Halong Bay - Vietnam Tour Guides

Old Jan 4th, 2004, 04:39 PM
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CFW
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Halong Bay - Vietnam Tour Guides

We plan to spend 3 or 4 days in Hanoi. Have heard such conflicting opinions about Halong Bay -- people seem to either love it or hate it (saying it is polluted & full of floating garbage). Since we only have about 10 days total in Vietnam (we also want to go to Hue, Hoi An & HCMC), should we do that or go to Mai Chau to see the villages in that area? Or just stay in Hanoi?
Also, have seen so many recommendations for tour guides for day and overnight tours in various locations -- Ann Tours, Exotissimo, Handspan, Trails of Indochina. None of them have prices on their websites. Has anyone compared them for cost, value, reliability, good English speaking guides, & interesting well-planned trips?
So much to see, so many choices. Any help would be very much appreciated! Thanks!
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Old Jan 4th, 2004, 05:23 PM
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i just typed a 10 minute reply and it disappeared
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Old Jan 4th, 2004, 05:33 PM
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ok now it works...we stayed at hyphong before and after our day on halong bay two years ago...it was perfect...one day on the bay is good enough...i would not have wanted to do more...we arranged our whole trip from bangkok through www.asiantrails.com.....they have a standard tour but did a custom one for us...it was very cheap...
we took the hydrafoil from hyphong to cat ba island and boarded a private boat for the tour---crew of three plus our guide...boat would hold 30..great seafood lunch (vietnam) cooked on board..see no need for more than 5 or 6 hours on bay....we saw plenty..

we stayed at the royal garden harbour view hotel in hyphong--the only upscale? hotel two years ago...adequate..reasonable..owned by an american in bangkok (marriott resort and spa in bkk)...

loved hanoi..not too much to do, but good shopping around hang gai street--cotton clothing, tablecloths, childs clothing, lacquerware...very cheap...should have boutght more...

in short you can do halong bay in a day and 1/2 from hanoi and it would be fine...

we stopped at an artist house and a pottery village on our way back to hanoi..both interesting...

2 full days in hanoi and a day and half going to halong bay would be fine in my opinion...

if you are coming from bkk, air france has a daily flight which is reasonable and reliable--747..or at leat they did 2 years ago...

enjoy
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Old Jan 4th, 2004, 05:34 PM
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in re-reading---we arranged our trip in advance on the internet with asiantrails in bkk....very reasonable
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Old Jan 4th, 2004, 06:41 PM
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We spent a day on the Bay and saw no garbage, had a wonderful time.

If you want a good guide from Hanoi to go out there with you, try Mr. Long at 0903.211.205 (mobile) or [email protected]. He speaks excellent English and is incredibly knowledgeable about Halong Bay and all of Vietnam. Of the five guides we used over three weeks in Vietnam, he was head and shoulders above the others. You may have to go through one of the hotels to hire him, I didn't quite understand how the deals were set up. We found him through the tour desk at the Sofitel Metropole.
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