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Old Feb 6, 19, 9:31 am
  #136  
 
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Originally Posted by ginmqi View Post
Going to HCMC in late April for about 1 week to attend friend's wedding. They are taking us on a guided tour to Da Nang so that'll be taken care of. Will have about 2 days on either side of that mid-week trip to explore HCMC / Saigon.

We're likely to stay in District 1. Looking at Google Maps, it looks like there aren't an accessible beach/water secenery near HCMC (seeing as it is a major city...i assume any nearby water will be industrial/not suited for any beach/relaxation). Any good day tours from HCMC or must see sights in HCMC?
Saigon is about people and food more than sights. If you come and take a food tour and venture into some alleys you get to see what the city is about. Hanoi is more of the city with history and monuments and centuries old buildings etc. So start with the food and people, take the obligatory war museum and reunification palace tour, then consider the other common options.

The beach near Saigon is Vung Tau as crazy said. It's very crowded on weekends, and the water is average but the beach can be nice in some places. It's about 2 hours to get there. The Mekong tours are common to go down and see delta life. Day trips are ok, the overnight ones are better. The riverboat version, name escapes me now, is pretty fun and you avoid the traffic. Many people go to Cu Chi to see a version of the tunnels and war jungle fighting. Some like it, some do not. Can Gio, or Monkey Island as most tours call it, is south of the city and a mangrove forest and has some nature that is a bit less touristy if that interests you. There are the monkeys and a croc farm, and an ugly beach with the industrial water you mention.

Note there is a holiday the 15th and the 29th and 30th of April this year.
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Old Feb 7, 19, 4:15 am
  #137  
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Originally Posted by maverick17 View Post
Main options that would carry some name, as far as I know, are the Hyatt Regency, Grand Sheraton, and the Four Seasons, on the beach between Da Nang and Hoi An in that order; and the IC on the other north side of town. None, afaik, had many restaurants nearby. Maybe the Four Seasons is close enough to Hoi An to have more, idk. Other options and boutique places I'm not gonna be useful. This might not be useful anyway, but since no one had chimed in thought I'd summarize the main options. Just from browsing the Fusion Maia looks pretty nice and is closer to Da Nang for food options.

I did enjoy the HR a lot, and the pools were fine and the beach is good albeit the water is iffy at times with swell and/or not so clean looking at times. Maybe someone else who's been there recently can chime in.
Thanks for the information. I really did want the Four Seasons but my husband wouldn't go for it, even though I lied and said the rate was cheaper than it actually was. Boo!

I chose the Hoi An Sofitel Hotel Royal and a Deluxe Suite. I believe it has a river view. We decided that we could sit on a beach anywhere but we'd enjoy watching the goings on on the river. We did enjoy watching the traffic on the harbour in Hong Kong. The hotel was also close to the Old Town where we hope we can find lots of yummy food. Trips are nearly all about food. I'm not 100% happy but it should still be nice.
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Old Feb 10, 19, 7:43 am
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My wife and I will arrive in Hanoi on a late Sunday evening. We have a hotel booked for $12/NT near the airport. Plan is to leave early Monday morning go to Halong Bay via bus and return Monday night. Fly out Tuesday around noon to Da Nang then back home. Trying to push our arrival up a day to get in Sat night instead so can take bus to the Bay Sunday morning, spend the night, come back Monday afternoon to Hanoi.

Questions are, how to get from airport to ‘Old Quarter’ I think it is where the buses go to the Bay. For an 11p arrival is it better to stay near the airport so can get to bed quickly or better to stay near the bus terminal so don’t have to fight traffic in the morning getting there? Any tips on doing this? Our budget is pretty low and we speak no Vietnamese at all. Thanks for any and all help.
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Old Feb 11, 19, 8:18 am
  #139  
 
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Originally Posted by lovefly88 View Post
My wife and I will arrive in Hanoi on a late Sunday evening. We have a hotel booked for $12/NT near the airport. Plan is to leave early Monday morning go to Halong Bay via bus and return Monday night. Fly out Tuesday around noon to Da Nang then back home. Trying to push our arrival up a day to get in Sat night instead so can take bus to the Bay Sunday morning, spend the night, come back Monday afternoon to Hanoi.

