We are a group of 7 people travelling to Hanoi in mid December for 5 days only. The first two day is our own city tour and perfume pagoda trip. We plan to go Ninh Binh after picking up our member in the airport(arrival 8.45 am) and proceed to Hoa Lu and Tam Coc. In the afternoon we travel to Halong city or HaiPHong if halong is too far for overnight in order to take a half day halong bay visit the next morning and back to Hanoi in the afternoon.
Question:1. How far is the driving time from Ninh binh to Halong city, is it wise to travel in that manner, or should we just go back to Hanoi on the same day after Tam Coc and go for a one day Halong bay trip the next day. I just thought we could save a one way journey by travelling in this manner.
2. Can we do such trip by hiring an English speaking driver acting as our guide with a van or should we join in a private tour.
Appreciate your suggestion and experience. Thanks.
#1 pekyao has been a member since 21/10/2007. Posts: 4
Your intinerary is rather tight. If you wanted to have private tour, you could try Vega Travel. They were with us for 2 weeks and it was good.
#3 korndamned has been a member since 23/10/2007. Posts: 6
Thanks guys! Ya, my itinerary is a bit complicated and tight. That's for the sake of my parents who only have a 3 day 2 night side trip to Hanoi during a family holiday in Kuala Lumpur this december. Five of us arrive in Hanoi two days earlier then them. Maybe I should only decide upon my first day of arrival after discussing with the travel agencies (after reading all the comments, I will narrow down to the real Sinh Cafe and Vega Travel)
Maybe to make things simple, a day trip to Hoa Lu-Tam Coc and a day trip to Halong bay will do it all.
Anyway, really appreciate your replies...
Blessings to all!
#4 pekyao has been a member since 21/10/2007. Posts: 4
Thanks Manooe for your kind reminder, didn't realise its a peak season... have actually mail to Vega Travel for a quotation and find it a bit out of our budget comparing to day trips. (The pricing is quite reason though, more expensive because its a private tour.)
Do we have to book day trips in advance as well?
You mentioned about hiring an independent guide, does that mean we need to rent a van and driver together?
#7 pekyao has been a member since 21/10/2007. Posts: 4
Normally you don't need to book in advance for day trips. You just need to book it a day before or so. However, you may face problems like non-existing trips or if you have a big group, you may not able to fit into the day trip team due to various issues like transportations etc. However, there are many agencies in the old quarters, you can shop around.
I recommended Vega due to 2 reasons.
1. They were with us for 2 weeks. Customised trip. Sapa, Halong Bay, Hue, DMZ and Hanoi.
2. One team member had a nasty fall on the last few days, which required hospitalisation, x-ray and stiches. Mr. Kien(manager) and Mr. Ba (guide) went to great length to assist us during that period as a few members had to depart Vietnam much later than scheduled as the fallen member was in hospital for a few days.
I'm not championing Vega but sometimes you have to consider what you pay is what you get. I've recommended Vega to my mates. :)
Have a great trip pekyao and always remember your travel insurance!
#8 korndamned has been a member since 23/10/2007. Posts: 6
Yup, for a day - trip, I think U should book in adv before one week.
"I have a idea that U could rent a independent guide"
My idea is rent an independent guide then let him organize ur tour. One experience guide could do it very easy.
#9 manooe has been a member since 12/9/2007. Posts: 34
I have received conflicting information about the difficulties of booking in high season Dec/Jan...some say no problems other say book ahead. So here are my specific questions:
1. We are arriving in Hanoi on Dec. 11. Is it realistic to expect to book an overnighter in Halong and a train trip to Sapa (for 4) leaving in the next 4 or so days? Should be book these trips from home?
2. We would like to fly from Hanoi to Hue on Dec. 20...will booking (for 4) when we arrive Dec.11 be too late? If so, how do we book this flight from Canada (it didn't seem possible on Vietnam airline website) and will it be more expensive?
3. Similar question regarding a flight to/from HCMC to Phu Quoc in early January (we would like to take ferry and visit Mekong in one direction...and fly back or vice versa)
Thank you for any advice.
#10 soccertaxi has been a member since 26/10/2007. Posts: 9
Guys, Thanks a lot for the feedback.
Have contacted Vega Travel and quite impressed that the Manager (I think should be the same Mr Kien mentioned by korndamned) response very promptly with all my queries.
The quoted price is a little expensive to us, so still considering (I am not a good bargainer), like what korndamned mentioned, the professionalism of the travel agency also plays an important part.
Ya, almost forgotten about the travel insurance. Thanks.
Hope to share a wonderful trip report then...
#11 pekyao has been a member since 21/10/2007. Posts: 4