Whats the easiest and quickest way to get from HCM to HLB? I am on a time crunch and don't really mind paying a little extra for a plane if possible...
Also, how many days would be sufficient to see each place? I thinking 2 days in the city and 1-2 in HLB.
#1 JamieB has been a member since 17/1/2008. Posts: 3
If you're in a hurry then flying is the best bet. I'd say two days in Saigon is cutting it pretty fine, but for Ha Long Bay two days is popular length of trip.
Remember you'll need to factor in time for an overnight stay in Hanoi before heading to the bay.
See the Ha Long Bay page for links to some stories that cover some of the different touring options.
#2 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,755
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Actually the only internal flights to Hai Phong (a few kilometres from HLB) are from HCMC which means you can skip Ha Noi.
HOWEVER, you MUST arrange your HLB tour before departing for HLB as there are FEW booking arrangements to be had there.
I suggest that you select your tour (see first response) although for decent reputable charters I recommend < Tropical-Sails.com > for smaller (15 cabin) boats or Emeraude < www.emeraude-cruises.com/ > who run larger (~50 cabin) boats.
Both these outfits sleep you on-board whilst the cheaper offerings usually sleep you in some hotel on Cat Ba Island.
Other risks in cheaper cruises are that even if you are kept on board overnight you can be at risk or rats / two-legged thieves from other boats (if they tie up together), generators turned off early (23.00H), boat switching (the original boat is used on another cruise party and is running late).
It is ESSENTIAL you advise the tour op you will be joining the cruise in HLB and will require their transport back to Ha Noi.
Remember, dealing with travel agents not only increases the cost of cruise prices but also that many agents are unbonded or plain outright dishonest - even if they have foreigners working in the office - which is why you are better off dealing with the cruise operator directly. Booking through a hotel is not much better (they front for a commission paying 'travel agent') and will definitely increase your costs.
Cheaper cruises depend upon using agents as it is the only way they can fill their boats.
#3 CatBa has been a member since 5/3/2007. Posts: 349