Great Hanoi Trip with Halong Bay and Ninh Binh DayAuthor: conganh (More Trip Reviews by conganh)
Date of Trip: July 2010
We just returned from a 5D4N Hanoi Trip and we would like to share our experience. We travelled as a group of 10 family members spanning 3 generations, it was good family bonding time.
We found a local tour operator Vietnam Awesome Travel through good reviews on the Internet. Initially, we only wanted to book a Halong Bay day trip but the service, suggestions and price we received via email was so good that we ended up booking the hotel, the airport-hotel transfer and the Halong Bay day trip. We emailed different local tour operators for the Halong Bay day trip but none matched the good service and price of Vietnam Awesome Travel.
We were received at the airport by a very friendly Mr Anh who speaks good English. The mini bus for us was in very good condition. We were sent to our hotel in the old town of Hanoi on Ma May street. The office of Vietnam Awesome Travel is just across the road from the hotel which was very convenient.
Our Halong Bay day trip was a private trip. We had the mini bus and the boat to ourselves. The seafood lunch served on the boat was good and the cruise through the bay and the visit to Thien Cung Grotto ("heavenly palace" cave) were enjoyable. We took some amazing pictures.
We were so happy with the Halong Bay day trip we went on to book a Hanoi City tour and a Ninh Binh day trip with Vietnam Awesome Travel. Mr Anh not only offered us these two private trips at great prices again, he even customised them to our needs.
Our Hanoi City tour included the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Residence and Museum, One Pillar Pagoda, Hoa Lo Prison (Hanoi Hilton), a great lunch, Vietnam Enthnology Museum and Temple of Literature. We were back at the hotel around 4.15pm, rested for 2 hours, then Mr Anh picked us up again with the mini van. We went to Le Mat the "snake village" just outside the city for a snake dinner in a restaurant with elegant Chinese style dinning halls. It was a unique experience.
Our Ninh Binh day trip included the Bai Dinh Pagoda (the biggest in South East Asia, Hoa Lu the ancient capital and an almost two hours local small rowboats (sampan) cruise through Tam Coc the "Halong Bay on land". We passed through three low caves where we could reach up and touch the ceiling.
We did some sight-seeing on our own such as exploring the old town (using the walking tour from Frommers.com), the Hoan Kiem Lake and an evening show at the Thang Long Water Puppet Theater. We also tried Hanoi's famous fried fish at Cha Ca La Vong at no. 14 Cha Ca steet in the old town. Beware of imitation restaurants on Cha Ca street, they even claimed that they are no. 14 when the real Cha Ca La Vong is just across the road! The price at Cha Ca La Vong is high but the authentic experience (you cook and mix the dish yourself at the table) and great taste is worth it. We ordered Cha Ca at another restaurant and the price is half but it is nothing near what we had at Cha Ca La Vong.
We really enjoyed this Hanoi trip and had some great new experiences. Our 5D4N private and customised trip was cheaper with a more interesting itinerary and more sights than 4D3N package trips offered by the tour agencies in our country. We highly recommend Vietnam Awesome Travel to anyone who wants great service and value for their Hanoi visit.
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