We were pretty much left on our own to find an alternative Hanoi hotel for the additional 2 nights we needed to stay in the city. My only complaint about Tonkin was being left unaided due to a weather-related cancellation of the Halong Bay part of the trip. In one or two cases where I could do better on my own, they either met the price I found or allowed a DIY option.
I especially liked the planning flexibility in asking for different hotels than the original ones quoted, juggling dates, and pricing different options. I am locked into going on specific dates, and the small group tours I have looked into so far that are organized by companies such as OAT have dates that don’t work for me. Can anyone recommend another travel agency that helps with customized Vietnam trips with a moderate (not high end) budget?
Fares from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City start from £30 for a seat, and go up to £45 for a comfortable air conditioned sleeper. The trains tend to be comfortable and offer great views. There is also a railway that runs the length of Vietnam.
Ha Long Bay and stunning Tam Coc, head to the country between December and May. To get the best experience and views of Sapa. The best time to visit Vietnam Tour Information is from January to May – this is when you’ll have the least chance of encountering monsoons, which fall in the southwest from May to September, and in the northeast from October to April.
Expect to pay under £20, sometimes even under £10 a night! You can often find rooms in midrange hotels and family run guesthouses for very reasonable prices. A single room will set you back about the same, whereas a double room can cost around £10-15.
A dorm bed in a hostel can cost anything between 115,150 VND (£4) and 400,000 VND (£12) depending on the level of luxury, or size. Something a bit fancier, for example a dinner in a sit-down restaurant will cost around £5 per head, whereas you’ll find street food such as pho and Vietnamese spring rolls for under £1 if you search. A meal from a cheap restaurant or café will normally set you back 60,000 VND (£2).
Head to Hanoi’s bustling Bia Hoi stalls, where a pint of locally brewed stuff can cost as little as 10p. A bottle of local beer from a bar or restaurant should cost you under 30,000 VND (£1). If I pay for a budget tour that costs something crazy like $20 for a full day tour, which provides a hotel, I don’t have grand expectations for it outside what I paid.
Of course, you have to be realistic also. Find a few agencies to get quotes from, so you have an idea of the real going rate. Prices on the internet are going to be high, so I wouldn’t use that a figure to make comparisons.