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piccolo Oct 11th, 2005 02:22 AM

Halong Bay overnight
My family of 5 have been quoted a cost of $400(US) for an overnight stay in Halong Bay in January. (Handspan Tours) Does this sound average or does anyone have any other recommendations? Any other advice for a family trip would be most welcome. Thanks.

dperry Oct 11th, 2005 04:02 AM

My husband and I took the Halong Bay tour with Handspan last october, aboard the Dragon Pearl. It was wonderful, and the boat was one of the nicest in Halong Bay. It's worth the money-enjoy!

Neil_Oz Oct 11th, 2005 04:16 AM

I don't want to sound tight, piccolo, but $400 isn't chickenfeed in Vietnam. What does it cover? Transport from Hanoi, overnight accommodation, cruise, meals? Even so, sounds too much to me. I would have thought that you'd have no problem doing a good deal at short notice in Hanoi - January can hardly be high season in the North. Can't be categorical about this, though - it's been a few years since we visited, and things could have changed.

Kathie Oct 11th, 2005 06:28 AM

That sounds very high. I'd wait until I was in Hanoi to book. Those kinds of tours seem to cost at least double if you book outside the country.

There are some recent reports about trips to halong. Do a search on this board (if the search function is working) to find some comments and recommendations.

maryanne1 Oct 11th, 2005 01:57 PM

You definitely want to spend the night there. It is too long for a day trip.
If this is the price for Handspan to Halong that is much more expensive than the tour I took overnight about 2-3 years ago. Mine was in the $50 range,but the place I stayed was very minimal and rode on a bus with a group to get there. You will be able to find more tours when you arrive.

Lyndie Oct 11th, 2005 06:05 PM

Halong is a great day trip. Easy to organise at Tamarind Cafe in Old City. We thought Halong Bay was a dirty over-rated place to visit compared with Railay & Laem Phra Nang in Thailand.

The price you've been quoted is high for a shared boat with other groups.

Will you have your own boat? Does the price include all meals? If it's a private charter then maybe US80 per person would be acceptable. We paid US35 p.p. for a private day trip and a private boat for the day, between four of us. They provided lunch. I'm pretty sure it was via Handspan at Tamarind Cafe.

The overnight boats are cramped and you need to secure your belongings. Some people we met in Hanoi had money stolen from their bags, on an overnight boat. The cabin doors did not lock. Take some sea sickness remedy if you're prone to it! Good luck!

piccolo Oct 14th, 2005 01:06 AM

many thanks for your advice - anymore regarding a family trip would be greatly appreciated!

divediva Oct 15th, 2005 02:55 AM

i was just at the handspan office in hanoi booking a tour to the handicraft villages and hoa lu. they are very professional but i noticed they had a disclaimer on the boats to halong bay that an english speaking guide was extra and that the boats are not theirs..they are hired such as dragons pearl. you also had to pay extra for kayaking and other incidentals.

i booked my trip with buffalo tours for 3 days 2 nites, everything included except drinks and it was even more expensive $160 per person but they only have 5 double rooms on the jewel of the bay...noted as the nicest
junk tour of the bay. handspan just had 2 trips that were discounted to help clean up the bay...and i will report back my trip is oct 18-20.

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