Hi, I will be in Vietnam in next Sunday, and I looking for a deal for a 3 days / 2 nights cruise to Ha Long Bay and Cat Ba Island. Does anyone have any recommendations?
First off, great choice to do a 2-night cruise. Given that the drive from Hanoi is 4 hours each way, 1 night just isn't enough time to give Ha Long Bay justice because the 8 hours cuts into your total time. I did a 2-night cruise with Handspan Aventure Travel on the Treasure Junk and loved it. They pick you up in Hanoi and drive you out to the boat, which is beautiful. We went out into the bay in areas where other boats didn't frequent which made it feel more special and less touristy. I think some of the boats all go where other tourist boats are which takes away from a more serene experience.
We also went kayaking 2-3 times which is a great way to experience the area. We paddled out to some hidden beaches and hung out there which was very cool. The boat also has a really nice deck where you can lay out on deck chairs, relax and get great views of the bay. On the last day we visited some of the floating villages. It's amazing to see how they live. Some of the kids have never been on land. It was all around a tremendous experience.
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You can book this trip almost anywhere in Hanoi. I highly recommend splurging a little. There is a large range of quality within the different junkboats and how you get there. A few extra dollars per person can save you from being crammed in a tiny van for 4 hours (each way) and spending 2 days in a rusty boat eating bad food.
Yes. Wait until you arrive before booking a trip. Prices are a lot lower if you book in-country. Every hostel there offers deals.
I can't speak to the "deal" but we utilized a local travel advisor, Viet Sapa Travel , for multiple portions of our trip; including a 2 night cruise on Halong Bay. We did some extensive research on the boats and ended up selecting the Violet boat via Sunset Cruises.
I stayed at the Hostelling International in Hanoi called Hanoi Rendezvous Hotel (US$7 per night, which is actually run by an Australian guy, believe it or not, party on the rooftop patio/bar) where I booked Halong Bay and Cật Ba island boat tour, as well as a quick trip up to visit the hill tribes of Sa Pa District. The hostel booking desk is very knowledgeable, speaks English, and can arranges all travel within and to-and-from Vietnam without ripping you off. (Unlike a bad experience I had in Delhi - never trust a fat Indian travel agent!!!) I ultimately bought a overland bus ticket from Hanoi to Hong Kong through them....
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I did a 2D1N cruise with Paragon Cruise. A low budget cruise with excellent service and the boat/junk is clean and pretty neat! Found an offer in Agoda for 2 nights for the price of 1. You can try and check from time to time. Read this article to know more on what to expect from the trip. Have fun!
I did the 2 day cruise for it...Make sure you bring food! They don't bring enough food for everyone on the boat ride there. It's also a very long bus ride, so make sure you don't get car sick! The island is very small and can easily be done in a day. Its nice and peaceful at night.
no need to book before, cause asia now low season. wait till the end to make a better deal.