Charter boat Bai Tu Long Bay
Replies: 5 - Last Post: Nov 27, 2012 2:53 AM Last Post By: akelkar
Nov 21, 2012 4:39 PM
Charter boat Bai Tu Long BayLP Vietnam 11th ed (2012) mentions on page 108 that "charter boats can be arranged to Bai Tu Long Bay from Halong Bay; rates start around 300,000d per hour and the trip there takes about five hours".
Does anyone know who I can contact while Sydney in Australia to prearrange such a charter boat? Can anyone also confirm the rough price? Has anyone done it?
NB: I am not looking for a tour. Two of us simply want to hire the boat, ideally with a custom itinerary to Bai Tu Long Bay.
Nov 23, 2012 1:40 AM
1There are a lot of day boats at Halong wharf, come and ask for one directly with the locals. The price 300 000 vnd (without guide and lunch) might for travel agent , I dont think you can negotiate this price with them. They do not have proper contact so it is difficult to arrange. Some has website quite expensive as: Bai Tho or Hai Long.
Nov 24, 2012 11:13 PM
2To start with, it depends at which period you want to go ! The sea can be rough between Halong Bay and Bay Tu Long Bay, which is north of the first one.
Basically, you want a private junk. Arranging that on the spot can be tricky. There are not only honest people up there ! You have to go to a SERIOUS agency. Moreover, if you want a "customized" tour, you better have every thing in writing, with an very clear itinerary, if not, you might end up going much less far inside the bay than you want, considering that, once on the boat, you do not know where you are among the peaks.
Finally, I do not see that an agency is going to "customize" a tour to BTL ; they are probably going to give you what they use to do anyway, unless you know exactly where you want to go (which island ? Do you want to sleep on the junk or in an island bungalow ? Etc.)
Nov 25, 2012 2:47 PM
We are planning to be there around 5 January.
I was thinking that it might be tricky to arrange a boat on the spot, and thus was hoping to find a reliable agent.
We don't want to spent a night on the junk - simply for us to go to Cai Rong. We will take a bus back to Ha Long City the next day. The main reasons I was thinking about this private option was: (1) to avoid tourist masses and tourist trap at Ha Long Bay; (2) We could see part of Ha Long Bay on the way to Bai Tu Long bay. and; (3) we could see part of Bai Tu Long bay by boat thus avoiding the need to take another boat from Cai Rong somewhere in Bai Tu Long bay.
Nov 25, 2012 7:59 PM
4Frankly, I would not bother going so far just for one-day cruise ! Hanoi-Cai Rang is AT LEAST a 5-hour drive and, contrary to what you write, you will not see Halong Bay, the boat will stay in Bai Tu Long. Finally, BTL is less spectacular than the other 2 bays (Lan Ha and Halong) because it is mainly larger islands with beaches, which is the reason why people want to go there for at least 2 or 3 days
As fa as crowds in Halong Bay are concerned, to start with, January is a slow month, so, no crowds (except Vietnamese on week-ends if the weather is OK - as a matter of fact, as a general advice, stay away from tourists places close to Hanoi -Halong, Tam Coc, Mai Chau- on WE ; the viets are not the most discreet people in hotels and restaurants !) ; secondly, do not mix the boats starting from Halong City, the big harbor from which the big junks start , and those starting from Cat Ba City, which are smaller Lan Ha Bay is not accessible to large junks. Finally, private boats sail to places that collective junks cannot touch (channels not deep enough for larger boats), so you do not see many tourists except in the harbour (private boats spend the night in small isolated bays not accessible to bigger boats)
Therefore, I would take a 2-Day cruise in Lan Ha and Halong Bay. One of the very best agencies I know (probably the best !) is Oriental Bridge Travel ; open their site www.orientalbridge.com, pages "Ours cruises in Halong Bay". The best for you would be the 1-cabin private junk standart ; it is very simple but quite fun, and inexpensive (unless, of course, you can afford their sensational Oriental Sun, which they own, so they are ferocious about quality) ; if you want a one-day cruise only (I don't recommend since there are already 7 hours RT Hanoi-Cat Ba), ask them for the price for 1 day only, I believe they will accept in January, a slow month. Both boats have REAL sails (99% of the boats have faked sails for decoration). If a private junk is over your budget, not, their collective junks Budget are impeccable. Be careful of cheap cruises, the quality is below decent.
Since you open the site, make the visa application on line with them ! (page "Ours visa service")
Nov 27, 2012 2:53 AM
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