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Vietnam- Halong Bay, is there any luxury?

Vietnam- Halong Bay, is there any luxury?

Old Mar 14, 19, 7:35 am
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Exclamation Vietnam- Halong Bay, is there any luxury?

Planning a last minute trip to Vietnam-

What is the most luxurious, least-touristy, least unpleasant way to experience Halong bay? Which boat? Which activities on the bay? Is it worth staying overnight or better to just see it above from a helicopter?

I am trying to determine if a trip to Halong bay is worth dedicating 2 nights of a trip to, one in Hanoi when we land from USA so we have a fresh start in morning for the Halong bay and then one night on a boat on the bay. Or, if we should just skip this whole area and spend the nights at Amanoi.

Thanks in advance!
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Old Mar 14, 19, 8:25 am
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Originally Posted by blondieluxe View Post
Planning a last minute trip to Vietnam-

What is the most luxurious, least-touristy, least unpleasant way to experience Halong bay? Which boat? Which activities on the bay? Is it worth staying overnight or better to just see it above from a helicopter?

I am trying to determine if a trip to Halong bay is worth dedicating 2 nights of a trip to, one in Hanoi when we land from USA so we have a fresh start in morning for the Halong bay and then one night on a boat on the bay. Or, if we should just skip this whole area and spend the nights at Amanoi.

Thanks in advance!
I would focus on a really solid luxury resort (such as Noi) and make this your base, and then try to do day trips from there with helicopters or other means of transport.

Northern Vietnam has hardly anything on the same level to offer I fear...

I have seen Halong Bay, but was very glad I did not have to stay overnight to be honest.
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Old Mar 14, 19, 8:36 am
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A couple of the cruises are okay: https://www.thesuitelife.com.hk/halo...ise-sets-sail/

Don't expect anything super luxurious, but adequate (4*-ish). Worth doing one overnighter.

Why not do that along with Amanoi? 1-2 nights in Hanoi, 1 night in Halong Bay, back to Hanoi and then off to Amanoi.
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Old Mar 14, 19, 8:47 am
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We are combining one night in Hanoi, one night in Halong Bay (or the new arm of the bay that was just opened to boats a year or two back) and Amanoi. I've been poking at the issue of what to book as a one night cruise and have yet to settle. I like the idea of a small ship. DavidO mentioned Ginger, a vessel with 12 rooms including two Regent Suites. It's certainly priced well above most others. Does anyone have experience?

Ginger Cruise 2 days 1 night - Halong Ginger Cruise
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Old Mar 14, 19, 9:10 am
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1.

this would be part of a larger trip, so i have about 2 nights i could dedicate to hanoi/halong bay or amanoi. we will be exploring the rest of vietnam and some of laos for more nights on the trip as well, but the amanoi vs. halong are the two places i have been waffling between filling the extra time with. i feel there are mixed reviews of both.

2.

is there any benefit to doing a private boat vs one with other people? both of the boats you guys linked to seem nice, nicer than the private ones i have seen with 1-2 cabins. normally i would rather be on a boat alone not with other people and also then have the benefit of dictating where we go and when, like if we want to skip an activity or stay longer at one.

Last edited by blondieluxe; Mar 14, 19 at 9:15 am
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Old Mar 14, 19, 3:51 pm
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Obviously a different travel experience, but years ago (2010) in my early 20s I spent 6 months flash/backpacking from Beijing to Singapore. I visited Halong Bay on this trip and it was one of my least favourite spots - the amount of rubbish and stuff floating in the water was unbelievable. To be honest, if you've seen the karst landscapes around Krabi/Phangnga Bay or Guilin/Yangshou you've already seen what Halong Bay is about (I saw all three on this trip and much prefered China/Thailand). Even after a more recent visit, I'm not a huge fan of Vietnam in general.
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Old Mar 14, 19, 6:23 pm
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Originally Posted by scented View Post
I have seen Halong Bay, but was very glad I did not have to stay overnight to be honest.
Please do tell!

Vietnam with Amanoi, Hanoi, something in Halong Bay (or Bai Tu Long Bay), and some way to explore that huge cave complex on the border are the only highlights that really interest me.
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Old Mar 14, 19, 6:47 pm
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I'm booked on an AuCo cruise in a week or so's time - that seems higher-end (or at least I hope so!)
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Old Mar 14, 19, 8:33 pm
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Originally Posted by User Name View Post
I'm booked on an AuCo cruise in a week or so's time - that seems higher-end (or at least I hope so!)
Please come back and report.
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Old Mar 14, 19, 10:31 pm
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A few years back I did a one-night cruise on a junk (dragon pearl, perhaps?) with about six other cabins and my one regret was that I didn't stay longer. The problem is that the drive from Hanoi takes so long that you're not on board until after lunch time, then you cruise for a few hours, then stop over night and the next day you're heading back to Halong Bay again, disembarking before lunch. I don't think the scenery is so spectacular that it's worth a special trip there, unless you can find a nice boat and enjoy the cruise for the sake of the cruise.
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Old Mar 14, 19, 10:56 pm
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Just took the trip back in October. Halong Bay was great. It appeared to me and others that all of the ships appeared to be about the same(ish). Board, start moving and enjoyed the scenery. We came in from Hanoi, took a chartered bus to Halong and boarded the ship for one night. Along the stops we found it funny that the local here and there came up in their boat and offered "Things just like 7/11" They offered chips and liquor and one was trying to sell pearls. The ship had 30-40 cabins. Decent food, decent drinks and as others described the stops at the caves. Enjoy, I had fun.
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Old Mar 15, 19, 3:39 am
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Just got back from Halong Bay and we booked overnight stay on the Paradise Explorer. Good 4 star experience and we had the all inclusive package for food and drink.

It took us about 2.5hrs from Hanoi and it was a very pleasant drive. Halong Bay is very clean and the water is beautiful. It was cloudy and a bit chilly so we didnít get into the water.

They took us to a cave which was extremely packed with tourist so we decided to skip the tour and just people watched. Another tour was a pearl farm which we decided to stay onboard.

In the evening, the boat comes back towards the harbor and anchors in the middle of sea. You sleep on the boat which has very comfortable rooms and bathrooms and in the morning, the boat heads back in. They have some excursions in the morning but due to the weather, everyone chose to stay on board.

Food was really tasty and drinks were good. I would recommend an overnight stay but 2/3 days is really pushing it.
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Old Mar 15, 19, 4:24 am
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I landed in Hanoi from US, spent a couple of days there, then went to Halong Bay using Dragon Legend. This cruise was 1 night (option for longer) and went to Bai Tu Long Bay which has fewer boats. The boat operator picked me up from hotel in their van. I had good size room with ensuite bath which had a tub IIRC. Meals were good and a nice dinner with presentation from the staff. I opted for my 5 day tour guide in Ninh Binh to pick me up there rather than going back to Hanoi. The boat did a kayak excursion which I opted out of, so enjoyed the time on chaise on top of boat.
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Old Mar 15, 19, 4:53 am
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December - March can be rather cool, if the cold air from Siberia is sweeping over Southern China.
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Old Mar 15, 19, 5:13 am
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When I "nearly" visited I wanted to book this:
https://www.paradisecruise.com/paradise-peak

Any experience?
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