Questions are, how to get from airport to ‘Old Quarter’ I think it is where the buses go to the Bay. For an 11p arrival is it better to stay near the airport so can get to bed quickly or better to stay near the bus terminal so don’t have to fight traffic in the morning getting there? Any tips on doing this? Our budget is pretty low and we speak no Vietnamese at all. Thanks for any and all help.
https://blog.christinas.vn/noi-bai-i...hanoi-airport/
https://en.wikivoyage.org/wiki/Hanoi
But at 11pm, that orange tourist bus will be closed for the night.

Have you already booked your Halong Bay trip? That same company would probably also organize a private driver from the airport for you. Or your hotel would probably book a driver as well.
I did an 11pm arrival not long ago, and I debated staying at the airport, or just going straight into town. I ended up going straight to town, and I was glad that I did. Otherwise, if you're able-bodied, you could easily walk from the airport to the hotels to the west of the international terminal. You can even do a practice walk on Google street view.
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Old Feb 11, 19, 9:08 am
  #140  
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Originally Posted by CrazyInteg View Post
https://blog.christinas.vn/noi-bai-i...hanoi-airport/
https://en.wikivoyage.org/wiki/Hanoi
But at 11pm, that orange tourist bus will be closed for the night.

Have you already booked your Halong Bay trip? That same company would probably also organize a private driver from the airport for you. Or your hotel would probably book a driver as well.
I did an 11pm arrival not long ago, and I debated staying at the airport, or just going straight into town. I ended up going straight to town, and I was glad that I did. Otherwise, if you're able-bodied, you could easily walk from the airport to the hotels to the west of the international terminal. You can even do a practice walk on Google street view.
I might be wrong but my gut tells me from how this OP posted, that using a hotel or the company they will be with will charge a ton more then taking a reg public bus. I guess there maybe very cheap day boats.

I 2nd staying in town
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Old Feb 11, 19, 9:19 am
  #141  
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HAN Airport Tour or Hanio Day Tour

In a Few days I have 10 hours Layover at HAN airport before my next destination. Do we have any stuff we can do in HAN airport or do a quick City tour like 4 hours or something. Any Suggestions please..
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Old Feb 11, 19, 10:18 am
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Originally Posted by craz View Post
I might be wrong but my gut tells me from how this OP posted, that using a hotel or the company they will be with will charge a ton more then taking a reg public bus. I guess there maybe very cheap day boats.

I 2nd staying in town
Oh, I totally agree. I'm just throwing out ideas for them. I did a shared van, which was cheap, but I've been to Vietnam several times and was mostly familiar with the process. It would be ideal if that tourist bus could run until midnight. I don't think there's really a cheap way to get into town around midnight.

If they could walk to a hotel by the airport and have their Halong Bay tour company pick them up from their airport hotel FOR NO ADDITIONAL COST, then that would probably be the cheapest and easiest way. I doubt the tour company would do this though, but worth an email to ask.
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Old Feb 11, 19, 11:07 am
  #143  
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Originally Posted by CrazyInteg View Post
Oh, I totally agree. I'm just throwing out ideas for them. I did a shared van, which was cheap, but I've been to Vietnam several times and was mostly familiar with the process. It would be ideal if that tourist bus could run until midnight. I don't think there's really a cheap way to get into town around midnight.

If they could walk to a hotel by the airport and have their Halong Bay tour company pick them up from their airport hotel FOR NO ADDITIONAL COST, then that would probably be the cheapest and easiest way. I doubt the tour company would do this though, but worth an email to ask.
I did a 1 nighter on a 5* boat and they refused to get me in West Lake, ended up switching to The HGI and they got me there but said thats about the limit theyd go out of the Old City area

I have no idea if its the OPs 1st trip or not, if it was me and I was never in Hanoi Id rather spend the day touring Hanoi then head to HaLong. HaL was nice but definitely it didnt live up to what I thought it was going to be. And it was cloudy and at times some rain. Friends were just there on a 15 day cruise and ran into the same problem. They were happy it was part of their cruise as they said had they gone there from HAN they would have been disappointed in wasting their time
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Old Feb 12, 19, 4:37 am
  #144  
 
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@craz and crazyinteg

thanks for the messages back. You’re definitely right in that we’re looking for the cheapest way possible. Getting from the airport to the hotel shouldn’t be a problem as it’s less than 10 minutes away.

My my wife and I are both well traveled throughout Asia, Europe, South Africa, Central and South America. Vietnam is a new experience in that most of the countries we’ve been to we either speak their language or they speak English. It seems in Vietnam, not many people speak English so our communication skills will be enhanced.

