hanoi, rather than stay over in Haiphong. Similarly, the remains of the citadelle at Hué are well worth seeing, but may be harder to work into your intinerary. I don't know about the tailors at Hué, but they are said to be excellent at Hoi An. Don't miss the Temple of Literature in Hanoi. Unless you have some interest in the Vietnam war I do not think the Cu Chi tunnels are worth the drive, but a Mekong delta trip certainly is.
GregY is offline  
Old May 20th, 2004, 08:30 AM
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In September 2002, my parents, husband and I went to Vietnam. My son was studying there so it was a great opportunity for us to visit this far away land. We were in Hanoi for almost a week, then spent two nights in Sapa, three nights in Hoi An and three nights in Saigon. It was a wonderful trip. My son had met a travel agent and was doing some translations for him and he arranged our hotel reservations and some of the tours.

Hanoi is fascinating. We loved the Old Quarter and soon learned our way around the city. Went to art museum, Army Museum, cultural center (very old cannot remember exact name), "Hanoi Hilton" which was next door to our very nice hotel, Pottery Village. We did a day trip to Halong - there were only four of us plus a guide and driver. We had a boat completely to ourselves - along with a crew of four. It was a wonderful day - food was great and scenery incredible. We were tired when we got back to Hanoi but it was not too much for us (and we are in 50's, parents in 70's)

Spent three (extremely hot) days in HoiAn which was so much fun. The tailors are great - there is much competition among them. Went to Cua Da (definite spelling) Beach while there. What a gorgeous place. Also went to My Son with a private guide. Saigon was interesting - with day trips to Mekong Delta and CuChi. And the shopping in Saigon was lots of fun - I think my mother and I bought about thirty beaded purses.

The Vietnamese people were very nice. We really enjoyed having the private tours as we got to learn a lot about peoples' lives and their families. It is a poor country but the people are very friendly. There are lots and lots of people trying to sell you things. We saw lots of tourists from Europe, a few from America - but mostly people in their 20's and 30's. We saw very few other Americans our ages.

And we will probably be going back as my son is planning another extended stay in Vietnam. We look forward to it. If anyone is interested in name and email of travel agent I can get it.


Pam1951 is offline  
Old May 21st, 2004, 06:44 PM
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Pam I will be going to Hoi an for 4 days.I was trying to get hotel guides and car thru the hotel travel agency. Should i wait till i get there to cover this/ or should i plan ahead/
cochin321 is offline  
Old May 22nd, 2004, 01:48 PM
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I am another voter against Halong Bay. We went from Hanoi, stayed overnight, and cruised on the bay. It was pleasant, but the least interesting part of our trip and a long ride. This was several years ago, so the road may have improved.. We have been to Vietnam twice. We loved Hanoi, also stayed at the Metropole both visits. Hue is beautiful, we also went to Danang and Nha Trang and enjoyed both. Try to see some remains of the Cham culture if you can. Our one visit to Saigon did not impress us, but who knows what another visit would bring. A trip by boat through the Mekong Delta was wonderful.
Have a great time!
epi is offline  
Old Jun 9th, 2004, 07:57 PM
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Halong Bay is the geographical highlight of Vietnam, indeed much of Asia. You should not miss it if a natural setting appeals to you. I would drive one day and stayover, returning the next. The new road is complete and can be done in 2.5 hours, but try and get a private car.

Hue always gets mixed reviews -- dirty river and unattractive town, or lovely ruins and picturesque setting. The Tu Duc tomb is a highlight, as is Thien Mu Pagoda. With Hoi An not far, it's easy to combine. For ten days, I would spend two in Hanoi, two for Halong Bay, an additional four split between Hue/Hoi An and the remainder in Saigon.

It may sound like ruch, but will not be if you have a guide and driver looking after you.
VeloAsia is offline  
Old Jul 22nd, 2004, 07:10 AM
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If you only have 4 days spend it all in Hanoi. Halong Bay is pretty but not as spectacular as Guilin in China. There are some closer day trips you can take from Hanoi if you really. I'd skip Saigon if you have such a short time. Hue is very interesting but, again, if you only have 4 days stick to Hanoi.

glorialf is offline  
Old Jul 23rd, 2004, 11:08 AM
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Do NOT miss Halong Bay. I was in Vietnam in January and thought Halong Bay was spectacular. We stayed overnight and the hotel was a little shady, but we felt the scenery was totally worth it. The city itself isn't very exciting though. If you rent "Indochine", the French movie with Catherine Deneueve, you will get a sense of what Halong Bay looks like.
soupandnoodles is offline  
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