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Ha Long Bay in a less than a day?

Washington, DC
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Ha Long Bay in a less than a day?

We will only have two nights in Hanoi. Is it possible to hire a driver and see Ha Long Bay in an afternoon? The tours I've seen require spending the night, but we will not have the time to do that.

johannesburg,southaf...
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1. Re: Ha Long Bay in a less than a day?

Dear "worried mom" - as far as I am concerned you should indeed be worried!! Two days in Hanoi is short enough - it takes three and a half hours each way therefore you would only have a very short time in Halong Bay if you use one of your two days. Halong Bay is indeed a world highlight and it is quite unfortunate that you have so little time in northern Vietnam which has so much to offer. Are you still in a position to change your schedule? If you are doing a whistle stop tour of the whole of Vietnam in a week, then, if you can make changes, then I strongly suggest that you focus on the north (this is what we did and we had two weeks to do it in) - would be more than happy to provide suggestions. If you cannot change, well, then I appreciate your predicament. Best of luck.

Washington, DC
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2. Re: Ha Long Bay in a less than a day?

It is possible to make changes, and I would appreciate your recommendations. We are picking up our teenage daughter in December- she will have spent the fall semester in Hanoi. We could spend three nights in Vietnam. We plan to spend a few days in Hong Kong on the way back to DC. So-- I know it's a short trip, but how would you allocate the three nights, three and a half days in Hanoi??? Would like to fit in Ha Long Bay but am not crazy about spending the night there, unless we really should. Hotel recommendations? We are a famly of four, and we embrace new things but still like a clean room with ac and a hot shower! Thanks!!!

Hanoi, Vietnam
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3. Re: Ha Long Bay in a less than a day?

I like your ID. :)

Halong Bay will require 6 hours driving and at least 4 hours on the boat.

So if you can spend a day from 8am to 7pm for Halong Bay, that will be the best.

If not, then wipe Halong out of your list and save it for the next time when you have more time.

Washington, DC
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4. Re: Ha Long Bay in a less than a day?

That is so helpful, thank you! If you have time to make some other Hanoi recommendations, particularly with regard to a hotel, that would be wonderful. We would like to be in a central location, but quiet, clean and nice, and ideally under $200/night. Have been reading forum entries here and elsewhere, but so far, nothing leaps off the page as the right choice. Thanks for your input!

Hanoi, Vietnam
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5. Re: Ha Long Bay in a less than a day?

Melia Hotel is definetely at the rate of 110USD/Room/Night this summer. I dont know when you will be staying in Hanoi but the price wont go up too much at the end of this year.

Or you can go with new hotel : La Dolce Vita. This is a cute hotel in the Old Quarter. This hotel is on promotion.

Another new hotel is Gia Bao Grand Hotel. www.giabaohotels.com.

I like this hotel a lot cause they have a little "tea-stand" in front of the gate that free for customers to just sit down and have a tea like a real.. Vietnamese :)

They are on promotion too.

good luck,

Hanoi, Vietnam
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6. Re: Ha Long Bay in a less than a day?

WorriedMonDC,

If you find the hotel by search engine, you should also check that on forum or read previous reviews to make sure that you will have best choice. It is not very difficult to find the good hotel with your budget $200usd. As "Travelsense-Asia" said : there are many hotels which are having promotion program for this season. You can check Sofitel Metropole Hotel that is one of the best hotel in Vietnam now.

Hope this helpful!

David

Melbourne
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7. Re: Ha Long Bay in a less than a day?

Hi WorriedMomDC

We were in Hanoi 4 years and did a day trip to Ha Long Bay booked from Hanoi I cant remember the cost but was much much cheaper than internet prices. It was a long day but a memorable one. I don't remember it taking 6 hours of driving it was manageable it did not feel 6 hours and was interesting to sight see. We are going back in February 2010 with relatives hopeful to do the same day trip. I booked all our trips in Vietnam so reasonably priced and was always able to get on connect to a trip the following day. There were small tour shops around all peddling the same tours. Very easy country to travel.

We loved staying in the old quarter and stayed in a Hotel called Galaxy which at the time was heaven. We traveled in a taxi and kept going into each hotel and asking to see the rooms. Saw many dodgy hotels more suitable for backpackers. The Galaxy's had a large room clean and a breakfast we still talk about. It is currently $US70 per day from the hotel website.

Good Luck

Washington, DC
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8. Re: Ha Long Bay in a less than a day?

Very helpful, many thanks all! Our trip is starting to come together, thanks in part to all these insightful comments.

johannesburg,southaf...
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9. Re: Ha Long Bay in a less than a day?

Hi there, glad to see that other respondants are assisting you with their thoughts and recommendations.

Firstly, regarding Halong Bay - I cannot emphasize enough how special this place is - if you can only spend a day coming and going - other people do do this - then with a slightly sad heart I would still say please do not miss this place - as I have said many times - it is really "paradise on earth" - do not leave it for another time -rather strike while the iron is hot - yes see it again and do stay over night the next time you are able to visit Vietnam. If your daughter has spent time in Hanoi - she better than anyone else should be able to confirm or disagree with my feelings - and it is true to say these are just my feelings. She would also know Hanoi well enough to take you around to the highlights in your remaining day - hopefully with a local friend who will add background and understanding of the place.

Regarding a hotel - firstly, I would say your one day in Hanoi should be in Vietnamese Hanoi - not the French section or a part of the city that could be anywhere in the world. That is why we stayed in the Old Quarter and the hotel we stayed in was definitely very pleasant with lovely people serving and a great buffet breakfast on top floor with terrace. It is called the Majestic Salute (some call it the MS Salute)and cost us US 150 for a suite (I think it was room 804 -but please do not hold me to the number!) What was great about it was that the room was divided into a bedroom area with a wall three quarters of the way across and a lounge area - we were three - myself/wife and older teenage son. The hotel could probably move the furniture around a bit and place two folding beds in the lounge space. Clearly other very favourable recommendations have been made but we have actually stayed at this hotel and I would recommend that my best friend stay here.

Best of luck.

Philadelphia...
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10. Re: Ha Long Bay in a less than a day?

WorriedMom, we just got back from Vietnam, and the absolute highlight of our trip was Halong Bay.

Why is it the you don't want to go overnight?

There are some beautiful high end Junks which you could stasy on with lovely cabins (although smaller than a hotel room).

It really is a good 3 hour drive each way.

I vote for choosing a really luxurious Junk and taking a night from Hong Kong to stay on Halong Bay for one night! : )