Is is there any sort of public bus that tuns from near the airport to Halong Bay without having to go into the city? We love to experience life like the locals not just for the budget savings but also to step into someone else’s shoes for a day. Another way we were looking at is instead of going all the way back to HAN and flying to Da Nang, go from HL to Cat Bibairport (HPH) after our visit to HL. Stay in a cheap hotel there and then in the morning fly to DAD. We would arrive around 8:30 I think and don’t take off until 6:30p. Not sure what we would do there.

What do you think?
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Old Feb 12, 19, 9:00 am
  #145  
 
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Originally Posted by lovefly88 View Post
Getting from the airport to the hotel shouldn’t be a problem as it’s less than 10 minutes away.
It's more than 10 minutes, unless Tran Andretti is driving.

Originally Posted by lovefly88
Is is there any sort of public bus that tuns from near the airport to Halong Bay without having to go into the city? We love to experience life like the locals not just for the budget savings but also to step into someone else’s shoes for a day.
(You're wanting a bus to Hai Phong city) It's likely cheaper to book the whole day trip through a company that does these tours. They usually include all transportation. Keep in mind that 99.9% of the people going there are tourists (a.k.a. not local Hai Phongians). The tour will pick you up in Hanoi, take you around all day, and bring you back to Hanoi in the evening.

Originally Posted by lovefly88
What do you think?
Originally Posted by lovefly88
I understand what you're after. Absolute cheapest way will not be the fastest way and be very inconvenient. On top of that there is a language barrier.
You haven't even started asking us, "Which Halong Bay cruise should I take?"

My advice to you is to take a taxi into the old town after your flight arrives. The only other option is to get a shared bus from the 1st or 2nd curb off the main walkway. You will need to know the price beforehand and negotiate to get that price. It might take walking away 2 times before they agree to the correct price. (Don't pay over 100k Dong per person).
You will spend hours researching the dozens of Halong Bay cruise ships. You will get frustrated. Then you will hear about Lan Ha and get even more frustrated.

Spending an hour of research to find a cheap ride to town or cheaper airport hotel to save $10, can easily be lost in a Halong Bay cruise that costs $60 per person.
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Old Feb 12, 19, 4:49 pm
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Originally Posted by CrazyInteg View Post
It's more than 10 minutes, unless Tran Andretti is driving.

(You're wanting a bus to Hai Phong city) It's likely cheaper to book the whole day trip through a company that does these tours. They usually include all transportation. Keep in mind that 99.9% of the people going there are tourists (a.k.a. not local Hai Phongians). The tour will pick you up in Hanoi, take you around all day, and bring you back to Hanoi in the evening.

I understand what you're after. Absolute cheapest way will not be the fastest way and be very inconvenient. On top of that there is a language barrier.
You haven't even started asking us, "Which Halong Bay cruise should I take?"

My advice to you is to take a taxi into the old town after your flight arrives. The only other option is to get a shared bus from the 1st or 2nd curb off the main walkway. You will need to know the price beforehand and negotiate to get that price. It might take walking away 2 times before they agree to the correct price. (Don't pay over 100k Dong per person).
You will spend hours researching the dozens of Halong Bay cruise ships. You will get frustrated. Then you will hear about Lan Ha and get even more frustrated.

Spending an hour of research to find a cheap ride to town or cheaper airport hotel to save $10, can easily be lost in a Halong Bay cruise that costs $60 per person.

thanks again for the feedback on the hotel in town verse getting one near the airport. We’re booked at the Sao Mai Hostel hotel. One customer said 5 min taxi ride for $3 from airport to hotel. Another said only 1KM.

From the research my wife saw we were just going to look for a boat that might take us around for $5-10. In Phi Phi Islands last year we did an entire morning for $20 for both of us. She thought it looked even cheaper in Vietnam. Looks like we might have got it wrong though?
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Old Feb 12, 19, 8:47 pm
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Bad luck in Hanoi

So I had booked our trip to Vietnam long ago and planned to exit from Hanoi on 28 February - and now, Trump and Kim have decided to be in Hanoi just when we are there. Thankfully our hotels were booked long ago (they are sold out now), but I don't care for the inevitable traffic disruptions, all pervasive "security", higher prices charged by local vendors eagerly anticipating the increased footfall and above all the very likely hassles and delays at Noi Bai airport for our late afternoon departure.

