Hi Howard B,
2 days/ 1 night or 3 days/ 2 nights are the most popular duration for Halong bay trip. You should stay in Hanoi as all Halong bay cruises offer the pick-up from your hotel in Hanoi, transfer you to Halong bay and drop you back Hanoi after the trip.
Thanks, just the information I needed.
And do spend at least two or three days in Ha Noi as there is a lot to see and do.
It takes 8 hours for a round trip by shuttle bus from Hanoi to Halong, so I recommend spending 3 days 2 nights in Halong Bay. You can spend the second day visiting Cat Ba island and stay 1 night at a resort there, do some trekking in Cat Ba national park. That would be more interesting more than staying 2 nights on a cruise.
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It depends on your time frame and budget. I have done a couple of 1 nighters on Halong which were fantastic but 2 nights, no no IMHO!!!
Hanoi is beautiful so maximise your time there!!
Agree with Sheath27 that 1 night is enough. We have a great experience in Halong Bay for 2 days one night option
I think 2 nights is very misleading even by the 'reputable' companies. According to many itineraries you do not sleep on the boat for both nights! One would assume a 3 day 2 night cruise would have 2 nights on the boat. For 2nd night is usually in some village. They usually have no photos of accommodation so I think this is very risky. You should read the details very carefully.
Some also have 'boat swapping' where you transfer to a different boat for part of the cruise!
Not so Crudman. All the "reputable" companies, as you put it, will put you on the boat for the two nights. Agreed that some boats do have a night on boat and a night somewhere like Cat Ba, but the reputable ones will also clearly display this fact on their itineraries. A 2 night cruise with Indochina Junks is exactly that: 2 nights on the boat. And all of the other 4 to 5 star companies are exactly the same. So you know exactly what you're getting before you board.
And even those that put you on a smaller boat on the second day usually have you rejoining the main boat that afternoon.
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