Photo: Out on the bay.


Hotel Alley

Along Vuon Dao Street, with its associated alleys and side streets, are 2,136,714 hotels (give or take) and they are all pretty much identical. Many, particularly those at the post office end, are about the width of a two-car garage and six storeys tall with no elevator. Most have fan and air-con and all have private baths, hot water, fridges and dated TVs with Vietnamese-language channels only. There aren't many really bad rooms here and prices are similar, but it's worth checking out a couple before making your choice. Bargaining hard in the off-season will usually yield good results, particularly if you're willing to walk to the rooms at the top, need more than one room or want to stay more than a night. Note that English is rarely spoken as this is predominantly a Vietnamese tourist town. Also, if the hotel quotes in dollars, do ask for the dong conversion price before you check-in to avoid any unpleasant surprises.

Holiday Hotel
Flashpacker - US$10 to 20
81 Vuon Dao St, Bai Chay, Ha Long City
T: (033) 3848 565

Holiday – or Holyday as it says on the name cards -- distinguishes itself from similarly priced joints with its grey and silver reception area and bedrooms which aren't painted the standard cream: they're a rather trendy light brown instead. It also has flat screen TVs – not that it'll matter as they only show local channels but they look nice. Furnishings are the usual mismatch of items, but... Read our full review of Holiday Hotel.

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Muong Thanh Quanh Ninh Hotel
Toprange - US$50 to 100
No 1, Area 2, Bai Chay (on Ha Long Rd at the end of Vuon Dao Str), Ha Long City
T: (033) 364 6618

Lording it over its poorer cousins on Vuon Dao Street, the 34 floors of Muong Thanh Quanh Ninh Hotel opened for business in early 2014. The lobby area is a huge space with imposing columns and chandeliers, but the rooms are pleasantly understated: think wooden floors, beige velvet panels and armchairs. Oh, and windows between the bedrooms and bathrooms. Our extremely chatty hostess, Ms Ly, was... Read our full review of Muong Thanh Quanh Ninh Hotel.

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Thuy Duong Hotel
Backpacker - Under US$10
20 Ha Long Rd, Bai Chay, Ha Long City
T: (033) 846 137

This place stands out from the pack on Hotel Alley because -- it isn't. It's on Ha Long Road a little east of Vuon Dao Street, up a steep slope off the main road. The reception area is a bit dark and foreboding, but it's brighter upstairs, with some rooms opening off an open-air terrace area. Rooms at the front have a sea view and a spacious outside area with table and chairs, just perfect for... Read our full review of Thuy Duong Hotel.

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Halong Eden Hotel
Midrange - US$20 to 50
Ha Long Road, Bai Chay, Ha Long City
T: (033) 3846 145

We didn't receive a particularly warm welcome at Eden Hotel but it's a good mid-range option and there aren't many of those in Ha Long, so we've ignored that and listed it anyway. The hotel is next to the towering Muong Thanh Hotel on Ha Long Road and offers 58 smart, modern and bright rooms. Factor in the sea views as well and it's definitely a cut above the flock on Vuon Dao -- but you'll pay... Read our full review of Halong Eden Hotel.

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Ho Tay Hotel
Backpacker - Under US$10
2 Anh Dao, Bai Chay, Ha Long City
T: (033) 384 6620

One thing that sets Ho Tay Hotel apart from the other budget places is that the proprietor speaks English. That's not so surprising when you realise they offer tours – English is more of a necessity when selling pricey trips – but it also aids negotiation. Not that we had to negotiate to get a good price here: it's one of the cheapest places in town. Rooms are standard for the area. Its... Read our full review of Ho Tay Hotel.

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Nhat Anh Hotel
Backpacker - Under US$10
21 Vuon Dao St. Bai Chay, Ha Long City
T: (033) 384 6655

The rooms at Nhat Anh are huge, or at least those we saw at the front are. With two hard double beds they're perfect for travelling friends -- four of you if you're really friendly. The front rooms also come with balconies overlooking the street. Bathrooms are tiny given the size of the rooms, but do come with good looking showers and a picture of a naked Asian woman on the wall. Cheap fan rooms... Read our full review of Nhat Anh Hotel.

Peace Hotel (Hoa Binh Hotel)
Flashpacker - US$10 to 20
39 Vuon Dao St, Bai Chay, Ha Long City
T: (033) 846 009

This place stands out on the street because of its attractive blue exterior and pretty balconies. It's also freshly painted and kept very clean, and whereas some hotels forget to spruce up the stairwells when they paint the rooms, the stairwell at Peace Hotel is a positive delight --- well, it would be if you didn't have to climb up the steep steps to get to your room. The owners, an elderly... Read our full review of Peace Hotel (Hoa Binh Hotel).

Starlight Hotel
Midrange - US$20 to 50
1A Anh Dao St, Bai Chay, Ha Long City
T: (033) 629 3293

This place used to be a standard budget place called Hoang Gia but it's been tarted up and is now a smarter option, with correspondingly increased prices and the tagline “business hotel. Located on the short chunk of street that connects Vuon Dao and Anh Dao, its corner location means the building is not a tall rectangular block like the others -- it's full of little halls and stairways at odd... Read our full review of Starlight Hotel.

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Away from Hotel Alley

There are some decent options for mid- to luxury-range rooms in the area surrounding Hotel Alley, mostly closer towards the main pier on Ha Long Road. The places across the road from the water offer spectacular views of the bay.

Luxury - over US$100
160 Ha Long Road, Bai Chay
T: (033) 384 8108

If money's less of an object and you plan on spending a bit of time at your hotel, check out the Novotel. While the Plaza is more traditional and the Muong Thanh all marble and gold, the Novotel is all style: black and cream with splashes of colour, abstract art in panels above the beds, subtle lighting and, of course, top-notch bathrooms and in-room amenities. Superior and executive rooms come... Read our full review of Novotel.

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Ha Long Plaza Hotel
Luxury - over US$100
8 Ha Long Rd, Bai Chay, Ha Long City
T: (033) 384 5810

The interior of the Plaza is cosier than its boxy exterior might suggest – albeit a bit dated. The lobby is huge, but unlike other such places, it's well designed to feel comfortable at the same time. The theme of elegant-yet-comfortable carries on into the rooms -- dark wood touches that don't weigh down the atmosphere, marble bathrooms, great views and of course the standard spa, gym, pool... Read our full review of Ha Long Plaza Hotel.

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Where to next?

Where are you planning on heading to after Ha Long Bay? Here are some spots commonly visited from here, or click here to see a full destination list for Vietnam.

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