Im interested in doing a 1-3 night Kayak trip around Halong bay in April-june next year. Ive found a couple of tour operators but if anyone has any that come recommended would be great. Also is it best to book ahead at this time of year or get a better deal just turning up and organising it from hanoi, haiphong, or cat ba island?
April-June is the best time for kayaking in Halong Bay, Vietnam. You should spend at least 2 days 1 night kayaking and cruising in Halong bay.
You can book this kind of tour when you reach to Hanoi at any travel desks in Old Quarter, Hanoi. However, it can make you confused about the quality of service.
Thus, in my opinion, you should pre-book your trip on the internet. By this way, you dont have to worry anything when your trip go . You can search easily some reliable sites for tourists on google.
Hope you have a nice trip in Vietnam!
I definitely would NOT book anything until you get to HaNoi. There is zero chance of not getting a HaLong Bay tour when you want to go. The price is certainly going to be more by pre-booking than if you are standing in front of a travel agent. The competition is fierce for booking all tours. Get at least 3 quotes before you ever decide who you want to go with.
Between now and April, TP members will chime in on what tour operator they went with. I would also use the other travel forums to get a good range of opinions. Good luck with your planning.
Definitely book it in Vietnam - you have plenty of options...
If you already have a group, Cat Ba island is an amazing base. Its a beautiful place in itself - few tourists, spectacular rugged scenery, peaceful countryside to go for strolls, nice beaches, good food... (i could go on)
I did a long day trip that combined most things - kayaking, trekking etc. Im not so sure if they can handle multi-day kayaking trips though, unless you plan on returning to the island for the night...
Kayaking at night might be also a bit harder - most operators seem to want their boats back in the harbour by night...
Hanoi - from my experience, a lot of people end up paying more booking through Hanoi agencies/guesthouses, who tend to skim off a healthy commission. But if you need a group... Hanoi's the place to get organised.
I think you have the least options in Haiphong, as most people here are already booked on some tour or another. We ended up stuck here for some time actually... and its not a very exciting place to be...