I know this topic appears quite often, however I've been searching the web and reading the forums and I haven't found the right answer yet.
We're travelling with my girlfriend to SE Asia, we'll be passing through Hanoi and we would like to do a 3 day (2 night) tour of Ha Long Bay, sleeping on a boat and doing some sightseing (kayaking, trekking, visiting some beaches). Now, the most important thing is that we're a bit short on money, so we're looking for something inexpensive.
I've been searching for a reliable tour operator for a 3 day / 2 nights tour, but so far (on the forums and on the web) I've only found prices around 200 USD and more. That's too much for us. I've surfed the web pages of most of agencies mentioned here (Handspan, Collumbus Travel, etc.).
Is it possible to find a decent tour in the price range 100 - 130 USD? Could anyone give us some recomendation for a good inexpensive boat operator? We're not looking for luxury, but we don't want to end up in a dodgy overcrowded boat. Should we search for a tour "last minute" when we're already in Hanoi - would we have a better chance to get a good price that way or are the tours usually full and need to be booked in advance? We're going to be in Hanoi at the beginning of November.
Thanks for your help!
#1 saso has been a member since 6/10/2009. Posts: 10
Have you seen the stories on picking a Ha Long Bay tour? The budget one is here: http://www.travelfish.org/feature/76
And the full series towards the bottom of this page: http://www.travelfish.org/feature/vietnam
After a lot of research the two I am looking at are Columbus Tours which is expensive but get consistently good reviews or those organised through Kangaroo cafe which are cheaper but have a night on Cat Bat island.
Some posts have indicated that cat bat isnt all that great and if you don't overnight there then you get to more remote (read hear less crowded) places in the bay.
I am not sure when you are travelling but we will be there for New Yea so can post back after then.
#3 KazAussie has been a member since 18/7/2009. Posts: 221
thanks for your information. i read the stories on travelfish before posting. the tour that's named "for flashpackers" seems perfect for us, but i've been unable to find a tour like this (with this price). i've seen that the stories have been posted some time ago and things have probably changed? have the prices went up so much?
kazaussie: thanks, i've been looking at columbus tours too, but their price ($200) is a bit to much. we might opt for a 2 day / 1 night tour with them. do you know what is the price of a tour with the kangaroo cafe? we're going there in november so i can tell you later of our experience...
#4 saso has been a member since 6/10/2009. Posts: 10
About 3 weeks ago my boyfriend and I did a 1 night, 2 day trip to halong bay from Hanoi and then spent a few nights on our own on cat ba. IMO, cat ba is great if the weather is decent and you have time to take a motorbike around the island to explore he beaches and caves, but often the tours only give you a night on the island (not much time during daylight). We booked our tour through our hotel (Hanoi guesthouse) for $58/each and the quality was fine- not luxurious but good food, nice rooms and not too crowded. I know they also offer the 3 day/ 2 night package. I believe the company was Imperial. If you wait until you get to Hanoi you will definitely be able to book, everyone wants to sell you a tour- Just double check the companies. Have a great time!
#6 beekalove has been a member since 1/8/2009. Posts: 3
Saso, here's a tip I'll suggest. Try sending emails to all those cruise companies you've researched online, ask for promotional program then compare its prices and tour activities. I don't know if it's going to help you but it does in my cruise both with Bhaya and Pinta Gold.
#7 mic2 has been a member since 22/10/2009. Posts: 9
with your request, you can try to look from our hotel :http://hanoimikeshotel.com. The price will depend on quality.
There are alot of price for you to choose: range from standard tour to deluxe tour (from 60$-139$)
If you want to have more information, you can directly email me:firstname.lastname@example.org