A friend and I will be in Hanoi for 6 nights. Wanted to spend 2 of them at Ha Long Bay.
1. What do I do with my bag? Do I book a hotel in Hanoi for 4 nights and bring all my stuff with me to Ha Long? Or is that asking for trouble? Should I book a room for 6 nights, even though I won't be there for 2 of them, just to have a place to leave my stuff? That seems silly. What's the typical M.O. for a trip to Ha Long?
2. Should we arrange a trip through our hotel? Or will there be cheaper alternatives? I'd love to spend around $80USD per person, if possible.
I did read the Travelfish articles on backpacking and flashpacking Ha Long, but I wanted to get some other opinions... especially regarding the bag situation.
#1 justdroppingby has been a member since 25/8/2009. Posts: 3
This doesn't answer your question but I thought I'd share it anyway. A friend of mine did a Halong Bay trip in September and some people from their boat had their cameras and other stuff pinched from their cabins while they were off the boat kayaking. It's an interesting point that I hadn't really thought of before she told me and as we'll be travelling straight from Halong Bay to Hoi An via train, we won't have a hotel in which to store our belongings so everything we have will be with us on the boat.
This leaves the question of what to do with our valuables. I think one of the problems is that the boat keeps picking up different passengers throughout the trip and it might not be safe to leave things in your cabin. But where to put them???
#2 scottyheather has been a member since 30/3/2008. Posts: 89
I just bought the pacsafe TravelSafe 100. haven't gotten it yet, but i have feeling it was a good investment.
#3 justdroppingby has been a member since 25/8/2009. Posts: 3
I would personally bring my bags with me, but I usually pack pretty light. If that isn't an option, most guest houses would let you leave your things there if you have a reservation when you return. You would have to trust the guesthouse and I recommend taking anything valuable with you and just leaving unnecessary clothing.
You can book directly from a guesthouse or go to one of the many travel agencies--they will all be more than happy to get you a ticket. I actually got a guarantee on my tour, I paid half before I left and the other half when I returned as they promised we would enjoy it and that it was a nice junk (boat).
If you do book through your guesthouse, you can use how many nights you will be at the guesthouse to hopefully lower your cruise price as well, but then again I'm pretty shameless when it comes to getting a few bucks off.
#4 candyman has been a member since 20/10/2009. Posts: 20
We packed our daypack, and left out main packs at the cruise company office (Columbus). But we could have left them our our hotel as well since we were returning for another 2 nights.
I also lock up my packs up when I leave the room (or boat cabin) regardless of the type of place. If the room is serviced, there is no temptation if stuff is locked or hidden away. It's a habit that I set for myself each time I leave the room.
I have left my main pack several times along my travels so that I could only carry my day pack for a few days. Haven't had a problem yet.
I don't understand why you would book your hotel for 6 nights? Just book for the first 2 and the last 2, and leave your pack at the hotel while you are at Halong Bay (or with the Halong Bay tour company if you feel their office is appropriate). That's what most people at our hotel have done, and what the people on our HB tour did.
Having said that, be sure to only pay for the first 2 nights when you go to Halong Bay. Don't pay for the last 2 nights as you may find your reservation goes a bit haywire when you return. In our case, apparently no one checked out of the hotel on the day we arrived back from Halong Bay so they took us to their 'sister hotel' around the corner. I wasn't too impressed as the hotel, while OK, wasn't as good as they first one. But they did reduce the price by 2 days.
Just a quick note I've deleted a bunch of spammers accounts out of this thread, so some of the comments left don't make a lot of sense -- sorry.
Worth keeping in mind that if a business is happy to have their employees spam a travel forum pretending to be guests, that you're probably well advised to take your business elsewhere.