FAQ Thread for the World Heritage Halong Bay Vietnam
Replies: 5 - Last Post: Jul 25, 2013 1:40 AM Last Post By: mrhappymaker
Jul 9, 2013 9:28 PM
FAQ Thread for the World Heritage Halong Bay VietnamAs you know about Halong Bay Vietnam's beauty, now, you are new traveler who set foot here in the first time. There always exists hundreds of problems occurring every moment. I will stand by your side and help you. My passion is to bring out Vietnam's beauty to the world, especially Halong - my favorite destination. This thread aims to give you best suggestion for anything you worries. What you are waiting for, travel Halong now :)
Edited by: mrhappymaker
Jul 9, 2013 9:46 PM
1At first, Let see "things to do in Halong Bay"
- Wallow in pure nature on boat
- Explore Halong Caves and listen how amazing it is
- Visit floating fishing village
- Do kayak to surf over water to discover hidden lagoons and limestone tunnels
- Explore the best of Bai Tu Long Bay, Lan Ha Bay
- Swimming in Ti Top Beach, Monkey Island
- Team building games on beach
- Experience fish squid
- Rock Climbing, Biking, Exploring national park
- Other activities: Do Tai Chi, take part in Cooking Class, Take photos about natural scene, people
Jul 12, 2013 1:57 AM
2Weather in Halong Bay
Lying in the tropical zone and consisting mainly of water, Halong Bay enjoys a warm and wet climate with two distinctive seasons: hot and damp summer versus dry and cool winter. The average temperature of Halong hovers around 15-25 Celsius degree with the hottest months being June – August. However, the heat is significantly reduced thanks to the cool breeze, which seems to exist permanently in this sea island area. In winter it can get quite cold, especially if you are not from temperate zone such as North America or Europe. Always bring sunscreen and hat for summer trips and light coat or jacket for winter ones (read our Packing tips for Halong Bay).
Best time to visit
When is the best time to visit Halong Bay really depends on your own definition of a perfect trip.
If you are most concerned about weather, then the periods September – November and March – May are ideal for a trip to Halong Bay. The dry climate and pleasant temperature will enable you to enjoy all activities offered on board while making sightseeing as perfect as it could be.
If you are a budget minded travelers, then schedule your trip between May and September. This is often considered the low season and many cruise ships offer massive sale off on cabin: you can save as much as 40% on a cruise trip compared with other time in a year. However, the months of July – August often see sporadic hurricanes and storms, which may render cancellation and delay of your trip. In those cases, you can switch around by visiting another destination in the North of Vietnam and visit Halong Bay later. These storms will not last longer than 3-4 days.
If you do not have the option of time, then be rest assured that you will enjoy your trip as much as when you do no in another month or day of the year. The Bay is filled with sunlight and rain usually does not last long. In warmer season you can take advantage of swimming opportunity and in cooler season you will enjoy Halong Bay like no-one else: imagine a steamy BBQ lunch by the caves in one of the most gorgeous natural complex of the world – it’s all about experience.
Jul 12, 2013 5:23 AM
Jul 22, 2013 9:49 PM
4For more details about Ninh Binh, visit this topic: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/thread.jspa?newPost=true&messageID=20950553�
Have fun :v
Jul 25, 2013 1:40 AM
55. Some tips for travellers in the way of managing money effectively
Vietnam money and costs
Small denominations include VND 200; 500; 1000; 2000; 5000 in both coin and paper notes though coin is more popular. Bigger denominations include VND 10,000; 20,000; 50,000; 100,000; 200,000; 500,000 in both polymer and normal paper notes.
Note: Vietnam uses colon “,” as decimal symbol and “.” in digit grouping (opposite to the US standards).
Cheques issued in Vietnam include VND 500,000 and 1000,000 - mostly used for commercial transaction in the South.
Exchange rate is virtually quoted everywhere now: banks, newspapers, internet, etc. You can check it any time at http://www.xe.com. Money is easily exchanged at the airport, hotel reception, official exchange bureaus or banks and all its transactional branches in big towns and cities. Thanks to low valuations of dong compared with other major currencies, it is extremely exciting to find yourself a dong millionaire in such an instant.
In small towns and remote areas, however, these facilities are currently limited or none. On heading to these places, hence, you should consider stocking up a bit more dong but not too much as you may have less chance to pour it. Particularly, there is no official exchange service in border crossings other than black market which must be dealt with high alertness. Miscalculation and fake money may cost you a lot.
Generally, all major currencies can be converted into dong without any hassle but American dollar is normally much more preferred. It is wise to cash your traveler cheques into US dollar in Vietcombank or other major local banks before jumping into anywhere. You may be charged 0.5 to 2% commission for this, still much lower than in black market.
