I found a junk boat tour company--family owned. Promised only 16 allowed on the boat, so intimacy was guaranteed (they warned that most companies cram as many tourists as will fit) Had an amazing price 37 or so bucks for 2 days and one night, 2 lunches, a breakfast and dinner included.
That was months ago...now that i'm planning my itinerary seriously i cant find the same frekkin tour operator. There are literally BILLIONS of halong bay tour companies. they all have the same lookin boats. But their websites don't say nuthin about not cramming a million people onto a boat or they are SUPER expensive (like $200 or more for 2 days)
I even saved a photo from the website as my desktop. I still have it on my desktop. Yet the website eludes me. FIE!
ok, so what do I need YOU people for... What would you do? Anyone been there and recommend a halong bay tour thats fit for a tight budget but offers a small number of fellow passengers (<20)?
i'll be the the beginning of December...
dew respond and rev croftee will bless ewe!
Was HB really that great? I avoided the area when I was in country because I detest crowding and herding of tourists. With inflation alive and well in the entire world now, I'd imagine that price would have at least doubled? I know that the $13. hotel room I had in Sapa is now going for $18. Best of luck in finding your junk. Why don't you contact an agency and ask them what you're asking TP'ers. Mr. Diep at Adventure Indochina in Hanoi is a great guy and just might know the answer.
I went on a HaLong Bay tour and we had about 12 on our boat. It is true, they can pack them out, but I would wait until you are in HaNoi before doing anything. Then hit the travel shops and do some bargaining. Check out at least 3 places and you will have a better idea of prices. $200 is very high even in 2008. It should be more in $100 range for 2 days. Sinh Cafe & Hanh Cafe are the big operators. Make sure you check them out. Also inquire about how many per boat. One company quoted me a higher price when I did this a few years ago, promised fewer people per boat. I cannot vouch for this as I went with another company. But, our tour was as good as it could be considering the weather. It was raining and nobody got in the water. This was Feb, so perhaps you will have better weather when you are there. I paid $30 for one day, others paid more for the same one day tour. Compare prices and bargain!
Good luck and send me a PM if you have questions.