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Choosisng a Ha long Tour Operator

  • thailen

    Joined Travelfish
    12th July, 2014
    Posts: 7

    First, when they quote prices, an overnight cabin fee for a double cabin is the entire price for 2 people, correct? Is there a difference in price between booking a cruise on-line and waiting until we check in our hotel and asking them or just walking down streets and finding one that way? Would we be able to pay with a credit card?
    Many posters talk about kayaking. I can handle a canoe but have never sat in a kayak. Will they let us ride in kayaks as newbies? How long does it take to control them?

    #1 Posted: 12/7/2014 - 02:55

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  • daawgon

    Joined Travelfish
    17th April, 2007
    Posts: 1065
    Total reviews: 2

    The quoted price is for 2 persons per cabin - normally, children pay a nominal extra fee. I believe the online price has advantages - sale prices are posted there (sort of like airline pricing). Yes, you can pay by credit card or direct with services like Paypal.

    There are usually instructors available for first-time kayakers, but you should ask your agent these questions. I believe there is a difference in choosing a good agent, and I can personally recommend the following: http://halong-cruise.com/deluxe-cruises.aspx

    My hint is to look for a cruise that offers buffet dining, and not to opt for a really cheap cruise. All cruises include transportation from Hanoi , and some even have luxury van service (travel time from Hanoi averages 4 hours one way).

    #2 Posted: 12/7/2014 - 11:36

  • larsay

    Joined Travelfish
    20th July, 2014
    Posts: 45

    Posted from within Vietnam.

    First, you do not have to book a cruise in advance from overseas, you can do it in Hanoi EXCEPT if you decide for the best, a private junk, which you have to book in advance. The best less expensive I know is Oriental Sun, owned and run by the excellent agency Oriental Bridge Travel (www.orientalbridge.com) ; they are very reliable Halong cruise agents, so they also offer excellent collective junks from deluxe to Budget Standard. The private junks from Indochina junks are excellent also but more deluxe so more expensive.

    Better go to a GOOD agency ; hotel receptionnists do not always know what tey are talking about. (or put you on a junk of an operator who gives them a kickback) ; Most agencies have a pile of operators brochures, you just have to go through them. DO NOT take a cheap cruise, Halong is unique in the world and deserves some extra money, even if you have to save money somewhere else.

    Prices are not always per cabin, some operators publish prices per person, so check out !

    #3 Posted: 20/7/2014 - 03:02

  • travellings-

    TF writer
    Joined Travelfish
    23rd March, 2010
    Location Vietnam
    Posts: 679
    Total reviews: 11
    Places visited:
    At least 87

    Posted from within Vietnam.

    Sometimes prices are quoted per cabin (for example, on Agoda) but usually it's per person based on sharing a twin or double room. Most operators charge a single supplement but on the cheaper backpacker orientated cruises you might be able to share with a stranger and save the supplement.

    I suggest you go to some agents in Hanoi and get details of the boats and prices, then check them out online before making a booking. Note that with 400 operators in the Bay you are likely to get different options from each tour office you visit.

    I find kayaking easier than canoeing, but yes, they do let novices on and will show you what do it if need-be but if you've been in a canoe before it's the same principle.

    #4 Posted: 21/7/2014 - 00:27

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