Hi, I’m starting to plan my trip to Hanoi for next year. We will be in Thailand first with my in-laws and then me and the wife are going to take a trip to Hanoi and ha long bay.
Is a week in Hanoi long enough or too long? I do like to see as much as possible and also take my time and as we won’t be travelling around SE Asia this time I can spend a week in one place. I've been to Thailand, Malaysia, Laos, Indonesia, Cambodia, Singapore etc... So now want to check out Vietnam.
We want to go to Halong bay. I’ve read all the stories about the boat trips on here (very insightful too!) and I think I would rather just have a day out in the bay and return the same day. I’ve done caves before (loads) so I’m not really interested in them so just want to see the bay really. Can this be done in just the one day if we are staying in Hanoi?
We want to stay near the centre of things. We don’t want 4/5 star hotels but a clean, well run hotel with half decent rooms will do, s long as it’s central. Any recommendations? (Prices about £10 - £30 a night)
Finally, The site to see. I like to see the major sites of interests but I’m actually more interested in finding little buildings, site, attractions etc… that are not plastered all over the covers of package-tour brochures. These are easy to find so, any recommendations on places to see in AND around Hanoi?
Thanks. Big up travelfish. Such a great site!
Double posts are commonly caused by poor InterNet connections - especially WiFi.
Ha Noi + Ha Long Bay in a week is good.
You can NOT make HLB in a day tour as it takes about 4 hours road travel each way which will make a single day a very long one.
Ha Noi (centre) can be done in 2-3 days and it is worth visiting the trade villages before they are destroyed by new big houses.
For the mid to upper end of your budget you can find decent accommodation - best to look in the south end of the Hoan Kiem Lake area and AVOID the dirty, noisy Old Quarter. This web site has hotel reviews for Ha Noi that might give you some ideas.
Visiting Uncle Ho's remains (in the mausoleum) can be given a miss - it requires time, dress code, dumping all carried baggage, etc. However, the Mausoleum AREA is worth a visit as it has the One-Pillar Pagoda, the HCM Library and his (renovated) stilt house.
Ha Noi does have much more cultural things to visit that most any other place in VietNam The weather is temperate (think Europe or mid-USA).
#2 CatBa has been a member since 5/3/2007. Posts: 349
Excellent tips! So should we look at staying somewhere near Halong Bay and start from there early one morning? We dont really want to stay over night on a boat and dont want to stay on the island so im thinking of spending the night or 2 nearer to the cost. Do you think this might work better?
Thanks for the advise on the Hotels.
Thanks Jon -- glad you like the site!
Re Hanoi, the Ancient House at 87 Ma May (see Hanoi sights for more information has a few walking tour brochures that I thought were excellent. their focus is on historic buildings in the Old Quarter and it was telling just how many buildings that were there when they printed the maps are no longer there.
As far as museums are concerned. the Ho Chi Minh Museum (see review in link above) is a highlight -- very wacky, but a highlight still, and I'd beg to differ with CatBa -- I thought going to see Uncle Ho was well worth it.
re Ha Long Bay, it's straightforward to overnight at Ha Long city and take a tour from there, though you'll end up paying about the same as ex-Hanoi.
Accommodation in Hanoi, well we've just about finished an update of there, and Classic Street Hotel (Pho Co Hotel) and Golden Lotus remain two of our better recommendations in your price range.
You said: "We don't really want to stay over night on a boat and don't want to stay on the island so im thinking of spending the night or 2 nearer to the cost. Do you think this might work better?"
Since you appear to be a dedicated landlubber, you can either visit and stay in Hai Phong or Ha Long City.
Ha Long City is divided by a river and one part (Bai Chai) is more tourism and the other is coal imports!
Hai Phong was Target 1 during the American War and as a consequence much of the city is newer than most because of rebuilding following war damage.
The express buses for HAI PHONG from HA NOI leave from Kim Ma station in Nguyen Thai Hoc Street, Ha Noi. (Tel:845-2846) Tickets are around USD$2-5.
There are bus tours for Ha Noi and for greater Ha Noi's craft villages. Whilst I personally dislike them they do provide an organised method of maximising what you can see in a short time.
You can get information on these, and many other things touristic, from Ha Noi's Tourism Office which is located at the top of Hoan Kiem Lake.
Remember also the Water Puupet Theatre - matinee and nightly performances - buy your tickets in advance.
#6 CatBa has been a member since 5/3/2007. Posts: 349
How much is the water puppet show??? in VND or USD?
#8 seahmj has been a member since 18/5/2008. Posts: 14