Also, it is important to make sure that any note you take do not have any tear or look too worn, as it is possible to pass them to no one again. Legally, you are not allowed to bring the dong out of Vietnam. Actually, you have nothing to do with it. Thus, when you end up with a considerable amount of dong, reconvert it into US dollars before leaving unless you find something to pour on.
Method of payment
The most popular method of payment in Vietnam is directly by cash (both in dong and dollar), albeit the situation is changing gradually. More and more restaurants, hotels, shopping malls and supermarkets accept credit cards (mainly Visa, Master Card, JBC and American Express). Traveler’s cheques are cashed only in major banks in Ha Noi or Ho Chi Minh City.
It is strongly recommended that you do not equip yourself with lots of cash, neither dollar nor dong. In Vietnam now, it is much easier for you to access your money almost everywhere and any time in Hanoi, Saigon or other major cities through an extensive ATM network. It is, therefore, important to check whether your credit card company has any ATM access in Vietnam in advance. Holders of
Mastercard or Visa can refer to these websites for details:
If you are going to spend some months in Vietnam, it’s great to arrange for an account ownership with major local banks. This costs you almost none of time, money and effort, yet does give you enormous utilities.
Traveling costs varying from dirt cheap to sky-priced are almost nowhere to be seen but Vietnam. Whatever your budget is, Vietnam has something to offer. Hence, your desired taste and comfort will decide where your money goes. It is, however, important to make sure you are shrewd in saying goodbye to your hard-earned income though not everyone wants to rip you off. The following tips will help you to be smart at spending money, yet first things first - you should know the generic costs for common goods and services beforehand.
Eating and drinking
Vietnam, to most connoisseurs, is a real paradise. Dining out here always offers top value for money. Strolling around any town and city, you will easily come across a host of street stalls where delicious and unique dishes can be served for between US$0.50 and US$1. A decent meal in small cafeterias may cost you around US$2 to US$3. In a-bit-larger restaurants, well-liked by local gastronome, a meal with several superbly -prepared dishes and drinks will get you a bill of US$ 5 to US$10 or more.
If you are a do-it-yourself follower, spending some times to grasp Vietnamese cookery is also remarkably exciting. Vietnam offers everything you need to be an excellent cook. Vietnamese produce such as rice, beans, vegetables, herbs, chicken, fish and fruit are almost first rate in the world. You can load them up in a nearby supermarket but really, part of living in Vietnam is to do things in the Vietnamese way. Surfing the streets or markets in early mornings, you will find thousands of vendors who sell all fresh food at cheap price and even give you some extra things as a social experience. With a bit bartering, a bit talking and a bit laughing, life here is much more wonderful.
If you keep moving from place to place by air, then airfares will make up a lion share in your traveling cost. Thanks to ongoing downward trend, domestic flights in Vietnam are now a bit cheaper. A one-way ticket from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) is between US$80 and US$100.
Trains offer great value for independent travelers to cover long distance of Vietnam with little money. A sleeper on the fastest Unification Express (S1) from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh costs you around US$40 and US$60.
Bus travel is also a good choice for tight budget. While fares of public buses between major destinations are fixed, traveling by bus to most distant areas means bargain. For instance, you may be asked US$60 or more for a trip from Hanoi to Saigon while the normal cost for locals is around US$30. If you want to be completely independent and flexible, consider renting a car (with a driver, of course) and a guide if deemed necessary. Rental costs may vary considerably, depending on your journey, but usually US$30 for around-town and US$70 or more for along-country. A guide adds up between US$20 and US$40, depending on destination and trip duration.
Lodging is none of matter in Vietnam. Just make sure not to hesitate to negotiate for a discount in low season. You should look for more details in “Vietnam Accommodation”.
You may be frequently overcharged with these items, so be smart at bargaining. Here are reference prices:
Tipping This practice is not very popular in Vietnam, yet highly-appreciated. Usually, big hotels and restaurants include a service charge of 5-10% in the bills already though it is unsure if that money goes to the employees. It is, then, up to you whether to tip or not. If you feel satisfied with the service, let well-done jobs be rewarded, maybe around US$ 3-5 or more, depending on your budget. A small gift is also honored, a pack of foreign-brand cigarettes for men; postcards, souvenirs or cosmetic items (reasonably priced of course) for women, etc.
Whom you ought to tip? Drivers, guides and someone who cleans your room should come first in the list since they spend much time and effort with you. A small donation to the pagoda you visit is also commonly expected, nearly all pagodas place contribution boxes for this purpose
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