Does anyone know whether there is an alternative military airport perhaps that may be used for VIP aircraft, thus sparing us common folks from undue delays and disruption?
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Old Feb 12, 19, 9:32 pm
  #148  
 
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Originally Posted by lovefly88 View Post
From the research my wife saw we were just going to look for a boat that might take us around for $5-10. In Phi Phi Islands last year we did an entire morning for $20 for both of us. She thought it looked even cheaper in Vietnam. Looks like we might have got it wrong though?
I live in the south not the north, but a few things to add here. First, the type of trip you're trying to arrange is not common for FT'ers, so you're not getting exact answers to some of your questions and your questions reveal a few misunderstandings. In keeping track of the VN forum for a few years now, I can't recall anyone trying to book their own little ride. You might find the lonely planet forum more useful for this type of trip and budget.

The typical trip, just so we're on common understanding here, involves roundtrip transportation from your hotel as crazyinteg mentioned. It's not from a bus terminal, and costs extra if you're outside the normal tourist area. The many boat options are also complicated by triple or quadruple that amount of tour companies selling the tickets to the boats. Your transportation will be on a bus or shuttle bus, and others on the vehicle might be on your boat or might not, but probably booked via the same tour company as you since they are the ones who arrange the transportation. Bus rides are 4 hours each way before the new highway, I'm still not sure if the new highway is used by the buses or if that's just private vehicles that take it. But that cuts it down to like 2 hours or something. I think the OP for the thread commented on this awhile back.

There is definitely a bus to Hai Phong and that area, but finding the schedule might take some time and digging by you. It will have a few stops and take longer. It is unlikely to be as convenient, and I would guess you do have to go into Hanoi for that bus. You might find a stop along the path to Hai Phong which would be hard to reach and require a lot more digging for a bus connection or a (relatively) expensive taxi, as the airport is not on that path. But you still have to go past Hai Phong to get on the boat, so you need a bus or taxi that goes to the departure area for the boats. Overnight tours mostly (all?) depart from Dao Tuan Chau nowadays. I don't know if the day trips depart from there too, though, so you might be able to book a boat from Hai Phong or another location closer to that city. With only one day to accomplish this, and going by public bus, it would be hard to imagine getting to the port in time for a trip on a scheduled boat for a day tour after all that though. Since you want to private hire a boat though, I think Cat Ba island is more what you're looking for. So you would need to get there, but then you would have it easier to find the type of boat you want to hire.

Lastly when I checked before, getting from Ha Long area or Cat Ba to the HPH airport is quite a long bus ride, and doesn't run often. Also the flight options are limited to a few flights a day to most places.

So I believe this is why the posts above suggest doing the normal method for $60 (quoted, not my number) versus trying to make your own way to save $10 or $20. But you can certainly do it your way if you really want to.
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Last edited by maverick17; Feb 12, 19 at 9:38 pm
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Old Feb 12, 19, 9:35 pm
  #149  
 
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Originally Posted by puchong View Post
Bad luck in Hanoi

So I had booked our trip to Vietnam long ago and planned to exit from Hanoi on 28 February - and now, Trump and Kim have decided to be in Hanoi just when we are there. Thankfully our hotels were booked long ago (they are sold out now), but I don't care for the inevitable traffic disruptions, all pervasive "security", higher prices charged by local vendors eagerly anticipating the increased footfall and above all the very likely hassles and delays at Noi Bai airport for our late afternoon departure.

Does anyone know whether there is an alternative military airport perhaps that may be used for VIP aircraft, thus sparing us common folks from undue delays and disruption?
Obama used the regular HAN and SGN airports. I believe I remember delays in SGN were a few hours on his day of departure. I don't believe the military airports have facilities for the heavy aircraft, VN mostly operates fighters and small/medium transport planes, from what I can tell, and often share runways with the civilian airports.
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Old Feb 12, 19, 10:31 pm
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Originally Posted by maverick17 View Post
Obama used the regular HAN and SGN airports. I believe I remember delays in SGN were a few hours on his day of departure. I don't believe the military airports have facilities for the heavy aircraft, VN mostly operates fighters and small/medium transport planes, from what I can tell, and often share runways with the civilian airports.
Thanks, you have just confirmed my worst fears
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