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21 responses to “Hanoi and Halong Bay”

  1. Micaela says:

    Hello! I just recently discovered your blog via tripadvisor. Loved all your Vietnam posts, thanks for all the info and photos! We are travelling to Vietnam (from Australia) for the first time in March 2013 with a pretty similar itinerary to yours and can’t wait!

    • Judy Gambee replied: — August 20th, 2012 @ 6:03 am

      So glad you enjoyed the blog. I’m sure you will have a fabulous trip!!

  2. Oh wow…this post is like a dream to me! The photos are very inviting, looks like you had a wonderful time 🙂

  3. Elizab54 says:

    Thank you for your detailed posting! Found it via the forums on TripAdvisor. We were struggling with having to choose between Vietnam and Thailand for a 7 day trip in February 2013. Vietnam it is! (Given the time constraints, just seems like the right choice for us.) I think our families have similar traveling styles so perhaps I should read up on some of your other adventures for future travel inspiration!

    • Judy Gambee replied: — September 15th, 2012 @ 4:30 am

      Glad the blog was able to help you make a decision – and I know you will have an amazing trip! Happy to answer any questions you might have. Hope you can be inspired from our other adventures!

  4. Scott P says:

    What a huge help. We are your Pacific NW neighbors (live in Seattle) and are doing Christmas in Vietnam this year! Taking our kids (10 and 12) for their first trip abroad. We are a little nervous that they are a bit young (for it to be fully enjoyable for all of us) but we are going to take it easy and just take it all in. You provided just enough detail and the photos are fantastic. I will now feel like I am returning to a somewhat familiar place. Thank you!

    • Judy Gambee replied: — September 15th, 2012 @ 3:30 pm

      Scott – We took our kids on their first trip abroad when they were 9 and 12. We didn’t know what to expect, but it turned out great and we’ve been traveling with them internationally ever since!! I think it’s good that your plan is to “take it easy and just take it all in.” Your kids will have a fabulous time, and definitely a Christmas to remember!

  5. Elizab54 says:

    I have one more question: did you arrange most of the trip yourself (sounds like you did) or did you rely on any tour operators to help you arrange tours, transportation, etc. in advance? Would love to hear your thoughts on how easy it is to make arrangements from North America, maybe what were your greatest resources for finding the right tours: whether it was street-food tours or your Halong Bay Junk boat excursion, where you felt you didn’t need help, etc. Thanks!

    • Judy Gambee replied: — September 24th, 2012 @ 11:30 pm

      Yes, I did do the planning and arrangements all by myself. I did not use any tour operators. I found all the guides/tours I used from posts and reviews on TripAdvisor. Then I contacted them directly via email. All of them responded quickly to my emails and were always very helpful in giving me all of the information I needed. I just booked with them directly via email. I did have our hotel in Hanoi actually book the Halong Bay tour, but I picked the company to use myself by reading TA reviews.

  6. Scott P says:

    Judy- How were the mosquitos that time of year (Hanoi, Hoi An, Mekong Delta)? Both of my girls seem to have sweet blood.

    • Judy Gambee replied: — September 29th, 2012 @ 4:08 pm

      We did come prepared with plenty of bug repellant (brought the wipe on kind), but didn’t really need it. We did not find any problem with mosquitoes at that time of year, particularly in central/north Vietnam (HoiAn, Hanoi) where the weather was cooler. My daughter is also favored by mosquitoes and she had no problems.

  7. You have amazing article about my country. thank you very much for your visiting. May i ask which is the best place in VIetnam? what is the place that you want to come back ?? Thanks again.

    • Judy Gambee replied: — October 3rd, 2012 @ 3:36 pm

      Hoang – We loved visiting your country! Our favorite places were Halong Bay and Hoi An. We definitely want to go back to those two places. We also look forward to visiting Sapa and Hue on our next visit.

  8. Joan F says:

    Hi, we are heading to Vietnam in mid Nov so loved reading your of your family experiences. For better or worse we are on a small group tour, all friends of friends so it will be interesting to see how the group dynamics work out! However there are some free days in Hanoi and Hoi An so I was pleased to see your ideas for the bike tour, the street food tour, the cooking class and all your restaurant addresses and comments, very helpful thanks. From the reading I’ve done I feel that it wouldn’t be too hard to organise ones own tour as everyone seems to be so helpful. Starting to get very excited.

    • Judy Gambee replied: — October 23rd, 2012 @ 5:36 am

      Actually, when traveling with a small group of friends it may not be a bad idea to be on small group tour. That way you don’t have to worry about everyone agreeing on what to do next, someone just tells you!! Your free days might be a good time for people to do different things depending on their interests. For future reference though, it was very easy to organize everything on my own, and book everything online. Have a fabulous trip!!

  9. Angel says:

    Thank you for your great trip report on your vacation to Vietnam. I have spent my whole Sunday morning reading it and taking notes. Your detail and photographs are amazing. We are off to South East Asia at the end of June. Tickets are bought and now I’m doing research to book the actual trip. Though I will use a tour company, your blog gives me lots of ideas to impart to them. We are traveling with 3 kids ages 11, 9 and 5. They are well-traveled having gone on safari in South Africa at age 2 and 4. They have now taken 9 additional trips all over the continent of Africa and many trips all over Europe and the Caribbean. It was during elephant trekking in Namibia this past summer that they insisted on going to Asia for the next big vacation. So thank you again for all of the ideas. I am inspired!

    • Judy Gambee replied: — November 11th, 2012 @ 7:40 pm

      Glad to hear that you were inspired!! You will have a fabulous trip, we all loved Vietnam. I am just in the research phase of planning our first safari for June 2014, but due to the time of year I think we will be going to Tanzania, so will have to do South Africa at another time.
      Sounds like you have done some great traveling with your kids – have an amazing time in Vietnam!!

  10. Lillian Chua says:

    Fabulous! Love your blog!! Thank you for taking time to tell us all about it!
    We are planning to go this December and wonder if we should do the 2d1n or 3d2n on Halong Bay as it seems pretty cold and we are quite tight on time. Any suggestions, please?

    • Judy Gambee replied: — September 11th, 2013 @ 5:40 am

      I would recommend just doing the 2D/1N. It was pretty cold while we were there – too cold to hang out on the beach or do any water sports. We loved our time on Halong Bay, but in Dec. I would just do one night – especially since you are tight on time. I hope to go back someday when the weather is better and do the 2 night trip!

  11. Grace says:

    Your article is very informative! I’m glad I found this. My husband and I are going to Halong Bay in November. We came from a country where the weather is either very hot or rainy, so we look forward to a chilly weather (but hopefully no rain) when we get to Halong Bay. It’s great that you posted pictures of indochina junk. We’re considering right now to book either the Red Dragon or the Dragon’s Pearl, and your pictures and descriptions will really help us to decide. Thank you so much! 🙂

    • Judy Gambee replied: — May 3rd, 2014 @ 3:28 pm

      Grace – Glad you found it helpful and I hope you and your husband have a fabulous trip!!

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