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Another question please

Salisbury, United...
Level Contributor
92 posts
37 reviews
46 helpful votes
Another question please


I posted before - early stages of planning and trying to work out my itinerary and everyone was really helpful.

We usually move around quite a bit while on holiday so that we can get the most of our trip but for this trip, I am now toying with the idea of staying in Hanoi for about a week and then 2 nights Halong Bay. If we do this, my idea would be to do a few big day trips from Hanoi.

So my questions are:

1. Is Ninh Binh doable in a day?

2. Any suggestions for another day trip? Open to any ideas?

3. In your opinion, would I be missing out by not spending longer in other areas?

Alternatively - would this plan work?

4 nights Hanoi

2 nights Halong Bay

2/3 nights Ninh Binh

If I do the 2nd plan, I want to avoid going back to Hanoi and just go straight to the airport.

I would be looking to use private transfers.

Sorry for so many questions and any help is appreciated.


15 replies to this topic
Cambridge Bay...
Level Contributor
627 posts
135 reviews
73 helpful votes
11. Re: Another question please

We did one night the first time and two nights the second time. We much preferred the two nights and found it not as rushed as our first trip. As with Scott, both of our Halong trips were on a private boat with an itinerary based upon what we wanted and when we wanted to do it.

We also spent time both trips on Cat Ba island. Personally it didn’t do it for me and I would not return.

But as with all things in life, these things are subjective and dependant on the traveller.

Stoney Creek, Canada
Level Contributor
16 posts
15 reviews
3 helpful votes
12. Re: Another question please

Hola MrsKGamblin, I am replying to this post from Hanoi Airport, so, I feel I can recommend in regards the Halong Bay timeline. As many of the contributors have said, it is personal preference. In my case, my husband and I love to be on the move while travelling. We did the 3d/2n and found it toooo relaxing for our taste. I agree with Scarbo1, LAN Ha is very nice, so highly recommended.

I would do 3 full days in Hanoi, no more.

Enjoy your trip!

Canberra, Australia
Level Contributor
1,021 posts
61 reviews
21 helpful votes
13. Re: Another question please

I recently spent 3 nights in Ninh Binh (Tam Coc actually) after a tour finishing in Hanoi. It's easy to arrange a private car to the airport, I just did it through my accommodation, and I would expect any accommodation there would be able to arrange the same.


Rutland, United...
Level Contributor
3,543 posts
236 reviews
168 helpful votes
14. Re: Another question please

It is always down to personal preference, but I’ve done all three HB options and can feed in my thoughts. One day is rushed and you don’t get very far, so expect queues and crowds.

One night means you see the bay more, but it is a busy trip. Setting off after midday, you eat, kayak, and maybe do a smaller boat trip before eating again and bed. Then you wake up, eat, and set sail back to the starting point arriving back at lunchtime.

Two nights for us was the better option simply because you had a full day on the bay, knowing you had the whole day and a night to relax in the surrounds. Sitting on the top deck with a gin and tonic staring up to the night sky was a beautiful experience after a day of easy but interesting and fun activities.

If you have the budget for one of the better boats, it can be a real treat and it’s not about just being on the Bay, but being on a nice boat eating lovely food which for a birthday is ideal.

If you are easily bored and want to be seeing and doing, then one would be enough, but two nights isn’t too long if you have the time. IMO

We have recently been back to NB for a 4th visit and we usually do the same trip when there. A full day out with Toan on motorbikes as passengers, including a boat trip and a pagoda or two and a day cycling/walking around Tam Coc. Not sure what we would do for longer as many of the sites are similar. Two nights would give you a good taster.

And a final night in Hanoi…always 💕

Salisbury, United...
Level Contributor
92 posts
37 reviews
46 helpful votes
15. Re: Another question please

Thank you all so much! I really appreciate everyone taking the time to give me their opinion :)

I really enjoy all the planning so I’ve got lots to think about - and likely more questions!

Thanks again :)

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