Ha Long Bay/ Hotel Logistical Question

Ways off for a trip in early 2019....but beginning to map out pre post trips. After reading forums will definitely add a pre trip to Ha Long Bay (2 days/ 1 nite). We are thinking that we will check into the hotel Tauck is using...but wondering if we should check out to go stay on the Junk OR just keep the room and factor the extra night room stay into our budget.
Wondering what others have done.


  • Where are you going to visit after Halong Bay? Sapa or Ninh Binh or Hoian...?
  • So, here WAS our plan...until I got the plane departure times confused and missed our plane, throwing everything into chaos! We were to arrive on a Friday, and I booked a much cheaper room at the Metropole in the newer section for Friday night. We were to be picked up on Saturday AM at the hotel by a driver from the ship line and were to spend two nights (a MUST as Halong Bay is so incredible) on the junk. We did make the two-night cruise but missed the night at the hotel as we arrived on Saturday, not Friday. Fortunately, we were not charged for the missed night as I must have gotten the cancellation in under the required time limit. You can book a room at the hotel separately (as we almost did), and just go to your Tauck assigned room when you return to Hanoi on the day of your tour. Why pay for an extra night if you don't have to?
    Now, about that second night on Halong Bay...the second day we off-loaded to a smaller ship and had an incredible day going to Cat Bah Park where we biked, kayaked and could have gone swimming if the weather had cooperated. We were a group of 6 and had lovely meals prepared just for us. The one-night people got a cooking lesson and returned to the dock around noon. You get a whole different view of the area as you got deeper into the site. If you have the time, then a two night cruise is well worth it.
  • Thank you Joycresw and dinhoecotou for responses.

    dinhoecotour - we will head back to Hanoi as that is where the Tauck Tour begins. I have seen others ask the same question you asked though...so I am now a bit curious as to what Sapa or Ninh Binh or Holan mean. Guess I have some more research to do...as I am guessing it means others have added these visits to their pre tour experience (and not just halong bay).

    Joyscresw - what boat did you select for your 2 nights. Was happy to see you response as I have been struggling with the 1 night vs. 2 night idea and have seen that the 2 nights takes you away from the more tourist parts of halong bay. BTW I am already stressing about the missed flights day challenges - it certainly gets confusing...luckily I have some time :)

    So had you arrived on Friday vs. Saturday - would you have checked out of your less expensive room and then rechecked in post halong bay? Did the hotel hold your larger luggage/had you inquired about that or did you lug all your luggage with you to halong bay?
  • Yes, the missed flight was all part of my stupidity...a flight leaving SFO at 12:05 AM (if the AM had been written, it would have clicked...otherwise, dumb me thought it was the following night...took about 5 hours for the realization to hit ) then it was a scramble to get there. It did not help that it was the weekend of Chinese New Years and flights were tough to find. I told my husband, as we ran around like chickens with our heads cut off, bemoaning our dilemma, that we would laugh about this ...some day! And, now we do, but at the time humor was not to be found...anywhere!
    We had reservations on the Ginger Cruise Line, and I cannot say enough about the rep we used and how she worked so hard to make sure we got to take this cruise. We were on the Jasmine ( they also have the Ginger...a bit bigger, and the Violet ...only 5 cabins). Face it, they had our money, and we were not arriving into Hanoi until 10AM, when our original driver was to meet us at the hotel at 8AM. ( to answer your question...we had planned to take our luggage as we only had one bag each...carryon used for electronic stuff which we would not leave...I would think the hotel would hold luggage if you mention Tauck...we got a larger room on the junk, and had plenty of luggage room). The rep had a driver meet our plane, and he drove us to Halong Bay, basically a 3-hour trip). The junk leaves at noon ( although I understood it was delayed to accommodate late arrivals due to an accident on the main road )..when we arrived at Halong Bay ( we had no idea what was going on as our driver didn’t speak English), a tender pulled up to the dock and it took about 15minutes to catch up with the junk that seemed to be at anchor waiting for us. Wow! They warmly welcomed us, and even had our lunch waiting for us! I cannot tell you how impressed I was with that customer service!
    My husband says that the Halong Bay experience ( sans the snafu with getting there...although, the entire story, with embellishments, would make a dandy travel essay...yes, there were more events in this odyssey!) was a highlight of this trip! The inner bays are stunning, and our trip to the small village was very special...
    The day boat ( the Jasmine took the one-nighters back to the dock, and all of the two- nighters from the three ships in the fleet offload to a smaller boat. We were the only two from the Jasmine and there were four from the Ginger) then traveled deeper into the park and it was wonderful...not to be missed.
    Now, my disclaimer...this was 2012, and I am not sure if there is a better line that has appeared on the horizon. When we went, my research showed this was the best line, and our experience validated this. I see ( on another thread, that “Fernando” has booked the Violet, so this might still seem the best choice! We sure loved it!
  • We leave for Ha Noi on January 7, 2018. We are taking an overnight cruise on the Paradise Peak (only 4 cabins). We will let you know when we return late January. We set this up, along with a street food tour and some other stops post Tauck, with our travel agent. She used Alluring Asia. We are staying at the Metropole for the two nights and then will check out for the Ha Long Bay trip. When we return we will have the dinner with Tauck. We too travel fairly light and will take our luggage with us as Ha Long Bay can be cool and misty. If we thought we would only be very casual, then we might leave one bag at the hotel.

    We'll let you know about Paradise Peak upon our return.
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