Hanoi to Halong Bay

Old May 26th, 2007, 08:10 PM
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And they WILL cancel that helicopter if they feel like it - they did it to me, telling me just as they arrived to pick me up. So I was stuck with the interminable 3 hour drive to Halong Bay - where, on the junk cruise, the bay was so misty I couldn't see anything - then back in the car for another 3 hour drive back to Hanoi.

Can't say I was impressed, either with the lack of helicopter - OR Halong Bay.

And I never did get reimbursed, now that I think of it, for the missing helicopter.
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Old Jul 29th, 2007, 04:00 PM
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hi elainee, how was the day trip? where did you book, and how much did it cost? am also planning a day trip (due to time constraints), but everyone in the forum is strongly recommending against it and suggesting an overnight on the bay instead...

what do you think? is a day trip worth it?

thanks,

paulophonic
manila, philippines
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Old Jul 30th, 2007, 12:55 AM
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You should spend one night on boat at Ha Long bay, it really an unforgetable experience. There are alot of junks with differrence class and cost, as I know, Gingger, Emeraud belong to the most expensive, cost you around US$400 for 2D1N. Other like Huonghai, Baitho Junk would cost lower. About the hotel, you can book yourself, anyway, it's better to have an tour operator coz they know the hotel clearly.
The boat travelling inside the bay, so you don't have to worry about motion sickness.
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Old Jul 30th, 2007, 11:35 PM
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It's pointless, IMHO, doing a one day trip. The 2D1N is the better option. I tried for Dragons Pearl, but it was full, so took a chance after going through a photo almbum of other junks at handspan Travel, and made my selection. It was smaller than Dragon's Pearl, but immaculately clean and very comfortable. The meals were the best I had while in Vietnam. Cost me about $1235, but I was travelling alone and paid a single supplement.
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Old Jul 30th, 2007, 11:42 PM
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WHOOPS...$125 - $1,110 would have been a pretty steep single supplement *laughs*
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Old Jul 31st, 2007, 12:12 PM
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LOL! I actually gasped when I saw that post Mitch!
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Old Jul 31st, 2007, 12:25 PM
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LOL - Femi - I gasped, too! Thanks for the correction, Mitch.
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Old Jul 31st, 2007, 03:42 PM
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OK Femi and Kathie..I am still blushing beetroot red!!!! ))
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Old Aug 2nd, 2007, 07:54 AM
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hi elainee, i read your post in a separate thread ("Ha Long Bay"), about taking a daytrip to the bay and not regretting it. interestingly, amid all the people in the forum who warn fiercely against taking a day trip, you seem to be the only person who says it's okay.

here's my dilemma... i have very limited time in hanoi; still, i would definitely like to see halong bay. but all the posts urging to stay 2 nights, plus the comparative costs handspan quoted via email (US$97/head for an overnight, US$85/head for a daytrip) make me think it's better for me to just stay overnight.

any thoughts?

also, were you able to find a day trip cheaper than US$97?

and, would it be safe to just book when i get to hanoi (which would be a day before my planned trip to halong bay)? or would it be better to book before i leave for vietnam?

