Halong Bay Boat Tours

Aug 7th, 2003, 08:22 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 51
Halong Bay Boat Tours

I am going to be in Hanoi, Vietnam in January and am very interested in doing a boat trip of Halong bay. I have read that the most worthwhile trip would be a 3 day boat trip. Is this too much? Would a 2 day trip be just as good.
Can anyone recommend a reasonably priced tour for 2-3 days?
Also, is it better to book this tour in advance over the internet or would it be better to just do it once i am in Hanoi?
juice06870 is offline  
Aug 7th, 2003, 10:48 AM
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we did a one day private trip two years ago..we booked it along with asiantrails.com on the internet ...they are in bangkok with a sub-contractor in vn....we were very happy with them and it was cheap...it included a driver and guide for hanoi pick-up, drive to hyphong, one nite in royal garden hotel (only quality hotel in area), hydrofoil trip to halong bay, private boat with crew for the 2 of us (boat would hold at least 20-30 people), lunch (very good)--cooked on board, return trip to hyphong via hydrafoil, tour of hyphong, return trip to hanoi with stops...they had a standard tip available which we customized....we were very pleased...

i cannot imagine spending more than one day on halong bay really, unless you were staying there at one of the "resort" hotels....
rhkkmk is offline  
Aug 7th, 2003, 11:21 AM
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I am going to Hanoi next July and I was wondering the same thing, although I would only do a one-day tour. Is Halong Bay worth it, or is it just a tacky tourist trap? I hate anything touristy.

I was also wondering if going to the pottery villages was worth it? Any info would be appreciated. John G
ThinGorjus is offline  
Aug 7th, 2003, 12:09 PM
Join Date: Aug 2003
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I was in Halong Bay, it is the most beautiful place must see. If you travel so to far to get to Vietnam and not visit Halong Bay, just like go to Arizona and not visit the Grand Canyon. It has its history with it, the people are very sincere and nice including the workers on the boat. HaLong Bay is listed as one of the wonders in the world. When I was there I did not see that many tourists because it's away from the busy city. It is good to book with a tour agency, they take care your lunch, because it is a one day trip. The lunch is very fresh and cooks on the boat. Enjoy.
lamwinn is offline  
Aug 7th, 2003, 12:58 PM
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We did an overnight boat trip (sleeping on the boat). Loved it! We booked it through Handspan tours in Hanoi. It was really cool!! We were on the boat by midafternoon, sailed around, anchored in a quiet cove, had a WONDERFUL dinner onboard (we don't eat meat and they made lots of good stuff for us), had a little private cabin (bathroom down the hall), cruised around more the next day and were back in Hanoi by the 2nd evening. IMO a day trip would be a bit rushed, I think what we did was perfect and 3 days would've been good if we'd had loads of time. We booked it in Hanoi just because we hadn't really planned to do it. I don't remember the price but it was fairly cheap and included everything from Hanoi and back except non-water drinks.
Aug 7th, 2003, 01:00 PM
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Thingorus - I'm sure it depends on the trip, but our whole boat experience was totally non-touristy and tacky. It was really wonderful.
Aug 7th, 2003, 07:29 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,742
Halong Bay is indeed lovely. I stayed on a dragonboat with about 12 other people, and it was the greatest night's sleep I've ever had. I didn't find it at all tacky or over-touristed, and I think I have a somewhat developed tack-o-meter by this time. I arranged the trip in Hanoi; the two days and one night was a good time frame for me.

If you'd like to read a litte bit about it, I've got my long trip report posted at untours.com (click on website contents, then triplogs.)

PS Hi, Peep!
Amy is offline  
Aug 7th, 2003, 07:45 PM
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Thanks, to all, especially, Amy. I read your report a few weeks ago. I decided not to take my mother to the Perfume Pagoda based on your report. She is 63 and a smoker of 45 years, so I doubt she could make the climb. (She keeps telling me she could do it, but I am incredulous.) I think a nice boat ride on Halong Bay would be just the thing for her and her lungs.
ThinGorjus is offline  
Aug 7th, 2003, 08:55 PM
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i do not think you will find halong bay touristy at all...we stopped at cat ba and it was not very interesting and quite crummy really...the pottery town that we went to...Bat n Ting (from my wife's notes??? we spent an hour or so and it is very worthwhile and very, very cheap and interesting....take a walk around...see them mix the clay, etc...bargain....
just found our records...we paid $240 each for one nite hotel in hanoi (daewoo), 3 nites in hyphong, all guides, boats, etc....very cheap...www.asiantrails.com----we did a spin off (custom) on one of their standard tours and it was just the 2 of us....
rhkkmk is offline  
Aug 17th, 2003, 11:22 PM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 17
The weather may not be all that flash in January for Ha Long bay but it is a top place and if you are lucky enough to get it sunny then bingo! Kangaroo Cafe in hanoi does have their own junk, sleep aboad, as do green and handspan, make sure it is a small group booking.
Be careful it is not TET time as everyone has a holiday, 2004 is on January 22nd.have fun you lucky buggar
trammie is offline  
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