thanks!
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Old Aug 4th, 2007, 07:22 PM
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Just remember that on a day trip, you will spend a total of about 5-6 hours in a mini bus.....
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Old Aug 6th, 2007, 06:18 AM
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I'm really new to this forum, but I can answer this question:
I was a tour guide and I 've been to Ha long bay many times, until now I still think you should spend at least 1 nite in Ha Long.
Let me give you some more details:
- 1 day tour: 7 hours on bus/van (around 3.5 hours each way), another 5-7 hours on boat to visit the bay, so it would be a hard day, and Ha Long bay is a wonderful place for relaxing, so I don't recommend it. But price for this tour should be around 50 to 75USD/person depends on the group. (private car, guide, private boat, entrance fee, lunch)
- 2 days tour: many people do this option. There are Lagoon - a small boat with 4 cabin, really lovely. Emeraude, a big boat with about 38 cabins, western style. These boat are around 120USD - 150USD/person including: guide, entrance fee, shared van, cabin on boat, meals.
Or Ginger, Bhaya - about 4* quality boat, price around 170-220USD/person, depend on type of cabin, include: guide, entrance fee, travelling by private car, meals and cabin on boat. For kayaking option, it would be around 10 USD - 40USD/person extra depends on the boat.
- 3 days 2 nites tour: I love it. I had this amazing trip on Lagoon 2. I was in a group of 6 people and we had the whole boat. We do kayaking for the first day, supposed to do trekking to Cat Ba island for the second day but there was a stomp, so we kayak to the floating village, we had BBQ lunch on Tien Ong cave and trek to the top of mountain of Titop beach...
Trust me, Ha Long bay worth at least 1 nite stay, you will love it. And yet, don't chose cheap boat (you can find boat with arounf 30USD/person, but it dirty, old and some one told me that they saw rat on boat).
This is too long, I'd better stop. Please feel free to ask.
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Old Aug 6th, 2007, 01:45 PM
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Thanks for the info Vinci, it helps a lot as far as letting us know what to expect, and thereby make better plans.
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Old Aug 8th, 2007, 10:33 PM
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Any question, just feel free to ask, I can help with these booking, just email me.

Cheers,
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Old Aug 10th, 2007, 11:17 AM
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I did the one day tour to Halong Bay booked thru my hotel. You get what you pay for. The mini van (holds 12 people) was awful. Some of the seats were broken and we were packed in. We were so uncomfortable. I did see some full size busses at Halong Bay and I think they would be much more comfortable. The long ride there was so interesting. We passed many rice fields and farms. I especially enjoyed seeing the motorbikes loaded with pigs, chickens and even a water buffalo. I didn't have time for an overnight, but I still felt it was worth the one day trip just to see the bay and the beautiful islands & karsts.
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Old Aug 10th, 2007, 12:00 PM
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Hi all,

We are in Hanoi for 5 nights (Thurs - Tues) and trying to decide which night to go to Halong Bay. We would like to stay in town for the weekend nights, so trying to decide between going Sun-Mon or Mon-Tues. Our flight on Tuesday is at around 1pm. Will we make it if we go directly to the airport when we get back? What time do the overnight tours get back from Halong Bay to Hanoi?

Thanks for your help.
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Old Aug 11th, 2007, 12:02 AM
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Smartcookies: It depends on what boat, Emeraude has the check-out time is 10AM, so you get back around 1-2PM,but normally, it would be 3-4PM. Your flight at 1PM then you need to be at the airport around 2 hours earlier, you can't do the overnight trip, you don't have enough time.
Ah, be careful with pick pocket and heavy traffic in the weekend in Ha Noi, even I'm a local, I'm still scare.
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Old Aug 13th, 2007, 05:51 PM
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Thought we would pipe up as others who went to Halong Bay as a day-trip from Hanoi and loved it. We booked our own car/guide/boat via our hotel (did not go on a mini-van as mentioned by others). We were picked up after breakfast and arrived at Halong Bay before lunch. The drive was not bad -- interesting to see the countryside.

We had 3-4 hours on our boat, which was plenty of time. Had a fresh seafood lunch prepared for us onboard (amazing - best meal we had in Vietnam!) and then sat on the roof relaxing and gazing at the scenery (we asked our captain to avoid the usual tourist route since there were so, so many boats all lined up that way).

We disembarked mid afternoon for the drive back to Hanoi. Arrived back by dinnertime (only the last part of the drive was in the dark). While it was a long day, it was relaxing and interesting. We enjoyed it thoroughly and did not feel that we missed out by not spending more time at Halong Bay. Given the huge masses of tourists and tens and tens of boats there, we were quite happy to have made it a day-trip.
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